5-day International Workshop, UK National Centre, Edinburgh, Great Britain

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The workshop started with Tai Chi sets and then the President of the Society in Great Britain, Crispin Barker, welcomed everyone and introduced the workshop leader Marsha Eberhardt, President of Fung Loy Kok. 16 different countries were represented including Australia, Canada, USA as well as 13 European countries; a really “international” International Workshop.

Marsha drew us in and together with interesting observations and insights into the Taoist path and how our training in the internal arts is about so much more than just physical health, important though that is.

The opening chapter; our journey had begun…

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After choosing group leaders we were introduced to the workshop co-ordinators who would help us with our care-taking tasks. It was striking to see how many people were involved in this and of course they represented just one layer of volunteers looking after the workshop.

Over the 5 days we found ourselves drawn deeper into the internal work of Taoist Tai Chi™ through instruction, practice, helpful imagery, informative talks about physiology and anatomy and personal stories and experiences both from the past and those happening right there in the workshop.

The structure of the workshop soon gave the training a rhythm which provided some familiar, secure base from which to investigate and improve our internal universes: breakfast, chanting (before the 10am start of the workshop for those who wished – and many did), sets, standing, walking, foundations, instruction, sharing, questions, observations, group practice, lunch, tasks, sets, talking, sharing, dinner, set, foundations, sharing. Every day was different and unique but recognisable and with a friendly face, just like the dedicated breakfast and kitchen teams. It was a rich mixture and soon we were open and wanting to tell and hear stories and experiences of our tai chi.

We felt really immersed in the path that Marsha had outlined and described to us, engaged in an exciting adventure of exploration and discovery. As we told our stories we were also creating new ones, new biographies, fresh perspectives, and horizons. The moves we knew so well in the bodies we knew so well fell away revealing new moves and invigorating our bodies with new energies. During the process pains, stiffness and habits fell away clearing a space for the spirit. Day by day this was more and more visible in everyone; we were taller, more upright, happier and our eyes shone more brightly. We were more aware and acknowledged each other with more clarity. We were waking.

IMAG3680 1When Marsha talked she talked directly to our hearts. When she talked about dual cultivation of body and mind as a way to fan the spark of goodness we all have, were born with, we understood because we felt it happening – right there and then. When she told us how the Taoist Tai Chi™ arts help us be better in the world by removing the dust of the world we understood because we felt the dust dropping away from us and could see more clearly what was important in our lives.

Through this process of transformation that we were offered and participated in we realized how the circulation can be altered by our intention, our movement of mind and body, and our balance. We moved from the muscular and mechanical to the elastic, the sticky, pushing from the feet and simultaneously pulling up from the ground, letting go and lengthening, hanging the spine and dropping to separate, allowing the body to stretch and open. It all felt so good. So this is what it is to be a human being.

From the tor-yu and dan-yu to the first moves of the Tai Chi set, wave hands, hit tiger and even a little lok hup on the last day, we explored these ways of moving and made new connections. Everyone was together in their journey but it was individual and personal; our discoveries were our own, our challenges were our own but it was so nice to be able to share with everyone and to be able to relate to everyone’s experience because however individual, from 2 months experience to 30 years experience the process was the same, the common denominator that harmonized and levelled us and brought us joy.

IMG_3028Posture affects the emotions, Crispin explained, during a talk where he shared his knowledge, gained from physiotherapy as well as Taoist Tai Chi™, about the skeleton and the internal organs. We could feel it. The straighter, more aligned we became, the better we felt.

 On Friday we were once again honoured by the presence of Kenny McAskill, the Justice Minister for Scotland, a member of the Scottish Parliament who has a genuine wish to see people be the best they can be and enjoy quality of life, and consequently fully appreciates what it is that we do and how we help people. We invited him to a presentation about the Fenway, made by Edinburgh branch President, Ken MacLachlan and he was interested to learn of the Scottish connection between Edinburgh and Dunedin (the Gaelic name for Edinburgh), Florida.

 It was such a rich week and we seemed to look at Taoist Tai Chi™ from every angle. On the last day Marsha told us that Master Moy Lin Shin had once said that a monk on the mountain was ok, a monk in the town was better, but a monk in the city was best because that’s where people need the most help.

This help meant that together we’d somehow rewritten our stories. We came to the workshop as supporting characters in other people’s narratives, our energies scattered and spirit diluted by the demands of the world but we left as the main characters in our own stories, our energy increased and centred and spirit collected and strong once again; more able to share this help with others. We remembered the way, stepping more definitely on the path, living in the legend that Master Moy scripted for us. How can words express our joy and happiness to be on this journey together? How can words express our gratitude and good fortune? They cannot. As Marsha told us, Master Moy said we can only say thank you for this gift by sharing it with others. So we left with light hearts to go back to our classes and say thank you.

 In the grand, beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh we felt ready to go back to the hustle and bustle of city life with balance but already many of us had our minds on the upcoming workshop in Madrid and also our appetites had been whetted for the workshop in Helmond in January.

 Moved by the spirit of helping others an unprecedented number of people stayed behind after the workshop to help clean and tidy the centre before they continued their journey home. You really made a difference.

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Filed under Events, Fung Loy Kok, Great Britain, National Updates, Regional Updates, Tai Chi for All, Workshop Watch

Awareness Day in Perth, Western Australia

At least 200 members joined in for an Awareness Day event at the Perth Cultural Centre on Sunday 26 October 2014.  We were honoured to have as a guest Dr Yit-Seng Yow, Senior Vice-President of the Chung Wah Association. Aside from one brief shower of rain, the weather was delightful and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time. There was a constant stream of passers-by and some stopped to watch or even join in a free beginner class.

