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Canadian Tai Chi Academy
Information, News, and Events

    Instructor Workshop - Cochrane, Alberta
        October 22, 23 and 24, 2017

    Posted December 8, 2017
They came (over 60!) from up north, the east coast, the west coast, and central Canada for the 3rd annual Instructor Training Workshop. What a wonderful gathering of Canadians and Tai Chi-ers!

We were lucky to have workshop leaders David Debelle, Mehrab Khan, Doug Overholt, Sheila Wilder, James Elser, Robin Fulford, and Brent to work as cohesive group in deepening our practice and understanding.

The main focus was on improving our Tai Chi, as well as on drawing our attention to the differences when teaching beginning and continuing students.
Participants were kept active from Friday evening (pushing hands!) through to late Sunday afternoon. I heard many participants express how wonderful it was to have such approachable instructors who were willing to dialogue, demonstrate and coach us!!!!! It was a very uplifting experience for people who had never attended a CTCA workshop - let alone a CTCA Instructor Workshop. Follow up notes on the weekend are a great asset to local instructors as they take back what they have learned to their own classes. The bar is set very high!!!!!!!!!!!

There were even some special food highlights - Saturday dinner cooked by Sharon from the Cochrane group (with many assistants) and Brent's homemade ginger beer. Many thanks Cochrane group, for all your work in organizing food, accommodations, and practice halls!

On behalf of the participant instructors, I cannot express enough how wonderful it is that the CTCA puts on these workshops. We feel valued!

For me, an extra bonus of the workshop was that Kelowna instructors travelled, all 6 of us, in a mini-van to and from the Calgary airport. This was a great chance for us to connect and debrief.
    Anne Mackay, Kelowna

    South Nova Workshop
        September 2017

    Posted October 27, 2017
Fabulous", "wonderful"," fun and informative" and "excellent instructors" were just a few of the very positive comments given following the South Nova Tai Chi workshop held on September 23 and 24, 2017 led by Darren Pryke and Sherri Nettleton. There were CTCA members from Moncton, Cumberland and Halifax as well as members from our local group.

The evening before the Workshop began a "meet and greet" was organized at the home of two of our members. It gave us a wonderful opportunity for everyone to say hello,share some lovely pot luck food and a chance for Sherri to update us on the work of the CTCA and to continue our dialogue with her.

Saturday's workshop was held in Bridgewater and the day began with Darren leading us in the exercise of Yi Jin Jing, which had been requested by our members as well as of course Dan yu & Tor yu led by Paul Clarke. The Tor yu was the theme for the weekend and was explained, demonstrated and practised throughout all of the weekends exercises showing us the Tor yu appears in nearly every move of every set.

With the help and contribution of other instructors the participants commented on the quality of the instruction, the approachability of Darren and Sherri and the relaxed pace they set, which enhanced our learning. Everyone appreciated the amount of individual instruction they both provided.As well as Tai Chi instruction, they also introduced us to the art and discipline of Lok Hup Ba Fa. For many of those present, it was their first time learning Lok Hup and it proved to be very popular.

Sherri took the time to update those who were unable to attend Friday's session about the work of the CTCA and answer any questions we might have had. Her sincere and open manner was warmly received.

On Sunday the group met in Lunenburg and had a half day of instruction. The majority of participants attended both days. On the second day people commented on their physical well being as well as improvement in their tai chi form.We also experienced over the weekend Zhan Zhaung(standing Jong) and circle walking. These were explained as some of the other arts Mr Moy gave to us and which the CTCA wish to keep alive and share.

As always at our get togethers, the pot luck meals were delicious and gave us a chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends.

South Nova Tai Chi would like to thank everyone who were involved or contributed towards a fantastic workshop and very much look forward to the next one.
    Mary Catherine

    Madawaska Workshop
        September 2017

    Posted October 27, 2017
The Madawaska Location in Edmundston, N.B., held its first workshop for the Canadian Tai Chi Academy on the weekend of September 15, 16 & 17, 2017.

