December Theme: Honor

Copyright © 2007-2010 by World Dragon Kenpo. All rights reserved.
Blog design copyright © 2007-2010 by Steve Amoia. All rights reserved. The blog template was provided by Google Blogger.

"Everything begins in the mind. Create the intention and then apply the effort to receive the result."

"It is very easy to break a pencil in half. Breaking ten pencils in half is an altogether different matter."

--- Coach Ron Pfeiffer, 7th Degree Black Belt, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin USA


"Don't fear the person who has studied a thousand techniques one time. Fear the person who has studied one technique a thousand times."

--- Ed DellaCroce, 3rd Degree Black Belt and the North Carolina State Director for World Dragon Kenpo.


December Theme: Honor.

The Example of Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta

“I lost two dear friends of mine. I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now.”

Featured Video




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 2009 Slayer News: Tai Chi in Paradise or Your Hometown


SLAYER NEWS

About Dragon Kenpo Karate

15 December 2009
Tai Chi in Paradise or Your Hometown


"I’ve been studying and practicing T’ai Chi Ch’uan for more than 30 years. I’m famous for teaching methods that make it easy for 'regular' people to learn and excel at the beautiful and mysterious art of T’ai Chi Ch’uan. I’ve brought together the best of the best (colleagues, friends, teachers and technology) as a remedy for the boring, the bogus and the confusing in T’ai Chi."

--- David-Dorian Ross of DrTaiChi.com.

In This Issue

What Do You Choose by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Featured Article: T'ai Chi in Paradise Product Review by Steve Amoia
To Fight Behind Enemy Lines by David Walker
Adopt a Family by Sharon Angelici
Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


What Do You Choose
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

It's just a question. One that I have asked many times as an instructor. Generally, it is the student who makes the decision to enter into training. Sometimes, it is a parent who makes the decision for them.

However, the choice could be due to an event in the student's everyday life occurrences such as going to the movies and seeing something they thought was cool. Unfortunately, the decision could have been made by a result of something more serious such as witnessing or being the victim of an assault.

As the student progresses in the training program, I have found that they either ask me or themselves whether they have made the right choice. For example, "Is this what I'm looking for? Is it right for me?"
This is the part where the instructor must be very honest. No program is perfect for everyone. The instructor asking the student what they want from the training will help them determine if what's being taught is a good match for them.
Although this is usually done when the student first enters the school, for some who are unsure it bears repeating: "What are you trying to accomplish here?"

Recently, I told some students, "I don't know if you are going to even be here next month." Then I turned to their Mom, "Ms. Smith, I hate to see anyone waste their money on lessons for someone who isn't serious. Maybe this isn't right for them."

Some of those students stayed, and others did not. But at least this parent knew that I would not just glad-hand her to keep her child's tuition.

Making your stand on how you choose to teach and run your program will be reflected in those who continue to train. When I look out on the training floor, I'm proud to see people who have what it takes to make a real decision! They know that each choice they make illuminates the path that they follow.

T'ai Chi in Paradise Product Review
by Steve Amoia

Image courtesy of Full Circle.

David-Dorian Ross is an extremely experienced Tai Chi Chuan artist, author, competitor, and instructor. He has studied in China, and was selected as a member of the United States Wushu teams in 1991 and 1993. He has earned 8 US national gold medals, 2 World Bronze medals, along with a World Silver medal.

He is the author of three books on Tai Chi, along with numerous DVDs. Mr. Ross authored and hosted a 13-part PBS series called T'ai Chi in Paradise. He has a school in Orange County, California called Full Circle T'ai Chi Academy, and a distance learning version at
http://the-qi-network.socialgo.com. He also produces a regular video blog called The T'ai Chi Minute which can be found at his website: http://www.drtaichi.com.

Initial Impressions

This is an extremely well-produced and conceived DVD. The Hawaii locale and music, ocean waves in the background, along with close-up views of dolphins, monkeys, and peacocks, creates a tranquil ambiance for the distance learning student.

Teaching Style

Mr. Ross earned a B.S. in Human Movement Studies. That discipline of study, along with his extensive background in Tai Chi, lends significant credibility to this program. He is a very relaxed teacher with a constant smile. He seems to have a genuine enjoyment for "playing Tai Chi," and this attitude can also be seen in the diverse group of students who assist him.

Yang Style 24 Short Form

This is a solo routine that Mr. Ross describes as "Kung Fu in slow motion." The movements are very slow, and there are deeper bending motions than one finds in the Sun Style practiced by Dr. Paul Lam. You should be able to complete the entire set between 4 and 6 minutes. All of the movements are demonstrated quite comprehensively, and are shown both from the front, along with the back, to provide a more realistic learning experience.

Basic Positions

  • Bow Step: 70%/30% front/back foot weight distribution
  • T Step: "Qua" or hip joint position
  • Empty Step
  • Crouch/Drop Step
  • Holding Ball Step

Five Basic Principles

One area that was very informative was the explanation of the five basic principles of this style:

  1. Doing the movements slowly. This focuses your concentration on precision of movement, along with igniting the neuromuscular pathways.

  2. Relax the body. He called this "differential relaxation."

  3. Natural motion of an internal martial art: Simple and easy movements.

  4. Sinking Down: Lowers the center of gravity, builds up thigh strength, and forces you to remain at the same height during the movements.

  5. Flow Continuously. As we have learned in the study of Dragon Kenpo, martial arts techniques should be flowing. Chi should not start and stop abruptly. The key is to balance Yin (he called this the Gathering motions) and Yang (final postures.) As he stated, "This program improves circulation of Chi each time that you practice."
While you may not be able to travel to Hawaii, you can take a distance learning voyage via this DVD.

My Rating:
*****

This was a sponsored product review.

To Fight Behind Enemy Lines
by David Walker, World Dragon Kenpo Black Belt

Dave Walker wrote the following in response to my request that he put into words his thoughts on the martial arts. I make this request of all students who are or will be testing for higher rank. By the time you read this, Dave would have taken his exam for Red Belt (Full Instructor). Over the past months of training, I have watched his understanding of Dragon Kenpo grow. Dave has also been learning the important differences between teaching law enforcement officers (one of his many duties) and teaching civilians. It has been a pleasure having Dave in our program as he sets an excellent example for our members no matter if they are local or part of our distance learning.

--- Coach Ron Pfeiffer, December 2009

Earning a black belt in self defense is an achievement to be proud of. It has taken a great amount of dedication, perseverance and sacrifice to achieve. Unfortunately, being a black belt does not shield you from being attacked nor does it mean that you can overcome any opponent. Spending several hours developing skills in self defense will definitely help in an actual confrontation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to apply these skills perfectly and effectively.

Proper Mindset

Does holding the rank of black belt mean that you are unbeatable? Definitely not, but it will greatly put the odds in your favor. To survive a street fight, self defense skills are not enough. A person must develop a predator-like instinct. During the initial confrontation, you are the prey. The role must be reversed: Prey becomes predator or victim becomes attacker. This is at the point were primal instincts take over and the survival switch is on. Our actions or mind set should be to eliminate the attacker by willing the body to overcome opposing forces and to drive through our opponent. The words “back up” or “cower” are not a part of our vocabulary at this point. The words “drive through” and “eliminate” are. The proper mindset is everything in a street fight. There are some people that can deploy this mindset automatically when being confronted. Others have difficulty breaking through the panic or freeze mode to apply aggression.

