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Canadian Tai Chi Academy
Information, News, and Events

    Seasons Greetings from Downunder
    Posted December 23, 2018

Here's our best wishes to our Canadian mob with our heartfelt thanks for all your encouragement and support which has really been appreciated. Our classes are continuing to grow with more space hopefully being confirmed soon by Sydney City Council.

An open invitation is extended to your teachers & students to "come on over" - one day as we all chi together to forward the teachings of Master Moy.

From our family to yours, a safe and happy festive season and may the year ahead be complete with good health & happiness.

    Best regards
    Greg & Maggie
    Sydney - Australia

    Two Day Tai Chi Workshop in Nova Scocia
        October 21, 2018

    Posted November 27, 2018
South Nova Tai Chi held a successful two day workshop(20th-21st October 2018) featuring CTCA national instructors Sherri Nettleton and Darren Pryke.

It was our largest group to date with 52 attendees including two from northern New Brunswick, Shediac and several from the Amherst/Pugwash area.

After assessing the groups abilities, Darren and Sherri felt we had progressed significantly from last year's workshop (always good to hear!), and on adding another layer (peeling the onion, so to speak) we worked on other aspects of the movements within the set. We practiced extensively on tor yus emphasizing "loading up the feet", spiralling forward and back, dropping the elbows to facilitate dropping the hips, turning fully to 45 degrees and squaring the hips like a hinge, not raising the hands but allowing the arms to raise naturally while sinking into the hips.

In the afternoon session we emphasized intention in the hands, stretching into and finishing moves, slowing down the moves to complete each aspect and making the moves continuous. We worked on the ways tor yus translate into moves such as "grasp bird's tail". I think everyone was left with the understanding that each move has many important parts that often get skipped when doing the set.

In the evening session the group had an introduction to different forms such as Hsingi (five fists) and Baqua (circle walking) as well as Lok Hup Ba Fa.

The instructors session on Sunday had over 20 instructors, teaching assistants and corners. In addition to many of the principles covered on Saturday such as stretching fully, spiralling and loading the feet, the group worked on the intricacies of "repulse monkeys" (balance/equal & opposite forces).

As is the case with all our workshops, many volunteers were involved in everything from billeting and entertaining out of town participants, organizing the workshop and venues, registration and many more tasks that result in such a successful event. Many thanks to all of you and to the efforts of our fabulous workshop instructors.
    This summary is courtesy of Nancy Adams

    CTCA Commemorative and Tribute Workshop
        June, 2018

    Posted June 22, 2018

This national workshop, which included CTCA members from across Canada, as well as friends from the UK, was an outstanding event, celebrating Master Moy and the gift of Tai Chi which he gave to us. It occurred on and around the 20th anniversary of his passing, June 6.

We began in Newmarket, ON, the location of our head office, and for three days attended sessions on Tai Chi, Lok hup, meditation, and chanting. On the weekend we moved down to Toronto to the Momiji Health Care Society, where the bulk of participants arrived. This section of the workshop included sessions on Tai Chi, Lok hup, Sword, Sabre, Push Hands and Health Promotion. Of great inspiration was a visit from Mrs. Kwan, long time student of Master Moy, who, at 94, exudes the energy and happiness that we aspire to. She taught for an hour, giving us a lot to think about and to practice.

Saturday evening was our special dinner and presentation. CTCA President Sherri Nettleton kicked off the evening introducing the theme of reflecting on the past in order to move into the future. Part of her speech is as follows:

"So...... one of the most amazing things that I am witnessing this weekend, is happening right here, right now. Here we are gathered tonight to celebrate the life and teaching of Master Moy. It has been 20 years since he died and when I look around this room, I see members and friends all sitting together, some who've never met him. All of us are gathered here tonight to share in a common interest, a reverence and respect for Master Moy. All of us are active in some way in giving back to people in their communities. I see that this is how we are as an organization - we strive to work together, share and help each other which was Master Moy's message to all of us. We have collectively brought Master Moy's message to our present and are moving forward, into our future."

Doug Overholt, who worked so closely with Master Moy for many years, was our keynote speaker. He continued the theme of 'looking backward, looking forward', detailing the evolution of Master Moy's Tai Chi and connecting it to where we are going. He encouraged us to act with vision in this present so that we achieve what we want in the future. The peer group nature of the CTCA, a result of us not having a 'master' to lead us, depends on us all working together: sharing knowledge and experience, being open and supportive, and thereby continuing to thrive.

The CTCA sends deep gratitude to all who organized, contributed to, and participated in this epic event, with special thanks to all the formidable workshop leaders!

