For our teachers and aides and support staff
If you see, feel, smell, hear, taste or otherwise sense something that you do not like or are pretty sure your child would not like – COMPLAIN.
It is more or less a universal adage in Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong training that if there is pain you are doing something wrong. That would be distinguished from effort.
One of the things we do is have students wear smart garments – sensors the size of shirt buttons are embedded and report things like location and temperature. It turns out one can assert that surges (up or down) in temperature are really pain. We were surprised to discover that there is a fair amount of pain that occurs in the sole of the foot. This does not seem to have been reported in the scientific literature or folklore as far as we can tell. There’s been no attention paid to preventing or treating the pain. We are working on it – mostly Tai Chi bar and porcupine balls for feet and Baoding balls for hands
We still use temperature changes as warning signs of seizures, tachycardia and
overheating for all of our students. Our sample size for ataxia students is too small to encourage responsible statistics, but we observe the following in lower legs and arms:
1. there are flashes of pain far in excess of the energy one might use to kick, stomp or punch. Some of these are repeatable (happens at the same movement in the set over multiple days) and some are not. They happen quickly and do not usually persist very long. We call them peaks (look like a letter ‘v’ upside down when we chart them).
2. there are also radical drops in temperature which happen at the same time as an arm involuntarily tucks in against the ribs or a foot turns inward and the knee flexes in as well, We don’t know what is going on here, and they do not usually last very long. We call them valleys (look like a letter ‘v’).
3. There is something of an ebb and flow of energy levels in many Tai Chi Chuan sets. That would be in contrast to the ‘go go go’ seen in Shaolin sets, for example. A third effect we observe is a student expends increasingly more energy for twenty to thirty seconds then more or less reverts back to usual levels. We lack a snappy name for this effect
4. There are issues with head sway – how far your head moves, at what angle and at what speed. This is the most reliable predictor of falls and is sometimes a good
indicator of a looming seizures