Balance and leg strength are critical elements of healthy aging, research shows. Here, TCC teachers and students tell how the practice has helped them with both.
A Gift Beyond
MB, TCC student, Oxnard, CA
A fall in Tanzania, another in Spain, and another in Vietnam. These were not harmless tumbles quickly forgotten; each caused significant injuries. Perhaps they signaled an end to my traveling … but I am leaping ahead. To understand my experience of T’ai Chi Chih, we must look at the pathway to those places.
I had not welcomed retirement….my beloved husband sank into dementia and left this life….Travel saved me during those dark days…That solace would now end; it would be foolhardy to continue to risk injury so far from home….
(Then), I found a twice-weekly TCC practice. My teacher’s exacting but patient teaching served me well. As I learned, I experienced a quickening and a quieting, but I did not yet know all that the practice would bring.
I began to feel restless. Would one more journey be possible? I traveled to ancient villages and monasteries in Turkey where walking often was treacherous. But I did not fall. Emboldened, I signed on for voyages across the Atlantic and Pacific on traditional clipper ships. As we moved with the sea, I did not fall. I traveled to Budapest and on to Transylvanian villages, and still I did not fall. It began to seem like a miracle, and I wondered how it had come about. I wonder no more: The practice of TCC has gifted me in a remarkable way.
The quieting and calming of TCC movements will insure my lifelong practice. Focus and attention, balance and strength are the unexpected and wonderful bonuses. I now stand and move with a steadier strength. I do not fear the rough terrain, broken walkways, and countless stairways that are routine in the off-the-beaten path places to which I travel. TCC has given back to me the adventures of world travel. On my 81st birthday, I will travel to Morocco.
Better Balance for Students of All Ages
"I heard from another rock climber that TCC practice would give me more focus and balance. It was true; I advanced one whole level in climbing skill. I used to feel that my feet were separate from my hands; now they are not. I am with the rock.” – DZ, TCC teacher and rock climbing instructor, Albuquerque, NM (Reprinted with permission from Blooming the Flower: T’ai Chi Chih Experiences)
"I’ve had a problem with balance. My first (TCC) class was spent using a chair. My second class – much better, as I had been practicing at home. I’m 83 years young.” – JR, TCC student (Reprinted with permission from Blooming the Flower: T’ai Chi Chih Experiences, Vol. II)
Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are printed with permission from The Vital Force, the quarterly journal of T’ai Chi Chih. The Blooming the Flower series and Blooming the Spirit are published by the T’ai Chi Chih Association, Albuquerque, NM.