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Canadian Tai Chi Academy
Information, News, and Events

    Grand Bend Workshop
        October 17, 2015

    Posted November 29, 2015
The Grand Bend Location hosted a tai chi workshop led by Mehrab Khan and Doug Nettleton on Saturday, October 17, 2015.

It was September when Doug chose the date for the workshop. I thought at the time, "What a great date. Mid October in Grand Bend is so picturesque with the gold leaves of the birch and poplar mixed with red leaves of the maple against the background of the green needles of pine and spruce." Little did we know that on Friday night the 16th we would experience a snow storm. The winds blew all night and by morning the ground was blanketed with ten inches of snow. What a shock! Fortunately the snow was localized and Doug and Mehrab arrived safely. Our out of town members also arrived safely, though the Goderich members had some difficulty. There were 24 participants in all for the workshop.

Doug and Mehrab started the morning session by reviewing the foundations and spent considerable time practicing donyus . Next they worked on the first five moves, concentrating on turning and angles. They practiced alignment, turning the navel in the direction of the weighted foot. This helped the group understand more fully squaring the hips. Everyone was encouraged to ask questions.

At 12:30 potluck lunch was served which is always great. Grand Bend has some great cooks and there are always lots of casseroles, salads and special desserts.

In the afternoon session we worked on White Stork Spreads Wings and Wave Hands. We were also very pleased to be practicing on the new floor of the church hall where we always hold are classes. Our location recently donated a substantial amount of money to help the church renovate.

We are always so thankful for the time Doug and Mehrab spend with us, as they give everyone lots to practice and think about.

Workshops also give us an opportunity to renew friendships and meet new members. It was a great day and everyone left expressing what a great time they had.

  Bernice Hill

    CTCA National East Instructor Workshop
        May 2 and 3, 2015

    Posted May 12, 2015
The first annual National East Instructor Workshop was a resounding success. Fifty-five participants from fifteen different locations in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia gathered to share and learn under the leadership of eight workshop instructors (Sherri Nettleton, Sheila Wilder, Peter Lambiris, David DeBelle, Pierre Delisle, Doug Nettleton, Mehrab Khan, and Robin Fulford).

The focus was on exploring all things to do with instruction in a format of small group sessions which emphasized sharing our experiences, getting ideas to take back to our classes, and fostering a more vibrant community for instructor learning. Participants were divided into three levels that reflected their teaching priorities: beginner, beginner/continuing, and continuing. There were four groups of 12 to 15, two who were beginner instructors and one each of beginner/continuing, and continuing instructors.

The Session 1, called "Basics For Everyone", looked at the 5 Principles, knee and back issues, and movement modification. Session 2 dealt with the first part of the beginner course or intro to continuing, depending on which group you were in. Session 3 dealt with the latter part of the beginner course and the ongoing continuing course, again depending on which group you were in.

It was glorious weather all weekend so many of us took to the outside to do our work. We all went home pumped and with new thoughts on how to approach our instruction. We promoted keeping in touch with fellow instructors and developing more local initiatives around instruction for the coming year.


    Tai Chi Abroad
    Posted April 10, 2015
Here is a photo of our CTCA Newmarket Ontario, member MIkki Buckley showing the children at the Hope School in Cambodia some tai chi. Looks like everyone is having lots of fun.

    Hamilton News
    Posted March 25, 2015
The Hamilton/Norfolk/Brantford branches of the CTCA held their annual Chinese New Years celebration on February 28, 2015. The day's events included a tai chi workshop from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM followed by a Chinese Banquet at the Crystal Dynasty Restaurant in Hamilton.

52 tai chi students from our own branches in Hamilton, Norfolk, Brantford, Mississauga and Toronto as well as from external clubs in Dundas and Peterborough participated. It was a great atmosphere of learning, sharing and enjoying the company of tai chi colleagues... and, as usual, feasting on wonderful snacks during breaks and lunch.

We received many positive comments from CTCA members and external participants.
    Some comments from participants:

  • "Just wanted to say thanks again for the workshop and dinner yesterday. The atmosphere for the workshop was beautiful and the instruction truly excellent. I am still enjoying it today :). Thanks for inviting us."

  • "Congratulations on a VERY SUCCESSFUL workshop yesterday!! We certainly enjoyed it & learned lots. The feedback from other folks that we chatted with was very positive as well! Also the supper was awesome. Enjoy a well deserved R & R day."

  • "Thank you so much for a wonderful day on Saturday. We both really enjoyed the workshop. Gave us some things to work on. I love how our bodies want to anticipate especially on the Separations Left and Right. It is amusing as hell to catch ourselves rushing through the sit/relax and step to the point that it doesn't even exist.
Thank you to Nora for organizing the food. Nicely done and very much appreciated."

    In 2015 "Be" the Worst You Can Be
    Posted January 4, 2015
Tai chi, like everything else, has elements that feel natural and good, but also elements that are uncomfortable, difficult and frankly sometimes unappealing. Dan Yu anyone? Or more extreme, one-legged danyus? Ouch.

So here's what I'm working on this year, - the uncomfortable, unappealing, for me, more difficult parts of my tai chi practice.

Some that spring to mind:
  1. 25 danyu's every day. I've been doing tai chi 40 years but still cranking out 25 GOOD danyus daily is a never ending challenge. If you want to sit however, you need the leg strength only danyus can provide - the tiger.

  2. Splits, kicks and snakes. Triple ouch! Especially as we age, the short ligaments tighten, the tendons lose their elasticity. As Mr. Moy used to say, "what we're trying to do is tear your body apart and put it back together again". And that's what it feels like some days. Well, at least the tearing it apart bit. Splits, or whatever version of this you can manage, open the hip joints and stretch the tendons in the legs and hips, kicks build balance, timing and concentration. Snake Creeps Low to Golden Rooster Stands On One Leg combines all of these into one challenging package.

  3. Sitting, turning, stretching, everywhere, every move. In 2014, that's pretty much all I talked about in workshops. And for good reason. This, in my opinion, is what we are trying to preserve. Correspondingly, it's the easiest thing to let go. Excellent execution takes patience, endurance (keeping it going in the last 3rd of the set, doing a set several days a week), and humility (lessons come from unexpected places).
If you've been doing tai chi long enough, it's easy to fake it and look good. Not so easy to commit to doing something at first uncomfortable, awkward, seemingly unbalanced. In 2015, if we commit to improving the worst parts of our own set, then 2016 could be a very good year.