Many people put too much faith in the color of a belt as a sign of a great fighter. A great fighter is a person that can combine defensive tactics with proper mindset. Ninety-nine percent of the time when we practice our self defense techniques, it is done in a controlled atmosphere. Whether it is at a dojo or in our living room. Many times when we train, it is against our imaginary attacker who is always forgiving regarding bad technique. It is during these times that we should not only be working to perfect our defensive tactics, but to also work on proper mindset.

Visualization is the Key

When we perform a strike we have to visualize going through our opponent not just going through a movement as fast as we can only proving to ourselves that “wow, I am really fast.” Being fast is one thing; having power behind that speed is pure devastation. What good is it to strike an attacker six times with little to no effect? Usually this will only enhance the determination and aggressiveness of the attacker. Our goal should be to end the fight as quick and effective as possible. Key words are strength, power and speed (SPS). This will take care of the physical aspects of a fight. The psychological aspects are internal drive and determination also known as primal instincts and survival.

Too many people get caught up in the technical aspects of performing self defense techniques. Remember, a street fight usually only lasts a few seconds. Even less when a gun or knife is used. The word “simplicity” can not be emphasized enough regarding effectiveness in a street fight. A street fight has no rules unlike the UFC and other pay per view mixed martial arts fights. Confusing a street fight with what is seen on cable TV is a big mistake. There are no officials to stop an actual street fight. There are no rules. You are on your own, and the prize to the victor is survival. So the next time you attend a self defense class or practice techniques on your own, concentrate on training with intensity. Work the mind as well as the body. Remember that you are doing this for a reason not just to get promoted to another belt level, but to prepare for the real test.

The test that I am talking about happens to be the biggest test of your life, and that is to survive.

Training the Mind and Body in Unison

Martial Arts/Self Defense training develops the mind and body as one. Training in itself promotes cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Flexibility has always been an issue with me. Weight training has a tendency to reduce flexibility. This is caused by lack of flexion during heavy resistance training. Most weight resistance exercises deal with extension and contraction of the muscle fibers during a restricted and somewhat stationary body positioning. In order to successfully break down muscle fiber, specific parts of the body must be placed in a concentrated position. An example of this would be working the long head of the triceps muscle. The triceps refers to the long, medial and lateral heads that compose the musculature of the back of the arm. In order to successfully work the long head which is the largest of the triceps the shoulder area (acromion process) anterior, medial and posterior heads must be stabilized. This region that makes up the shoulder area is also the insertion point of the longhead. By restricting this area and extending and retracting the origin point (olecranon process) a greater amount of resistance will be applied to that specific muscle.

After a workout the muscles and tendons (muscle to bone attachment) through prolonged extension and contraction tend to tighten, overtime this can cause limited range of motion. Martial Arts and self defense training helps me regain my flexibility and promotes progressive muscle recovery. Self defense training also increases VO2. VO2 refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. This is not only important for training purposes, such as self defense or weight training, but especially in a physical encounter. During a fight, we begin to hyperventilate inducing tunnel vision and primitive motor skills. By increasing VO2, we can stay in the fight longer and employ defensive techniques with greater skill.

My goals in the martial arts is to help others obtain their goals. The more that I can learn, the more I can teach others. Helping others by teaching them self defense techniques to protect themselves and their family is an honorable endeavor in and of itself. Seeing someone achieve their goals is truly a great feeling. Especially when you were a key player in making this happen. The way I look at training is that no matter how much I teach a person, if they only remember a few things that are taught and those few things end up saving their life, then what training they did retain was well worth it.

About the Author

David A. Walker is the Acting Area Commander and DT Instructor for the Department of Homeland Security Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service, for the Eastern Region of Wisconsin.


Adopt a Family

by Sharon Angelici, Christmas Family Coordinator


Editor's Note


This is an annual initiative at WDK that was promoted on the blog and via email since last month. Coach Pfeiffer and Mrs. Angelici would like to thank everyone for their kind support.


The season is upon us again. Your WDK family invites you to be a part of the spirit of generosity that defines Christmas. This year WDK and Midwest Tai Chi are adopting a family of four. It is our goal to provide them with a bountiful celebration. This is an annual event with your school through Love Inc.

We extend an invitation to you as a virtual student to participate with us. Please contact Coach Ron Pfeiffer with your contribution. We will be accepting all donations until December 5th, 2009.

Please consider this family as you shop for the holidays. One small gift is worth a million smiles. This year's family is a single Mom with a 9 year old boy, a 8 year old girl, and a 15 month old girl.

Closing Comments
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

Important Notice To All Members

All Student/Instructor members are reminded that advancement and promotion are not automatic. Contact me or your local instructor if you have questions or need to request advancement information.

Please remember to keep your information updated so that the World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense can serve you in the best possible manner! The articles within this blog are the views of the writer. They are not necessarily the views of WDK. Thank you for your participation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 2009 Slayer News: Medical Qi Gong


SLAYER NEWS
About Dragon Kenpo Karate
15 September 2009: Medical Qi Gong

"Qigong (also spelled Qi gong, Chi Kung) is a system of self-healing that has been used in China for thousands of years to achieve health and longevity. These gentle yet powerful Qigong exercises combine three elements: abdominal breathing, slow movement, and visualization - to harmonize the body, mind and spirit. The dance-like movements (similar to Tai Chi) are both relaxing and invigorating." --- Deborah Davis, L.Ac., The Spirit of Qi Gong, a DVD that is designed for men and women.

In This Issue

Opening Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer: A Year Gone By
Featured Article: The Spirit of Qi Gong Product Review by Steve Amoia

Health Benefits of Tai Chi by Harvard Health Publications

Qi Gong Can Help Cancer Patients Live Longer

World Dragon Kenpo Featured in
Walworth County Sunday Edition
Self-Defense and Tai Chi Classes Begin in October
at University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


A Year Gone By
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer, Jr.

Editor's Note
On 22 September 2009, Coach Pfeiffer was promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt by Mr. Rodney Lacey of the Defensive Arts Academy. Congratulations to Coach Pfeiffer on his latest achievement that demonstrates his perpetual commitment to the Art.
The one year anniversary of our latest venture, Midwest Tai Chi & Self-Defense (A World Dragon Kenpo School) will be celebrated on Sept 26th. It's amazing how fast this last year has shot by and judging by the growing interest in both defensive training and Tai Chi we should be around for years to come.

The opening of a new school, presents a number of unique and interesting challenges to any instructor. It was no different in my case except we have an exceptional group of persons interested in the success of our new school. Part of our strategy consisted of team building and working with other local businesses to increase the communities awareness of our school and it's benefits. We have been helped inadvertently by a couple of other dojos that have opened nearby (one closed already).

For those of you who may have been wondering what else is going on here's a brief outline. On September 26th, we will be holding 3rd quarter exams and a potluck dinner for all the members and families of our school. The University of WI at
Parkside in Kenosha has once again renewed our contract for 6 week sessions in DK and TC which will start in Oct. This has been acting as a feeder program to our programs in Burlington and at the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie.

As many of you know, this past June Jill and I were married on Atlantic Beach, NC. Thanks to everyone for their cards and best wishes. I have since moved to Pleasant Prairie. My son Ron has joined Jill and I and my two stepchildren here as well, and is back in training! It has been quite an adjustment, but we are all doing well in our new situation. Also while in NC, it was my pleasure to meet up with our good friend,
Ed DellaCroce. His exam and well earned promotion to 3rd Degree Black Belt made our trip all the more memorial. Ed's mastery of technique and constant ability to adapt during his test was impressive.

Finally, let me welcome our new students, both online and in our local programs. What you will gain from the training is in direct proportion to your efforts. Recently, some new students were brought to my school by their mother. We spoke about events in the news and in their own lives which show us clearly that we need to prepare for whatever may come our way. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Then give 100% to achieve the results you desire.

