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Corporate Tai Chi
Dear World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Supporters,
This week's Huffington Post has a fascinating article entitled: Burnout: The Disease of Our Civilization, that talks about how "more businesses are realizing that the long-term health of their bottom line is directly tied to the long-term health of their employees." There is a health revolution brewing throughout society ... but Tai Chi and Qigong may miss out on this if we cannot realign the way we see ourselves as a community rather than as competing interests.
Psychologists have called Tai Chi the "perfect model for understanding how we function in the larger world." This challenge of seeing ourselves as "a community" is really the challenge of the future for all society, as well as for the Tai Chi & Qigong community.
One thing you'll note in the below article, its link to the Huffington Post article, and at the linked FT Magazine article "The Mind Business" is that although a mind body revolution is spreading madly through society, these articles are filled with mentions of "mindfulness meditation" and "yoga," but hardly any mention of tai chi and qigong.
It pains me to say this, but part of the reason Tai Chi and Qigong are getting the short shrift is because of a tendency for us to turn on each other, rather than seeing ourselves as a Tai Chi and Qigong "community" and as brothers and sisters in the arts. Go to almost any discussion board and it degrades into tai chi and qigong players assailing one another's credentials and approach.
The old joke, how many tai chi players does it take to screw in a light bulb? Only one, but it takes 99 others to stand around, shake their heads, and proclaim solemnly, "That's not the way we do it," is still apt even today after 15 years of WorldTaiChiDay.org's efforts of bringing the global tai chi and qigong community together. The more we can work together, the more we will expand Tai Chi and Qigong, which is so important not to aggrandize these arts for ego, but for the betterment of global society at a time when stress is rattling people apart. Tai Chi and Qigong are the most powerful mind body sciences on the planet, and growing medical research proves that.
A case in point, on our being stuck in sectionalizing and diminishing one another. The new 4th edition of my Tai Chi book just came out recently, an edition I spent thousands of hours of intense labor to create nearly 150 videos to support the detailed 300 illustrations describing tai chi & qigong universal concepts like "dan tien" "vertical axis" "qigong breathing," etc.. I've seen a lot of Tai Chi books, and I've never seen a $20 book with this massive amount of text, illustration, and video support. It was a mammoth effort on my part. Then I got a very dismissive and tepid review of it by a Tai Chi student on amazon.com, which can be very damaging to a newly released edition with few reviews.
Why? Because the reviewer was upset because my book didn't focus on the style of Tai Chi that he was used to, and the teacher of that style had told him, according to the reviewer, that only his style was the real tai chi style. In the back of my book I have a section that offers contact information to ALL styles of teachers, and my book explains there are MANY styles and ALL GOOD.
This kind of "ours is better than yours" and diminishing one another rather than putting all our energy toward building Tai Chi and Qigong up holds us all back, and I've found that the truly great masters don't descend into that pattern. When we attended the International Tai Chi Symposium at Vanderbilt University years ago the Grandmasters of the Yang, Sun, Wu, Wu Hao, and Chen families were there to speak about their family's styles of Tai Chi. All five said that ALL styles of Tai Chi offered the SAME BENEFITS, none claiming that "their's was better."
When the first edition of my Tai Chi & Qigong book came out years ago, one of the first expert reviews I got was from Sifu Hong Yijao, the US Tai Chi Forms Grand Champion. She did the Chen Style, which was different than the Guang Ping Yang Style my book focuses most on. But, my book was designed to appeal to all students of Tai Chi and Qigong, addressing the deeper concepts of the arts, universal to all styles. Sifu Hong Yijao loved my book, even though it held a different style in it, and she wrote that it took "the best parts of Tai Chi and explained them in a way that Western students could easily grasp without a grounding in Chinese culture or history." This excited her.
Then, Dr. Michael Steward, Sr. the Senior Coach for Team USA, who also practiced a different style than me, wrote an equally glowing review, calling my book "Visionary!" and "THE Tai Chi book to get," and that it would "change your life." Dr. Steward wrote that he'd studied and taught Tai Chi for thirty years, but had read my book seven times and got something new from it each time.
