I’ve been listening to Just One Thing on Radio 4 over the past few weeks. Each episode suggests one thing you can do to improve your mental and physical health each week and the evidence to back it up.
This week it was on the importance of balance which tends to deteriorate from age 35-40. Not just for preventing falls (2nd most common cause of accidental death according to the WHO) but also for benefits to mental health. I’m thinking ‘Great, Tai Chi is known to be good for balance and falls prevention’ but he was talking about standing on one leg while brushing your teeth… Then he spoke to Professor Dawn Skelton at Glasgow Caledonian University who said “Tai Chi is one of the best activities to improve your balance!”.
Prof. Skelton also mentioned that, starting at any age, regular practice was key. This reminded me of a comment by my taiji sifu Dan Docherty that regular practice in China meant daily whereas in the west it meant once a week! In my experience of teaching over the last 20 years you can sure tell the difference between those students who practice daily and those who only do a weekly class!”
This doesn’t mean you have to practice for an hour every day though – most people just don’t have the time. No, just 5 minutes, once or twice a day will bring so much more benefit than only attending a weekly class. Who knows, you may even get to enjoy it and see it as something to look forward to in the daily grind!
At last we can get back to practising outside! Expecting to see the “Faithful Few” who have been training with me on Zoom for the last 12 months and hoping to see some new faces who want to learn about this fascinating form of exercise. Non-contact, Socially Distanced of course! Beginners very welcome.
We will warm up with an easy to learn Qi-gong set before moving on to some actual Tai Chi. This is more difficult to learn but more rewarding in the long run.
When: Tuesday Evenings, 6.45-7.45pm May to September.
Where: Wish Park – south, centre
We should be starting Tai Chi in Wish Park for the summer on Tuesday 14th April 2020. That obviously isn’t going to happen so I have proposed to my students an “Introduction to Qi-gong” on Zoom. It is free and you only need enough space to stand and swing your arms so ideal for the present Lockdown situation. No previous experience is necessary so why not join us to learn a new skill ? One which I have found very useful recovering from illness when the demands of Taiji Nei-gong were just too much.
I shall base it on the (Immortal Family) Eight Pieces of Brocade or (Xian-jia) Ba-duan-jin. It comprises 8 exercises, simply because that’s a lucky number in China. Four of them have two parts so there are in fact 12 different movements but Shi-er-duan-jin would not be nearly as propitious!
Note that Qi-gong is not Tai-ji-quan though both are based on Daoist philosopy. Tai-ji-quan is a martial art which includes exercises to improve health, strength, fitness and well-being. Qi-gong is purely intended to improve health and well-being by regulating the breath and stimulating the three treasures or san-bao.
If you would like to learn more, and how to practice the Ba-duan-jin safely then join me on Tuesday evenings at 6.45.
To sign up just send me your name and mobile number. I will send you the link to the Zoom Client via WhatsApp or email. On Tuesday evening run the Zoom Client, enter the Meeting ID and Password I send out at 6.40pm and enjoy! You will be muted and you don’t even have to switch on your video at this stage but at about 7.15 I will un-mute you all for questions and chat.
I have been neglecting this blog and chatting to regular students through the WhatsApp group but I thought I should explain what is going on, during the Covid-19 pandemic, here in case anyone is looking to Tai Chi Chuan, for help in these difficult times.
We started with a class outside on the prom on Thursday 19th March as the King Alfred closed. When that was proscribed we moved on-line and had our first Zoomcast class at our usual time, 8pm, on Thur 26th. It was a bit chaotic but everyone seemed to think it was well worth doing so I shall persist – I have ordered a headset!
If you want to join us, contact me and I’ll tell you how.
I am also thinking of running an introduction to Baduanjin, the qigong set I teach. I usually recommend it particularly to the elderly and infirm as it is both easier to learn and less strenuous than Taijiquan but I have personally found it useful when recovering from illness. It is also ideal under current constraints as you only need enough space to stand and swing your arms. If there is interest I will start this after Easter in place of Tai Chi in Wish Park on Tuesday evenings.
Finally, if you want to find out a bit more about my credentials to teach I am proud to say my sifu, Dan Docherty invited me to join the Featured Instructors on his website last year :- https://www.taichichuan.co.uk/where-to-learn/featured-instructor.html