The new club was proud to welcome its tai chi guests from the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. The weather was excellent and gave a magical ambiance to the weekend!

Experienced instructor Doug Nettleton knew how to maintain the interest of the group, telling us about memories of Master Moy, explaining different moves, reinforcing the importance of the foundation exercises, and more.

The group were grateful for the efforts taken to deliver a bilingual workshop. Thanks to Nicole and Pierre from Ste-Catherine for the translation when needed... very appreciated!

Appreciation too to Kevin who had attended Master Moy's workshops some years ago. He described those events as being very instructive, interesting, and relaxing, well worth the trip from Calgary.

Most of the outside participants were accommodated at the Centre Diocésain where the workshop and the meals took place. The weekend was very friendly, as charming as a family reunion even though the club has only been with the Academy for exactly one year!

Many thanks to the Academy, Doug, Pierre, Nicole & Kevin and to the local team for the good work! Thank you to all the happy visitors who were in such a good mood all weekend!
    Ginette Collin, Club du Madawaska

    Atelier de Madawaska
        Septembere 2017

    Posted October 27, 2017
L'emplacement du Madawaska à Edmundston, au Nouveau-Brunswick, a tenu son premier atelier pour l'Académie canadienne du Tai Chi le week-end du 15 septembre, 16 et 17 2017.

Le nouveau club était fier d'accueillir ses invités de Tai Chi de l'Atlantique, du Québec, de l'Ontario et de l'Alberta. Le temps était excellent et a donné une ambiance magique pour le week-end!

L'instructeur expérimenté Doug Nettleton a su maintenir l'intérêt du groupe, nous racontant des mémoires de maître moy, expliquant différents mouvements, renforçant l'importance des exercices de fondations, et plus.

Le groupe était reconnaissant des efforts déployés pour réaliser un atelier bilingue. Merci à Nicole et Pierre de Ste-Catherine pour la traduction si nécessaire... très apprécié!

Gratitude aussi à Kevin qui avait assisté à des ateliers de maître Moy il ya quelques années. Il a décrit ces événements comme étant très instructif, intéressant, et relaxant, bien en valeur le voyage de Calgary.

La plupart des participants de l'extérieur ont été logés au centre diocésain où l'atelier et les repas ont eu lieu. Le week-end était très amical, aussi charmant que d'une réunion de famille, même si le club a été seulement avec l'Académie pour exactement un an!

Merci beaucoup à l'Académie, Doug, Pierre, Nicole & Kevin et à l'équipe locale pour le bon travail! Merci à tous les visiteurs heureux qui étaient dans une telle bonne humeur tout le week-end!
    Ginette Collin, Club du Madawaska

    Kelowna General Workshop and CTCA Annual General Meeting
        April 27-30, 2017

    Posted May 23, 2017
In early March I sent in my registration to attend the National Tai Chi Workshop here in Kelowna. I have a friend in Kamloops who had done tai chi several years ago, so I invited her too. It was a chance to get together, to spur her on to incorporate tai chi back in to her busy life, and to receive instruction from two international instructors, Doug Overholt and Susan Carson.

Although we were both very excited to attend, we did have some concerns. Both my friend and I have knee injuries and arthritis and we weren't sure how intense the workshop was going to be and whether we would be able to keep up with two days of intense tai chi. Well, to our surprise, the workshop only strengthened our resolve to continue learning tai chi and to receive all the benefits as we regain our mobility, strength and balance.

Those who hosted the workshop did an exceptional job - from the signage that greeted us as we drove into the parking lot, to the welcome faces at the registration table, to the snacks and lunches that were provided - it was first class. Doug and Susan did an excellent job of including all the participants - whether you were relatively new to tai chi, had a couple of years under your belt or whether you were an instructor yourself. They were very inclusive in their teaching style, giving individual instruction (as did many of the other senior instructors attending), and used various styles of teaching so that we were not just "standing and listening".

We were encouraged to work with a partner; other times we were to watch as Doug and Susan demonstrated, and yet other times we repeated and repeated and repeated a move. I had no idea how many foundational exercises were included in "Parting Wild Horse's Mane" and "Brush Knee". My life has forever changed!!

