An Inspiring Letter from Student Thomas Alexander

Grand Master,

I wanted to drop you a line and thank you for your visit here at Tiger Kung Fu Academy here in Reno Nevada. Though I was not able to participate in the classes, I was very thankful to be behind the video
camera filming the seminars.

Though I could not hear you talk during your instruction ( I have very poor hearing), I often looked under the camera to watch you demonstrate a technique I found awe inspiring to say the least. It motivates me to work harder for that next level.

Grand Master I wanted to share with you a piece of my recent life that I felt might be of interest. Last May I had a reaction to some anti-inflammatory medication that I had taken for a major muscle spasm in the center of my back. The result was that my heart had acted strangely and I had chest pains for the remainder of the day. Because of my family history, I was referred to a Cardiologist whom ran a gauntlet of tests to determine if there was anything wrong.

Other than just a huge amount of stress I had been under, it was determined that I was in A1 condition and that there was nothing wrong with my heart. What I wanted to share with you is the findings of my 24-hour EKG.

I was fitted with an EKG monitor early the morning of my usual Tai Chi private lesson and class. It is of interest on what was physically recorded during my meditation sessions during the day, and my lessons of that evening.

First a few statistics: I am a 37-year-old man with a weight problem that has chased me around for the last fourteen years. My average heart rate determined is 86 bpm with a sleeping rate of 43 bpm. My target heart rate is calculated at 166 bpm for my age bracket.

During my EKG it was noted that during my usual lunchtime meditation, my heart rate was recorded at 53 bpm. What made this strange to the Cardiologist was that my heart rate went from 82 bpm to 53 bpm in a matter of 10 seconds! My doctor was very interested in what I was doing to make this happen, he didn't believe the time line chart that I was instructed to fill out for the test. The chart noted that at 12:07 pm I had started my meditation. What further compounded his disbelief was the fact that the meditation heart rate lasted for almost twelve minutes before slowly coming back to 72 bpm, my non-meditative state as recorded on my time line chart.

As we further reviewed the tests during my last doctor visit, it was noted during my private Tai Chi lesson that my heart rate was recorded at 119 bpm for one half hour! This astounded me because I don't recall my heart rate increasing to this level. Upon further review, it was determined that my heart rate during my hour-long Tai Chi class was recorded at 160 bpm for the entire class session. I had to ask my Cardiologist this question; "This heart rate would be the same as if I was jogging down the street correct?" The answer was this " Yes that is correct."

My assessment of the class was that I was at complete ease with calm heart rate and I was just working on my 24 and 40 forms with some push hands training. Upon review it was found that my heart rate slowly increased from about 80 bpm to 160 bpm during the time we did our opening eight jewels and 24 form and lasted the entire hour. It took a matter of one (1) minute for my recorded level to rise to this rate. Of note it also took several minutes after the class for the level to reduce to 92 bpm that lasted for one half hour (30 minutes).

To say the least my Cardiologist was astounded! He was elated that I was able to achieve such a level of highs and lows several times a week. I was stunned at the findings. I had to relate that I did not feel the increased heart rate during my classes nor did I feel the decrease in heart rate during my meditations. My only feelings during class were an increased sense of electrical charge, and deep feelings of calm during my meditations. I was told that the only thing that would interfere with the EKG was electrical current crossing my body in the torso area. I was met with disbelief on my doctor's part that this may have been directly the result of my Tai Chi training.

I on the other hand was suspecting something else, so my investigations continued. The very next week I recorded my heart rate during my private lesson as well as my regular class. The result? Completely normal rhythm of 80 to 90 bpm depending on what I was tasked with.

Of further note I am proud to say that I have helped prove to one of the medical staff at the Cardiologists office the power of Tai Chi and Meditation. I was set up to do the treadmill stress test. I was fitted with the EKG patches and had walked on the treadmill for less than 30 seconds to get a feeling for the thing. I was very nervous and keyed up. I decided to do some standing meditation to relieve my stress and relax. I was being watched by one of the nurses at this time. My starting heart rate was 87 bpm. In three seconds of standing meditation my heart rate went from 87 to 63 bpm! The nurse asked out loud " how did you do that!" I replied with "what?" The nurse stated that I had just dropped my heart rate from a normal rate to an almost sleeping rate in three seconds and showed me the captured EKG recording on the monitor. I replied to the nurse that it was part of my meditation practice that I had learned in Tai Chi.

The nurse asked where she could learn to do this, I replied that she could learn this from Tiger Kung Fu Academy in the Tai Chi classes and told her of Grand Master Doc-Fai Wong and what I had witnessed in his seminars. Since this last visit I have made a friend and have promoted Yang Family Tai Chi, this has had a domino effect. The nurse has purchased some of your videos and has practiced what she has learned with other friends.

Grand Master, thank you for your gift of sharing. I have a renewed interest in life and Tai Chi and would not trade that for anything.

Warmest regards,

Thomas Alexander

Thomas Alexander
Network Support Specialist
Information Technology Service
Truckee Meadows Community College
(775) 674-7511