Autumn 2015

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United States Tai Chi Community News
Volume 13, Issue #2
Autumn 2015

In this issue:

Letter from the President
Community Matters
by Ernie Hall

Ernie Hall
Summer has come and gone, and fall activities are well underway. I’m hoping readers and members are finding balance between busy lives teaching, practicing the art we love so well and taking time to relax and reflect. Dr. Lam’s 13th annual USA June conference and workshops held at Pacific University – Forest Grove, Oregon, came and went all too quickly. Many of us, including myself, might feel we’ve left part of ourselves in the “Forest” among all those stately trees on campus. Friendships renewed and new tai chi friends we met will keep memories warm for another year.

If you missed this year’s pre-conference workshop and week-long, here’s a quick rundown of Community sponsored events: Sunday afternoon’s Meet and Greet was a fun gathering with food and conversation following week-long registration. Board members and committee chairs were introduced at Tuesday evening’s open meeting followed by recognition of scholarship recipients who were presented book awards along with congratulations and a photo op with Dr. Lam. Audience participation in a lively TCH Alphabet Soup.pdfwas a perfect segue into the annual talent show. Scholarship fund raising this year included 50-50 raffles for the first time in addition to prize drawings for many donated items during the Meet and Greet and Friday night’s social dinner.

Now is the time to start planning ahead for the June 2016 conference and workshops at Mount St. Joseph University, Cincinnati, Ohio. The USTCC scholarship application for next summer’s week-long tuition can be accessed on the website. We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity.

Meanwhile, check out the USTCC website for teaching tools and tips, other helpful information and listing of upcoming workshops, opportunities for professional development. Share your own stories by submitting articles and photos to this newsletter about the community where you teach, lead programs or participate in events related to tai chi.

Enjoy the changing seasons in your part of this beautiful country where we live knowing you are a vital part of Community matters.

Congratulations to the 2015 USA Annual Week-long Workshop USTCC Scholarship Recipients:

  • Debi Keen
  • Kathy Lorenz
  • Ben Newbury
  • Robin Pender
  • Jeannine Robinett
  • Sule Welch
  • Hong Yang
  • Jocelyn Simpson, Russ Smiley Senior Trainer Award

Ernie Hall

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Scholarship Fund Donor Appreciation
by Ernie Hall, on behalf of USTCC Board of Directors

USTCC tuition scholarships are made possible by the generosity and community spirit of members and tai chi friends. Sincere appreciation goes out to everyone who purchased raffle tickets and donated raffle prizes at the June preconference weekend workshop and weeklong, and also to individuals and groups making monetary contributions. Sales could not have been possible without help from Gurney Bolster, Aran Felix, Sherry Jones, Hong Yang and organized by Glen Ray and fund raising committee chair Betty Scanlon.

This was the first year for two fund raising raffles, made possible by the wide variety of prizes donated by Linda Arksey, Anne Bower, Maureen Caldwell, Carolyn Carpenter, Richard Link, Marie Mathay, Betty Scanlon, Pat Brown Shook, Marcia Schoppik, Jan Smallwood and Jim Starshak. Lucky raffle winners took home beautiful hand-made items including quilted wall hangings, engraved wood designs, wood carvings, an oriental jacket, and several unique pieces of jewelry. Amazon gift cards, a t-shirt and signed copies of Dr. Lam’s Born Strong book were also part of the raffle.

Thanks to students making cash donations in honor of their weeklong workshop MT teachers: Ileina Ferrier, Marty Kidder, Robin Malby, Julie Oberhaus, Bill Pickett, Susan Scheuer, and Mearl Thompson. Marty donated pins for cash sales. Mary Pope and students from East Tennessee Tai Chi Community donated cash earned from tai chi window sticker sales.

Thanks to Christine Killeen and Dr. Bob McBrien for generous contributions to the Russ Smiley Senior Trainer Scholarship Fund. Other cash donors to the general scholarship fund include Margaret Boehm, Bobby Calhoun, Sandy Carlson, Kerry Lohr, Johnny Packard, and Janice Willoughby.

That’s what Community is all about!