Just as a side note, I really enjoyed the little stories that Doug shared with us as he expounded on a move, often quoting Master Moy as he explained the importance of something. It all added to the truth that "in tai chi there is a purpose behind everything we do".

So would I attend another workshop? Yes! Would my friend attend another workshop? Yes! Would I recommend it to others? Yes!

Thanks, Doug and Susan and the committee, for an excellent weekend.
    Carol Matthijsse, Kelowna


    Workshop at South Nova Location
    Posted May 19, 2017
It was great to learn the 'why' behind the Tai Chi moves that we practiced. This was a common refrain heard throughout the one-day workshop held by the South Nova Branch of CTCA on April 29, 2017 at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Bridgewater.

We were very fortunate to have Paul Clarke from Cumberland and Michael Haley from Halifax as team leaders during the daytime session. Paul and Michael work well together and led us through our paces gently but firmly! Their explanations of the "why" behind various moves and clear demonstrations of what to do and what not to do internally in all the moves was very much appreciated by the participants. As one of the out-of-town participants said, "What a great workshop! I think it was one of the best ones I have attended and I have attended a few! The information you shared, Michael, was interesting, appropriate and connected to the moves we were working on. The pace was lively and kept us engaged. Paul, your demonstrations and corrections were helpful. Great job! It was fun! Good friends and great food!" Comments from the local members about Paul and Michael: "Both are excellent teachers and we appreciated having them visit." Also; "Michael and Paul are a perfect team. They created a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, making the hours pass quickly. Their excellent instruction held my interest for the entire day, just the right balance of explanation/information and practice. I was especially interested in the explanations of why our Tai Chi instruction evolves and moves are adjusted over time to be more beneficial for various organs in the body as we become more flexible. I think Tai Chi practitioners of all levels would have gained practical knowledge to improve their form. Paul and Michael, please, please, please return for another workshop. Thanks so much for a wonderful day."

For those who had not eaten too much at the potluck supper and with some energy left over, the evening sessions included more Tai Chi with Wendy Annand leading and an introduction to Lok Hup, led by Trisha Martin and Pat Corkery. A comment from an evening participant: "I very much enjoyed learning the first few moves of Lok Hup Bafa and look forward to a time when I can learn some more. Trisha and Pat did a great job, hope for more. I hope we can find some way to make Lok Hup a regular part of our group's activities."

Many thanks are due to those who pulled this excellent day and evening together. The instructors, Paul Clarke and Michael Haley , Trisha Martin and Pat Corkery were terrific. Many thanks to the sound crew, Gordon and Ron, to Trisha for organizing the food and all the great cooks in Tai Chi. Thanks to Judith and Bernie for handling the registrations and to all those who billeted our friends from out of town and to Frank who knows everything about the Hall.

    Workshop in Smith Falls
    Posted May 19, 2017
This was a first workshop for the Smiths Falls, Ontario Location. It was led by Nicole Goulet from Ste. Catherine. Participants attended from the Smiths Falls area, Kanata, Lansdowne and St. Catherine. As they say, a good time was had by all. Much was learned.

    Ste Catherine Lok Hup Workshop
    Posted May 19, 2017
Our Ste Catherine location was host to a Lok Hup workshop on the weekend of April 1-2nd. Our workshop leaders were Doug Nettleton and Mehrab Kahn. We had a good turnout, around 25 people were there, a few of which had no Lok Hup experience, or very little. One lucky lady got private lessons from Chase!!! I went to bed Saturday with echoes of Doug and Mehrab telling us to STRETCH !!! TURN !!! TURN !!! TURN MORE !! We worked hard, revising the first part of the set, and then splitting into smaller groups so the more experienced could also work on some movements from the second part of the set.

As usual, our members stepped up to the plate and provided us all with more than enough food for breaks, lunch on Saturday as well as Sunday. Must not forget our Year of the Rooster cake!!!!

