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Time to start planning your visit to the Sydney One Week Workshop 2017!
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Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter 
- Issue Number 177, May 2016

Hello <<First Name>>

In this issue: STOP PRESS!

I am delighted to tell you that after an intensive search we have found an incredibly great new and exciting venue for our 2017 One Week Sydney workshop!

I will send you a special email soon, most likely later this week announcing where the venue is, how to book AND how to win an all-inclusive package for 2018!  I can tell you that it is easy to get to, surrounded by shops and restaurant, yet tranquil in 126-hectare of park-like area! You know how good the tai chi is over last 18 annual workshops - we aim to improve it even more.

I have just returned from Bateman's Bay where I was conducting a workshop organised by the NSW Health Department, together with my friend and master trainer Fiona Black. The Health Dept has established an extensive Tai Chi for Health network around our state (the largest in Australia covers 200.018 million acres) for last ten years. Hundreds of volunteers conducted many classes thorough. A study conducted by Australian National Universary has found participants improve significantly in many aspects of health and reduced their rate of falling, saving millions from the health budget. Yet it only costs $76 per person per year for regular Tai Chi for Health classes.

In this weekend Fiona and me were training sixty Tai Chi for Health Instructors who are all volunteers in the community. Over the last ten years, these volunteers have taught thousands of people and helped them improve their health and quality of life. We took photos and live streaming of our tai chi practice for World Tai Chi Day, hope you have seen us online. (see my photos)

Tai Chi Association of Australia, the association I founded 19th years ago, hosted activities all over Australia, please check out their website.

My friend Catherine Fernon had a great event in Wynyard, Tasmania. They had been having a drought, which broke on the day, so they moved their planned outdoor event insides and carried on regardless. They wonder if they were the most southerly group participating?  Do let me know if you were even further south.
 
I also heard from instructors Ferne McKenzie and David MacKenzie in New Zealand. They held their own their tai chi event in co-operation with the China Cultural Centre and had over 250 people turn up!  New Zealand and Samoa kick off WTCQD because they are the first countries to see the sun – what a great start to an amazing energy filled day.

My friend and master trainer Ileina is passionate about Tai Chi for Health, read about their appearance at the Prime TV in Hawaii.

I am busy packing for my trip to Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA, and hope to meet many of you on my travels.
 
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This Month’s Special
Receive a 20% discount when you purchase the Tai Chi for Energy DVD.  Please use coupon code MAYTCE20 when ordering.  Offer expires 31 May.  Not to be used with any other discount.
 
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam


May

June 2016

July 2016

September 2016

October 2016

Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar


Yours in Tai Chi,
 

 
Paul Lam, MD
http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/
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Revisiting Born Strong

Dr Paul Lam 

Back in my late teens my self-esteem was very low when my father came to visit me and my older brother Andrew in Sydney. I felt like the Ugly Duckling next to my handsome and sophisticated brother and father.  Two weeks ago I was transported back to that period when I went to watch a musical.  Now read on:
 
“Just before he left, Andrew took Father and me to the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”. I went to the theatre with a silent depressive mood, and the story of the fiddler and his relationship with his daughters, their lovers and the persecution of the family (being Jewish) fully engaged me.

As the story unfolded I identified with the characters and saw how they overcame prejudice and challenges by accentuating the joy of being alive, especially through love, resilience and music! As the curtain fell I felt a change in my mind-set. I felt the pleasure of life, music and love. Suddenly I felt good realising that it was up to me to enjoy my life!

Later Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” helped me to develop my inner self. The second habit, how you are in control of your reaction to what others do or say to you. That is the key! One must determine how to react to other's action or non action to you, don't let people make you feel bad because you can decide whether to be sad or not.

How amazing it is that a story and music can inspire and change one’s perception of life. Perhaps the play did not change my life, but it was a trigger to bring out my desire to live my life with passion and vigour despite what happened. It did help me to understand the power of art, and I have loved plays, music and operas ever since!”

That was fifty years ago. Recently I saw a playbill for Fiddler on the Roof and of course I had to book tickets straight away. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel seeing the show for the second time. After all back then I was struggling to find my role in a new culture, would it bring back all those old insecurities?