Coach Ron Pfeiffer

The Spirit of Qi Gong Product Review
by Steve Amoia



Qi Gong (Life force + Work or Purpose) is an ancient self-healing art from China that promotes Dan Tien abdominal breathing, graceful movements, and meditation. The practice of Qi Gong maintains health, prevents illness, and potentially increases our longevity.

Deborah Davis, L.Ac. received her Masters from Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine, and is licensed in acupuncture and herbal medicine by the Medical Board of the State of California, the National Commission of Certification of Acupuncturists, and the Oregon Board of Examiners. She is the author of "Women's Qi Gong for Health and Longevity."



The Spirit of Qi Gong is a self-paced distance learning program designed for men and women. It is based upon the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with the healing sounds of nature. The DVD is 62 minutes in length, and was produced in 1999. It is sold via her web site, and also at Amazon.com.

Benefits of Qi Gong
  • Slow aging
  • Stimulate sexual vitality
  • Balance hormones
  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance memory
Initial Impressions

My first impression of the contents was the beautiful images, sounds, and natural surroundings. The imagery helps to enhance the emotional and physical benefits of Qi Gong. In my opinion, the different environments that she uses to demonstrate exercises and healing sounds are extremely tranquilizing in and of themselves. They help to prepare your mind and body for optimum results from the various movements. The exercises and movements have a dance-like quality, and I found them to be very enjoyable.

Teaching Style

Ms. Davis has a soothing voice, and is a very patient teacher. While she is the principal instructor, all of the movements feature students to provide a different perspective. She stresses the importance of the basics of qi gong, along with warm-ups. For example, the proper stance, along with Dan Tien (sea of Chi point) rhythmic abdominal breathing. Proper inhalation is a key component for all of the exercises and movements. Each movement, which are executed by six repetitions, is associated with a specific healing sound. For example, "shh..." (similar to the sound of the wind) for the lungs, and "who" for the spleen.

Five Chinese Elements

Metal: Lungs and Large Intestine. Season of Autumn.

Water: Kidneys and Bladder. Season of Winter.

Wood: Liver and Gallbladder: Season of Spring.

Fire: Heart and Small Intestine: Season of Summer.

Earth: Spleen, Pancreas, and Stomach: Season of Indian Summer.

Acupuncture Meridians

One thing that I found very educational was her demonstration of various acupuncture meridians. This helps you to understand the reason for a specific movement, and also teaches you some of the more prominent meridians. Such as the lung, kidney, spleen, and heart, respectively. If you take a look at the bottom of this blog, you can view detailed diagrams of acupuncture meridians.

Complement to Dragon Kenpo and Tai Chi

The slower motions and movements of Qi Gong would be a good complement to the study of Kenpo or other harder (Yang) arts. If you have studied any of the Tai Chi modules by Dr. Paul Lam, you will find these Qi Gong exercises and forms easier to execute. But mastery is another matter. Qi Gong has to be practiced daily. Much like herbal medicine, it acts as a tonic to keep us in balance, flexible, and flowing.

My Rating: Five stars. *****

Health Benefits of Tai Chi
by Harvard Health Publications



Editor's Note

The Harvard Medical School Health Publications newsletter had an interesting feature in May on Tai Chi. In fact, Harvard has a special division called the
Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program. Mainstream acceptance of alternative health programs is a key development. When promoted by an institution such as Harvard, a foundation is put into place for potential acceptance of Tai Chi as a necessary addition to our health care regimen.

Here are a few excerpts from their newsletter:
"Tai chi is often described as 'meditation in motion,' but it might well be called 'medication in motion.' There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health.
A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age," says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School's Osher Research Center.

Muscle strength. In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls).
Flexibility. Women in the 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

Balance.
Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one's body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments.
Source: The Health Benefits of Tai Chi: Harvard Health Publications, May 2009.

Qi Gong Can Help Cancer Patients Live Longer

Editor's Note

Eastway.com, which is based in Shanghai, China, had an interesting article that appeared in August about the effects of Qi Gong on cancer.

Here are a few excerpts:

"With funding from the United States-based National Cancer Institute, experts from University of Illinois and Shanghai University of Sport studied 80 members of Shanghai Cancer Rehabilitation Club.

The researchers found those who regularly practice qigong are in better physical and mental health and have a lower rate of cancer reoccurrence than those who don't. They did not provide numbers.

The 80 people, who have all survived cancer for more than 10 years, were divided into two groups of 40. One group was composed of qigong practitioners while the other group's members did not do qigong. The two groups were of similar ages and had survived cancer for similar lengths of time."

To learn more, please click here.


World Dragon Kenpo Featured in
Walworth County Sunday Edition

Editor's Note

Coach Ron was interviewed for a feature about Internet technology in the Walworth County Sunday publication on 02 August 2009 by Margaret Plevak.

Also featured in the image below are WDK members Nick Angelici and Mike Sokolski. Coach Ron can be seen in the background.




To read the article in full, please click the image or here.

Self-Defense and Tai Chi Classes Begin in October
at University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Editor's Note

Coach Ron will teach two classes that begin in October. The information below is courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Fall 2009 Mini Course Brochure. I am certain that you will agree that the fee is very reasonable. I would urge local residents to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about self-defense and Tai Chi. Please forward this newsletter and/or the link below to your friends.

If you have further questions, please contact Coach Ron or click here to view the brochure online. The courses are listed in the Mind & Body section on page 7.

You can register online at www.uwp.edu. Please use the keyword:
tickets.

Tai Chi For Health

6 Fridays, begins October 2, 5:30-7 p.m.

Simple movements in Sun Style Tai Chi
as taught by Dr. Paul Lam beginning with
the Six Basic Movements. Tragically, large
numbers of people in modern society have
back problems (in fact, lower back pain is the
number two reason people miss work!). Tai
Chi practice leads to more flexibility in the
spine and better overall movement which can
improve sports performance (baseball, golf,
tennis etc.) As we age, our balance slowly
and insidiously worsens until one day, we
fall. A quarter of all older people who break
hips are dead within a year. Better balance
comes from daily practice. Use it or... lose it.
Additionally Tai Chi is extremely effective
in reducing stress and increasing vitality.
The slow, powerful movements, combined
with deep re-vitalizing breathing produces
relaxation almost immediately. Limit 15.

Instructor: Ron Pfeiffer
Fee: $85

Self Defense

6 Fridays, begins October 2, 7-8:30 p.m.

You will learn:

• Laws governing self-defense (what you can
and can’t do!)

• How to defend yourself against armed
assailants

• Develop the skills to recognize an attacker
prior to an actual assault

This course is designed for adults of all fitness
levels and ages. The techniques learned are
simple, yet very effective. No complicated
routines; just successful, proven skills that
could save your life! Elite military, counter
terrorism and law enforcement personnel
around the world use the techniques
taught here. This training provides an
integrated approach of effective striking/
joint locks/pressure points combined with
an understanding of the law regarding self-defense.

Online access to lessons. Limit 15.
Instructor: Ron Pfeiffer
Fee: $85

Closing Comments
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

Important Notice To All Members

All Student/Instructor members are reminded that advancement and promotion are not automatic. Contact Coach Pfeiffer or your local instructor if you have questions or to request advancement information.

Please remember to keep your information updated so that the World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense can serve you in the best way possible! The articles within this newsletter are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi by Harvard Medical School



The Harvard Medical School Health Publications newsletter had an interesting feature in May on Tai Chi. In fact, Harvard has a special division called the
Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program.

