Frequently Asked Questions
If you are not old enough to remember the late 60’s ‘Dragnet’ TV show with Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb), Sgt. Friday’s signature saying was “Just the facts, ma’am”. It was a great old detective show in the heyday of television.
Jack Webb did a spoof with Johnny Carson on Johnny’s show called the “Copper Clapper Capper.” That was one of the funniest skits we ever saw. Look it up on YouTube. It’s worth the trouble. So, ask your questions and we will give you “Just the facts”!
What's the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong, and how on earth do you pronounce 'Qigong'?
May I suggest you read the bottom section on the Home Page. But briefly, Qigong is the ‘mother of Tai Chi, predating it by thousands of years. Mainly Tai Chi just adds choreography and martial arts movements to Qigong movements. Qigong is done mainly standing in one spot, with repetitive movements. In the words of some students, “Nobody doesn’t like Qigong”. Oh yeah, it’s pronounced “Chee-gung”.
I ain't believing that those slow, smooth movements produce all those health benefits!
Answer: You are correct…they don’t by themselves. The point of the slow, smooth movements is to engage the brain, which must concentrate to enable you to do the movements so slowly. The combination, plus deep abdominal breathing equate to what some call “Meditation in Motion” or sometimes “Medication in Motion”.
The movements, plus brain and breathing form a system which harnesses the power of the brain over the body for beneficial health results. You can almost think about it as harnessing the placebo effect. Take a sugar pill and get well anyway because you believe you will. That’s all brain power, and we in the West need to learn to how to harness that power to help us achieve and sustain better health.
How can you offer all these courses for free? Gotta be a catch somewhere.
We have an anonymous source of funding that covers our expenses, including instructor compensation. Basically, we want everyone in Haywood county to be able to experience Tai Chi/Qigong without a cost barrier. Many of our existing and potential students subsist on Social Security and cannot afford to pay for classes. We anticipate being able to sustain this policy for quite a long time.
Which is better for health, Tai Chi or Qigong?
Like most complex issues, the answer is “it depends”. Some ‘experts’ maintain Tai Chi is better for balance and fall prevention because of the choreography component. Others maintain that Qigong produces health benefits faster because of the repetitive movements and generally longer programs.
There is perhaps some truth to both opinions, but both are likely inconsequential in the context of the benefits to be had from either. What is most important is whether you do your home practice diligently. You cannot realize the health benefits if you don’t practice!
Come to class to learn, go home to practice. What could be easier? No equipment needed, comfortable clothing, do it even seated, do it almost anywhere, any time. We recommend you accumulate at least 60 to 120 minutes of practice a week, including class time, more if you can. If you do that and if you see no benefits to your health within 10 weeks, we need to talk!
There are dozens of Tai Chi and Qigong Masters out there, why do you restrict your Programs to Dr. Lam and Sifu Wing Cheung?
No one on the planet has taught more people Tai Chi and Qigong than Dr. Lam. Millions follow his programs. Why? Because a very large body of clinical studies have established beyond debate that they work. Us seniors don’t have the time to waste on exercises that do not work!
Further, Qigong Shibashi was developed in the late seventies by Professor Lin Houseng, who was associated at that time with the Chinese State Physical Culture and Sport Commission.
By the middle of the 1980s, there were 2000 Qigong organizations and between 60 and 200 million Chinese practitioners across China, roughly a fifth of the Chinese population. The Qigong programs we follow, were adopted from Prof. Lin’s and made widely accessible in this country by Sifu Wing Cheung of the website taichi18.com.
What's this Tai Chi workshop I keep hearing about?
Tai Chi and Qigong Masters regularly conduct multi-day workshops for the purpose of training instructors and serious private practitioners in the forms of Tai Chi and Qigong. This is where we learn the various forms, and even more importantly, how to teach them safely. Bill Pickett is one such master.
Based in Knoxville, with a list of certifications as long as your arm, Bill has conducted several workshops in our area over the past year and will be invited to conduct many more in the future. Both of our instructors have been trained by Bill.
I know Anne Plyler has been teaching for over 10 years, and doing Tai Chi for twice that time. However, Paul Casper is a neophyte, involved with Tai Chi for less than 2 years. How can I be sure he knows what he's doing?
That’s all true. However, no one has worked harder to come up to speed in both Tai Chi and Qigong than Paul. He has attended a total of 4 Tai Chi workshops to date and has achieved certifications in four of Dr. Lam’s programs. The last one was with Dr. Lam himself in Atlanta. Also, he has been to Boston for three days of training by the pre-eminent clinical study scientist in the world of Tai Chi, Dr. Peter Wayne, who wrote the book The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi (available on Amazon). You can be sure he will not teach anything he doesn’t feel qualified to teach.
Are you folks insured? What happens if someone keels over in class?
All our instructors are insured and are required to take a CPR course , either by the Red Cross or another qualified organization.
We also require waiver of liability forms with emergency contact information included. These forms are available on file at every class.
OK already, I'm convinced! When can I join a class?
You can jump into a Qigong Shibashi class any time. However, after a Tai Chi class has been going for a few weeks, it can be a bit challenging to catch up, but we do not turn down anyone sincerely wanting to join a class, regardless of the timing. We will help you catch up if necessary.
If you have more questions you think may be of general interest, please send them in via the contact form. We will add them to the list.
If you have read this far, you must have a serious interest in what we are doing. Please, take some action – join a class and experience our programs. If you are pleased, stay and help us achieve our goal to spread this wonderful way to enhance health. If not, tell us why and we will fix anything deemed to be sub-standard or dangerous. We regard losing a student for a reason other than a conflicting schedule as a failure on our part to either teach well or convince you that your health stands to seriously benefit. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and perhaps much to gain.