My book was, and the new most recent edition IS, meant as a gateway to people who'd never experienced Tai Chi or Qigong, and it offers a chapter that links to Tai Chi and Qigong teachers and schools worldwide. My book was and is a doorman opening a door to engage and excite a new audience to Tai Chi and Qigong, and then to introduce these new students to teachers worldwide who list in the Free Directory at www.worldtaichiday.org.
These great masters saw the value in that effort. But, now even today, I see that there is still an illness in our community that makes some think that putting other styles down, or making their style more grand than others is the key to success.
The key to success is coming together, not tearing one another down. The key to success is extolling the amazing and profound medical research on Tai Chi and Qigong, because it belongs to ALL of us.
If a medical research study on a Chen style shows results, then ALL of us, Chen, Yang, Guang Ping Yang, Mulan, Wu, Sun, Wu Hao, ALL OF US should use that research, because according to the five grandmasters from China of the major style's families: ALL TAI CHI STYLES OFFER THE SAME BENEFITS.
When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. The fastest way to slow our progress is to use energy to tear one another down.
Yours in Qi,
Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
We have come to heal ...
To show men what they already know.
To make the obvious apparent,
and drive common sense home,
until the anvil of consciousness shatters
beneath the hammer of that sense.
And from that shattered anvil,
a simple steely truth shall be forged,
that when one of us prospers ... so do we all.
-- Anonymous Scottish Poet
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World Tai Chi & QG Day 2013 Events!
FEATURED VIDEO OF THE WEEK!
Indonesia's 1st WTCQD ... FANTASTIC!
|INDONESIA "WORLD TAIJI & QIGONG DAY 2013" - YANG STYLE 24|
"One World ... One Breath."
Corporate Tai Chi - Wave of the Future!
A HEALTH REVOLUTION'S BREWING
For 15 years WorldTaiChiDay.org has advocated Tai Chi and Qigong for corporate wellness. This week a Huffington Post article reported that more companies are embracing this trend of mind-body wellness.
Tai Chi should be a major part of this health revolution. Why? Because Tai Chi and Qigong are highly effective stress management tools, and perfect ergonomic tools to reduce injury and illness in employees. PLUS, you can do Tai Chi in work clothes, just kick off your heels and you are ready to go.
Weeks ago we reported that its not just companies, but individuals are awakening to a new way, with Americans now spending more money on Complimentary and Alternative Health Solutions than they spend on all standard medical health care.
Burnout: The Disease of Our Civilization
Huffington Post, August 22, 2013
On one side, we have endless examples of how the business world and the American workplace still haven't changed and continue to glorify an approach to measuring success that leads to burnout and a culture enraptured with technology to the point that tools meant to give us greater control of our lives have, instead, taken control of our lives ...
On the other side of the screen, there are more and more examples of companies, large and small, prioritizing well-being. And even at companies that haven't yet learned why encouraging well-being is good for both their employees and their bottom line, there are more and more examples of individuals applying Third Metric principles in their own lives to help themselves cope with the negative effects of a retrograde workplace atmosphere.
Right now, about a quarter of U.S. corporations offer some sort of stress-reduction program.
Read entire article ...
TEACHING / LEARNING TIPS for Tai Chi & QG Teachers & Students!
Self validation is the key to success in learning Tai Chi, Qigong, or anything else.
I teach 3 classes for people dealing with chronic health conditions. One is new and still in a building stage, the other 2 have now been going on for 2 years, and generally are filled to capacity, running out of chairs for people to sit in.
This is no small feat when dealing with a community that are facing pretty profound life challenges.
How did I do it? The quippy answer is 20 years of practice, but
I've also been blessed through organizing World Tai Chi & Qigong Day to meet teachers all over the world and to benefit from things I've learned from them, from Master Wu and Jose Milton Olivera in Brazil, to Bev Abela in Australia, to Elizabeth Keith in Phoenix, AZ, to Henry Look in San Francisco, to Violet Li in St. Louis, to Effie Chow in San Francisco, Ken Cohen, Roger Jahnke, and I could drop brilliant names all day long.
Below are some tips from what I've synthesized of all this 30 years of studying the art of teaching, that I can share. A lot of this I cover in my "Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & QiGong," book, and my "How to Be a Successful Teacher" book.
Below are some tips on building a class.
Today a professor of education studies from Oregon State University, whose been in my Kansas University Hospital Turning Point class for a month now, stopped me after class to inform me of a research project.