Mainstream acceptance of alternative health practices is a key development. When promoted by an institution such as Harvard, the foundation is put into place for further investigation.

Here are a few excerpts from their newsletter:

"Tai chi is often described as 'meditation in motion,' but it might well be called 'medication in motion.' There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health.
A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age," says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School's Osher Research Center.

Muscle strength. In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls).
Flexibility. Women in the 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

Balance.
Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one's body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments.
Source: The Health Benefits of Tai Chi: Harvard Health Publications, May 2009.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 2009 Slayer News: Fall Prevention


SLAYER NEWS

About Dragon Kenpo Karate
15 June 2009: Fall Prevention

"Injury from falls is the most expensive health cost item in all western countries. In the USA it costs more than $20 billion per year. Many studies were undertaken to find out how to reduce this cost. The key finding of the review is '… Exercising in supervised groups, participating in tai chi, and carrying out individually prescribed exercise programs at home are all effective.' ” --- Dr. Paul Lam, Tai Chi for Arthritis.


In This Issue:

WDK Training Manual Available for Purchase by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
World Dragon Kenpo Takes Tai Chi to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Featured Article: The Latest Fall Prevention Review by Dr. Paul Lam of Tai Chi Productions
Benefits of Martial Arts Training for Other Sports by Steve Amoia
Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


WDK Training Manual Available for Purchase
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer




It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have documented the entire WDK system from White Belt to 4th Degree Black Belt.

Our World Dragon Kenpo Training Guide has fourteen chapters, and documents 110 techniques. It is available in MS Word (.doc) or PDF format; however, is optimized for MS Word. I hope that it will complement your learning experience.

The guide has been designed to be interactive. For example, you can monitor your training for each belt level with progress charts.

The manual will be required for new members; however, I recommend it for all current students and instructors.

To order the manual via our online store, please click on the above image or here.

You may also order it from me by email.

Thank you.

Coach Ronald C. Pfeiffer, Jr.

World Dragon Kenpo Takes Tai Chi (and a few other things)
to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

by Coach Ron Pfeiffer



Editor's Note:

On behalf of the World Dragon Kenpo community, I would like to wish Coach Ron and Jill all the best.

Amidst the ocean background, of North Carolina, beautiful waves rolled and crested gently onto the shore. There I was able to practice the harmonious art of Tai Chi. With a serene blend of Mother nature, a soothing bliss was created. To fully experience this euphoria, I released all of my worldly stress. Once achieving this state of mind what followed can only be described as amazing.
If you are not familiar with Tai Chi, I strongly encourage you to take the first step. Enroll in a class and participate. Discover a world hidden among your present life of chaos. If you are unable to find a class near you, then order your Tai Chi CD from our online store or plan to join us next year on the East Coast somewhere. You can travel into a blissful and relaxed state of mind without ever leaving your home.

As some of you are aware, Jill and I tied the knot in a beautiful beach ceremony. What a time we had enjoying the many things there are to do there on Atlantic Beach. Yes, the sunburn is just about healed!

At the beach, my family was joined by the North Carolina director of World Dragon Kenpo,
Ed DellaCroce. Ed was just a little shocked to find out that his visit was not only to experience Tai Chi first hand, but had a dual purpose. He tested for his 3rd Degree black belt in World Dragon Kenpo. As we worked thought the techniques and reviewed some of the training, Ed was in full training mode, offering variations and suggestions. I am happy to announce that Ed passed his test (Ed, by the time you read this your new certificates should be in hand).

Although many are familiar with Officer Ed DellaCroce a re-intro is in order. Ed began his Martial arts training in 1979 under Grandmaster John M.
Stover. Ed's training also took him to Korea where he lived for one year. He studied Kuk Sool Won and Hapkido under present, Grandmaster SungUn Jin. Ed was first introduced to Dragon Kenpo in November of 1998, under the founder, Ed Hutchinson. Ed DellaCroce now has over 33 years of combined Military, Police and varied Martial arts training. He now boosts that he is a true Jack of all trades and a Master at none. Congratulations on your promotion Ed!

Editor's Note:

Coach Ron Pfeiffer would like to thank Dr. Lam and Tai Chi Productions for use of this article to share with our membership.

Med Page Today published an interesting article from Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews – the most comprehensive and respected database reviews. The article, over 150 pages, is about an extensive review of 111 studies involving 55,303 participants about preventing falls for older adults. (Gillespie L D, Robertson M C, Gillespie W J, Lamb S E, Gates S, Cumming R G, Rowe B H. ‘Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community’. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD007146. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007146.)

Injury from falls is the most expensive health cost item in all western countries. In the USA it costs more than $20 billion per year. Many studies were undertaken to find out how to reduce this cost. The key finding of the review is “…Exercising in supervised groups, participating in tai chi, and carrying out individually prescribed exercise programs at home are all effective.”

The review, as I see it, shows tai chi as a highly effective, evidence based exercise. Compared to individually prescribed exercise, tai chi is cost effective and easily replicated. What is more, tai chi, especially the Tai Chi for Health programs (including TCA) is enjoyable and well liked by participants of all ages. Interestingly studies have shown swimming and walking did not significantly reduce the risk of falling for older people. While swimming and walking are wonderful exercises and have many health benefits, they do not have the same benefits on balance and fall prevention as does tai chi.

Tai chi has many health benefits, the USA National Centre of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine has undertaken research, training, and dissemination of data to the public and professionals point out the benefits of tai chi:
  • Tai chi is a low-impact form of exercise.
  • It is a weight-bearing exercise that can have certain health benefits—for example, to the bones.
  • It is an aerobic exercise.
  • Improves physical condition, muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.
  • Have better balance and a lower risk for falls, especially in elderly people.
  • Ease pain and stiffness—for example, from arthritis.
  • Health benefits that may be experienced from meditation.
  • Improve insomnia.
  • Overall wellness.

While tai chi is almost common knowledge now, medical evidence is mounting on tai chi’s many health giving benefits. To me the most important point from NIACM is the last: tai chi improves overall wellness, in other words, tai chi improves people’s quality of life!

Click here for the review of this article.
Click here for the original Cochrane’s review.



Benefits of Martial Arts Training for Other Sports
by Steve Amoia
"Naturalness means easily and comfortably, so all muscles can act with the greatest speed and ease. Stand loosely and lightly, avoid tension and muscular contraction. Thus, you will both guard and hit with more speed, precision and power."

--- Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee Karate Stance


I would like to discuss the potential benefits of martial arts study for other sports. In my opinion, study of and exposure to martial arts may provide significant benefits. Not only for professional or amateur athletes, but anyone who wants to improve their personal and athletic performance.

Let's take a look at two martial arts and how they can help athletes in their overall training regimen.

The Martial Art of Dragon Kenpo


This art traces its roots from the original Kenpo, which originated in the Shaolin monasteries of Northern China. Kenpo, which derives from the Japanese word Kempo, means "Law of the Fist." World Dragon Kenpo is a non-tournament street self-defense system, and was one of the first e-learning sites for the study of martial arts. Kenpo focuses on coordinated logical and linear movements, along with the mastery of tailored rather than numerous self-defense techniques.

Expert Opinion: Coach Ron Pfeiffer, Sixth Degree Black Belt, Founder of World Dragon Kenpo
"The improvement in leg strength, balance, body coordination and awareness would help with any sport."
The Martial Art of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan
, or better known as "Tai Chi" outside of Asia, is an ancient Chinese martial art that means "The Supreme Ultimate Fist." Flexibility, increased balance, and cardiovascular fitness are the most prevalent benefits of this intriguing discipline. Compared to Dragon Kenpo, I have discovered that Tai Chi requires more coordination and concentration.