Can't wait for our next workshop!!
    Nicole Goulet

    Atelier de Ste Catherine Lok hop
    Posté 19 mai 2017
Notre club de Ste Catherine était l'hôte d'un atelier de Lok Hup qui a eu lieu le weekend du 1-2 Avril. Nos instructeurs d'atelier étaient Doug Nettleton et Mehrab Kahn. Nous avons eu une bonne participation, environ 25 personnes y étaient, dont certaines n'avaient peu ou pas d'exp&eacue;rience avec le Lok Hup. Une femme chanceuse a eu des cours privés de Chase !! Je suis allé au lit Samedi avec des échos de Doug et Mehrab nous disant de nous ÉTIRER!! TOURNER!! TOURNER!!! TOURNER PLUS!!! Nous avons travaillé fort, réviser la première partie de la forme, puis se diviser en petits groupes afin que les plus expérimentés puissent également travailler sur certains mouvements dans la deuxième partie de la forme.

Comme d'habitude, nos membres se sont dépassés pour nous fournir de la nourriture pour les pauses, ainsi que les dîners de Samedi et Dimanche. Ne pas oublier notre gàteau pour l'Année du Coq!!!

Nous avons hâte au prochain atelier!!!
    Nicole Goulet

    Instructor Workshop - Amherst, Nova Scotia
        March 4-5, 2017

    Posted May 19, 2017
Who knew that the first CTCA weekend instructor workshop for our region would take place in Amherst, Nova Scotia? Instructors and soon-to-be instructors from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were thrilled to be given this opportunity so close to home. I was one of five members who travelled from the South Shore to attend this event organized by the Cumberland branch. Lots of good food, hard work and laughter were the order of the weekend.

It's always lovely to work with Darren Pryke and Sherri Nettleton as well as our old and new friends from the Maritimes. Darren worked us hard on improving our Tai Chi, but also covered a bit of Lok Hup and the Ba Duan Jin to keep our minds from exploding. Darren later looked at my notes and was surprised by how much had been covered.

Because there is so much interest from our branch members in CTCA instructor workshops, we chose not to offer a one day general and one day instructor workshop. Instead, to allow as many of our instructors as possible to benefit directly from the senior instructors, we opted for the two day instructor workshop.

For us there are many advantages to a weekend instructor workshop. We can cover so much ground, we can share with instructors from other fairly nearby groups, and the numbers are smaller and more manageable than a national workshop. We are able to discuss potential solutions to instructor quandaries that sometimes are difficult to solve when you're in the midst of them.

Some of us have known each other for years so getting together is rather like old home week. We have that response as well when we see Darren and Sherri, not just for the Tai Chi wisdom they have to share, but because they have become friends and trusted advisors over the years. The workshop was a real chance to celebrate our CTCA family.
    Wendy Annand, South Nova, NS

    Atelier régional pour instructeurs, Amherst, N.S.
    Posté 19 mai 2017
L'atmosphére était bien détendue ét nous avons joué au tai chi; en pratiquant les toryos, repousser le singe, le vol oblique ( slanting flying ) avec un 'stretch continue' et beaucoup plus, incluant du lok hup.

I can still hear: stretch, stretch and stretch and it's my turn to say it now!

L'organisation était excellente: Merci à Rod! Thank you Rod!
    Ginette Collin, Madawaska, NB

    Tai Chi for the Visually Impaired
    Posted February 13, 2017
When the Madawaska County Club (Edmundston chapter) joined the CTCA in the Fall of 2016, we felt strongly about developing our tai chi practices and teaching. It was at this time that Louise, a blind woman, asked to register for our next beginner's class. I felt compelled to work with her.

But how was I going to be able to teach a blind person? I did some research on the Internet, though could not find the "how to" information. I then contacted Awareness Tai Chi and requested advice from Kevin and Shelly. Kevin had already discussed a similar situation with Master Moy, but had never experienced it first hand. Master Moy told him that the help of a second person would be required.

Therefore, onward and upward...

