Information, News, and Events
Posted December 15, 2016
Many members expressed their appreciation and enjoyment of the workshop and particularly for receiving individual attention from Peter. His instruction and explanations were clear and perceptive. Also some introduction to Yi Jin Jing was received with pleasure.
There were a number of people experiencing their first workshop and the instructor did a fine job of engaging them and responding to their needs. At the same time, there were a number of experienced people whose needs Peter managed to meet through individual attention and corrections.
In summary, the workshop was a great learning experience for all participants. We extend a huge thank you to Peter for a memorable weekend of laughter and camaraderie with new and old friends.
Posted December 2, 2016
Happily there was a positive outcome. A month later Robin Fulford came to North Bay and led an instructor workshop which was well attended by our members; it breathed new life into our club. Several members took the plunge and volunteered as beginner instructors.
That same year a workshop was held in Newmarket and several of our people attended, giving them more tai chi training and confidence to lead their classes. Plus, Robin committed to coming up to North Bay on an ongoing basis to lead workshops with a strong emphasis on instruction. Since then our club hasn't looked back. We continue to grow and more members have stepped up to act as corners in beginner classes and to train as instructors. We value our tai chi club and realize the importance of a strong instructor base. We hold instructor meetings once a month where instructors and trainees get together.
One of the organizers asked us about having an instructor to going there to teach a regular class. We promised to discuss this and asked how many participants would be involved. We, however, also talked up our practice hall, stressing that we have an elevator, and invited them to come to some of our classes.
Our heartfelt thanks to the Canadian Tai Chi Academy for recognizing the importance of instructor training and to dedicated instructors who are more than willing to go the distance. We're looking forward to attending the next CTCA National Instructor Workshop.
Marion Russell - North Bay
Posted December 2, 2016
Things started promptly on Friday at 4 pm with several sets called by Doug Nettleton; knowledge was shared, and then we did a final set. We followed with a Chinese meal. A great beginning!
Food, of course, must be mentioned. There were loads of snacks and sandwiches for lunch. It was amazing how much we put away. I only gained three pounds!
Having instructor training workshops is SO beneficial for our whole club. Rumour has it that next year's national workshop will be "out west". We are looking forward to this and hope many easterners will join us.
A huge thanks to the organizers, the workshop leaders, food people, and all the rest of the volunteers!
Anne Mackay - Kelowna
Posted October 28, 2016
We had a good turnout for both the workshop and Grand Opening. Thanks to the demo teams, we were able to show our guests the 3 forms taught at our location: Tai Chi, Sabre (thanks David Debelle) and Lok Hup Ba Fa. As Doug Nettleton said, it is notable that a representative of our Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Governments attended our Grand Opening. More noteworthy, was their participation in a mock beginner's class! We greatly appreciate everyone's support in helping us make our community more aware of the CTCA and all we have to offer.
On behalf of all Newmarket members, my thanks to those who came a distance to attend the Grand Opening, 'played' tai chi with through the weekend, and joined us at a fun and really yummy banquet. Our thanks also, to Doug Overholt and our Western CTCA friends for your gifted Peace Plant. We are especially grateful to the Academy for their help and encouragement in getting us to this point. As we head into 2017 and the CTCA's 10-year anniversary, it's great to have such a good space in Newmarket in which to offer, practice, and grow the teaching passed on to us by Master Moy Lin-Shin.
Upon reflection, it seems to me, a LOT of '1sts' had to happen before our October 1st Grand Opening/weekend workshop in our new stellar location at 1220 Stellar Ave. I consider the many discussions, 'strategizing' and actions of many (CTCA Newmarket members and beyond) over many months which led to the success of this past weekend. Our Newmarket members and the CTCA as a whole can take pride in their combined efforts. We've put together a warm (truly!) inviting space in which to offer and practice Master Moy's teachings.
From Friday through Sunday, 45 registrants participated in a workshop with this theme: Master Moy's tai chi as a "whole body exercise." With Doug Nettleton and Mehrab Khan's instruction, we looked intensely at this as we worked on the donyu and toryu. Then we integrated aspects of these into the set movements: Brush Knees, Wave Hands as Clouds, Repulse Monkey and Parting Wild Horse's Mane.
We have LOTS of Doug and Mehrab 'pearls of wisdom' to incorporate into our practice. In word - for the donyu "sit on top of the hands and come up under the hands"; by example - Repulse Monkey see - monkey do; and a few suggestions by way of visual imagery (some of which brought laughter) in order that we could realize our "whole body" movements with regularity.
