Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

December 4, 2009

A Path to Health & Wellness that Almost Anyone Can Choose

Tai Chi Class, Everett Community College 12/09

Many folks attend a tai chi class a couple of times, find out there is thinking involved and that it requires a little work, then decide they would rather do the elliptical machine. They are happy to be able to say, “Oh yeah, I used to do tai chi.”

The class you see here is made of folks who might have done the same thing – if they had a choice. The fact that a quarter lasts ten weeks pretty much ensures that students will attend most classes. Ensured even more by Gordy telling them that attendance is all that is required for an A. (Actually, a large number of these folks are regulars and have been for many quarters – even years.)

So they show up. They aren’t necessarily having fun at first, but they realize the demands are going to increase: thinking as well physical requirements. They do the best they can. Struggling a little leads to small incremental changes. (We let them know that even though they may feel that they are not picking it up well, while they sleep their brains are hard at work.) And low and behold, it gets easier and easier. They develop new strength, increased balance, better coordination and flexibility. They are able to relax more easily and at will. They can focus better through out the day. They sleep better.

It is actually really cool to watch because all of these changes usually come as a total surprise to the students; tai chi classes don’t tend to attract the Michael Jordan’s of the college. But, by the end of ten weeks, they know some tai chi which they can practice any time any place without a costume or equipment. They understand themselves and their bodies better. And they have been introduced to an ancient art and discipline that helps them appreciate history, culture, politics and philosophy better. (Interestingly, almost all of the research on the many benefits of doing tai chi was done with similarly tiny exposure to the practice: a couple of months or so, a couple or even one one hour class each week. Imagine what daily practice over a period of months or years would do!)

We share many handouts through out the quarter. One talks about a college-aged female tai chi student of a class just like the one these students are taking which is taught by a tai chi older brother of mine in Colorado. (We talk like that in tai chi. It a Confusianist thing.) This female student was able to successful use her tai chi skills to defend herself against an attack that occurred as she walked to her dorm one night (I love the quote from the Police report: “all the copious amounts of blood found on the wall was from the attacker”).

From this story the students begin to realize that tai chi doesn’t only allow you to defend yourself against viruses, poor drivers, and the verbal abuse of your boss. The tai chi taught in this class offers real transferable self defense skills: not as the primary focus but as one of many many many benefits. (This, by the way, is the only reason I would travel all the way to Europe to learn it!)

In the fourth Tai Chi Classic, “Song of the Thirteen Tactics” there is a line that goes: ” Think and enquire where does the final purpose [for doing tai chi chuan] lie? This question is followed by the answer, “It lies in seeking longevity and keeping a youthful appearance.” In my view learning the self defense aspects of this old school mixed martial art (MMA) are simply a matter of increasing our odds of achieving longevity, no less so now perhaps than in the past – if you watch the news.

I was going to use this photo opportunity as a lead-in to a post on rehabilitation of the neck with the Tai Chi Spear Form. I guess I will do that another time.

Our next class starts Thursday, January 7th at 7 p.m. Here is the How to Register Link. There are also Tuesday evening classes available at Bally Total Fitness in south Everett. Follow this link for more information about what is offered and when.

And… Larry Fleming (the guy in the front in the middle with the YinYang tee shirt) teaches locally as well. Here are the details:

I teach Cheng Man-ching’s 37 Posture Yang Style Short Form at the Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo. The classes are Wednesdays from 6-7 pm. Folks may contact me for additional information.

Respectfully,

Larry W. Fleming
Tai Chi Works
240-602-8651

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5 Comments »

  1. Great post Dennis. I couldn’t agree more. I also see lots of peopel drop in my class. And then drop out a little bit later because “it’s too hard” and takes time to get good at. Those who stick around tend to view it differently and understand the benefits (all of them) are there if you just keep practicing.

    REALLY looking forward to the neck rehabilitation article!

    Have a great weekend,

    Wim

    Comment by wim — December 5, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

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