Newsletter 40

Number 40

May 2011


May Special:

Buy Tai Chi for Arthritis “12 Lessons with Dr Lam” and Tai Chi for Arthritis 2 and receive a FREE copy of Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis!  Package price $85.  Not to be used with any other discount or offer.  Offer expires 31 May 2011.  As Dr Lam’s New Zealand Agent, I do have his entire range in stock, which you can view at the Products link on this site.


“Keeping Tai Chi Active in New Zealand”

Our first Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, 6th August in Wellington.  The venue will be the very pleasant Aro Valley Community Centre in Te Aro. The event includes:

  • Three hour revision session of the Stepwise Progressive Teaching Method with Chris Hattle
  • Lunch
  • AGM
  • Sun Style 73 Revision session with Toi Walker

The Sun 73 session is an opportunity for instructors who are familiar with the form to practice and get some depth and fine tuning with Toi.  He would like to encourage instructors who have not yet learned the form to follow along and participate. Toi hopes this will encourage all TCHI instructors to learn the Sun 73, extending their knowledge of Sun Style Tai Chi.

For more details contact Hazel or Tamara Bennett (


Tai Chi for Energy is the latest form to be composed by Dr Lam and his team of experts.  It is so new that the DVD is still being produced!  The form is a mix of Chen and Sun Styles, and is vigorous and exciting to perform.  I would love to tell you more, but I’m afraid you will have to wait for the DVD!  There is an instructor qualification for Tai Chi for Energy, and Dr Lam is already teaching it in selected overseas workshops.    Master Trainer Chris Hattle has managed to persuade Dr Lam to come and teach this new form in New Zealand next year!  Read on …


2012 Workshop to mark in your diary!

Dr Paul Lam presents …

Tai Chi for Energy                            August 2-3 2012

The Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis    August 4-5 2012

This double workshop is to be in the Manawatu region.

Contact person will be Chris Hattle

More information will be posted in this newsletter as it comes to hand


We are very lucky in Christchurch to have a body named Active Canterbury, which liaises with physical activity providers.  Since our second earthquake Active Canterbury have been circulating advice and resources to exercise professionals.  They recently sent out a series of messages suitable for presenting to classes where pupils may be suffering from post-traumatic stress, and have given us permission to share them with other teachers.  I will be including two with each newsletter over the next three months or so.

These messages mention earthquakes, but can be adapted to fit many situations.  Please do remember Dr Lam’s directive, however, that the TCHI training only qualifies us to teach tai chi, and be sure to advise stressed pupils to seek professional help where necessary.

Message 1

Is exercising the right thing to do at the moment?

Although you may not have your usual enthusiasm for exercise (many people report feeling flat, lethargic and with foggy thinking) it’s worth knowing that exercise acts in two ways on the hormones in your body;

First, it stimulates the release of the ‘good guy’ hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine all of which have beneficial effects on your stress levels.

Secondly exercise serves the very important role of dissipating the ‘bad guy’ hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which flood your body during times of stress.

A third great reason to get back to it is that warming your muscles through exercise and then stretching and relaxing will give relief from the muscular tension that is probably ever present in your body right now especially in your shoulders and neck.

The importance of connecting with others

So not only will exercise help you enormously in a physical sense to cope better, but getting together with others to exercise will serve a vital social need at this time. In the words of Otago trauma specialist Christine James; “People have to get reconnected to the support systems they had before it happened. We need a connection when we are hurting and for someone to say `you’re not alone in this’”.

How should I get back into it?

If you haven’t done anything since the quake don’t assume you can take up where you left off. Ease back into it over a couple of sessions. Possibly even start with walking, jogging or biking -liquefaction permitting – for a few days at a comfortable intensity before building up.

Message 2

General tips for looking after yourself

The experts are telling us these three things are pretty important in helping recovery on an emotional level.

  • ‘Familiarity is comforting’

Get back into routines and adopt normal activities where possible

  • Stay connected – ‘We need each other’
    Stay in touch with family, friends and neighboursTake moments to give others your full attention
    Listen and answer children’s questions simply, some will act younger for a while

    Ask for and accept help, don’t put on a brave face – it is okay to be emotional

  • Save your energy ‘Keep it for important things’
    Lower expectations of yourself and others, expect ups and downs in your moods and feelings
    Take breaks and lighten your workloadBe tolerant of yourself and others
    Lots of things can wait

If you are concerned that you are not coping or that what you are feeling is very uncomfortable or overwhelming follow up with one of the earthquake emotional support agencies that are available. That’s what they are here for.


Tamara Bennett (Waiuku) and Hazel Thompson (Christchurch) are authorised to conduct group practice sessions for those who want to brush up on their form.  At the moment a new curriculum is being devised, and further details will be available soon.


The Festival of Tai Chi 2011 will be held at the Cashmere Club, Colombo Street, Christchurch on the 12th November.  This is the day after the Canterbury Anniversary day so this will need to be factored in if you are planning to travel to Christchurch for the event.

In the past the Festival has been held between 9am – 3pm with lunch and morning tea breaking up the continuity of the demonstrations.  Please note that this will now change.  This year’s Festival will start at 9am and will finish at 1pm and there will be continuous demonstrations throughout.  The committee believes this will enhance the event even further.

Please note that people will need to cater for their own dietary requirements.

If you have any questions please contact Hazel Thompson or Mike Penter at

Take care,