So much good whole body stuff that was good for the whole body!
Thanks Doug and Mehrab and all for another great experience.
Posted October 28, 2016
The AGM, steered by the intrepid Board of Directors, ran very smoothly, and there was an extra zest because both French and English were spoken. Everyone was impressed with the turnout that represented the CTCA from coast to coast. President Sherri Nettleton's address to the group was moving. No one was caught sleeping - at least in the room we were all in. There is a rumour that someone with the intitials D.D. felt, well, compelled to explore the unconscious while we toiled to keep the CTCA on its nimble footing.
Doug Overholt, that suave workshop leader, did an outstanding job of putting us through our chi paces, imparting the secrets of toryu, donyu, and all the other usual suspects ("sit, step, turn - sit more, step more, turn more - no, more - what are you doing on the floor"). As brilliant as his tai chi is, however, those of us in the car with him driving around Montreal trying to find Ste. Catherine, which is outside of Montreal, can attest to the fact that two GPS's and two navigators, with all four talking at the same time, can cause mental distress for the driver ("it was a Charger, but who could charge"). As a non-member noted on hearing of the debacle, "ah, you mean a GPmess".
We left tired but energized, tired because we worked hard on our tai chi, energized because we have so many new things to work on.
Posté le 28 octobre 2016
L'AGA, piloté par notre conseil d'administration intrépide, c'est passé très bien, et il y avait un zeste supplémentaire parce que le français et l'anglais ont été parlés. Tout le monde a été impressionné par les présences qui représentait l'ACTC d'un océan à l'autre. Le discours de la présidente, Sherri Nettleton, était émouvant. Personne n'a été surpris à roupiller, du moins pas dans la pièce ou nous étions!! Il y a une rumeur que quelqu'un avec les initiales D.D., se sentait obligé d'explorer l'inconscient pendant que nous travaillions pour garder l'ACTC sur ses pieds agile!!
Doug Overholt, ce chef d'atelier élégant, a fait un travail remarquable de nous mettre dans nos allures de chi, nous transmettre les secrets de toryu,donyu, et tous les suspects habituels ( "assis, un pas, tourner.... asseoir plus, tourner plus,.. Non, plus !! Que fait tu sur le plancher??") Aussi brillant que soit son tai chi cependant, ceux d'entre nous dans la voiture qu'il conduisait autour de Montréal essayant de trouver Ste Cath (à l'extèrieur de Montréal) peuvent témoigner du fait que deux GPS et deux navigateurs, les quatre parlant en même temps, peut causer de la détresse mentale pour le conducteur !! Un non membre a noté, après avoir entendu parler de la débacle, " Ah , vous voulez dire un GPmess!!!"
Nous sommes partis fatigués, mais énergisés: fatigués parce que nous avons travaillé fort sur notre tai chi, et plein d'énergie parce que nous avons tant de nouvelles choses à travailler.
Posted October 3, 2016
Day one was spent with ample practice of the finer points in some of the moves, as well as individual corrections and positive feedback from the instructors on the progress of the branch as a whole. It appears the detailed explanations on sitting and turning, which we benefitted from during theprevious workshop a year earlier, are bearing fruit. As well, our resident chef, Sharon, kept us so well fed with a variety of wonderful main dishes and tempting desserts, that a repeated comment was that it was worth coming just for the food!
Day two started in a smaller space, and Doug led our group through slow, deliberate and very invigorating sitting exercises (on mats). He ended by demonstrating an amazing cluster of moves, giving a taste of advanced levels of Tai Chi that most of us are not even aware of.
It was a treat to have two instructors, not just for the size of the group, but also for the different styles of instruction. Having two people also made it easier to see how the body was actually supposed to move externally as well as internal, and the banter between them lend humour to the atmosphere. At the conclusion, Doug and Susan stressed the importance of keeping the form yet making the Tai Chi set our own, by respecting and working with the limitations of our bodies. It was a welcome reassurance and encouragement, and will surely keep us motivated!
Posted July 28, 2016
The workshop instructors were:
(1) Pam Nagora, a retired physiotherapist. She practiced physiotherapy for 30 years and has 24 years' experience with Master Moy's form.
(2) Peter Lambiris, co-founder of the CTCA and senior instructor.
The day consisted of a morning discussion concerning the knees. There was a question and answer session where Issues like "gait" problems, pronation and other structural and body mechanics concerns were addressed.
The afternoon session consisted of practicing some moves and focusing on the proper alignment of the knee.
