Blind Tai chi

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by reikislapper, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    Ok then,
    This is a thread for anyone who's ever had anyone who's going blind or totally blind in their class. I've got a close relative who's wanting to learn tai chi form which is going hard enough as it is with someone with sight. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this or any sites I can visit to try and get her the help she needs as she's really open to ideas at the moment lol. I'm quite willing to give it a go at teaching her what I know already but I've got loads to learn and I'm far from being ready to even start in showing her the form. Please could you give me some ideas to use as I'm really stuck at the moment and I could do with some help.
    If there is any tai chi teachers or any others then please feel free to dive in there and let me know.
    lisa xx
  2. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    My old teacher in Sydney (Keith Brown - one of Erle Montaigue's students) is almost blind. He has a lot of trouble getting around, but when he's doing tai chi you'd never know.

    What kind of problems is your friend having? Keith always said that eye qigong worked really well for him, if only to relax him.

    I don't see (sorry) an issue at all with blind tai chi. The best thing to do would be to focus on push hands - don't worry about forms practice to begin with, just go through a lot of sensitivity training and different two-person push hands drills. Sight is actually a disadvantage in partnered push hands, so she'll probably do well.

    Once she's confident with push hands, you can start teaching her the applications and relate them to the movements in the form (sort of backward from how people usually learn it). That way she'll understand the intention, the application practice will correct her form/posture/technique, then she'll be able to try it without a partner and will understand what you mean when you tell her how to change the 'application' movement to the 'form' equivalent.

    If she's happy with the push hands, move on to stepping push hands, then da lu if she's feeling ok with it. That will do wonders for her confidence, and the spatial awareness you get (from stepping and turning) will be a big help to her. Take it slow, but the fact that you're in constant physical contact with a partner will make it easier.

    Also, get her to concentrate on qigong and posture exercises. You don't need to see the instructor to understand the basics (e.g. spine straight, hips rolled in, tongue on hard palate, knees slightly bent, shoulders down, etc.)
  3. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    I have to admit that I've only had a go at being blindfolded once with pushing hands and really enjoyed the experience (I'm going to regret that one I know lol). It's my mother who's going blind through her diabetic problem as she's really not looked after her health upto yet lol. I've been to see her today and she's seen a difference in me since I've gone back to MA so it's all good in a way but I've never had to learn anyone with a disability before and I'm not the one to be able to do it as I've got so much to learn myself with the softer touch lol. I come from an external past with MA and I'm worried that I'm going to hurt her as I'm more used to going in so I'd rather pass the buck onto someone else in this area lol. I do know some qigong exercises which has helped me in the past which she can do but it's a big difference when it's your mother and not one of the group I practice with when I'm in the South East of the country lol.
    Please bring the ideas forward people.
    lisa xx
  4. moononthewater

    moononthewater Valued Member

    Qi Gong exercises are a good start Chris Jarmey a shiatsu guy has a book out called Taiji Qigong which might be of help. As for teaching form maybe take your own form and make it really simple. Start with the starting posture and go into your first move. Then step back to the start posture and step forward into the second posture of your form and so on. So teach say the first 15 postures of your form one move at a time but after each move step back to the starting posture. We sometimes use this as a teaching tool it might help.
  5. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    Chee sao (sp) (while not strictly tai chi) is great, and I know people train the two-person drills blindfolded all the time in wing chun.

    Try slow sensitivity training using chee sao, and mix up some applications and a bit of a game with it too. The aim is to not use force, but to trick the other person into opening their guard so you can touch their body.
  6. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    Well, depending on how poor your mum's eyesight is, you are going to need to be more hands on. This can be a great advantage as you are going to be able to feel how tense she is and help her to relax. You will also be able to 'sculpt' her into shape.

    I am making an assumption that she won't be going 'martial', but just wanting a damn good exercise routine.

    I have a bias towards form over qigong practice as the form is qigong practice (along with other stuff). Better to have one routine that she will remember than a dozen different routines that will always be forgotten.

    Push hands can also help her to relax if done in the right way. Now, obviously (I hope! ;)) you're not going to start pushing your mum across the room! But practiced in the 'right' way it can help to improve a sense of balance and sensitivety to outside pressures. These could be of great advantage as she would be better able to react to obstacles that she cannot see.

    How about making a tape/CD with instructions so that she can practice when you are not about? My own teacher has a CD where he describes the form.

    (admittedly the instructions are not totally complete, as you are meant to do the form as he says it. This means up to 40mins for a round of the CMC form!! :eek: He has had a guy in america buy one and it helped them to remember what came next.)

    This could also be a fantastic opportunity for your own practice. You will have to look at the form in a whole new way. You could learn a great deal from this.

    I hope this helps and that you and your mum both enjoy the experience.

    All the very best,


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