Life is pretty hectic these days, right? Everyone’s under the pump, everyone’s running around like a blue-arsed fly.
Sometimes, it’s probably a good thing to slow down. At least a bit.
Newcastle tai chi teacher Amanda Heidke knows this all too well.
Amanda recently became one of only three tai chi teachers in Australia who is certified to teach “tai chi bang”.
World-renowned tai chi master Jesse Tsao “honoured me with his personal approval and certification”, Amanda said.
Jesse created a thing called “Tai Chi Bang: Eight Immortal Flute”.
Cue Buddhist meditation music, Shamanic drums, chanting, wind chimes, flutes and mystical thoughts. We’re starting to feel more relaxed already.
Anyhow, tai chi bang is “an energy practice based on characteristic tai chi postures, combined with traditional Chinese self-healing meditation and self-defense kung fu”, Jesse says in his book on the subject.
Tai chi itself is an ancient Chinese mind-body exercise, involving slow, meditative movements with names such as “wave hands like clouds, white crane spreads its wings and carry tiger to mountain”.
Amanda started tai chi because she had been suffering with chronic neck and back pain and associated headaches for years, after two car accidents.
“I was also managing fibromyalgia, a damaged shoulder and, just to top things off, a very uncooperative knee. I had tried all the usual therapies but was not finding the relief my body needed,” she said.
Practising tai chi made her body and mind “stronger and more relaxed”.
The “bang” in tai chi bang, she said, was “a weapon”.
“There are many weapons practiced in tai chi and what they all share is the emphasis on the extension of chi and mind intent through the weapon.”
Weapons used include the broad sword (dao), spear (qiang), staff (gun), fan (tieshan/shan), straight sword (jian) and flute/short stick (bang).
The Chinese call energy chi or qi ( pronounced chee). Practicing tai chi and qigong balances your qi and helps you to feel well, she said.
“According to Chinese medicine, qi refers to our inner vital energy or life force,” she said.
“If your qi in your meridians is fully connected and circulating, you have neither pain nor disease.
“To maintain pain-free, optimal health, our qi should circulate smoothly throughout the body, without disruption.”
We’re not sure how scientific this is, but we did read that a Harvard Medical School instructor named Catherine Kerr said tai chi was “not a magic cure-all,” and that Western scientific understanding of its possible physiological benefits was in its early stages.
However, Catherine also said the practice makes her “more alert, focused and relaxed” and puts her in a better mood.
So there you have it. Sounds like it’s worth a try.
Amanda runs tai chi classes at Adamstown, New Lambton, Stockton and Kurri Kurri. Visit thetaichicentre.net.
The way Topics sees it, Aussie blokes can be a fairly tight-lipped bunch. As a rule, they’re not usually very talkative or keen on sharing their feelings.
That is, unless they’re having a beer with their mates. Which is why, we guess, a men’s health event is happening at the pub.
Men’s health guru Greg Millan said the event would be at The Blind Monk in Hamilton on Saturday from noon to 3pm.
“We’ll be busting the myth that men don’t talk to each other. We’ll have a trivia quiz for 30 minutes as an ice-breaker,” Greg said.
Up for discussion will be “Movember” stuff like mental health and “The Campaign Against Living Miserably”.
Topics is all for not living miserably. We don't mind trivia either.
Kurt Fearnley has been named an ambassador for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The three-time Paralympic gold medalist and wheelchair racing great was unveiled as the fourth ambassador for the event.
“These [games] are going to be an Aussie event like no other. Sun, surf & smiles!” Kurt said on Facebook.