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Deadline for 2016 Scholarship Applications is Almost Here!

Don’t miss the deadline for scholarships to the 2016 annual U.S.A. workshop! Only a week left to apply for scholarships to Dr. Paul Lam’s 2016 annual week-long U.S.A. Tai Chi for Health workshop. Applications are due by October 19, 2015. The workshop will be held in June 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. View a brochure about the workshop here.

Additional information and scholarship application materials can be found on our website, The scholarship covers workshop tuition only. Recipients are responsible for room and board, travel to and from the workshop, and any other expenses. In addition to our regular scholarships, a special Russell Smiley scholarship for Senior Trainers will again be awarded.

Have questions? Please contact Linda Ebeling at

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The theme of this year’s USA weeklong workshop was Embracing Challenges. We were repeatedly invited to see challenge as an opportunity for growth and tai chi as one way to help us on that journey. I arrived at workshop with my own health challenge. The workshop became an invitation to really listen to my own body, to modify or rest when needed. In addition to the details of the form, our Enhanced 73 group spent a lot of time working on group awareness and energy, learning to move as one. The support and encouragement of our instructors plus the desire to be fully present for and with my classmates changed my attitude and my physical energy in a way that opened the door for that day to be one of the best days of the workshop. As I learned from one of the morning speakers, “We reclaim ourselves and find our own strength through tai chi.”

–Jeannine Robinett, Apple Valley MN

“Embracing challenges”. That was this years annual workshop theme. I read it on all the paperwork that was emailed or sent to me, but really just glanced at it. My first annual Tai Chi Workshop – I had applied for, with baited breath, and was so delighted when they announced that I had received a tuition scholarship! Wow! For six months I had been planning . . . vacation time, travel routes, my classes while I was gone, even what I was going to take with me (I took 7 pairs of shoes for 9 days!) I was gung ho, bring it on, this is the mecca of Tai Chi for Health (okay, in the U.S., true mecca is in Australia – one day . . .). So, “challenges” weren’t on my mind. In fact, “escape, vacation, stressless tai chi!”, that was my chant as Siri kept admonishing me to get in the left lane of traffic. Weekend workshop, met a hundred people, and learned about (and practiced) the Tai Chi for Recovery and Rehabilitation. So much more to learn than what I had studied on the DVD, it was fun and engrossing.

Two days under my belt, bring on the week-long! Movements and forms and depth, oh my! Now there were 200 people to meet, with such a variety of backgrounds, smiling and friendly – where do you find a group that big and that friendly? Going along great, then, comes Thursday. Our minds saturated, our bodies reminding us that some of this is new to us, some of us hit the wall. Breaks, meals, on the walks to and from the class or dorm, there was a theme. And then, slowly, people started mentioning, acknowledging that there were challenges at home or that they had come through some challenges that still had them pondering, or hurt. And so many of these participants seem to be caregivers of one sort or another. Then I heard a lot of sharing, camaraderie, encouragement, and a renewed spirit that 1) “I’m not alone” 2) “maybe there’s a new way to work out those challenges I have.”

Friday there was an undercurrent of determination, and Saturday, preparing for the presentations, a palpable confidence, mixed with excitement. And with our performances – VICTORY! We felt accomplished, and were so proud of how hard our new friends had prepared and presented their forms – standing ovations!

And on my way home, I sat straighter, with a smile on my face, knowing that my challenges weren’t as big as when I’d left. “That’s okay, Siri, I’ve got it from here.”

— Debi Keen, Redmond OR

I met so many incredible people full of kindness, generosity, Love and Tai Chi while at the 2015 Annual Tai Chi for Health Conference at Forest Grove, Oregon. I’m eternally grateful for such an amazing life changing opportunity!! Participating in such an extraordinary experience my learning is beyond my words. The eyes in both my head and my heart got a chance to see firsthand the unlimited depths and potential of Tai Chi. So many different yet beautiful expressions and manifestations of Tai Chi Energy with its various styles. Thank you Dr. Lam and the United States Tai Chi Community. My heart, body and mind are so much the better because of the experience. Thank you to all!!!!