Expert Opinions

Dr. Sen Huang
is a Chinese medical doctor (C.M.D) and a former Professor of Human Anatomy at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Huang has also studied and taught Tai Chi. He provided a concise and informative definition about the benefits of Tai Chi:
"The slow, but graceful movements of Tai Chi not only help muscles, joints, and the cardiovascular system, but also help people's memory, focus and concentration. It is the art of creating energy and is also called ´moving meditation.´ People can benefit mentally and physically from practicing it."
Dr. Paul Lam of Tai Chi Productions

Dr. Lam
is a Family Physician, and also a lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Due to his own arthritis, he has developed several Tai Chi programs for his patients (Arthritis, Back Pain, Diabetes, Osteoporosis), along with a global audience. Here are a few comments from Dr. Lam:
"Hour for hour, tai chi is probably the most effective exercises to improve health and well-being. You can start and continue to progress to higher level no matter your age or physical condition. More importantly, tai chi helps you to know and like yourself better. This will lead you to health and harmony within yourself and with others.

It is so enjoyable that millions of people around the world are practicing it... Scientific studies show that tai chi improves and possibly prevents chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. In addition, it improves balance, immunity and reduces stress. In fact, tai chi improves practically any aspect of health."


Demonstration Video by Dr. Lam

I would like to provide a sample video of the basic forms from Tai Chi Productions. As you will see, compared to Kenpo, Tai Chi is a much more fluid, graceful, and softer art. If we think of Kenpo as the Yang, or harder element, Tai Chi would be the Yin, or softer part of the martial arts equation. Together, they form a good complement to assist athletic training.





Potential Benefits of Kenpo
  • Awareness
  • Better balance
  • Controlled breathing
  • Explosive movement
  • Foundation/stance will be stronger
  • Increased muscle tone and overall coordination
  • Possibility of more self-control in critical game situations
  • Quicker reflexes and more precise movements
  • Stronger leg muscles
Potential Benefits of Tai Chi
  • Improved balance
  • Cardiovascular capacity may increase
  • Deeper breathing for better oxygen utilization
  • Flexibility of mind and body
  • Increased balance
  • Increased coordination and focus
  • Potential to avoid arthritis, joint problems, and/or treat them before they become debilitating
  • Prevention of diseases that may occur in later life
  • Restorative post-game or training recovery processes may be augmented
Martial arts study can provide us with many benefits. Perhaps mental and physical self-control are some of the most important features.

Closing Comments
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

Important Notice To All Members

All Student/Instructor members are reminded that advancement and promotion are not automatic. Contact Coach Pfeiffer or your local instructor if you have questions or to request advancement information.

Please remember to keep your information updated so that the World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense can serve you in the best way possible! The articles within this newsletter are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

World Dragon Kenpo Training Guide is Now Available



It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have documented the entire WDK system from White Belt to 4th Degree Black Belt.

Our World Dragon Kenpo Training Guide has fourteen chapters, and documents 110 techniques. It is available in MS Word (.doc) or PDF format; however, is optimized for MS Word. I hope that it will complement your learning experience. The guide has been designed to be interactive. For example, you can monitor your training for each belt level with progress charts.

The manual will be required for new members; however, I recommend it for all current students and instructors.

To order the manual via our online store, please click on the above image or here.

You may also order it from me by email.

Thank you.

Coach Ronald C. Pfeiffer, Jr.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scientific Evidence That Tai Chi Prevents Falls by Dr. Paul Lam



Editor's Note:

We would like to thank Dr. Lam of Tai Chi Productions for sharing this important news with WDK.



Hello Everyone:

RE - The Fall Prevention Review
I would like to share this great news with you. Scientific evidence is important in helping us to promote Tai Chi so that we can share it with more people.
Med Page Today publishes an interesting article about an extensive review of 111 studies involving 55,303 participants about preventing falls for older adults. (Gillespie L D, Robertson M C, Gillespie W J, Lamb S E, Gates S, Cumming R G, Rowe B H. ‘Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community’. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD007146. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007146.)
Injury from falls is the most expensive item for all the western countries. In USA it costs more than 20 billion dollars per year. Many studies were undertaken to find out what works. The key finding of the review is “…Exercising in supervised groups, participating in Tai Chi, and carrying out individually prescribed exercise programmes at home are all effective.”
This means Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for fall prevention. The review, as I see it, shows tai chi with only the individually prescribed exercise programs are highly effective. The later is more expensive and not easily replicated since it is individually prescribed. Please note not all exercises are as or even effective. Previous studies have shown swimming and walking did not significantly reduce the risk of falling for older people. Naturally swimming and walking are wonderful exercises for many other reasons.
This is an evidenced based endorsement for tai chi at saving significant health cost. Tai chi also improve pain for arthritis, helps various conditions, improve immunity, reduces stress… more importantly, tai chi significant improves quality of life!
You can find this article at this link:
and the original Cochrane’s review at

Enjoy it and share with your friends.

Best Regards.

Dr Paul Lam

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 2009 Slayer News: Arthritis Awareness

SLAYER NEWS
About Dragon Kenpo Karate
15 March 2009: Arthritis Awareness

"Exercise or being active is essential for good health, it is even more important for people with arthritis. Pain and stiffness of the joints tend to discourage and even limit people from exercising. However, without exercise, joints become stiffer and muscles weaker which will lead to further pain and stiffness. In another word, without exercise arthritis gets worse in the long term. Exercise keeps bones, muscles, and joints healthy, thus improving flexibility and muscular strength. Exercise improves the circulation of blood and body fluids through muscles, tendons and joints. Better circulation will aid the healing process." --- Dr. Paul Lam, Tai Chi for Arthritis.


Table of Contents


What's Happening by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Featured Article: How Does Tai Chi for Arthritis Work? By Dr. Paul Lam
Introduction to Osteoarthritis by Steve Amoia
An Honor by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Unexpected Victories by Sharon Angelici
New Member Biography by Melinda Beechner

Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


What's Happening

by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


The first newsletter of the New Year finds us busier than a one legged man in a fanny kicking contest! Are you busy? Most of us are. We are working, teaching, taking time for our families, and promoting our martial art programs. Instructors, I am mainly talking to you here.


Community Involvement


This time, I will be touching on a number of topics. For those interested in having a school, club or program we need to remember the importance of making the community aware that we are here. Several things need to be done regularly in order for success to occur. First is community involvement. If you are asked to participate in a community event or join in a presentation for either businesses or local schools, these are a must. When people think about self defense or other martial art related training they need to think of you and your school.


Special Interest Day


Recently, we were invited to participate in a Special Interest Day for the students at St. Charles School in Burlington, WI. Although it was inconvenient, we arranged our schedules to accommodate the Sisters and Students of St. Charles. For our efforts, we gained a few new students and many comments like "Thanks, that was great!" and "Please come back again for our next Special Interest Day!" I had the assistance of Mike Sokolski, along with Nicco and David Angelici. They each demonstrated different aspects of our school while I spoke about World Dragon Kenpo and our wonderful members around the world.


We also received an invite and return invite for the Burlington Chiropractic Center. They recognize the importance that Tai Chi can have in the health of their patients and the community. Our demo there was assisted by about a half a dozen proud WDK Tai Chi students.


