I had been training not a lot but regularly for some time, enough that the beginning of Tai Chi Chu'an was etched on my mind. A beautiful Saturday morning on I-75 headed north, in too much of a hurry on my trusty bmw motorcycle doing a brisk 110 mph. Given my diminutive size and excessive speed, I was not seen by another motorist who needed the space I happened to be in. The bumper just clipped the engine of my bike, enough to put it into a pretty bad wobble. I have enough experience (normally a closed track) to know when a wobble is about to turn into a whirling gyro of death and I did the only thing I could do and got away from that mess. Now there was a moment, more like a picosecond, that I had to make that decision and right as I left the bike Sifu Genie's voice came to my mind:
"Chin tucked in, tongue on the roof of your mouth, raise the top of your head, relax your breathing, relax relax relax."
Several hundred yards later I walked away with some scrapes and a broken pinkie.
How important is the beginning?
Felix, July 2013
Tai Chi Episode In The Hall
Dennis Moore has been a Wu Style practioner for a number of years. He has always enjoyed the physical and spiritual benefits of tai chi. Recently, though, he experienced a tai chi "application." As he wrote to (Sifu) Genie Parker:
Hi Sifu, I just had a fascinating experience. You know how, in a public place, you see someone with their back to you, and you know they're about to turn around and crash right into you without even knowing you were there? That happened in the hall at work just a little while ago. A woman was finishing a conversation with another person and had her back to me. I said a courtesy "Excuse me," but she didn't hear. So she turned around, unaware I was there, starting on a full collision course.
Three fingers, and a turn of my hips to minimize the target area, took her gently past me.
Over in an eye-blink. And I was twenty feet down the hall before I stopped and realized what had just happened.
Hey, that tai chi stuff works!
Dennis, August 2012
Tai Chi Has Contributed So Much To My Health
I have been training for over five and a half years. This past March, I was diagnosed with lung cancer, without any warning symptoms. I had surgery to remove the upper lobe of my right lung; this comprises about forty percent of the lung on that side. My surgeon told me that the remaining lobes usually fill in the space in the chest in about a year's time. When I had my post-operative checkup a month after the surgery, both my doctor and I were amazed to find that the X-ray showed my lung entirely regrown. I told him that I attributed this to my tai chi training and all the breath work we do, and he agreed! Training also helped me feel better throughout the course of chemotherapy which followed. I feel that Sifu and my training partners at the academy were a major part of my getting well again. Ellen Schwartz
I've Been Running Pretty Seriously For Over 35 Years
I've run many marathons and other road races of various distances. Through the years I've developed many aches and pains related to running that have eventually healed. I know the difference between aches from fatigue and chronic ailments related to mis-alignment. Over the last 5 years I have had stiffness and pain in my lower back and the region above and around my left hip. This chronic pain eventually continued down to the inner part of my left knee. I've gone to the doctor a few times but they have found nothing, and suggested I see a specialist, which I have been reluctant to do for many reasons. Recently I had a major reduction in pain and some big gains in mobility for my hip and knee, I attribute this pain free breakthrough to some new learning in my Wu Style Tai Chi class. After studying the basic movements in the 108 Form, I've started to push hands and have begun to see the relationship between correct posture, hip alignment, being single weighted, and most of all the concept of "sitting" by tucking in my pelvis/hip area when I raise my toe in certain positions. After some initial slight discomfort from practicing these new movements, some magic started to happen. First, my knee pain went away. Then my hip and lower back started to loosen up. It's amazing how much living with chronic pain can affect your disposition, and you really don't realize it until the pain is removed. I'm very happy about these changes and I look forward to more wonderful things as continue on my journey in Wu Style Tai Chi. Kevin Maloney
I Am 62 Years Old
I have lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Since taking sitting tai chi, I have noticed that I have become more stable when walking outside on uneven grass. I used to trip and fall if I stepped on a small branch in my yard. Lately I am able to catch myself and feel more comfortable when I start getting off balance and feel myself going forward. I attribute this to the weight transfer warm-up exercises that we do in class that have helped my balance. I have also noticed that my healing time for bruises has improved. Because I have been on prednisone for a number of years, I bruise very easily. In the past, these would take 3 weeks to go away. Now they are gone in 2 weeks. I'm sure this is due to increased circulation, which is said to be a benefit of tai chi. If this is happening to me externally, I have to believe that internally I am improving also. And for this I am optimistic and will continue taking tai chi as long as I am able. Barb O'Mailia