–Benjamin Newbury,  Edmonds WA

As a scholarship winner, I was asked to write something about my experience at the weeklong conference in Forest Grove. What do you say when you just spent a week filled so many wonderful and positive experiences. Let me start by saying that I am so appreciative of the Scholarship Committee and the entire United States Tai Chi Community (USTCC) for the opportunity to attend the workshop this year. I met so many caring, knowledgeable people and worked with awesome instructors. I grew from using my basic skills to enhancing my tai chi with new forms. It was also a time for renewing friendships and making new ones. One aspect of the week that had the most impact on me was hearing how tai chi has positively affected the lives of people. It was inspiring, whether someone was speaking about their own life or about someone they had helped. Maybe one day that will be me up there telling my story. I also have to say that I enjoyed the Ralph’s sharing during the talent show about the dark side and Tai Chi addiction: I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

I thank each member of our Community for helping me to grow in my Tai Chi. USTCC is indeed a great organization and I am honored to be associated with such remarkable people. I am looking forward to the next weeklong conference experiences in Cincinnati and another time to delve into the bright side of my Tai Chi habit.

–Robin Pender,  Stevensville MD

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“Enhancing the Sun”
By Poet Bob Casey

On a muggy summer day
strangers gather for a week
to learn to dance
the dance of Sun 73. 

With patience and care
master trainers
coach and cajole
as “carrying the tiger”
and “leisurely tying coat”
become more than mere terms. 

Slowly and softly individuals
meld into the spirit of one,
flowing like the wind. 

Friendships form–
united by the shared journey. 

View Poet Bob’s inspiring video of this poem on YouTube:
Follow Poet Bob on Facebook:

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My Taiji Community
by Leslie Mundy

Each of us comes here today with a different need.

Some hearts are full of gratitude and joy. They are overflowing with the happiness of love and the joy of life; they are eager to confront the day, to make the world more fair; they are recovering from illness or have escaped misfortune. And we rejoice with them.

Some hearts ache with sorrow. Disappointments weigh heavily upon them, and they have tasted despair; families have been broken; loved ones lie on a bed of pain; death has taken those whom they cherished. May the companionship and sympathy found within our community bring them comfort.

Some hearts are embittered. They have sought answers in vain; ideals are mocked and betrayed; life has lost its meaning and value. May the knowledge that all of us here are also searching restore their hope and give them the courage to believe that all is not emptiness.

Some hearts hunger. They long for friendship; they crave understanding; they yearn for warmth and companionship. Let them know that they can find it here.

Let all of us here recognize that striving and need and yearning are common to all human beings, and may we gain strength from one another as we share our joys, lighten each other’s burdens, as we work together for the welfare of our community and the world.

Adapted from prayers and meditations found in “Gates of Prayer for Shabbat and Weekdays” edited by Chaim Stern.

Leslie Mundy, Harrisville RI

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Did you know that our website lists Tai Chi for Health workshops and other special events submitted by our instructor and practitioner members?  Any USTCC member may use theEvent Submission formon the website to add an event to our database. Once accepted, your event will be listed for viewing by other USTCC members.

The next few events are shown below.  You canview the full listing on the website. If you have any questions about event submissions or listings, please contact Marianne Walch

 Oct. 17, 2015 Working with the Sun Style 73 Forms — Beginning Review & Moving On Skill Builder, Becky Rahe, MT
Fort Wayne, IN
Contact: Alan Clayton,, 260-484-3103
 Oct. 17, 2015 Ultimate Qigong Breathing Workshop
Lea Williamson

Melbourne, FL
Contact: Lea Williamson,, 321-759-3141
 Oct. 23, 2015 TCA Skill Builder
Linda Ebeling, MT

Chugiak, Alaska
Contact: Sarah Meitl,
 Oct. 23, 2015 Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Update
Bill Pickett, MT

Cookeville, TN
Contact: Bill Pickett,, 865-567-4837
 Oct. 24, 2015 Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Workshop
Linda Ebeling, MT

Chugiak, Alaska
Contact: Sarah Meitl,

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