Bill Douglas may possess that little edge that helps athletes achieve at a higher level. Douglas, an Overland Park resident, is a teacher of T’ai Chi.
T’ai Chi is a combination of visualization, breathing techniques and gentle mindful movements that Douglas said provide a way to maximize your potential. He said that the health benefits include lowering blood pressure, improving immune systems to viral infections and reducing depression and anxiety.
“It is a great enhancer, improves dexterity and balance,” Douglas said. “It improves your sports performance, improves mental focus and a clear mind/body connection.”
Douglas has been a full-time teacher of T’ai Chi since 1996. So how did someone who grew up in the western Kansas town of Ellis end up teaching T’ai Chi?
“I met my wife (Angela Wong Douglas) while attending college at Fort Hays State,” Douglas said. “When she graduated, we moved to California. It was really stressful in California.”
He noted that life was a lot slower in Ellis.
“Someone told me that T’ai Chi was good for stress,” he said.
And the rest, as they say, is history. The 55-year-old moved back to the Kansas City area in 1992.
“I was working and teaching T’ai Chi on the side,” he said. “I went full-time with T’ai Chi in 1996. It comes from China, and its roots are 2,000 years old.”
Douglas has made presentations all over the world, including Australia and Brazil, and has appeared on BBC radio and Chinese radio stations.
He and his wife have authored “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi and QiGong.” They also have produced a CD and DVD. Douglas is now teaching T’ai Chi classes in Johnson County for Shawnee, Leawood and the Shawnee Mission Medical Center.
He has organized a World T’ai Chi Day on the last Saturday in April. The first was held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. The last Saturday in April of 2013 will be the 15th year for World T’ai Chi Day. The event is at 10 a.m. in each of the time zones across the world.
Douglas said that athletes and coaches looking for improvement in themselves or their athletes should give T’ai Chi a look.
“If they want to improve their sports performance, they should give it a try,” he said.