I have learned that it is essential to use constant vocabulary and instructions when explaining tai chi moves to the blind as they memorize the movement from the verbal description.

After obtaining permission from Louise, I would adjust the position of her arms and hands as well as the angles of the feet and the alignment of her shoulders and hips. For more complex moves, such as the donyus, Louise would place her hands on my hips, knees and spine to feel the movement.

I also relied on the help of another person who performed the moves while Louise touched hands, knees, etc, during my explanation. This allowed her to 'hear' and 'feel' the movement.

I sent her the Awareness Tai Chi videos so she could listen to at home to help her memorize the moves. We are now at Repulse Monkey and she is participating in a regular beginner's class, with me at her side providing instruction.

It is incredibly motivating and rewarding to be able to teach this art to everyone, just as Master Moy would have wanted. This experience was made possible, due in large part to the support and flexibility of the CTCA, which is greatly appreciated!
    Merci, Ginette Collin, Edmundston

    Tai Chi Pour Non-voyant
    Posté le 13 février 2017
Lorsque le club du comté de Madawaska (branche d'Edmundston) s'est joint à l'Académie à l'automne 2016, nous avons ressenti du support pour l'épanouissement de la pratique et l'enseignement du Tai chi.

C'est alors que Louise une non-voyante nous fait la demande de s'inscrire au prochain cours de débutant... Je me sens interpellée... Comment faire? Je fais des recherches sur l'internet et ne trouve pas le « comment faire ». Je contacte ensuite l'Awareness Tai chi et je demande des conseils à Kevin et Shelly. Kevin me dit avoir déjà discuté d'une situation semblable avec Maître Moy, mais n'a jamais eu cette expérience. Maître Moy lui aurait dit que ceci se ferait avec l'aide d'une 2e personne.

Donc, on fonce...
  • J'apprends qu'il est important de maintenir le même discours car, je découvre que les non-voyants mémorisent le mouvement décrit.
  • Avec la permission de les toucher, on ajuste la position des bras, des mains, les angles des pieds, la carrure des épaules et des hanches etc..
  • Pour la description de danyu's ou autres mouvements compliqués à expliquer, je permets qu'on pose les mains sur mes hanches, genoux et colonne pour ressentir le mouvement.
  • J'ai eu recours à une 2e personne qui exécute le mouvement pendant que je verbalise ce que j'observe.
  • Comme outil, j'utilise les vidéos « d'Awareness Tai chi » que je lui envoie et qu'elle (Louise, ici) utilise pour mémoriser les mouvements.
  • Nous sommes rendus à 'repousser le singe' et elle est maintenant au cours régulier, niveau 1 (je me tiens à côté)
  • C'est très motivant et valorisant de pouvoir transmettre cet art à tous, comme l'aurait voulu Maître Moy.
Tout ceci est possible grâce au support et à la flexibilité de l'Académie que nous apprécions beaucoup!
    Merci, Ginette Collin, Edmundston

    CTCA Health Promotion Classes in Nova Scotia
    Posted January 15, 2017
Instructor Trisha Martin Writes:

Two of Master Moy's objectives that he wanted us to follow were: "Help Others" and "Bring Tai Chi to All". I believe that taking it to outreach classes, such as seniors' homes, residences and even nursing homes fully embodies these objectives. These places have the very students that are unable to attend regular Tai Chi classes, either because of limited mobility or the inability to leave their places of residence; therefore, they need our help just as much, or more so, than regular mobile participants. By using our experience, skills and compassion, we can attempt to fulfill Master Moy's two objectives. Over the years, some of us have worked with these students and been rewarded by their incredible improvements - more flexibility, balance and, in many cases, a stronger sense of vitality, to name but a few.

Because I am enlightened by seeing the results of these students' practice over a period of time, I am always eager to encourage continuing students and other instructors to share this experience. Therefore, it was with great delight I heard that Lise wished to accompany me to three of my outreach classes at the beginning of December, during her visit to Nova Scotia. Each class is one hour in duration.