The gist of it was that what they found was that the main obstacle to anyone learning anything is "self efficacy," which means the student's ability or inability to "believe that they are capable of getting it."
Then he dropped a big ol' compliment bomb on me. He told me that my classes were unique and special because they made everyone in the class feel confident that if they hung in there and stuck with Tai Chi and Qigong that they "would get it."
Often in the Tai Chi and Qigong world of the past, the entire focus for teachers was on raw mechanics, and the student either got it or didn't get it.
But now we know that Tai Chi and Qigong offer such profound benefits to individuals, but also to society, and growing modern stress is so intense, that to have a larger population playing these arts is very important.
What teachers will notice if they keep ears and eyes open is that most people today are very self-critical. They often think that everyone in the class is better at Tai Chi then they are, that only their balance is bad, or that their focus is scattered. I have really never had students that did not push themselves hard enough, but I've had thousands who've pushed themselves way too hard. People are hard on themselves, and we as teachers need to help them, not just be exposed to Tai Chi, but counseled in "lightening up on themselves," which is ultimately one of the profound things Tai Chi and Qigong offers, if people can hang in there.
So, how do I add to the "self efficacy" of students?
* I never criticize. When I have something to offer in the form of correction, I usually refer to a struggle that "I HAD" in my early years of learning that is similar to what they are having.
* I remind students that when they feel their balance being challenged, that that is growth they are feeling. So, when they feel their balance as tenuous, turn that switch in the head away from "my balance is bad," to the "I'm sprouting new neurons!" "I'm growing!" switch.
* I remind students that they are always doing Tai Chi perfect (as long as it doesn't hurt), but their perfect will get better and better. The constant self criticism students often engage in is demoralizing to the point they just give up.
* I encourage students to give up "trying to memorize" or "hold movements linearly in their heads" and rather just enjoy the sensation of what it feels like to experience a move. I told one student who was watching me perform a move, that kept saying "I get it, I get it," that I did not want her to "get it," I wanted her to "feel it," because feeling it learns it on a deep cellular level. Much more relaxing than mentally gripping individual arm, leg, hand, foot details.
Also, I remind them that if they need to repeat the beginning course, they can repeat it again and again. There are no grades, there is no rush. I tell them that I myself repeated the beginner session 5 times before moving on to the next movement in my Tai Chi class. Be easy on yourself. Lighten up. Have fun.
* I remind students over and over again that Tai Chi and Qigong should be done and practiced, not because we get benefits, not because we want our forms to look good, but BECAUSE IT IS FUN! Chinese people don't say I'm going to a Tai Chi or Qigong workout ... they say "I'm going to play Tai Chi," or "I'm going to play Qigong." KEEP IT LIGHT AND FUN!
"Visionary! If you only buy one book on
T'ai Chi, then this is the book. This book
is all you ever needed to know to change
I have taught T'ai Chi for several
decades myself, yet I have now read Bill's
book from cover to cover seven times, and
still get something new from it each time."
- Dr. Michael Steward Sr., D.MA, Ph.D., MA, Senior Coach for Team USA, Inductee of the World Sports Medicine and World Martial
Arts Hall of Fame
ABC News Covers Comprehensive Review: Health Benefits of Qigong & Tai Chi
The Most Comprehensive Review of the Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong Published
The Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (http://www.IIQTC.org), a training division of Health Action Inc in Santa Barbara, California, in collaboration with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona just released a comprehensive review of the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong, Chinese wellness practices, published in the prestigious American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP).
The Chinese have had no need to prove that Qigong and Tai Chi are relevant, medically or scientifically as it is widely believed in Asia that these practices have great physical, mental and even spiritual benefits. The Asian societies have performed Qigong and Tai Chi consistently for millennia, i.e. these wellness practices are "tried and true." However, in the Western world Qigong and Tai Chi are not familiar. The norm is to hesitate to grant that a concept or process has relevance and credibility until it has been proven to have quantifiable benefits.
In the past, when asked about the "evidence base" for Qigong and Tai Chi, most advocates would simply respond, "The Chinese have been doing these practices for thousands of years. That is plenty of evidence of their value." Now, a bona fide "evidence base" for Qigong and Tai Chi is emerging from within the scientific framework of the Western world.