Importance of Local Advertising and Addressing Student Needs


Another important aspect of successful school development is investing in some advertising with a local advertiser. I consult regularly with my "Ad Lady"Ann, and we finally developed an ad that gets calls every week. Just because your ad didn't get the results you wanted doesn't mean that it doesn't work to advertise. Just the opposite: Keep refining the ad until it does work. Hint, a little something about a free lesson wouldn't hurt.


Finally, please remember that we need to address the true needs of the students. Don't just blindly push ahead with your agenda. Evaluate what is happening in each class. If you have mixed groups, like I do, then be sure to end the training with something a bit of fun so that will be the last thing your little students remember. It's worthless to bring in new students just to have them quit. Think always about their needs.


World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day on April 25th in Burlington


If you are one of our Tai Chi converts, then World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day should be on your radar. Not only is this an important world wide event, it can have major implications for your school as well. Visit the home page at www.dragonkenpo.us and click on our link to the World Tai Chi Day. (There are also links in the sidebar of the Slayer News Blog).


Last year, when we opened the school in Burlington, I joined the Chamber of Commerce and they are helping with a press release and other free communications. Also, I have spoken with the Mayor of Burlington, the Honorable Bob Miller, who after reviewing the materials I mailed to him, has agreed to declare April 25 World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day in Burlington with a signed Proclamation. Our event will include our DK as well as our Tai Chi students, and will draw students from the different places that I teach. We will be holding free lessons for several weeks


In the last newsletter, we had an article by Inspector David Walker. David is a member of WDK online school program, and comes in once a month for a private lesson. Recently, he has come in to train in our group lesson and helped out with scenario training. The students really enjoyed Dave's approach and we're able to learn about what officers like him deal with on a daily basis. Mr. Walker is a welcome addition to our school and a proud student of Dragon Kenpo.


Training Opportunity on June 6th at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina


And finally, an announcement. On Saturday, June 6th 2009, there will be a "Training Opportunity on Atlantic Beach" for our East Coast students. I've mentioned this to a couple of people who have expressed interest. We will have an early morning Tai Chi and Qi Gong training and practice followed by a Dragon Kenpo Concepts and technique breakdown session. This will be a free 4 hour session for our members. Email myself or Steve Amoia to get on our list. There will be a limited number of spots for this special training opportunity.


For a map of Atlantic Beach, please click here. It is located off of Interstate 70 East.


How Does Tai Chi for Arthritis Work?
By Dr. Paul Lam of Tai Chi Productions

© Copyright Tai Chi Productions 2007. All rights reserved, no part of this article may be reproduced in any forms or by any means, without permission in writing, except for non-profit educational purpose. For example: you can photocopy this article for a paying student or participant as long as this article is not included as part of your charge.

Editor's Note: Coach Pfeiffer would like to thank Dr. Lam and Tai Chi Productions for use of this very informative article. The original appeared here.

Synopsis

Since the inception of Tai Chi for Arthritis in 1997, over a million people around the world have enjoyed using the program and gained health benefits. Studies have shown its effect in relieving pain, improving physical ability and balance. Arthritis Foundations around the world support the program and instructors trained by the creator, Dr Paul Lam and his authorised master trainers.


Exercise Helps Arthritis

Exercise or being active is essential for good health, it is even more important for people with arthritis. Pain and stiffness of the joints tend to discourage and even limit people from exercising. However, without exercise, joints become stiffer and muscles weaker which will lead to further pain and stiffness. In another word, without exercise arthritis gets worse in the long term. Exercise keeps bones, muscles, and joints healthy, thus improving flexibility and muscular strength. Exercise improves the circulation of blood and body fluids through muscles, tendons and joints. Better circulation will aid the healing process.


What Kind of Exercise?

Not all exercises are suitable for people with arthritis. An effective exercise program should have low risk of injury and fulfill three objectives: increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, and improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Tai Chi for Arthritis can accomplish these and more.


The Tai Chi for Arthritis Program

In 1997, Dr Paul Lam's team of Tai Chi and medical experts designed the program Tai Chi for Arthritis especially for people with arthritis. This program is based on Sun style Tai Chi for its unique Qigong component which has a powerful healing ability. It contains all the essential principles of Tai Chi and the movements are safe. It is short and easy-to-learn. Tai Chi for Arthritis helps arthritis by improving muscular strength, flexibility and fitness. Studies have shown the program to be effective and safe (references1 and 2). Arthritis Foundations of Australia, America, Arthritis Care UK and many others support this program because its efficacy and safe features.


1. Improved Flexibility

Improved flexibility will reduce stiffness and help keep joints mobile. Stiffness causes pain; increase flexibility will relieve pain. Tai Chi for Arthritis gently moves all joints, muscles and tendons throughout the body. Scientific studies have shown Tai Chi can significantly increase flexibility (references 3, 4 and 5).


The Atlanta FICSIT Group (reference 6) conducted a prospective, randomised, controlled clinical trial. The study divided 200 participants into three groups: Tai Chi, computerised balance training and control. The results indicated that Tai Chi significantly improved flexibility, strength and cardiovascular endurance, as well as decreased the occurrence of falls by a massive 47.5%.


Tai Chi for Arthritis contains all the essential principles of Tai Chi that support the improvement of flexibility. It has shown to relieve arthritic pain, helping people with arthritis to stretch more thus further improve their flexibility. What is more, it prevents recurrent falls by an amazing 70% (reference 7).


2. Improved Muscular Strength

Improved muscular strength will help keep joints stable, thereby protecting the joints. This minimises the likelihood of injury and reduces pain. Increased muscular strength enables a person to be more active, which in turn improves blood and body fluid circulation.


Many top level athletes and sportsmen have suffered from osteoarthritis as a result of injuries. Yet they are able to perform at peak levels because their strong muscles protecting their joints. Frequently, after retirement from active sports, their level of activity diminishes and their muscles become weak, causing their arthritis to flare up.


Studies have shown Tai Chi to be effective in strengthening muscles by 15 to 20% (references 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12). Tai Chi for Arthritis helps to relieve pain, enable people with arthritis to exercise their muscles to improve its strength. The Song study showed an improvement of learners' physical function and balance by 30% after only three months of learning Tai Chi for Arthritis (reference 1).


3. Improved Fitness

Improving cardiorespiratory fitness helps strengthen the heart and lungs and increases stamina. Arthritic joints and tissues need a good supply of blood and oxygen for healing. Better circulation of blood, fluid and oxygen also helps keep joints flexible and muscles strong. Tai Chi for Arthritis is designed to gradually increase the level of fitness. Study has shown Tai Chi to be effective in improving fitness level (reference 13).


The Power of the Mind

It is well known that a positive frame of mind aids healing. There is ample evidence showing the powerful effect of mind over body. Tai Chi integrates both the body and mind. When practicing Tai Chi, one focuses on clarity of the mind, the movements and the coordination of the body. This training improves relaxation and uplifts a person's mood. A recent review of complementary and alternative treatments completed by doctors from Stanford University (reference 14) concludes that mind-body techniques are efficacious primarily as a complementary treatment, but sometimes as a stand-alone, alternative treatment.


Being more relaxed and more positive improves the perception of pain. As one of the most powerful mind-body exercises, Tai Chi for Arthritis teaches students to be mindful of the intrinsic energy from this derives a greater sense of self-control and empowerment.


The Power of Qigong

The concept of Qi has been a fundamental belief in most eastern cultures for thousands of years. Qi is the inner energy of a person. Chinese medicine has based their central theory on this concept. The word, "Gong" means exercise that requires regular practice to become proficient. Qigong is the practice of cultivating better Qi. It is a breathing exercise sometimes helped by certain body movements and meditation. When Qi flows through the body smoothly and powerfully, it enhances healing and brings better health and vitality. According to Chinese medicine, arthritis is caused by weak and sluggish flow of Qi. For centuries, doctors of Chinese medicine have recommended Tai Chi for people with arthritis.