However this time I was no awkward teenager but a father and grandfather, worked as a family physician and tai chi teacher for forty years.  I enjoyed every minute and was able to appreciate the subtleties and beautiful performances much more. Dashing out in the interval in my brand new “Fiddler on the Roof” t-shirt I felt the urge to express myself, so I did my favorite tai chi poses in front of the theatre, to the amusement of the theatre goers gathered on the pavement.
 
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 (Dr Lam receives many letters.  Each month we feature one, and he answers any questions raised)
 
A Letter to Dr Lam
Robert Scott Hogg, Participant, Stranraer, Scotland
 
Sir,
 
I am writing to you to express my deepest gratitude for the work you have done to help people like myself who are unfortunate enough to have Arthritis or Diabetes - I happen to have both. 
 
I have attended Tai Chi lessons here in Stranraer, in South West Scotland for 5 weeks now and have gained a terrific amount of benefit from doing so.  I am being taught your Arthritis and Diabetes forms and find that the training, from warm up to cool down , is massively enjoyable and appropriately challenging. Slowly but surely it is all coming together.
 
In providing me with achievable goals I have found purpose and relief from my illnesses through training with others in similar situations. Without your excellent programmes I would still be wallowing in my own self pity and have little to look forward to.
 
With this in mind, please accept my sincere thanks for devising the tai Chi for health programmes.
 
Thank you sir. 
 
Dr Lam replies:
Thanks Robert for your kind words. I doubt you have every wallowed in your own self pity, you are certainly taking a proactive approach!  I hope to meet you at a workshop one day and perhaps qualify you as an instructor.
 
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Tai Chi Makes Prime Time TV in Hawaii!
Stanley J. Michaels, Senior Fall Prevention Specialist, Hawaii State Department of Health
 
It is a joy to share the tai chi spirit in Hawaii with colleagues around the world.  We are happy to report that in addition to our tai chi classes on 5 islands at 32 locations, we have a major project come to fruition in 2016.  Ileina Ferrier, our Master Trainer is featured in a prime-time television special broadcast on KHON2, the FOX affiliate in Hawaii.  Tai Chi for Health figures prominently in this special co-produced by the Hawaii Department of Health and Kaiser Permanente.  The program, two years in development, titled “Fall Prevention-Securing Senior Safety and Independence,” features 5 segments about fall prevention.  In one segment, the camera follows Ileina as she leads her class. Several of her students were interviewed highlighting their joy with tai chi.  In the words of the KHON producer, “Ileina lights up the screen with her passion for tai chi”.  In addition to Ileina’s segment, two Kaiser MD geriatricians are featured in other segments that touch on aspects of aging and fall risk.  Stan Michaels, Hawaii’s fall prevention specialist, is interviewed about a personal tragedy with his father that led him to his career in fall prevention.  This half-hour prime-time show will play 4 times in 2016 and 2017, and leads into the 6pm News.
 
In addition, Ileina continues to conduct all islands workshops to certify new instructors and enhance the skill sets of current instructors.  An ardent supporter of tai chi as part of the Hawaii State Fall Prevention Initiative, Stan Michaels actively partners in public presentations.   
 
Tai Chi Practice Enjoyed by Seniors with Dementia
Judy Stone Herbert, Instructor, Sydney

As a Tai Chi Instructor, I have been offering ‘Gentle Tai Chi’ at a seniors’ centre in Chatswood for a couple of years now. The centre provides a wonderful caring environment where seniors come to enjoy a range of activities and rewarding social interactions. I have enjoyed seeing participants improve on many levels not just general feeling of wellbeing.

I asked the Activities Officer what she noticed about participants in Tai Chi. “There’s a general positive change in the majority, they look forward to it, anticipating the classes. They are very happy to do Tai Chi as it’s challenging enough without being too stressful so they feel confident that they can manage it. Even for those with limited mobility, as long as they are moving we’re all happy with that.”

The Activities Officer has received numerous comments that they enjoy the Tai Chi exercise and really feel better for it. There’s been no negative feedback.

Following this success, last year she suggested that we might try sessions with a group made up mostly of clients with Dementia. I thought it would be an interesting challenge so we ventured into the unknown. Eight months later we are still doing regular sessions with this group and have had some amazing results.
Being an exercise for the mind as well as the body, I find that Tai Chi is a very positive activity for all ages, particularly seniors and even those with Dementia. I asked why she thought Tai Chi was so successful for the clients at the centre and particularly those with Dementia.