This recent collaboration to review the Qigong and Tai Chi literature has resulted in the most comprehensive review of the research literature on Qigong and Tai Chi that has ever been produced. Dr. Roger Jahnke, OMD and his colleague Dr. Linda Larkey, applied a rigorous criterion wherein only the best randomized controlled trials were considered in the review. The total of such research between 1993 and the end of 2007 was an impressive 77 trials. This review presents the entire Qigong and Tai Chi "evidence base" in one comprehensive presentation.
The importance of the article is so significant that it was reviewed on ABC News.
Read entire Qigong Institute Press Release:
The Qigong Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the scientific understanding of the basis of Qigong through research and education. Since 1984 it has been a clearinghouse for related news and scientific facts to aid researchers, writers, Qigong practitioners and teachers, members of the Western medical community, and the members of the general public who are interested in learning more about Qigong and Tai Chi. It's goals are
- Promoting Qigong via education, research, & clinical studies
- Improving healthcare by integrating Qigong and Western medicine
- Making information on Qigong available to medical practitioners, scientists, the public, and policy makers
Tai Chi & Qigong Medical Research Library! Qigong for Hypertension/Diabetes
Benefits: While large-scale studies are mostly lacking, qigong is believed to relax the mind, muscles, tendons, joints, and inner organs -- helping to improve circulation, relieve stress and pain, and restore health, writes WebMD. And some research supports these claims. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Hypertension found that qigong helped lower blood pressure, while another study published in 2007 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found the practice helped control diabetes.
-- The Malay Mail, Saturday, August 24, 2013
Read entire article...
Research shows Chinese [Qigong] methods work in fighting obesity.
-- New York Daily News, August 5, 2013
Read entire article ...
Are you aware of Worldtaichiday.org's globally popular Tai Chi Medical Research Library? A collection of medical research article links from popular health and media publications, showing how Tai Chi and Qigong can help with nearly 100 common health challenges.
Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi Publisher's Project to Partner w/ Tai Chi & QG Teachers Worldwide!
For those who have doubting doctors, get them a copy of the newly released "Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi." In Kansas City, we just did a fundraiser in our Tai Chi classes and raised $400 to buy copies of the new Harvard Guide to Tai Chi for all the departments and centers in the Kansas University Hospital and Kansas University Medical Center, so they'll all be educated about the mounting research showing why they should be referring their patients to Tai Chi.
We are starting the below international project to encourage other teachers working in health systems to follow our prototype program, using the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi as an educational tool within their health systems. You can Join Our Free Email Mailing List at www.worldtaichiday.org to stay abreast of this program, and we'll send out an email contact at the publisher of the Harvard Tai Chi Guide, who will give teachers 50% off of retail for bulk orders to use for educational projects like these. See below.
FOR TAI CHI & QIGONG TEACHERS WHO TEACH IN A HEALTH NETWORK OR HOSPITAL SETTING:
WorldTaiChiDay.org spoke to the publisher of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, and they said that any group ordering a minimum of a $200 order of Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi can get copies for 50% off list price, plus shipping costs, because they believe this project is good for society.
You or your department can get these books at a bulk discount, and then distribute them to various departments in the health network or hospital, so physicians know how their patients can benefit from your classes, and refer their patients to them.
|Tai Chi at Turning Point's Center for Hope & Healing, The University of Kansas Hospital|
The above video is testimonials from Tai Chi & Qigong students in the Kansas University Hospital and Kansas University Medical Center's Tai Chi & Qigong program.
We encourage teachers worldwide to create testimonial videos like this, to share with local health networks and physicians, as well as with the general public.
In coming months WorldTaiChiDay.org, will create a webpage where we will post videos of testimonials from student's of teachers worldwide, to enable people to come out and share their Tai Chi and Qigong benefits with others.
"Alone we can do so little ... together
... so much."
-- Helen Keller
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"Sometimes Chinese culture can be difficult to explain. Sifu Bill Douglas successfully uses American culture to explain the art of T'ai Chi Chuan. He simplifies difficult concepts, making them easier to understand. This book takes the best parts of T'ai Chi and makes them understandable [to Westerners] without requiring a grounding in Chinese culture and history."
-- Sifu Yijiao Hong, USA All-Tai Chi Grand Champion and USA Team member; Certified International Coach and Judge, International Wushu Federation