Up Front: This is not about Michael or Julie, or their splendid Tai Chi Association in Colorado Springs. It’s more about the Yang Family Tai Chi that they teach there, and how it affected my recent (six weeks ago) total hip replacement.
My thesis is this: That the Tai Chi (TC) I’ve been studying for the last 3.5 years at Michael’s place was THE key ingredient in my pre operation condition and rapid recovery.
Hint one came from my Ortho surgeon, Dr. Steven Meyers, here in Colorado Springs. At my two week post-operative checkup, I asked him if he noticed anything unusual regarding my bone density during the surgery. (Background: I’m always reading that TC people have measurably denser and harder bones than non TC). He thought for a second, looked at his notes, and his eyes lit up: “Yes, it gave me a lot of trouble…the bone was like iron, unlike almost anything I’d seen before.” Note that the hip replacement procedure requires significant leg and pelvis bone manipulation, including sawing off the damaged “knob” on the top of the femur and installing a metal replacement in the femur, as well as “reaming” out the damaged socket in the pelvis to install a ceramic cup to hold the replacement femur knob. (I’ll save the gory details, but you can see the entire procedure on You Tube, if interested).
I also asked him to comment about the general state of the hip when he opened me up. “Bad, very bad; the operation should have been done long ago.” Now, some would say that TC is supposed to prevent having to have this type of procedure from being done (this EXTREMELY insensitive comment was very pointedly made by a colleague at the TC Association. I’ll mention no names, but his initials are Dr. Howard “The Professor” Drossman, Esquire—BUSTED, Howard), but I’d argue that it was the TC that kept me mobile for so long with a ruined hip, and that working the hip via regular TC practice was enough to keep me ambulatory, although emphatically not pain free—long after I should have had the procedure done.
Finally, at every stage of my rehab since the operation I’ve been notably ahead of the curve as compared to the “average” pace of recovery. I (gingerly!) re-started TC practice two days after the surgery, working both the Kai Men Gong (TC stretch and warm up), and the Yang family long (108) form, doing both every day since then. I showed up for my first physical therapy at four weeks and was asked, “where’s your cane?” I offered that I had given up my cane five days prior, and they responded that many people come to PT at four weeks from surgery still on crutches. I had my final physical therapy session yesterday (six weeks after the surgery), and the therapist described me as being far advanced of the “normal” healing curve, to the point that they didn’t need to see me again.
There’s a Ph.D dissertation in here somewhere, but I’ll leave that to someone else. I admit that I can’t prove a negative; that is, that the results would have been different if I’d never studied Tai Chi. I just know that the recovery from my recent hip replacement was unusually rapid and trouble free, and that according to my doctor my bones were unusually dense, well beyond the norm. I can’t prove it one way or the other, but I’m pretty certain that my TC practice—especially the expert instruction I get from Michael Paler at the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs—was the key element in my rapid recovery.
Michael, I met you about a year ago when I was visiting my friend Martha and accompanied her to the center. I participated in the warm-up both times and it felt wonderful, was easily adaptable to my foot disability. You and Julie were so kind and welcoming. It was a delight to be there. Since then I have been using the warm-up on the dvd regularly. Not quite every day; schedule with work etc. jams up. Plus quite lazy. :-) But many days. I always feel so good from doing it. My energy balances, any tension (mental as well as physical) melts away, and I feel refreshed. I like to follow along with you on the dvd, even though at this point I’m very familiar with it. It’s just so relaxing to do it along with you, turn off the figuring-out part of my mind and connect with it this way. When I realized I could say your instructions along with you I started to mute it and put on music in the background to make it even more of a treat.
So I just want to thank you. And report that I recently had my annual physical and the results were great! Blood lab work showed everything was normal. I have lost a bit of weight without really trying. And was able to stop taking a mild blood pressure medication (doctor felt my blood pressure with it was going a bit too low although I felt fine). And a routine bone scan showed my bones doing fine. This made me happy as the disability prevents doing much walking. So I am taking no medications — not a small accomplishment for a 66-year-old woman in our culture. And haven’t been sick beyond a couple days of a very mild cold all year. I give credit to the wonderful warm-up sequence (I often also do the hand and foot parts; I feel that my body overall benefits from this, plus they just feel good to do.) It amazes me that something which is not strenuous makes me feel so good. And has real benefits.
You invited me to let you know how it was going. I wasn’t diligent enough on a daily basis to say I have met the 100-day challenge, but even so I’ve enjoyed and benefited from the warm-up sequence. And want to let you know how it has gone and thank you so much for your hospitality and making this wonderful art available via the dvd. Martha has shared how much her work with you means to her and how much she also has benefitted. I can see this myself.