Tai Chi for Arthritis incorporates the Sun style's unique Qigong in all its movements. The gentle and slow movements open up one's energy channels, keeping them strong and supple. The rhythmic movements of the muscle, spine and joints pump energy throughout the whole body.


The Practical Advantages

Tai Chi for Arthritis is affordable for most people. It does not require expensive equipments, special clothing or much space. It is not weather-dependent and can be a nice social event.


Tai Chi is a progressive exercise in the sense that no matter at what age you start, you can develop your skill. As one progresses, the more fascinating it becomes. Tai Chi for Arthritis has great depth. As you progress to a higher level your mind becomes more serene, body becomes stronger and your understanding of Tai Chi principles deepens. This deeper understanding will, in turn, enable you to reach an even higher level. Akin to looking at a very high mountain, it is impossible to see the top from ground level. You will see more of the view when you make the effort to climb higher up. At the higher level, the view becomes more fascinating and the air fresher. At a higher level Tai Chi, you will discover more enjoyment, health benefits and personal fulfilment.


Exercise will benefit people only when they do it. Naturally, people are more likely to do the exercise they enjoy. Tai Chi for Arthritis is intrinsically enjoyable exercises that can help people adhere to them. Thousands of Tai Chi for Arthritis instructors around the world will attest to their students' enjoyment because they keep returning year after year.


Improve Balance and Fall Prevention

Injury from falls by older people is a serious health problem, it is even more so for people with arthritis as pain and weakened muscle compromise their abilities to balance.

Tai Chi for Arthritis has been shown to improve balance and prevent falls by several studies. The Sydney Central Area Health Promotion study is community based and the world's largest fall prevention study with 700 subjects. After 16 weeks of Tai Chi (80% doing Tai Chi for Arthritis), the incident of multiple falls was reduced by an incredible 70% (reference 7).


How to Learn Tai Chi for Arthritis

Contact your local arthritis foundation, or visit Dr Paul Lam's website at www.DrPaulLam.com for more information and classes by trained instructors. You can also use the instructional DVD, the book Overcoming Arthritis and other teaching material to learn the program.


REFERENCES:

1. Song, Lee E, Lam P, Bae S. Effects of Tai Chi exercise on pain, balance, muscle strength, and physical functioning in older women with osteoarthritis: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Rheumatology. Sept 2003. 30:9 page 2039-2044.

2. Fransen M, Nairn L, Winstanley J, Lam P, Edmonds J. A Randomized Control Trial Of 200 Subjects Comparing Tai Chi, Hydrotherapy And Control, To Measure Improvement In Pain, Physical Function, Muscular Strength And Walking Capacity. Arthritis Care and Research.. Vol.57, No.3, April 15, 2007, pp407-414.

3. Lan-C; Lai-JS; Wong-MK; Yu-ML:Cardiorespiratory function, flexibility, and body composition among geriatric Tai Chi Chuan practitioners. Arch-Phys-Med-Rehabil. 1996 Jun; 77(6): 612-6.

4. Lan-C; Lai-JS; Wong-MK; Yu-ML: 12-month Tai Chi training in the elderly: its effect on health fitness. Med-Sci-Sports-Exerc. 1998 Mar; 30(3): 345-51.

5. Chen,-W.-William; Sun,-Wei-Yue: Tai Chi Chuan, an alternative form of exercise for health promotion and disease prevention for older adults in the community. International-Quarterly-of-Community-Health-Education. 1997; Vol 16(4): 333-339.

6. Atlanta FICSIT Group: Reducing frailty and falls in older persons: an investigation of Tai Chi and computerized balance training. J-Am-Geriatr-Soc. 1996 May; 44(5): 489-97.

7. Alexander Voukelatos et all, Journal American Geriatrics Society, AUGUST 2007–VOL. 55, NO. 8, A Randomized, Controlled Trial of tai chi for the Prevention of Falls: The Central Sydney tai chi Trial. (NB: 80% of subjects were taught Tai Chi for Arthritis)

8. Wolfson-L; Whipple-R; Derby-C; Judge-J; King-M; Amerman-P; Schmidt-J; Smyers-D: Balance and strength training in older adults: intervention gains and Tai Chi maintenance. J-Am-Geriatr-Soc. 1996 May; 44(5): 498-506.

9. La-Forge-R: Mind-body fitness: encouraging prospects for primary and secondary prevention. J-Cardiovasc-Nurs. 1997 Apr; 11(3): 53-65.

10. Jacobson-BH; Chen-HC; Cashel-C; Guerrero-L: The effect of T'ai Chi Chuan training on balance, kinesthetic sense, and strength. Percept-Mot-Skills. 1997 Feb; 84(1): 27-33.

11. Judge-JO; Lindsey-C; Underwood-M; Winsemius-D: Balance improvements in older women: effects of exercise training. Phys-Ther. 1993 Apr; 73(4): 254-62; discussion 263-5.

12. Wolfson-L; Whipple-R; Judge-J; Amerman-P; Derby-C; King-M: Training balance and strength in the elderly to improve function. J-Am-Geriatr-Soc. 1993 Mar; 41(3): 341-3.

13. Channer-KS; Barrow-D; Barrow-R; Osborne-M; Ives-G: Changes in haemodynamic parameters following Tai Chi Chuan and aerobic exercise in patients recovering from acute myocardial infarction. Postgrad-Med-J. 1996 Jun; 72(848): 349-51.

14. Luskin-FM; Newell-KA; Griffith-M; Holmes-M; Telles-S; Marvasti-FF; Pelletier-KR; Haskell-WL: A review of mind-body therapies in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Part 1: Implications for the elderly. Altern-Ther-Health-Med. 1998 May; 4(3): 46-61.

15. Choi J.H., Moon J.S. and Song R, The Effects of Sun-Style Tai Chi Exercise on Physical Fitness and Fall Prevention in Fall-Prone Adults. The journal of Advanced Nursing 51(2), 150-157, 2005.

Introduction to Osteoarthritis
by Steve Amoia


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of a spectrum of degenerative joint diseases. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it afflicts over 27 million Americans. "Arthro" means joint in Greek. "Osteo" is the Greek word for bone. "Itis" refers to inflammation.

Definition


In North America, the experts on the disease, along with patient education, is the Arthritis Foundation.

"Known as the “wear-and-tear” kind of arthritis, OA is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint."

Source: Arthritis Foundation.

Causes


There are genetic and traumatic reasons that people develop osteoarthritis. As we age, our joints produce less cushioning fluid, which places more stress on ankles, knees, hips, elbows, and hands. But by the same token, advancing age does not always confer arthritic difficulties.

Alternative Therapies Promoted by Arthritis Foundation

According to Wikipedia, this disease accounts for 25% of primary care doctor visits, along with 50% of NSAIDs (which refers to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescriptions). Obviously, there is room for alternative ways to treat this debilitating and chronic illness. As you will read in this month's edition of Slayer News, Dr. Paul Lam, of Tai Chi Productions, developed a Tai Chi for Arthritis program to treat his own illness.



