About Dragon Kenpo Karate
"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
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.
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
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
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
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.
And finally, an announcement. On
For a map of
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.
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,
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
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.
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,
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.
7. Alexander Voukelatos et all, Journal American Geriatrics Society, AUGUST 2007–VOL. 55, NO.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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,
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.
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
Melinda Beechner was born in
After several years away from the martial arts, Melinda again began training. She attended an
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
Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer
If you have an article that you would like to submit, you may respond to me or Steve Amoia. Just send your submission within the body of an email. Comments and questions about our publication are encouraged, and you can direct them to me by email. Please proofread your submissions, and shorter rather than longer articles are preferred. WDK reserves the right to edit any submission.
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.
Is your school having an event? Let the Dragon Kenpo community know by placing it in the Slayer News! We are here to help you and your students get the most out of your training.
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.