Newsletter #89 - January 2009
-- The Reluctant Student and the Effective Teacher, Judy Girard and Bill Pickett
I have started a thread to this month’s theme in my forum, click here to add your story. Sharing your story can inspire others to use Tai Chi for better health and harmony.
In this newsletter
Judy Girard, a student, compliments Bill Pickett, a Senior Trainer’s, effective teaching method in helping her overcome her learning barrier.
I will share with you the numerous stories I received on “What Inspired me to Start Tai Chi”, including my own.
Read about scholarship information on the USA one week workshop in June 2009.
Find our how a mini talent show can add some light heartedness to our workshop.
- New Zealander Helga Meyer finds some correlation and positive results with Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls prevention in Waiheke Island.
Tai Chi for Beginners – Instructional DVD
The 24 Forms – Instructional DVD
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructors Training
Paul Lam, M.D.
The Reluctant Student
Judy Girard (Student) and Bill Pickett, Senior Trainer, Knoxville, TN, USA
It has been said that there are no good teachers….only good students. I know that to be false. I would like to tell you the story of how Tai Chi teachers Bill and Linda Pickett have changed my life.
My name is Judy Girard. I am 62 years old. I was in the process of retiring as President of HGTV and Food networks when I signed up for their Tai Chi class fall. As a child I was a terrible student. I barely made it through High School. With critical teachers and relatively poor grades, I believed I was clearly deficient, undisciplined, and unwilling to focus. It was 1964 and Ithaca College was starting a radio-television department and badly needed students…so this C and D student landed there. I quickly discovered I was made for television. No one project could last very long, attention to detail was out of the question, and multi-tasking was the foundation of success. Best of all, I never had to “learn” anything. I made sure Bill and Linda knew early on that I couldn’t learn anything, let alone Tai Chi, but I’d like to take the class anyway.
At no time did Bill minimize or dismiss my belief. I kept coming back. The slowness and the repetition of the form intrigued me. I was also curious as to how success was measured as no one was stating a goal. I was falling farther and farther behind the class. It was clear I wasn’t going to get it just by showing up. Bill gave me some handouts to study and Dr. Lam’s DVD. Two weeks later I was more overwhelmed and confused and felt hopeless.
If Bill was frustrated he never showed it. Nor did he ever take the stance that if I worked harder I’d get it. One day Bill walked in and said “I’m going to teach you how to teach. I’m going to teach you all the words and the directions and then you’re going to teach me”. By the end of the session we both felt the lock open. I don’t know how it worked or why. Bill will have to tell you that part. But I will tell you that of all the achievements, awards and jobs that I’ve had in my life, nothing ever came close to the night I could “teach” Bill the 24-form from beginning to end.
Have I suddenly become a person with great focus, perseverance, and attention to detail? No. But to quote Professor Wang, “It’s good enough”. Every time I practice it gets better and better and I am beginning to understand the journey IS the destination.
I am forever grateful to Bill and Linda for opening that door and gently pulling me through. They have given me a gift for my second half of life beyond which I could ever imagine.
The night Judy talked herself through the first four moves of the form and the look on her face when she turned and said “I did it” was priceless! From that point forward her confidence in herself increased every night and she would learn a new move by taking my words and talking herself through each part. As with most high level executives, Judy’s multitasking mind was constantly running a mile a minute. Verbalizing the moves gave her monkey mind a break and allowed her to slow down and concentrate on doing and learning the form. Did Judy learn the 24-form? You bet she did and our memory of her coming off the floor with her completion certificate from Professor Wang’s June 2008 Depth of 24-form workshop in South Hadley, MA, will be with us forever. We love you Judy and you will always be a part of our Tai Chi family!
"What inspired me to start Tai Chi?”
Dr Paul Lam, Sydney, NSW, Australia
To read the all the inspirational Tai Chi journey stories click here.
1) seriousness of purpose to develop Tai Chi for health knowledge;
2) intent and defined goals to help people in the community with Tai Chi for health knowledge through teaching or other means;
3) past history of community service involvement; and
4) financial need.
Robyn Malby, Master Trainer,
Helga Meyer, Waiheke Island, New Zealand
There were 15 participants, the oldest 89 years of age. Three dropped out early due to relocation and health issues and another three attended only sporadically. These people are all included in the statistics, which I think is interesting when we look at how much falls had reduced, in spite of several people not completing the full programme.
At the beginning of the programme in July there were among the participants:
A total of 26 falls in the previous 20 weeks.
This is an average of 1.7 falls per person.
This included 3 fractures.
The average number of steps during the step test was 11.
Now, at the end of the 20 week programme we have the following results:
A total of 4 falls in the 20 weeks, which is a reduction in falls of 85%, almost twice better than the national average of elderly people who do Tai Chi.
This is an average of 0.26 falls per person.
There were no fractures at all. A 100% decrease in fractures.
The average number of steps during the step test has increased to 17.5, which is an increase of 60% of steps people were able to do.
There was also some interesting feedback from somebody who had started Tai Chi at the beginning of this year:
This lady has renal failure and numerous other health issues. She wrote: I could see improvements in my arthritic and asthmatic conditions with improved peritoneal dialysis output noted by Specialist. Two episodes of torn cartilage improved over time without ACC or Physiotherapy. Torn ligament to other knee successfully overcome using techniques learned without resorting to ACC and Physiotherapy.
by Dr. Bob McBrien
I have learned that when you share a laugh with family members and friends all benefit.
May 2009 bring you much laughter and radiant health.
Warning: Dr. Lam does not necessarily endorse the opinion of other authors. Before practicing any program featured in this newsletter, please check with your physician or therapist. The authors and anyone involved in the production of this newsletter will not be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any injury which may arise as a result of following the instructions given in this newsletter.