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Sarasota Florida Location Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The Sarasota, Florida location celebrated our 20th Anniversary on October 24th.  We could not have asked for better weather for this indoor/outdoor celebration.  Representatives of the USA Board, Southeast Regional Management Committee, and other Florida locations were on-hand for the festivities. The community was invited for this happy occasion and there were many new faces. There were continuous Tai Chi sets from 11 am – 1:30 pm outside on our large lawn, and inside, along with a Health Recovery class demo.  Refreshments, including two cakes, were prepared by our own cooking team – in all,  a very happy and successful event!

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Filed under Anniversary, Branch Updates, Demo's, Events, National Updates, USA

Lok Hup Week at International Centre Orangeville Oct 14 -18, 2014

From October 14th to 18th, approximately 50 participants attended the second Lok Hup Week held during 2014 at the Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi™ International Centre in Orangeville.

LokHup_IMG_9174_CROPFor first-timers and seasoned participants alike, it was an exciting week of new discoveries which deepened our understanding of Taoist Tai Chi™ arts. The programme was led by John Huang, who shared the treasures that Master Moy imparted to him. The emphasis for the week was not “crushing” the structure of the moves and the importance of bringing a strong foundation from Tai Chi ­­– don-yus, tor-yus, snakes and even the first jong – into our Lok Hup. John also presented us with a new unified translation of the Lok Hup Ba Fa move list that more accurately conveys the rich imagery of the original Chinese characters.

The many hours spent practicing Lok Hup and Tai Chi (as well as informal practice of other forms) worked up hearty appetites to enjoy the delicious meals prepared by the dedicated team in the kitchen.

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Participants also had the opportunity to learn more about the operations at the International Centre and better appreciate the tremendous contributions made by the staff and volunteers who keep things running week after week while the rest of us come and go.

By working effectively and efficiently with our group members between class sessions, we accomplished routine and special tasks from dishwashing and veggie chopping to lavender field weeding and refilling the all-natural soap and cleaning products used at the centre. We learned the importance of the “eyes see, hands do” motto, teamwork and pitching in to help others to lighten the load.

 

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On the morning of Saturday the 18th, Lok Hup Week participants merged with those arriving for Introduction to Lok Hup weekend so that we could all receive instruction on the first moves in the Lok Hup set together. The format of the week, which intertwined instruction on the second-half of the set during the day and first half during the evenings, proved that it really is possible to begin the learning of a set at any point in the endless flowing circle of moving meditation.

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Filed under Canada, Centre Updates, Events, Fung Loy Kok, National Updates, Workshop Watch

International Awareness Day 2014 slideshow and videos

Here are several great videos and many, many great photos for you to enjoy, all from our International Awareness Day at Yonge-Dundas Square.

 

Watch a series of videos from IAD, 2014:

 

Click here or on the image below to see a slide show from IAD, 2014

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Filed under Awareness Day, Canada, CIT Week, Demo's, dragons, Events, In the News, National Updates

Whitby, Markham Stoufville’s Fall Colour Tour at the International Centre

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Monday, October 6th, approximately 50 participants from Whitby, its four Satellites and Markham Stouffville boarded a bus at 7:30 a.m. to begin an excursion to Orangeville. Under the guidance of their continuing instructors, the participants began what turned out to be an wonderfully informative day.

They enjoyed a journey through nature’s fall colours while partaking in activities that supported the day’s objective – “to learn more about the International Centre in Orangeville”. Upon arrival at our destination, the first stop was the Columbarium to pay respect to our founder and mentor, Master Moy Lin Shin. All left in awe of this man who accomplished so much.

Following a snack and a set, the instructors began a guided tour through the grounds, buildings and amazing points of interest.  Later a great lunch demonstrated what it meant to be a ” volunteer”. Nearing the end of the visit, the participants had a few minutes to explore on their own. Many just walked about in awe of the marvellous place that is OURS. We all were inspired to return. What a great opportunity.

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A Magical Night of Taoist Tai Chi™ in Oslo, Norway

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The long summer evenings are over and the long dark evenings quickly emerge upon us. On the 25th of September the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Norway, together with thousands of citizens of Oslo, celebrated equinox. On this particular evening all the electric lights were turned off along the Akers River in Oslo, and were replaced with thousands of torch lights.  About 40 000 people took part in this year’s cultural event along the river in order to experience live music, dance, fakirs, light installations and Taoist Tai Chi™ arts.

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Several members of the Taoist Tai Chi Society Norway participated in this year’s celebration. We decorated the surrounding trees and a sculpture we stood on with Chinese lanterns. We performed amongst torch lights and wood fires. Dressed in white trousers and dark tai chi T-shirts we demonstrated some of Master Moy Lin Shin’s traditions including the set, the foundation exercises and the Sabre set. During the 3-hour demonstration we received much interest. Lots of people passing by stopped to have a look and many were interested in receiving information about the Society and what we offer. A few people enthusiastically joined in.

Practicing tai chi under a clear starry night sky surrounded by flames, lots of Chinese Lanterns, in front of a large but quiet crowd made this a truly magical night for us all. We are already looking forward to taking part in next year’s ‘Elvelangs i Fakkelys’. In the mean time, we will be practicing indoors and inviting all those who are interested to join us in experiencing the wonderful health benefits of Taoist Tai Chi™ arts.

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Filed under Events, Festivals, National Updates, Norway, Regional Updates, Society News, Tai Chi for All