Wishing you all the best. Hope all is well.
And, again, thank you–
In over a decade of martial and longevity arts practice, I have trained with many many teachers, and never one more knowledgable, graceful, or of a more genuine lineage than Master Michael Paler.
For every instructor I have trained with, I have met a dozen senior students. And never have I been as impressed with a group of advanced students as the ones at the Tai Chi Association. Although many of the students there have development very high skill levels, they are all very patient and gentle, allowing for a efficient transfer of knowledge to beginners. Master Paler and his partner Julie have done an incredible job of creating a safe space that is welcoming to all comers, regardless of whether one’s primary ambition is martial prowess or health and longevity.
When I started Tai Chi last year, I was so weak that I could barely stand for 15 minutes. With Michael’s gentle encouragement, I’m now able to make it through an entire class and have started Qigong classes! For the first time in nearly 10 years, I have enough energy to create a meaningful life for myself! My gratitude is beyond words.
I love Michael and the Tai Chi lessons I’m learning about internal martial arts and Tai Chi is what I’ve chosen this to help me balance Mind, Body and Spirit.. Michael is a terrific teacher.
Very good instruction, a complete system, and very healthy. I feel much more relaxed and healthy. Better to do it and find out for your self though.
I started Tai Chi here at this school May 2012 and started Qigong January this year. Qigong helps to form that ‘Tai Chi’ body as your body adjusts to moving more efficiently. You can go to class 5 mornings and 2 evenings so there are plenty of chances to do a class and it is suggested to do as many as you can to learn the form, to adjust your body as you progress. They offer DVDs to help with practice at home. Uniforms are not needed, dress is casual, T-shirts, shorts or sweat pants, light shoes. Master Michael Paler is knowledgeable about subjects he teaches, 24 and 108 form Tai Chi, Qigong, push hands, swords and sabers, staffs, fans, balls and questions are encouraged. As they adjust to the new place, new classes will be given.
I have been a student at Michael Paler’s Tai Chi Association school for the last eighteen months. Michael is an excellent teacher who guides the student into a whole world of wellness and health through the understanding and reconditioning of the body and mind. Tai Chi Chuan is one of those arts that can only be learned through the instruction of a thoroughly knowledgeable, competent and experienced instructor like Sifu Michael Paler. We are extremely fortunate to have such an instructor with a well established school here in the Springs.
Have now been at the school for almost 2 years and it’s been a terrific experience. Every time I think I know what we’re going to cover next, Sifu Paler makes the material interesting and finds a subtle aspect of the art to teach, but in an attainable way. Bottom line is that there’s something here for everyone. Do yourself a favor and learn this art. It will improve your life in so many ways.
Updated 12/21/13: Have now been at the school for almost 2 years and it’s been a terrific experience. Every time I think I know what we’re going to cover next, Sifu Paler makes the material interesting and finds a subtle aspect of the art to teach, but in an attainable way. Bottom line is that there’s something here for everyone. Do yourself a favor and learn this art. It will improve your life in so many ways. ___________________- Discovered this school about a month ago and like some of you, I thought, “These reviews must be from employees — it’s all too good to be true.” I’ve been training there for about a month now and I am BLOWN away by how good a school this is. When I first visited the studio, I was really impressed by how Michael Paler was more concerned with his students than signing someone new. He wasn’t aloof; he made me very welcome but was much more focused on the class. Since then, I have come to realize just how gifted a martial artist and teacher Michael is. What’s most impressive is that he can teach to all ages and skill levels at once w/out anyone feeling like they’re not the focus. His calm, light hearted but detailed instructing is amazing. Above all that, the Palers are just nice people. I am so glad to have found this school. Aug: Have been training with Sifu Paler for 6 months. Honestly, it’s a great experience. At least twice in the last month, I’ve had a terrible day at work and thought that I didn’t want to go to class but I’m glad I did. It is completely relaxing and what I needed. Sifu tells us, “Where you are exactly where you should be” and that’s what I love about Tai Chi. You never have a bad day. I play golf and have bad rounds but with TC, it’s always where/what you are that day. If you’re still waiting to join, stop waiting and get to class. I am sure you won’t regret it.
