Old 12-01-2008, 08:14 PM
meghanb meghanb is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Unhappy Nearly kicked out because I wear shoes

Hi Dr Lam-
I found a new venue to teach at and as we were going over Here are the light switches and what else do you have questions on... I asked how they cleaned their floors, if they used a swifter, or... another person that uses the facility stopped us and said, "there are no shoes while you practice. Who do you train under... I was taught it is sacred ground that you do not enter with shoes on inside." I responded that I realized that it was one of the very few that does wear shoes and that there are actual TaiChi Shoe available. To this I got a huff and " Not inside, it is sacred space." It was almost a deal breaker, I had to agree to have them bring facility rubber sole shoes only, and that was still barked at. I now there are differences, but is it more Chinese vs Japanese? This person had study 10 yrs with one person and more recently with someone else, so I went to a book on a Professor from the 70's that thought in New York City and there they were pictures of he and his students wearing shoes, so I realize that my thinking couldn't just be coming from newer philosophy. What can I do to help this person have more confidence in what I have told him? He obviously has a big influence in this program, which could in turn hurt my program.

Despirately looking calming answers, Meghan
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Old 12-03-2008, 02:15 PM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,937
Unfortunately many people have set ideas about many things. It is certainly not true that you have to be bare feet to do tai chi historically or in present days. It is unsafe, and for cold floor it can hinder your qi. I have written an article at the Article section of this site which explain it in details.

Like all challenges of people with fixed idea that might not be right: use tai chi principle - listen to the incoming force. Why and how the person have this idea? absorb the incoming force - try to see it his or her way, try to fully understand the incoming force, while maintain your centre and balance. Then when you know where he is coming from, you have a better chance to redirect the incoming force to present your case to gain a better mutual understanding. Good luck and let me know how you get on.
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Old 12-03-2008, 02:34 PM
Dr. Paul Lam Dr. Paul Lam is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,937
Further notes

You can quote my book “Tai Chi for Beginners and the 24 Forms” I provide much information about tai chi and what to wear.

I don’t see tai chi as sacred. Tai chi is an art based on understanding of nature. It helps us to build strength internally and externally (mind and body) through the principles of nature. When we become better at understanding nature, we will become more harmonious, healthier and happier. Tai chi helps us to know ourselves better and be more harmonious with ourselves, people around us and with the world. It is definitely no a religion or anything like that. Nature is nature, it is beautiful and useful but it is not sacred. It is just nature.

I encourage people to do tai chi as often as possible and at many situations, like working, walking, talking and sitting to improve health and harmony. I have put these down at my new program “Tai Chi @ Work” You can use tai chi to enhance your life at many situation, it does not limit you to with or within shoes.

Let me know if the information help
Best Wishes

Dr Paul Lam
Family physician and conjoint lecturer, Univ. NSW
Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute
4 - 6 Fisher Place Narwee, Sydney NSW 2209 Australia
p +61 2 9533 6511
f +61 2 9534 4311
e service@taichiforhealthinstitute.org
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PS: If you wish to communicate with me personally, please send an email to the address above and write on the subject line 'For Dr Lam's Attention'.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:02 AM
energyboxer energyboxer is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Smyrna
Posts: 4
removing shoes before entering is a Japanese martial arts thing...
I agree with Dr. Lam in that it is generally an unsafe practice to train in taijiquan without shoes.
Some people like to attach a sort of mysticism to any martial practice.
These people are indulging in fantasy, not reality.
I would look around for other options in your area.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:28 PM
Ali Shaw Ali Shaw is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7
Smile Shoes

I know it's a while since anything was added to this post but I'm just catching up...

I hope you managed to sort this. I find it is personal choice, shoes or no shoes.. unless you have any diabetics in your class who have to be very careful about their feet and should really always wear shoes
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:10 AM
maxime maxime is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London England
Posts: 4
I hope you managed to find a solution to the no shoes thing.

There are some who for medical reasons need to wear shoes. I have type 2 diabetes, and have been advised I need some kind of foot wear to do most things in.

By the same token I would not want to train on a floor in bare feet if someone had athletes foot of a verruca, although I hope they would have the good manners to wear some kind of protection too.

Other wise I think it is a personal thing. I do not like wearing shoes and find the most comfortable ones i can.
Love and health
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:56 AM
nighthitcher nighthitcher is offline
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sounds good to me
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:00 AM
Rich DeLuca Rich DeLuca is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 18

I use surf walkers in class and outside they are great for tai chi, and if they ask me to take them off I would leave. Rich
to make myself better each day and to go with the flow
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