About Pam Nagora
Now retired, and a current member of the Norfolk County Tai Chi Academy, Pam was a practicing physiotherapist for 30 years and started learning Master Moy's tai chi 24 years ago. At that time, she was looking for an exercise program that would provide stretching, low impact and mild cardio. She was also interested in researching, among other things, appropriate exercise programs that would progress her clients from physio to actual physical activity. She became concerned about patient re-injury in gyms that were not staffed by qualified knowledgeable instructors.
Pam realized how effective tai chi was and began using it in her treatments for various health problems, particularly for Parkinsons, MS, ALS and other neurological and orthopedic conditions. She also was a health recovery instructor for 12 years in Master Moy's health recovery program.
Pam Nagora's Notes from the Instructor Workshop
The knee is basically a hinge joint. The knee's boney structure has multiple curved surfaces, so it can't act simply as a hinge. Most people don't know that the knee also has some tilt, fore and aft glide and rotation capabilities. The structures that support these aspects are cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles and other soft tissues.
If any one of these structures is compromised, the others have to compensate, and because they end up doing a job they aren't designed for, they in turn become traumatized. We need to also consider issues such as: is the student overweight; is there previous traumas to other body parts (ankles, hips, back mostly); has there been overuse of structures especially with weight bearing issues, such as with jogging and standing on hard surfaces; and what about the sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, genetic defects, neurological issues, footwear, aging...? The list goes on.
How many young, fit, perfect human specimens do we see coming through the door to sign up for tai chi classes?
I think the most recent statistics state that 80% of all tai chi-ers aggravate their knees at some point. One of the big reasons is that new students have preexisting conditions. As instructors we have to assume that even if the student is not aware of a preexisting condition, they might have one. Most people have extremely poor body awareness, and over the years, due to the body's ability to compensate, they may not be aware that they have knee issues unless they have had a specific trauma.
Most of us don't have a medical background so we can't expect to be able to look at a person and diagnose their mechanics, so the best we can do is to keep reinforcing the concepts we hope to get across.
In a first class we should ask about specific pains, etc. If a student doesn't want to speak in public, then ask them to talk to you in private.
As mentioned above, among other things, consider weight, general fitness level, posture, gait, footwear (uneven wear on sole, cushioned or flat soles; use of orthotics will limit what a beginner can do.) Emphasize the need for them to go at their own pace and not compete with fellow classmates. Communication is necessary in regards to "if it hurts let the instructor know". Discomfort may not be immediate. It could show up much later from "over doing". The guideline for that is: if still uncomfortable after 24 hours, it was an overdo.
Assume they have no idea of body awareness and mechanics. You have to be diligent in watching each person to make sure they aren't mis-aligning their knees. Chances are they can't "feel" their knee posture.
Let us consider the neutral standing tai chi stance. This is our first chance to aggravate the knees. Why? We are asking that the student stand with feet shoulder distance apart facing forward, have weight distributed evenly through the feet with soft (unlocked) knees, and have a correct center of gravity.
I guarantee that at least 90% of the class splay their feet, have uneven distribution of weight, have pronation, locked knees, knock-knees or something. Maybe we should recommend they practice this stance for a few minutes only and continue in short intervals at home to gradually achieve the correct posture. Their "normal" stance is something they have acquired over many years, so it will be a hard habit to break. Because of their "normal" stance, their body mechanics will have likely resulted in alterations in all their body structures.
Over the years people develop a gait pattern. Usually it involves a "stumbling forward", afraid of losing one's balance type of pattern. We are now asking that they "place the foot forward and shift onto it". This is completely foreign to them. Perhaps instead of focusing on specific moves for the first class we should just practice walking with a proper weight shift.
The students are usually so focused on memorizing the moves that they are even less aware of what their bodies are doing. We need to make these corrections early. The timing of the weight shift is critical. The knee has to be in the correct position to accept the weight. In the tai chi set we move forwards, backwards, sideways, with weight shifts, with feet angled and knees aligned in various ways. We have to remember that we are relying on ligaments and tendons to achieve these various alignments and chances are that these structures are no longer "normal".
I realize this all sounds quite intimidating. Just assume that you are dealing with previously compromised knees and make the students aware that they have to be paying attention to prevent further trauma. They need to take it slowly, and communication must be a priority.
Discussion, questions, etc, are best brought up while we practice the various moves since most of us learn best by doing.