Below is some feedback emailed after the uplifting time at the Commemorative Workshop:

We wish to thank you for your diligence and perseverance in organizing the Commemorative event this weekend. We were able to totally enjoy the fruits of your labour. What a nice event with the gathering of so many who were directly influenced by Mr. Moy and others who are the second generation and now being led by the 'originals'.
It is wonderful as "outsiders" to have been able to participate. Our love and commitment to Mr. Moy is stronger and will flourish.
We thank you and your team of people for giving us a memory to last a very long time.

Thank you so much for the CTCA workshop. It was exhilarating and inspirational and well worth flying over from the other side of the Pond. Everything about it was perfect - the emailed up-dates, hotel accommodation, workshop venue, food and hospitality and of course the workshop itself with so many wonderful instructors.
The atmosphere was just wonderful. Thank you again!

A big thank you to everyone involved in the CTCA Workshop and tribute to Master Moy. I truly appreciate the planning, effort and thoughtfulness required to accommodate a large group over multiple days. Well done. Things like this are never easy. How all of you worked together and supported each other says a lot about the organization.
It was a very rich and fulfilling weekend. There were so many great instructions given, lots to work on. It is wonderful to see Master Moy's teachings alive and in good hands. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Master Moy but I have benefited greatly from some of those whom he taught. Seeing Mrs. Kwan in person for the first time was priceless and reminded me of the times I had with a friend who always spoke highly and with the utmost respect of Mrs. Kwan.
The CTCA now has 12 years of history and a limitless future. Thank you for this. You planted the seeds and nurtured the garden and look where you are now :-)   Just think where CTCA will be in 5 years.
I look forward to the next great event.

I'd like to say how impressed I was with the workshop. I am quite new to Tai Chi, but Anna and Anita encouraged us to attend, and I'm really glad I did. The venue was lovely, the instructors informative, engaged and so very encouraging, the food delicious and the organization excellent. I met a lot of very interesting people and learned so much!
Thank you so much for all the work you put into it.

Nice of you to follow up with everyone as this, in my experience, is rare. I was absolutely blown away with the whole thing. I was in Newmarket for Wednesday and Thursday and at Momiji for Saturday and Sunday.
For me the most important thing was the Taoist arts. In this regard the instructors did a fantastic job of sharing their knowledge and experience with us.
One cannot put a price on the experiences of Master Moy that the instructors shared with us. For those of us who never got the chance to experience Master Moy, the closest we can ever come is to have those who did experience Master Moy share those experiences with us. This goes to the personal anecdotes as well as the Taoist arts.
The entire organization of the Newmarket and Momiji sessions was top notch. Therefore much praise to those who organized, arranged, coordinated etc.
I will share my experience with others.

For me it was the best workshop I have attended and I will begin practicing Tai Chi between classes. I felt I learned something in each workshop I attended. The high lights were James' workshop, particularly the concept of 'settle' and the influence using the word had on keeping my shoulders down, and the concept/strategy of stepping before beginning turns emphasized by Doug in one of his workshops. Thank you to all who made it happen. FREE - what a bonus. I would have paid for it. And the food was nutritiously amazing!!

    Perfect Timing
    Posted April 2, 2018
As we commemorate the passing of Mr Moy this June 2018 we'll be sharing the health giving arts he left for us and the challenge of sharing those arts with anyone who wishes to learn. One of the aims and objectives of the Canadian Tai Chi Academy is to support and help new and established groups both at home and internationally who wish to bring the health benefits of Mr Moys Tai Chi to their communities.
We were contacted a number of years ago by a group in Sydney Australia asking for advise and guidance. Dialogue continued over time until now where we're pleased to announce the Sydney Australia group who are up and running down under.
Take a look at their webpage and feel free to contact them to show your support.

Congratulations to everyone connected to the Free Sydney Tai Chi group and future best wishes to continue helping others in your community.

    Club de Tai Chi du Madawaska Workshop
        March, 2018

    Posted April 1, 2018
Spring is here and our Tai Chi friends from the Canadian Academy were here also!

The weekend (March 23-25) gathered 45 participants from Nova Scotia, Ste Catherine QC, Moncton and Edmundston N.B. for a workshop with Sherri and Darren as instructors.

Most of the event took place at "Le Centre diocésain": instruction, meetings, meals (catering), rooms and nearby restaurants for breakfasts, a get together chinese meal, and detour in the province de Quebec for a spring meal at a maple sugar lodge (light snow on the way back)! At our 2nd breakfast, the waitress remembered that Wendy had tea, the day before! I was impressed!

