Over the Easter weekend of April 18-20, 2014 forty participants came together to take part in Tai Chi Sword at the International Centre in Orangeville. Some of us had taken a sword workshop before and for others it was their first time learning the sword set. Regardless of experience level, instructor Joe Karner promised us that we would be tired, confused and sore at the end of the workshop. Not only did Joe absolutely deliver on that promise, an amazing thing happened in the process. Each day our muscles got a bit achier, we had to rely more on each other to recall what move came next, and the smiles grew bigger and bigger!
Joe demonstrated the first few moves of the set, talked talk about angles and intention, and then warmly asked us to try it with him. We proceeded through the entire set like this, learning in sections rather than one move at a time. We would do the section of moves with verbal cues, then with the names of the moves and then in silence. No one seemed to mind at all that “one more time” really meant several more times as the group was anxious to practice. When Joe sensed that our bodies and minds needed a break, he would tell wonderful stories of Master Moy. Usually what followed was then the hardest move of all – Get Up Off Floor.
Each day we had the opportunity to break into smaller groups to review, consult and practice some more. As the weekend went on, we washed dishes and chopped vegetables with our group. By the time Easter Dinner came around, it really felt like we had worked together as a family to accomplish something amazing. The energy in the room when we finished our first full sword set from bow to bow was palpable. Joe encouraged us to take our learning back to our branches and to keep practicing!