WRIT 101

Tai Chi On Paper

Spring 2015

Tuesday/Thursday 11:50-1:35 in Admn 208

Professor Sid Olufs, olufs@plu.edu

153 Xavier Hall

Office Hours:  T 2-3:30, W 10-1, plus appointments.  In addition, classes will have some online contact hours for individuals and groups.



What is tai chi?  What happens in our bodies as we learn tai chi?  In this course we explore tai chi movements, and write about them.   The benefits experts have claimed for tai chi include improvements in health, mindfulness, and self-defense.  Assignments include learning Yang Family long form postures, writing and editing descriptions of the movements, developing a research paper on medical investigations of tai chi, and analyzing some self-defense applications.   Here is the class assignments page. 


We are using three books:

       Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, by Fu Zhongwen (trans. Louis Swaim), Blue Snake Books, ISBN: 978-1-58394-152-2

      Richard Bullock, Michal Brody and Francine Weinberg, The Little Seagull Handbook, 2nd. ed., Norton, ISBN PLEASE NOTE:  You get a deal by ordering this and the following book as a package, at ISBN 978-0-393-26284-1

      Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say / I Say," 3rd ed., Norton, 2014.

      Additional material will be accessible through Sakai. 


Students will write five papers.  Each consists of several steps in the writing process, to be brought to class, worked through with peers, and turned in. 

1.    How do we learn a new skill?  Is tai chi like other things we learn?  In this paper students describe and examine their study habits.  The final version is due March 5. 

2.    What does the scientific literature say about the health benefits of tai chi?  The final version is due March 19. 

3.    Can language precisely guide physical activities?  In this paper students describe particular tai chi postures, and test the language by executing the descriptions written by peers.  The final version is due April 9. 

4.    This is a repeat of assignment #1, based on more experience with tai chi. The final version is due April 30.

5.    This last paper is the WRIT 101 "Common Assignment," an opportunity for you to develop and reflect on your goals for your writing.  The final version is due May 12. 


Here is a web page that supports the study of tai chi. 



[last updated January 2015]