Newsletter 42 – July 2011

Number 42

July 2011


July Special:

Buy the Combined 42 and the 42 Sword DVD for the special price of $82 including p&p.  that’s a 25% saving on the rrp!  Not to be used with any other discount or offer, one set per person.  Offer expires 31 July 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.


A New Revitalizing Program – now available in New Zealand

This program is comprised of two different tai chi styles.  Chen style is vigorous and complex, combining fast and slow movements with powerful spiral force.  Sun style incorporates unique qigong (life energy) movements with agile stepping.  These two seemingly contrasting styles have complementary internal energy.

Using his deep understanding of tai chi principles and over 30 years of teaching experience, Dr Lam has carefully combined movements from Chen and Sun styles to produce a powerful synergy in Tai Chi for Energy.  Thus, with regular practice and in a relatively short period of time, this program will help you acquire better health and wellness, internal energy, and ability to manage stress.

My own students have been studying this form, and they all love it.  My colleague Rob Condliffe has this to say about it:

“Fills an important  gap for me in my teaching, i.e. It is hard to get youngsters interested – even sometimes  70 year old youngsters!  Tai chi is ” too slow’   They seem to have the no pain, no gain philosophy.

This DVD with its interesting balance of slow balanced moves  combined  with the spiralling energy of Chen will be stimulating for all ages.   Also it is not too long, so it is easier to learn for younger classes.  It therefore follows that they are more likely to practice this at home as well.  How often as teachers have we heard  “and when I arrived home I could not remember a thing” this DVD is very  flexible in that its menus are clear and easy to follow  and thus meet the needs of students of varying ability.

The DVD itself is well filmed with clear concise instruction. Visually it is very attractive.  The main benefits  of tai chi are well supported right through the DVD, as are the safety aspects i.e. choose the size frame for a move that suits your body’s capabilities.  Also highlighted are the mind-body relationship, and the problem some pupils have with coordinating the top half of the body with the bottom half.”

To find out more about Tai Chi for Energy click here

RRP is $41 including p&p.


“Keeping Tai Chi Active in New Zealand”

Urgent – Don’t Miss Out!

Many of you have told ACC and Dr Lam that you are concerned about the future of Tai Chi for Health programmes in New Zealand.  The TCHC NZ has been set up specifically to support TCH programmes, in response to these concerns.  The Committee and Advisors have put in a tremendous amount of effort to set up the Community, so now we need you to back us up by joining.  As a full member you are entitled to attend our AGM and vote on motions concerning the programmes.   (Full members can also vote by proxy.)  However in order to have your say at this year’s AGM you must be a full member by 16th July, so don’t delay, join now!

Our first Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, 6th August in Wellington.  The venue is the Aro Valley Community Centre in Te Aro.  All members are invited.  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 fee for the entire day is $50, a special one-off subsidised price to celebrate our inaugural AGM.

For more details contact Hazel or Tamara Bennett (


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 is Chris Hattle


Tamara Bennett (Waiuku) and Hazel Thompson (Christchurch) are authorised to conduct group practice sessions for those who want to brush up on their form.


As mentioned in the May issue, we are very lucky in Christchurch to have a body named Active Canterbury, which liaises with physical activity providers.  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 included two last month, and here are the next two for your resource kit.

(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 5 – Common Reactions

Although each person’s experience is different, the Ministry of Health advises that there are a number of common responses to the trauma we have been through.

You are not losing your mind or going crazy if you have these feelings.

Outlined below are some of the normal reactions you may be experiencing:



disbelief at what happened

feeling numb, as if things are unreal


of a recurrence

for the safety of oneself or one’s family

apparently unrelated fears


at who caused it or “allowed it to happen”

at the injustice and senselessness of it all

generalised anger and irritability


about the losses, both human and material

about the loss of feelings of safety and security

feeling depressed for no reason


for having appeared helpless or emotional

for not behaving as you would have liked



difficulty getting to sleep because of intrusive thoughts

restless and disturbed sleep

feeling tired and fatigued

Physical Problems

easily startled by noises

general agitation and muscle tension

palpitations, trembling or sweating

breathing difficulties

nausea, diarrhoea or constipation

many other physical signs and symptoms



frequent thoughts or images of the incident

thoughts or images of other frightening events

flashbacks or a feeling of “reliving” the experience

attempts to shut out the painful memories

pictures of what happened jumping into your head

dreams and nightmares about what happened

unpleasant dreams of other frightening things difficulty making simple decisions

inability to concentrate and memory problems



withdrawal from others and a need to be alone

easily irritated by other people

feelings of detachment from others

loss of interest in normal activities and hobbies


not wanting to go to work, poor motivation

poor concentration and attention


increased use of alcohol, cigarettes or

other drugs

loss of appetite or increased eating

loss of interest in enjoyable activities

loss of sexual interest

Remember that all responses are NORMAL to an ABNORMAL situation.

It will take time before you start to feel better

You may have strong feelings right away. Or you may not notice a change until much later, after the crisis is over. Stress can change how you act with your friends and family. It will take time for you to feel better and for your life to return to normal. Give yourself time to heal.

These steps may help you feel better:

A traumatic event disrupts your life. There is no simple fix to make things better right away.

But there are actions that can help you, your family, and your community heal. Try to:

Follow a normal routine as much as possible.

Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.

Exercise and stay active.

Help other people in your community as a volunteer. Stay busy.

Accept help from family, friends, co-workers, or other people you trust.

Talk about your feelings.

Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened.

Don’t dwell on tv and newspaper reports.

Sometimes the stress can be too much to handle alone

Ask for help if:

The problems described above are particularly severe, or if they continue for more than 5-6 weeks.

Your emotions or physical symptoms are too intense or persistent.

You feel too numb, cut off or you have to keep active in order not to feel.

You continue to have nightmares, poor sleep or ‘flashbacks’.

Your family, social or work relationships suffer.

You feel profoundly sad or depressed for more than two weeks.

Your performance suffers at school, work or at home.

You use alcohol or drugs to get away from your problems.

You are not able to take care of yourself or your children.

You have accidents or illness.

You have no one to talk to about your experience.

You have lost faith in yourself or the world.

For further information go to:

Message 6  Q.B. Syndrome – are you a sufferer?

You have had a stressful car journey home from the overcrowded and unfamiliar supermarket. You finally get home, frazzled and tired, to discover you have forgotten bottled water and milk – two of the essentials you went out especially for.  You go mad trying to find the toilet paper – the other essential – that you were certain you did buy.  You get a message from your mother asking you to phone but the number has completely gone out of your head despite her having lived there for 22 years. You then gaze into the icy depths of the freezer for 5 minutes in the hope that will help the relatively easy decision around what to cook for tea. In the process discover the toilet paper which you had obviously stored there earlier.

If this sort of behaviour sounds familiar take heart, you are not alone. Thousands of us are suffering from the newly coined “Quake Brain Syndrome’. QBS is so called for obvious reasons and affects memory, decision making and attention span. To date there has been no official information released about this syndrome but anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that it is rampant among the Christchurch population right now.

What can be done about it, until it improves?

Two suggestions…

1. Make lists and write everything down. Carry a notebook for the purpose.

2. Exercise. Getting the blood pumping around the body and especially to the brain is known to improve clarity of thought and memory. It’ll also release the “happy hormones” which will make you feel more positive and in control.

See you at the AGM!