Most of the instruction was about the beginner's teaching and learning: being TALL AND BIG, extension and contraction, stretching, slower moves and finishing the moves, the feet angles, pivots, the 5 basic principles. And... we did the 17th first moves as beginners... Concentration: no sits, no big stretch...etc.

I think everybody loved the facilities, the comments were very good and, most of all, they liked the pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, the way the instruction was given by Sherri and Darren, the beginners were charmed by their 1st experience at a workshop!

French participants were very happy with Nicole's translation: Merci Nicole!

Thanks to Maria, Wendy and Paul who accepted to meet with the Edmundston instructors, to coach us with the instruction to be given to the students and have mini workshops monthly. Special thanks to Sherri for the way the whole situation was presented to the local instructors. The departure time came too fast, leaving happy new tai chi friends, hugs and au revoir!
    Club de Tai Chi du Madawaska

    Atelier Club de Tai Chi du Madawaska
        mars 2018

    Posted April 1, 2018
Le printemps est arrivé et nos amis de tai chi de l'Académie sont là aussi!

La fin de semaine du 23-25 mars a réuni plus de 45 participants provenant de la Nouvelle-Écosse, du Nouveau-Brunswick et du Québec pour participer à un atelier de Tai Chi animé par les instructeurs, Sherri et Darren d'Ontario.

La plus grande partie de l'événement s'est déroulé à notre local, le Centre diocésain, soit l'instruction, les réunions, l'hébergement et plusieurs repas faits par un traiteur, les collations maison faites par les membres. Un rassemblement d'accueil au restaurant chinois, 2 déjeuners à la même adresse et on fait un détour au Québec pour un souper à la cabane à sucre et un peu de neige sur le chemin du retour à la surprise de tous!

Les instructions portaient sur l'apprentissage et l'enseignement du tai chi aux débutants : les 5 principes de base, les mouvements lents et complétés. On est GRANDS et GROS « extension et contraction » étirements, on apprend et applique les bons angles des pieds et les pivots

Et nous voilà débutants pour les 17 premiers mouvements! Concentration, absence obligatoire d'assise et d'étirement ...etc. Ouf! Quelle expérience!

Tous ont semblé aimer nos installations et les commentaires ont été très bons : atmosphère détendu, plaisant et jovial...

Ceux qui assistaient à un atelier pour la 1ère fois, se sont sentis à l'aise très tôt et ont apprécié la simplicité et l'efficacité de l'instruction données par Sherri et Darren sans oublier l'excellence de la traduction par Nicole!

Merci à Maria, Wendy et Paul qui acceptent de « coacher » les instructeurs du Nord en donnant des cours particuliers et mini ateliers mensuellement. Merci Sherri pour le précieux support apporté!

Et... après le repas du dimanche midi, c'est déjà l'heure des « au revoir » accolades, et À BIENTÔT!
    Club de Tai Chi du Madawaska


As usual this was another great two day workshop with Darren Pyke and Sherry Nettleton, many questions answered and lots of things to take home and work on. I'm very happy to be with the CTCA, (Canadian Tai Chi Academy), for all their effort to help everyone have a better understanding and always be learning Mr. Moy's Tai Chi and other arts.

Forty-five people attended, Five of us from Nova Scotia and many from Quebec, New Brunswick of course. The facilities where we were staying were wonderful, in the same building where the workshop took place. Saturday evening meal was special in Quebec at the sugar woods, enjoyed by all.

I can't thank CTCA enough for giving so much back to us from what they have learned.
    Paul Clarke

    Kelowna Sword Workshop
        March, 2018

    Posted "April 1, 2018
When the Instructor Group for Kelowna was approached in the fall by James Elser saying he wanted to put on a sword workshop in the spring, there was some skepticism evident. ("We won't attract enough participants, our club members won't come out, we are tired from 2017 National Workshop, etc. etc. etc.") However James' enthusiasm won us over and before we knew it we were in the organizing stage. Then we began eagerly anticipating the workshop (still 4 months away!) and FINALLY the weekend arrived - the evening of Friday March 9, Sat. March 10 and Sunday March 11 (plus an optional Sat. night review).

40 people registered and 35 showed up, including 4 people with less than a year of Tai Chi under their belt - however, super keen. One other person had done TC for just 1-1/2 years. (They all did really well - maybe it was younger brains?!)
We had about 15 people from "away", most of whom travelled by car for up to a day to come. Also a number of men attended - very welcome as most of our local members are women.

Andrea Pellerin flew in from Yellowknife, with thanks to our club who contributed to her airfare. Our hope is that Andrea will go back to her group, teach and inspire them and invite us all up to the NWT for a workshop!