May 14, 2016
Posted July 8, 2016
From the time he was 15 (early 70s), Albert studied with Master Moy almost seven days a week for five years; the training was very intensive. They used to do a lot of "hands on" -- feeling the spine and abdomen to get an idea of how the tai chi body moved.
Through Albert's teaching of tai chi and helping people with physical problems, it was a natural progression for him to study massage therapy and later on learn traditional Chinese medicine. With this background in healing, he also became involved with different dharma and meditation teachers and eventually did training with the Integrated Body Psychotherapy Institute.
He considers our tai chi as a healing modality - what a gift we have all been given!
Thoughts from the 2016 Vancouver Tai Chi Workshop
by Albert Wong
First of all I would like to thank Doug Overholt, Susan Carson and Bernie Lum for inviting me to the Vancouver Tai Chi Workshop. It is wonderful to share with other participants the sense of community spirit and joyful practice as we all strive to develop an excellence in our tai chi. I continue to marvel at how tai chi can be used as a way to enjoy expression of movement and to produce a greater sense of wellbeing.
I also enjoyed the excellence of Doug and Susan's teaching methods and presentation of the principles and practice of tai chi. Together they have developed a teaching style and presentation that is simple and refined and makes learning tai chi enjoyable and easy to learn. Doug has encouraged me to share some of my ideas and insight about tai chi.
Over the years I have observed how tai chi can be a useful tool in understanding how the body reveals itself in movement and motion. . I know that many times I have been nervous or afraid or uncomfortable when performing in front of others. That is why it is wonderful for me to practice in a group for its shared connectedness.
Whenever I see a person performing their movements for the first time, it is a real honour to have the student share with me their unique expression of their body movement and expression of their tai chi moves. Based on a lifetime of conditioning and experiences, the body is a containment and reflection of who we are, and our body movements can reflect this.
This is where Master Moy's toryu or other tai chi exercises and movements can be used as an evaluation tool to reveal the many functional and structural distortions that present in people's bodies, and how the effective training of these exercises can correct these difficulties, thereby taking the person to a more healthy and happy experience of practice.
Students strive to learn tai chi for health, but many times they will come with some type of physical difficulty. Many students can have a history of physical problems or chronic tension when they first come to tai chi. These problems can be locked in their bodies and this can create discomfort in their tai chi practice.
After observing the students' movements and seeing how they are configuring their motion, one has to figure out what their bodies are saying. In the revealing of the many types of distortions, the body is also presenting the key or way to heal and correct itself.
At a certain point, there is an evolution in our practice that can lead us to a place where we can experience stillness in motion, and by resting and abiding in this stillness we can experience a greater sense of our inner well being.
May everyone continue to practice their tai chi with joyful playfulness and community spirit.
Posted July 7, 2016
Boon led us masterfully through all the moves in a day and a half and then we spent Sunday afternoon refining the basic steps.
Participants were encouraged to "move the spine", "sit/step" just as in our Tai Chi classes. It was amazing to see how quickly students picked up the sabre moves, as most of the basic movements had been learned earlier in the 108 moves of the Tai Chi set. The weekend was very encouraging as we learned how transferable our Tai Chi skills were to the sabre set.
"Boon is an amazing instructor, and watching him do the sabre set can only be described as "poetry in motion". The weekend workshop was informative, hands on, helpful to the point of individual assistance, plus of course group and collective practice. I really enjoyed the whole weekend. It was well organized - we had enough practice, enough rest breaks, the snacks were the best, and lunches great.
Personally I do have a neurological problem, but came out of the weekend with no aches or pains. Even with extensive shoulder movements and repetitive practice, I can honestly say that apart from being a bit tired, my next morning was just fine. I hope many more of you will think about learning the "Sabre Set"..... It is a great workout....
I really enjoyed the workshop instructed by Boon. The moves were introduced in small chunks and the learning process was helped by personal comments from Boon and from repetition. Other participants were of assistance as well because they had been through the set before.
The 2 day workshop was great. My body actually felt better AFTER THE WORKSHOP.
The set isn't long but it does give your body a workout in stretching, balance and strength.
During the weekend, Boon offered us a solid grounding in the sabre set. I now feel that I understand something of the sabre set, and can make further progress with additional practice.
One other thing: my right shoulder has been complaining a lot recently (arthritis), and I was concerned that a full weekend of TC Sabre might be too much for it. But instead, it improved significantly during the weekend. It seemed to benefit from the relaxed, circular movements. The improvement has been maintained, and IÕm very grateful.