She said “because the movement names are about birds, animals, environment etc, taking it back to nature there are memories they can relate to. Also they like the gentleness of the movements - that calms them.”
She observed “This has been really beneficial for clients with Dementia because they feel capable. It’s not threatening and they are able to do it especially when encouraged to sit if they have mobility issues. Those with Dementia can wander off, but it’s amazing how Tai Chi keeps their attention, and participation is very good for 50 to 60 minute sessions.” Great results.
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA

One of the joys of experiencing Dr Lam’s June Workshop is making friends and learning about their life back home. One morning over coffee I introduced myself to a soon to be new friend. He recognized me as the author of this monthly essay and soon began telling me how he didn’t feel very comfortable telling a joke. With a smile he asked the “expert” how to tell a joke well.  My response was based on an interview I watched many years ago with one of USA television’s top comedians. He said, “I have people try to tell me a joke all the time and most aren’t funny, but I almost always get a laugh when I hear a good story.” I advised my coffee partner instead of memorizing a joke, tell a story.  The story below is crafted from two jokes.

 *One morning I stopped for coffee and two retired highway patrol troopers were having coffee and talking about their experiences. One asked the other, “Did you ever stop a speeder and let them go without a ticket?” The other answered:

"A brand new Corvette flew by me at 90 miles an hour. I gave chase; lights flashing and the driver floored it to 100 mph, but then pulled over and waited for me to pull up. I walked up to the Corvette, and the driver was an old timer over 70, he just bought the car, it was his first drive and he obviously was having fun.  So I looked at my watch and said, 'Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a reason for speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.' The old gentleman paused then said, 'Three years ago, my wife ran off with a highway patrolman and I thought you were bringing her back.’ I said 'Have a good day, Sir,'  

 * The other retiree offered this story." I was on patrol not far from a large high school and it was close to the end of the school day so I parked near an intersection and waited for school to dismiss. "Sure enough a young fellow came speeding by. I went after the speeder and pulled him over. When I reached his window I said, 'I have been waiting all afternoon for you to come by' After a pause the lad looked at me with a bit of a smile and said, “Well I got here as fast as I could.” I let him go with a warning.

This story refers to speed cameras that are being used to catch speeders in our state. It is supposed to be a true story

* A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car.  He later received in the mail a speeding ticket for $40, and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of a check for $40. Several days later, he received another letter from the police department. The letter contained another picture:  Of handcuffs.   The speeder sent a check immediately.

If you have a great piece of humour to share, send it to me @ drbobtaichi@gmail.com
 
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END OF NEWSLETTER
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. 
Sign up now for June Annual Workshop
Dr Lam and Niccola Follett from NSW Health at Bateman Bay on the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day
Dr Lam and participants at the Tai Chi for Arthritis Update and Part 2 workshop at Bateman's Bay
Dr Lam and participants  at Bateman's Bay
TCHI Instructor David MacKenzie leading the WTCQD event with the China Cultural Group in Wellington, New Zealand
Bateman's Bay workshop
Bateman's Bay workshop
Dr Lam and friend at the Bateman's Bay workshop
Bateman's Bay workshop
The beautiful Carr's Park in Sydney
Bateman's Bay workshop
Bateman's Bay workshop
Bateman's Bay workshop
Fiddler on the Roof the second time around!
Still loving that show!
Carr's Park, Sydney
Catherine Fernon and friends in Wynyard, Tasmania on WTCQD
My own school, Better Health Tai Chi Chuan in Sydney
Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne
Master Trainer Brenda Hum at Tai Chi for Rehabilitation workshop, Melbourne, March 2016
Group photo, Melbourne
Tai Chi for Rehabilitation workshop, Melbourne
Tai Chi for Rehabilitation workshop, Melbourne
Dr Lam and friend at the Bateman's Bay tai chi workshop.
Robert in action
Tai Chi for Energy Part II workshop in Melbourne March 2016
Dr Lam demonstrating Chen style 56 Forms in Melbourne.
My tai chi school Better Health Tai Chi Chuan
At the Abbostford Tai Chi for Energy Part II in Melbourne March 2016
At the Abbostford Tai Chi for Energy Part II in Melbourne March 2016 with master trainer Tamara Bennett
Tai Chi for Rehabilitation instructor training workshop 
Tai Chi for Rehabilitation instructor training workshop by Dr Lam in Melbourne, March 2016
Tai Chi workshop in Melbourne
Dr Bob
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