Throughout the workshop, many of us experienced a roller coaster of emotions. There were many laughs (thx to James for helping us feel less serious !) and often lightness was provided by participants. At times we were (almost) overwhelmed ("brain bubbles" blocking our minds) and at times we were giddy with the fact that we were nearly done the set! Then we DID it and completed all the moves before noon on Sunday and then that afternoon was consolidation.

Now that a week has gone by, our local group is busy practising practising practising. This is happening between classes, in classes, at home and in small gatherings. Our group feels as if it has been re-charged! There is a real sense of rejuvenation which has come back to me via email and personal comments.

We have received many emails of thanks and our follow up videos and handouts were received with enthusiasm.

Is your location considering taking or co-ordinating a specialty workshop (sword, sabre, lok hup)? I encourage you to take the plunge! It is up to us to learn Master Moy's arts and hopefully in the future pass them on to future students.
    Anne Mackay, Kelowna


Janet and I found the workshop to be both a mental and physical workout! Our early apprehension as Tai Chi newcomers, about 6 months, was unfounded as the supportive environment and excellent instruction gave us much needed confidence. The weekend itself was also very well organized. We would highly recommend that those learning Tai Chi, with a willingness to take on a bit more, consider attending any workshops. Our Tai Chi has improved as a result.
    Mark and Janet Theobald (Kelowna)

I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to learn the sword set with James; He is an exceptional and generous instructor. I am a beginner to tai chi (6 months), so the 3-day workshop took real mental and physical stamina! However, the good humour and encouragement from the organizers, my teachers, and other participants made the experience truly valuable and rewarding. I am very grateful.
    Ruthann (Kelowna)

As someone who is relatively new to Tai Chi (6 months!) this workshop was definitely challenging. There were moments when I really felt my lack of experience - but the instructor, James, and the other workshop participants were nothing but encouraging and supportive.
    Anne-Marie (Kelowna)

    There Are Three Things
    Posted March 23, 2018
The 20th anniversary of the passing of Moy Lin Shin is quickly approaching and so I reflect on the legacy of his teaching. For me three things differentiate Mr. Moy's teaching from other styles of tai chi, - sitting, turning and stretching.

While other forms contain one or sometimes two similar features, it is the integration of all three features (or characteristics) that defines Mr. Moy's tai chi. Internet chatboards have criticized Mr. Moy's style as not "real" tai chi. A search and analysis of his lineage proved otherwise.

In the early 70's we performed public demonstrations to illustrate the style and relished visits from those who wanted to educate us on our "incorrect"form. These demonstrations and "challenges" gave us confidence in our form and included flexibility exercises, rolling on hard surfaces, and taking punches to the chest and stomach from audience volunteers. All of this demonstrated the elasticity that could be gained through diligent practice of Mr. Moy's tai chi.

As students will profess, each of the features challenges us. Sitting means physically manipulating the lower spine while balancing between the legs. Weight is aligned in the body and not over a hip or knee. Eventually (after much sweat and tears!) sitting becomes "dropping", relaxing the diaphragm and letting the weight flow down the back into the sit.

Turning (or more precisely turning square) is another cornerstone of Mr. Moy's style. Even for intermediate to advanced students, this feature remains a challenge, especially towards the end of the extension or stretch. Combined with sitting or dropping, turning square (to the front hip) creates the infamous "spiral turning". Turning begins as manipulating the large muscles, then eventually to smaller muscles, tendons and ligaments. Then, the internal journey begins, massaging the internal organs. This to me is the magic of Mr. Moy's tai chi and the doorway to extended good health, - difficult to achieve but worth the journey, especially as we age.

Stretching appears to be simple. Even beginners can stretch, right? The difficult part is integrating the stretch with the other elements, sitting and turning. Stretch too soon, you cannot fully turn. Stretch too late and your weight falls forward, pitching into the front knee. As Mr. Moy would repeat over and over "yat chi, yat chi", - together!

On the weekend of June 9-10th, 2018, the CTCA is holding a commemorative workshop on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Mr. Moy's passing. I will be facilitating one of the workshops and I, along with other senior instructors will explore these features in more detail. I hope all members can join us as we continue our tai chi journey.
    Doug Overholt

    How Tai Chi Helped Me
    Posted Februaray 19, 2018
I started learning Tai chi as a leisure activity. Being self-employed I worked 7 days a week and wasn't giving myself enough me time. I really wasn't looking to achieve anything, it was simply a diversion. Not being terribly athletic Tai Chi complemented my level of physical fitness. Tai chi for me is a very quiet activity both in the way it is practised and in it's results. A Tai chi class is the only place I've been in a room full of people that have been in motion and was surrounded with silence. After several months of doing Tai chi I noticed I had more energy and had seen an improvement in strength, it had just crept up on me so to speak. I also (apparently) seemed happier (according to my family).