A real health-builder! Came to Michael after a high-impact career and high-impact sports really wore the body down, then surgeries and a car accident left me feeling weak and with poor balance. Wow — now, several years later, it feels like a new body. Michael never makes it uncomfortable, always lets you proceed at your own pace and with your own priorities, and he seems to always have the hint you need to help yourself move past whatever the current issue is. He really cares about us as individuals, and “never is heard a discouraging word” — you’ll WANT to keep showing up. Tai Chi, and Michael in particular, will be in my future for many years to come
I love everything about this school! The classes are calming, rejuvenating, uplifting, and enjoyable – far beyond my initial expectations. I especially appreciate how our remarkable and gifted teacher, Michael Paler, cultivates a balance between the physiological aspects of Tai Chi and Healing Medical Qigong, and the outward beauty, precision, and discipline of the forms. He also demonstrates the martial art applications of Tai Chi in an illuminating way. Michael’s unfolding of the differences between intention and awareness, and conscious and unconscious action, opens up new dimensions to the experience. For anyone dedicated to healing and wellness, and to learning deeper levels of the mind-body connection, this school will open up new frontiers for you. Once you actually experience for yourself the transformative effects that both inner and outer balance have on you, especially after about three months of classes, you’ll realize that you’ve embarked upon a new beginning on your “wellness journey” — an unexpected metamorphosis one might call it — with fresh eyes, a revived sense of wonder, and new perspectives.
A Beautiful Manifestation I am the Clinical Herbalist at Sage Woman Herbs & Clinic. I have known Michael Paler, the Master instructor of Tai Chi, for nearly two years and have watched his Tai Chi Association Studio blossom. I am very impressed at Michael’s high level of integrity and at the incredible enthusiasm with which he approaches his profession. He has many years of experience, and it shows. His students come into our herbal pharmacy and express how much they enjoy the classes at Tai Chi Association. They seem more relaxed and calm. I have had the pleasure of experiencing him as an instructor and he is a natural teacher, calm and confident, as well as knowledgeable about his profession. I recommend him highly to anyone looking for a more relaxed, centered lifestyle, as well as a stronger, more energetic body.
Two months ago, I was a stressed out mess, ready to walk away from my job as a Registered Nurse. Luckily, I stumbled across Sifu Paler, and his teaching in Yang style Tai Chi has truly made a difference in my life. I am in control of that stress now, and have learned a great deal about myself. Michael not only teaches Tai Chi, but the history and philosophy behind it, which is amazing. And I never thought I would enjoy the martial aspects of the art as well. The studio is a great place to learn, in a calm, pleasant environment. Michael is an excellent, patient teacher, and the other students are open and welcoming. So, if you are a complete newbie like myself looking for a fun, mind expanding activity, check out the Beginner Tai Chi schedule and give it a try! I never imagined getting into a martial art, but can see myself playing Tai Chi for the rest of my life.
Professor Howard Drossman
Before beginning my studies of Tai Chi with Michael Paler, I had studied the 108 Yang style Tai Chi form for three years and the Chen Man Chang 37 style form for five years and then practiced without instruction for 20 years. Though this considerable experience helped me refine my Tai Chi practice, I came to Michael looking for more, uncertain of what to expect. On our first meeting, I was most impressed with Michael’s passion for teaching and his knowledge about Tai Chi, Chi Gong and their relation to Taoist principles. Though I was not initially interested in martial applications, I have found that Michael’s approach to teaching push hands allows me to understand much more about the art and spirituality of Tai Chi. The Tai Chi Association is a calm, relaxing and fun place to learn Tai Chi and Chi Gong. Michael’s extensive experience, his high level of mastery and his passion for the art of Tai Chi have allowed me to grow immensely in both practice and understanding; I am continually inspired to learn more as a result of his excellent, but laid back approach to teaching. He is a wonderful master for both beginning and advanced students and his push-hands club is lots of fun as well.
There are people that know a craft and there are those who are able to teach that craft. Michael is one of those people. I was expecting to learn some of the technique but Michael brought in other aspects as well as visualizations that helped to perform the technique properly.
After sixteen years of learning from Michael I still find it amazing how much he still has to teach me. If your a beginner, intermediate or advanced there is much to learn from these classes. Tai Chi is a life long commitment, and you are never done learning, it is nice to have someone that can not only help you grow in the art but also continue to find new things to teach you.
I have been taking Tai Chi for over eight years. I learned more in the last month and a half than in all that time in regards to chi, Qigong and Tai Chi. I find Master Michael Paler to be the best teacher I have ever had and the most definitive in his methods of teaching. I intend to learn all he can possibly teach me about Tai Chi. Respectfully,