The first day was spent with residents of a continuing care facility. This facility has an Activities Coordinator who is always in attendance to assist when necessary. None of the students are able to stand for more than about 10 minutes and some of them not at all. Therefore the majority of exercises are seated adaptations of various Tai Chi foundations and a few of the set sequences (such as partitions and brushed knees). These students are also benefiting from donyus at the support bars that run along the corridors; these exercises are done with careful supervision and physical support.

The second day, my largest weekly class (average 24-28 students), is held at the local Lifestyle Centre under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation department. The group is comprised of students living with MS, Parkinson's, post-operative conditions, post-stroke and heart-attacks, and various back and joint pains. Some have partial paralysis in arms and/or legs. A number of them arrive with the assistance of wheelchairs, walking frames and canes. Because the allocated space has mirrors and support bars, students are able to connect visually with how they are moving. Progress is noticeable to them, which encourages them to strive with more vigour, including attempting the first 17 moves standing, although the seated set is always fervently welcomed.

The third day was at a seniors' residence where participants are mostly quite mobile and self-sufficient but endure the normal aging challenges. Because they have a lifestyle that inhibits them from travelling too far from their home base, they accept the classes as part of their routine senior activities. However, they always verbalize results of feeling stronger, more balanced and general well-being.

My overall experience with Lise was being reawakened to the purpose of taking Tai Chi out of the club environment. I saw through her eyes the benefits these classes can bring and received a perspective refreshed by her involvement and reaction to what I was doing.

Lise's participation in this short journey with me stimulated me again to appreciate the differences between instructing in the health improvement area and the regular stream. Having Lise along helped me reacquaint myself with how I was approaching these students and critically analyze how I was, not only presenting myself, but also how I was passing along Master Moy's objectives. Thank you, Lise, for being there.

Trisha leading a class at Lifestyle Centre.

Assistant Instructor Lise Malenfont writes:

My name is Lise and I have been practicing Tai Chi in the Edmundston, NB area for about 8 years. I have a personal goal of providing Health Promotion Tai Chi instruction for people with limited mobility.

I recently had the opportunity to attend three classes in Bridgewater NS with Trisha Martin. The participants in each of these classes had different activity levels. It became clear to me that the instruction needed to be adapted to each group as well as to each participant. Some need to be encouraged while others need limits so they don't hurt themselves or take a fall.

The first group was the most limited and instruction was based on the foundation exercises, with lots of encouragement and good stretching. The exercises were done primarily seated. I was surprised by the participants' lack of flexibility and noted that their range of movement increased during the session.

The second group was the least limited and were generally younger. They were quite keen on their exercises and participated actively. Some of them were also more advanced with the standing 17 move set and were determined to get it right. Trisha was able to show me how to assist a participant with paralysis to gently stretch.

The third group was stronger than the first group, but not as strong as the second. These folks were in an independent living facility and they needed a little more motivation to participate. They are fortunate to have two participants able to lead the sessions when Trisha is not available.

Although there was a lot to see and learn, I came away with the following observations:
  • Proper posture, position and alignment is essential.
  • Emphasis is placed on the foundation exercises and these are adapted to be done seated when necessary (a good stable chair is a must).
  • The instruction needs to be adapted to the group as well as to the individual.
  • The seated exercises and 17 move set provide a really strong stretch to the back, more than the standing set.
  • In the nursing home environment, it is essential to have an employee from the facility participating in the class (reassures the participants, relieves the Tai Chi Instructor from the extra responsibility required with more physically-challenged participants; plus the employee also benefits from the exercise!)
  • It is helpful to have a "shadow" as some one-on-one is required and the standing and sitting set can be done simultaneously if there are two instructors.
  • The sitting 17-move set is a challenge to learn and do.
  • A positive attitude of health through exercise was present in each of these groups, due in large part to the attitude of the instructor.
  • I want to take this opportunity to thank Trisha for her generosity and patience in introducing me to Health Promotion Tai-Chi. I am now more interested than ever and look forward to attending future Tai Chi workshops and improving my skills.
Trisha Instructing.