Learning sabre together was a great boost for our club members who had been reluctant to try Lok Hup. We are delighted to have another set to practice when we get together.
Posted June 3, 2016
The setting was perfect and the food was delicious and plentiful (an important factor in the success of any workshop). We Brits who had transport problems were loaded into members' cars and safely delivered to our hotel, and every care was taken to ensure that our experience was the best it could have been.
A big thank you to the city of Vancouver for some lovely weather, some great sites to visit, and some of the friendliest and most helpful people in the world.
A bigger thank you to the CTCA and especially the Vancouver group for the splendid workshop.
And our greatest thanks to Doug and Susan for their dedication, inspiration, and the opportunity to tap into so much knowledge . Now it's just about the kung fu!
Posted June 3, 2016
On April 9th a continuing class was held for members from Port Greville and Amherst to get re-acquainted in preparation for the afternoon open house.
After a light lunch of sandwiches, the open house began. The open house was to introduce prospective students to the Sitting Form of our Tai Chi. We were lucky to have a very experienced leader, Trish (from the newly formed Bridgewater Branch) to lead the Sitting Form. Trish has years of experience with sitting form and is also currently teaching classes at 4 different health care facilities in the region. She was assisted by her husband Stuart.
Good fun and learning were had by all participants trying out the Sitting Form. Many first timers expressed how easy and relaxing the movements were; some, of course, complained! The session lasted for about three hours, including a short break. The class was well received and appreciated by participants.
Posted April 1, 2016
One of the things we love to do, (besides our Tai Chi, Lok Hup and Sabre) is to celebrate - especially Chinese New Year and "significant" birthdays - i.e. over 80 years!
We also love our Tai Chi T-shirts and for several years these have been designed by club members. If you like colour - contact us for a shirt!
Our classes go year round and the only time we cancel a class is on Christmas Day! We seem to have extra large classes on holidays such as New Year's Day and Easter Monday. Go figure!
In the Okanagan summertime, some classes are held outside which is a real treat. You can imagine that you are in the tropics!
We love and welcome visitors. How about planning your trip to the Rockies and BC by passing through the Okanagan Valley and joining one of our classes? Contact us in advance and we'd help you take a wine tour or some other Okanagan adventure.
January 30-31, 2016
Posted February 2, 2016
Our location proved, once again, to be a great setting for workshops. We had plenty of room in which 30 folks could swing a sabre with all the other accoutrements and still be comfortable. Thanks to the generous sharing from participants, we enjoyed ample food from start to finish and had good light-hearted discussions throughout.
While many aspects of the weekend are still fresh in my mind, I'd be lying if I said the same was true for my recollection of the actual movements of this short set! On day 1, I admitted to a sense of renewed empathy for our beginner students. Mid-way through day 2, as Doug led us through numerous 'stabs' at the thing, I laughed with Jim Corrigan about the seeming enormity of time and brain spent learning what took less than 5 minutes to execute! As always, one truly learns beyond the anticipated at CTCA workshops!
All were encouraged to practice the set at home to help retain what we'd learned. David emphasized how this was really important over the next 48 hours. And so, with his 2013 You Tube Video playing nearby on my tablet, I've tried to replicate the practice room, the people and the movements - in my living room. At first go - memory fails aside - the piano's at good iPad resting height, the dog will learn where best to snooze, eventually - but I might need to repair some ceiling stucco!
Thanks for it all, everyone!
Susan Henderson Harris
Posted February 1, 2016
Beyond the changes to my physical body I feel more balanced and have a higher energy level as well.
I assure anyone reading this, that every effort is well worth it. The Canadian Tai Chi Academy has some of the best instructors, they believe in the power of Tai Chi to such an extent that they volunteer all of their time!
Posted February 1, 2016
Actually it is the Sabre Set,
but there weren't enough sabres to go around.
Posted February 1, 2016
I look back and see a pattern of too much work leading to a lack of motivation leading to my brain convincing the body that it needs to rest. So I sit back, watch TV, find other things to do, anything but exercise as I need to rest and relax.
Of course the truth is that the only time my brain can really rest during these busy periods is if I'm exercising and after exercising is when my body relaxes.
Lifting me from my self-imposed slumber was an article recently sent to me by a Tai chi friend which resonated on many levels.
It struck me how many elements of this talk related to the Tai Chi exercises we have as a tool to improve ourselves, how our older members are helping themselves to good health and how practice and particularly persistence in that practice is key. I also happen to be a twin.
So, starting from tomorrow..... https://youtu.be/KTx2Su67DUw