Dr. Lam has worked in conjunction with the Arthritis Foundation to promote his Tai Chi module. In 2006, Coach Ron Pfeiffer was certified personally by Dr. Lam in Tai Chi for Arthritis at the Illinois Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

Study Finds that Tai Chi Helps Knee Arthritis and Overall Health

Dr.
Lam's practical experience with the efficacy of Tai Chi, along with that of many others, has been documented in medical literature. Here is an example:

Dr. Chenchen Wang of Tufts Medical Center, Boston, presented his findings at the American College of Rheumatology in San Francisco.

"Those who did tai chi experienced greater pain reduction, less depression and improvements in physical function and overall health.

'Tai chi mind-body exercise appears to provide an important approach for self-care and self-management for knee (osteoarthritis),' Wang said in a statement.

The study provided the latest evidence that tai chi may offer benefits for people with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation advocacy group recommends it for improving the quality of life of people with arthritis."

Source: Tai Chi Exercise Helps Cut Pain of Knee Arthritis, Canada.com.

An Honor

by Coach Ron Pfeiffer


Every now and again we meet special individuals and families that will have a lasting impact in our lives. The Angelici family falls into that category for me. Dave and Sharon and their sons, Nicco and David, have been active members and participants in our school for a number of years. The leadership shown by these parents is inspiring and shows the attainable results of consistent effort and values applied to the raising of young men.


Now at the Brown and Green Belt levels in our program, these brothers are learning some very important life lessons that will have a positive affect for the rest of their lives. Working together and maintaining emotional control are two of the most important, and are lessons all families should strive to instill in their children.


Now as the journey continues Dave and Sharon share their understanding of the importance of martial art training by starting down their own path of Tai Chi. When they walked into their first lesson, I simply congratulated them on the decision to lead by example.


Knowing and training the boys, and now instructing the parents, is an honor which can't easily be put into words and one which few instructors are given. It is humbling and inspiring at the same time.

 
Unexpected Victories
by Sharon Angelici 

Editor’s Note: “What is most important to me is that my boys learn how not to fight.” Ms. Angelici concisely sums up the philosophy of Coach Ron Pfeiffer and WDK.

There are moments as a parent when you cover your face so that no one can tell the outrageous child in front of them belongs to you. As the mother of two boys, I have experienced moments like these quite often.

We are a home school family and we have had many opportunities to learn in unconventional ways. Sometimes it is through baking, or visiting a shelter or doing service in the community. We don't spend all of our school day behind a desk. What I have learned as a home school parent is that all of their moments of triumph and tragedy in terms of learning, are no longer the joy of a teaching stranger; now they belong to me. I am enthusiastically the proud, humble, frustrated and enlightened witness.

What has been the most amazing growth to observe over these last months is the movement from child to boy and boy to young man. Don't get me wrong, we still lay on the floor for hours building LEGO. But the extraordinary progression of emotional growth brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it.

Learning How Not to Fight

I suppose I should start at the beginning, as this letter is about our experiences as a Dragon Kenpo Karate family. I will confess that Karate was my idea. It was mostly about self defense but also about discipline and self confidence. I want those characteristics in my sons. I want my boys to be good men, but I don't believe that learning to fight is how it happens. What is most important to me is that my boys learn how not to fight. I found a class, teaching those ideas, when we walked in to our first Kenpo Karate class. This karate club is all about self defense. Not only do they focus on protecting the body, but they focus on the mind and the spirit. There are so many children that are lost before they've even had a chance to discover the best in themselves. This Karate club was my attempt to guide the boys to a path that would lead them into a confident future.

I can still remember those first classes. My oldest boy was horribly unbalanced and his crescent kicks made him tumble to the floor like a giant pretzel. My youngest son was so busy looking around and daydreaming that he was steps behind the others and bumping into his brother. It was humorous, and I laughed as a mother would… on the inside. What I could see, in my boys, was frustration and embarrassment. It was difficult to watch silently, but important at the same time. I had to give these boys over to a teacher, a person, a stranger, who was vital to trust.

Maturity Through Kenpo

That trust came in clusters. It came in handshakes and smirks. It came in up downs and flag holding. It came from moments when I expected it the very least, but it came. On the first year anniversary of Karate, my boys had earned new rank. They had color to their belts but still Karate was a chore. I had to drag them begrudgingly to every class. Testing days were met with grumbles and feelings of wasted time, and yet we continued the journey. The boys didn't know it yet, but they were going to love Karate if it killed me.

On the second anniversary they had grown in height and achieved new color around their waists. I had learned the art of stain removal from white uniform pants, and that there is no reason to serve red Kool-aid on exam days. We were all changing in many ways, but Karate was still a chore. I was determined, but they were still along for the ride.

During the middle of 2008, we had many struggles outside the home. Growing up today is tough and as much as you train to protect your body, when the time comes, defending yourself is still a choice that involves inflicting harm. It was in the middle of a confrontation like this that the core of Kenpo Karate took on real meaning.

P.E.A.C.E. in Action

For years, I listened to my boys recite the P.E.A.C.E. acronym; and as loud as they could yell it in class, I felt that only a whisper entered their heart and head. I guess that sometimes planting a seed is just enough because it took root and blossomed in them both. My sons, in the face of taunts and harassment, stood strong. With positive attitudes they expressed their disappointment in their peers. In a world where children work very hard to be like everyone else, my two sons had enough confidence to say no. This was not a hide my face moment, I was very happy for everyone to know that they are mine.

It has been almost four years since we met Coach Pfeiffer. I have come to respect him and his passion for the martial arts. He isn't just teaching. He is giving valuable knowledge to every student and family member in his class. My sons are becoming young men right before my eyes.

I know that in the last 4 years that I have made many choices for them. I have purchased many things, some that they wanted and some that were necessary. I can look at the abandoned books on the shelf, wrinkled t-shirts in the laundry hamper, and the broken handle on the scooter in the garage. Out of all of these things none will follow them beyond the next few years, but I know that Karate will. I can see the lessons of discipline when the towel makes it to the hook in the bathroom. I can see the attitude of perseverance when my son continues to train, with a proud smile, as blood runs from his nose. These are segues, rights of passage that might go unseen, but not for me. I happened to notice because I was waiting, I knew that one day the world would come to take the child out of my boys. I happened to stop and recognize why my sons turned away from fighting, with self control, and stand up when they recognized something was wrong.

We are a Dragon Kenpo Karate family, tested in the battles of life, and we are stronger for every moment of it.

New Member Biography
by Melinda Beechner

(1975-present)

Melinda Beechner was born in Syracuse, New York, on January 14, 1975. Being the youngest of three brothers, and two sisters, fighting started early in life. Formal martial arts training started with various instructional videos: Miyama Ryu Combat Jujutsu by D'Arcy Rahming, Kun Tao with Guy Savelli, Makiwara Conditioning with Master Eihachi Ota and Dragon Kenpo with Ed Hutchison. Melinda received her Black Belt Certification in Dragon Kenpo in 2000.

After several years away from the martial arts, Melinda again began training. She attended an Aikido School in Goshen, New York, at the age of twenty three. As a white belt in that style, Melinda was told by her instructor to punch him once in the chest using ki (chi), and when she did so, it bruised his entire chest and sent him to the hospital. She was politely asked to leave that school and not to return. She again began studying the martial arts on her own. Melinda then purchased other instructional videos including : Goju- Ryu Karate by Sendei Paul Okami, Okinawan Goju Ryu by Hanshi-Sei Frank Van Lenten, The Essential Qigong by Ken Cohen, and T'ai Chi with David-Dorian Ross.

In 2008 at the age of thirty two, Melinda enrolled in World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self Defense with Ron Pfeiffer. She received her Assistant Instructor certification on February 3, 2009, and now teaches a Martial Arts Training Group in Cullman, Alabama.

Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer

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