Two years after starting Tai Chi my heart pump needed to be replaced. Post surgery I knew I needed to plan for my recovery. After the heart surgery I felt weak and lacked stamina. My first instinct was to ask my doctor what activity I should be doing. His question to me was what activity am I doing now? I told him Tai chi. His response surprised me. He remarked that Tai Chi is great for stretching but is not an exercise. My response was to do what all modern people do and go online and researched Tai Chi and to see if it was being used as a cardio recovery programme. To my delight, yes it was. It was being used by no less than the Mayo clinic, Harvard Medical, Tuft University Medical and UCLA Medical. I learned that Tai chi was less stressful on hearts and arteries as they relaxed and didn't tense up while exercising like they do when doing traditional forms of resistance training. It was less likely that exercising with Tai chi would cause another heart problem and people who do the Tai chi exercise are more likely to continue practising long after the initial need.

At 69 years old I am not looking to impress anyone. My days of standing on the beach and trying to look good are long gone. I am more concerned with being healthy and happy in my life. I can say without question that regular Tai chi practice has provided me with an excellent quality of life. I am not certain how it achieves its goal but I am certain it could work for you. While my opinion may not count for much, Dr Michael Irwin who has authored a dozen studies on Tai Chi says "Over time we see people who do Tai Chi achieve similar levels of fitness as those who do other forms of physical therapy."" He calls Tai Chi a good "cross fit" exercise programme.
    Ron Collins

    Health Promotion Workshop
        December 2, 2017

    Posted January 22, 2018
The Health Promotion Workshop held at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia was well attended by more than 35 participants. We benefitted from having two instructors who have training and experience in Health Promotion and Health Recovery. Trisha Martin from Bridgewater and Michael Haley from Halifax were an excellent team as they held our attention in an entertaining and enlightening workshop.

Four of the local instructors and a full complement of instructor assistants and set 'corners' were at the workshop, as well as two instructors who travelled from the Cumberland area. The workshop was open to students in the Beginner Classes and it was good to see eleven of them in attendance as well.

Patricia and Fazal Rahman hosted a 'Meet and Greet' at their home the night before the workshop. This gave us a chance to socialize and to enjoy a wonderful meal together.

As Trisha led the group in foundations, Michael assisted with verbal focus on body awareness. He directed us to discover for ourselves where each movement was generated. He explained there was no right or wrong way but that awareness was key, and with awareness, we had the option of where to focus our attention and from where to initiate each move.

Trisha and Michael shared information about our physiology and the health benefits of Tai Chi from both the Chinese and Western perspectives. We learned that, from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, disease and restricted physical activity cause stagnation of chi, and the practice of Tai Chi clears blockages and allows the chi to move freely again. Through our practice the five major organs are massaged. From the western perspective, Tai Chi increases flow of blood, lymph, spinal and joint fluids, all of which are essential to health.

Trisha asked participants to think about how their instructors could help them in their practice. One participant responded by speaking about how she has learned to do the set at a slower pace, modify the exercises and take breaks when needed, rather than trying to keep up with the group. Trisha and Michael encouraged us to understand our own personal physiology and asked us to inform our instructors of balance issues or physical restrictions and to ask for help with modifications.

Trisha introduced us to a series of stretches and exercises that could be performed while seated. We were led through exercises that address the spine, knees, shoulders, wrists and fingers to assist in reducing some of the physical stiffness and pain associated with limited mobility. Trisha also demonstrated helping a student with balance issues to walk with greater stability.

We completed the three-hour workshop by doing the first seventeen moves of the set while seated in our chairs. This was quite a workout and, in the writer's experience, not a 'light version' of the set! It is wonderful to know that people with balance and mobility issues can still benefit from Tai Chi!

Thank you to Trisha and Michael for generously sharing their time and expertise with all of us. Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped to put this together, to Patricia and Fazal for hosting the potluck, to everyone who contributed food, and to the C.T.C.A. for sponsoring this workshop. In just a few hours I believe everyone gained a deeper understanding of the health benefits of this practice. I have an increased 'body awareness' and 'sense of personal responsibility' in my practice; and an appreciation for how Tai Chi can be modified for people with balance and mobility issues. I look forward to learning more from this great team!
    Respectfully submitted:
    Collene Dahlby, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia