I have many teaching anecdotes and those that teach a point, I always bring into my classes and workshops. So I thought that I would share some of them here. I'll begin with two of my favourites and add more as I think of them.
These two show that people will believe what they WANT to believe and not necessarily what they see!
From Sydney 1979
I used to teach at the New South Wales Acupuncture College in a town in Sydney called St. Leonards. At one such class an American man stayed for the whole lesson and at the end came to me and asked if I could show him anything super-natural! So I politely told him that Taijiquan was super-natural enough without any circus tricks. He kept on so I told him that I would show him one dim-mak point application. I simply asked him to throw a punch and blocked this using the Taiji posture known as P'eng, then quickly into an arm grab where I forced my thumb into CO 10 (Colon Point No. 10) and my right longest finger into "neigwan" or PC 6 in a direction away from his body. This was enough to drain enough Qi to cause him to fall to the ground.
I never saw this person again until ten years later when I was teaching in a park on Sydney harbour one Sunday morning. This same chap who did not recognize me anymore as I had a long beard by that time, came to me again after watching the class and asked the exact same question. Could I show him any super-natural feats. So, I again told him that I did not get into circus tricks. he then went on to tell me that back in 1979 he visited a 'master' in St. Leonards' (ME!) who just pointed to his arm causing him to fall onto the floor unconscious!
From Swansea in Wales UK
I was giving a workshop in Swansea in Wales one year and one young lad who was really getting it quite well, was asked to come forward and hold my upper forearm. I was only showing the class the difference between external tension, internal tension and dead! So I showed him the first two then I told him that I was going to show him internal tension. The next thing was that this young man was on the floor some metres away! This was quite embarrassing as I had not done anything! But the young man believed that something had happened to him, he WANTED something to happen to him and so it did!
Anecdote No. 3, USA
I was teaching in the USA one year and I was showing some of the very deadly and overkill movements from the ‘Mother Applications’ of Taijiquan.
The application involved, avoiding the attacker’s attack, breaking his elbow as he was struck in ST 9 to knock him out, then breaking or dislocating his shoulder followed by a shot to ST 10 (death point), then a shot to KD 10 behind his knee as I again struck him into the neck to throw him onto the floor dropping my right knee onto his GB 25 point as I dropped down, taking his right wrist and locking it as I poked my fingers into his eyes! I had asked this martial arts expert to attack me with his full force and without hurting him, executed all of the above in a matter of one or two seconds ending with him on his back and me with my fingers into his eye sockets.
From the ground he said: "Oh yea, but I could still kick you with my left leg"!
Anecdote No. 4: Norway
I was in Norway teaching one year and a western boxer asked me how I would handle to boxer’s jab. So in order to demonstrate, as he was just not getting it, I asked him to shape up and attack me with his best jab whenever he wanted to. But as soon as he lifted his arms, I attacked him thrusting my fingers into his neck, then up to his eyes before he even moved!
He said: "But I didn’t even attack you yet", I replied, "Yes, that’s correct".
Anecdote No. 5: Australia
Some nice bird stories: A couple of weeks back, we, being registered wildlife carers, picked up a young butcher bird who had fallen out of his nest and was having a bad time with the traffic on this dirt road. So we brought him home a put him into the special cage that we have for such occasions. A butcher bird for those who aren't antipodeans, is a small king fisher type of bird that takes it worms or other food and impales it on a sharp stick for later, hence its name. They are gregarious birds and very courageous. So during the day, I made my hand act like a bird by flapping my fingers while holding a pair of tweezers with food in them and he responded by chirping and opening his mouth wide so that I could push the food down his throat as his mother would do. By the end of the day though he had had enough of this surrogate mother and was calling out. I noticed that a feint call back to him was coming from the road where we found him. So I though that I could find his nest and put him back now that he was much better. He sat on my hand as I walked to where I had found him and once there, he started chirping madly, then his parents appeared in the tree above. The little bird flew off to his parents who greeted him and took him home.
Second Bird Story: Yesterday we again found a sick baby Rosella parrot, possibly the most beautiful of all Australian Parrots, and they epitome of the parrot type. He could not fly and was stressed with his parents and other members of his family calling to him to get up and fly. He could not as his wing is damaged, possibly from a car. So we brought him home and placed him into a cage where he seemed quite happy feeding by himself. Later, he began his call to his family, so being a romantic at heart, I made some inquires as to where I could get a companion for him. A friend has two adult Rosellas and offered them to me. He had also found the male when it was damaged and had bought a wild female for him. But the condition was that I took both as they were a pair and all parrots mate for life. I placed the box that contained the two parrots into the cage with the little bird and opened the top. The male immediately flew out of the cage like a rocket past my left ear leaving the female in the cage. So, I thought that was the last we would see of him. About 20 minutes later, I looked out and saw the male on the outside of the cage talking to his wife and trying to get her out! He flew off when he saw me. So I waited another hour and he didn't come back so I decided to take the risk and let the female go not knowing if she could even fly longer distances or whether she would connect with her hubby. So, I let her go and she flew into the nearest tree where she began calling. Her mate, immediately flew to her and they flew off into the wild blue sky to hopefully live happily ever after. The little bird? OK, I drove 40 miles to a pet shop and bought him a young female bred in captivity and they are also very happy even after surviving three snakes sliding all over their cage last night wondering why they were so close yet so far!!