Members and friends of the Wentworth Pioneer Club received six sessions of Taoist Tai Chi training at the Wentworth Recreation Centre from instructor Tam Flemming, shown at right during a recess and chatting with student Andrew Patterson. Contributed by Hope Bridgewater
WENTWORTH - The Cumberland County Preventing Falls Together Coalition applied to the Pugwash and Area Community Health Board for funding to provide Taoist Tai Chi and library resources to a county senior club, and the Wentworth Pioneer Club was very fortunate to be chosen to benefit from such a program.
A Taoist Tai Chi instructor, Tam Flemming, was chosen to be our instructor for six sessions lasting one and a half hours each on Thursday evenings at the Wentworth Recreation Centre. Flemming drove up from Tatamagouche each Thursday evening and, as he gave instructions for the specific Tai Chi movements, he would, as well, explain the history, philosophy and health benefits of this program.
Master Moy Lin-shin, a Taoist monk, established the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada in 1971 after moving from Hong Kong to Canada. He also established the International Taoist Tai Chi Society, which now reaches over 40,000 members in 26 countries. Afflicted with serious health issues, Master Moy Lin-shin recovered his health through the study of Tai Chi. Later, his objective was to help other people restore and maintain their health physically, mentally and spiritually.
Taoist Tai Chi consists of 108 movements stretching in a full range of motion in order to include the entire body and the continuing turning of spine and waist in order to exercise the internal organs, joints, tendons and connective tissue. The end result is a relaxed and calm spirit composed of peace of mind, compassion and kindness for others. The Taoist Tai Chi Society does not claim to replace traditional and proper medical treatment , but it does claim that well-practiced Taoist Tai Chi corrects posture, uses all muscle groups, creates a deep level of relaxation, improves coordination and balance, improves circulation and cardiovascular health, reduces spinal degeneration, benefits bone density, regulates the immune system, increases strength and flexibility, reduces stress, and helps with arthritis, digestive disorders, Parkinson's disease and fibromyalgia.
Since falls are the greatest cause of injury among seniors and a huge cost to the medical system, it is important for seniors to learn about the philosophy and techniques of Taoist Tai Chi as this program can improve a person's balance and flexibility. Flemming constantly emphasized this fact. Members and friends of the Wentworth Pioneer Club differed in their ability to catch on to the technique of the Tai Chi movements and some members practiced the movements at home. The Wentworth Recreation Centre was an excellent building in which to hold these classes as it has a large hardwood floor area. At each session, there was a recess midway through the program, and everyone enjoyed this social time with some food treats and drinks, having a chance to chat with Flemming and visiting with friends. Flemming said that he had taught us 17 movements out of the total 108.
The instructor was pleased with the results of this brief program. Most Pioneer members and friends wished the program could continue in the Wentworth community, and Flemming mentioned places outside of the Wentworth community where we could continue the training. We all thanked him for being such a superb and patient instructor.