A taste of Holland in Costa Rica

Part of the end year seasonal celebrations in the club is a Christmas Party for members and their families. This year had a Dutch theme and Tineke and Marjon with other member’s family and friends provided an amazing experience of cultural exchange. From samples of breakfast foods to cheeses and tulips, traditional dress, clogs, music and dances to try, images of the Netherlands through the seasons – a great chance to enjoy sights sounds and tastes of many aspects of Dutch life.

A special effort was made by Alejandra who learned about Black Pete (Sinterklaas helper) then with costume (17th-century page in a colourful dress, with a lace collar, and donning a feathered cap) and make up gave a superb portrayal of the traditional character. Cleaning off the makeup was a challenge but she had a lot of fun and really entered into the spirit of the role providing treats and jokes and encouraging participation of everyone. Tineke narrated the traditions of Christmas in Holland and facilitated the learning of dances which got everyone moving. Dancing with clogs was a new experience several tried and accordion accompaniment of Maas provided a really great feel to the experience.

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A diverse and wonderful session of music followed with violin, guitars, harmonica and vocals with Andres, DJ and Dimas contributing with their different styles and Percy’s husband Olger and sons played as a trio for the first time.
The participation of these very gifted set of family members further enriched the evening.

We rounded off with a raffle of traditional Dutch fare and one of Victoria’s paintings (Aves de paraiso flowers) for families in need.

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Filed under Branch Updates, Costa Rica, Cultural Exchange, Events, Society News

A light in the window is burning brightly.

A year ago (on the blog) I shared some reflections on Master Moy sharing part of his vision with us “that if someone really needed help wherever they lived, they would be able to find a light in the window in our home and come and find help”.

This year we have been able to provide ongoing support for many families with food, clothes, school items beyond the resources of many, and frequent visits to review specific needs and help with them. With the experience and connections of members we have also been able to help some to traverse the complex administration systems needed to acquire appropriate documentation for children and permission to access services which they will need in the future. We have developed links with other organizations to help in shared efforts to bring relief to the suffering of those less fortunate in our communities.

This past Christmas Season we were able to offer parties for families in need that we support both in the Heredia area and Orotina (over the mountains on the west side of the country). For many, these events provide the only opportunity for the families to go anywhere together as a whole just to enjoy being. This year the traditional games were extended to include pinning the tail on the donkey and a “tug of war” and the sitting on balloons to burst them was hugely animated. We offered photos of the children from last year’s party which Mum’s and Dad’s seemed equally delighted to select. There were games and music for young and old, plenty of food and one member’s mother made beautiful festive bags we filled with fruit, nuts and candies for the children to take home. There were supplies of food and hygiene materials to carry families through the season and much cause for joy.

The party in Orotina was in a more rural area and the fiesta was outside allowing us to also make giant bubbles and enjoy the celebrations of life surrounded by abundant vegetation and blue skies. It was great to see the children working together to paint thank you posters to the many members and friends who have provided the support and resources throughout the year. Then the games and piñata outdoors were enjoyed with equal relish to those indoors (from the party at the Clubhouse) and it is amazing the huge quantities of food little bodies can pack away. One or two grandmas we overjoyed to receive fabric dolls as they had never had one in all their lives. The logistics were a challenge but several members were able to offer transport for food parcels, various supplies, prepare food and collect and return the families from a wider area. The experience was appreciated by all and offered the opportunity for more members to share some time with the families in need. The party was during the day but it was late at night before we finished delivering the last of the food parcels and balloons to some families further afield.

We offer a few images that capture some of these moments of pure joy and lift the spirit.

- Peter Turner, Heredia, Costa Rica.

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Filed under Costa Rica, Cultural Exchange, Fung Loy Kok, Helping Others, Personal Stories, Regional Updates, Society News, Tai Chi for All

TTCS GB part of celebrating a new connection between East and West

TTCS GB was offered a unique opportunity to be part of the celebrations and promotion of a new connection between East and West in the form Air China flights from Beijing to Gatwick, London. We were contacted by social media company The Rabbit Agency and after several weeks of negotiations and planning we recorded this short video advising of some of the benefits of TTC to travelling on a long flight.

On 30 March when the first flights began to arrive a small group gathered together to perform three sets of tai chi in the departure area of the North Terminal. Among the onlookers were dignitaries from Air China, Gatwick and The Rabbit Agency who were all very happy with how the promotion went.

In between sets our group were escorted to and from a comfortable waiting area and the Six Harmonies Lion Dance group performed their lion dance.

Unfortunately a planned backdrop of our logo didn’t materialise but there were a lot of interested travellers and we had our usual t-shirt backs printed onto the Air China t-shirts. Also the event has a lot of cover on Facebook, Twitter and the Gatwick Airport sites so it should help further the aims and objectives.

During our last set the music from the video was played and it was interesting to see that a bit of sound attracted many more onlookers.

Those who participated had a lot of fun, enjoyed a new experience and met some really friendly people from Air China, Gatwick and The Rabbit Agency. We would like to wish them all the very best with their new venture and thank them for taking such good care of us.

View our blog post with the video >

Posts & Pictures International Facebook page >
Please note: you DO NOT need to have a Facebook account in order to see what is on our Facebook page, you will see a notice at the top that you should sign up to connect, but if you scroll down the page you can see what was recently posted.

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Filed under Branch Updates, Events, Great Britain, National Updates, Society News, Tai Chi for All

Taoist Tai Chi in the downtown whirl

The door-bell of the Budapest club is ringing every minute…..
people are gathering in their turquoise T-shirts…. the table is laid and filled with cookies. A small group engages in a vivid discussion of events associated with the 20th anniversary of the Taoist Tai Chi Society in Hungary.

In 2014, the Society organizes 20 public open-air demonstrations at various locations throughout the country: in the cities of Budapest, Sopron, Eger and Győr. The series of demos started 29th March on a bright spring Saturday afternoon. We occupied a busy downtown square not far from the club in Budapest in order to show the 108 movements to the public. Members of all ages were present among the ca. 50 participants.

Due to a club event held after the demonstration and centered on seniors, elderly members of the Society showed up in a considerable number – affirming that tai chi is a form suited for and enjoyed by people of all ages. Passers-by as well as guests of a nearby café took delight in watching and photographing the unusual sight, and gave us a warm applause at the end.

At our future demos we aim to draw in those interested, thus living up to our motto for the anniversary year: “20 years in Hungary – 20 demonstrations throughout the country – 20 minutes of tai chi for your health”! This will take place, among others, at a nocturnal event called the Night of Sports in June within the framework of a nationwide health campaign. A monumental demonstration is scheduled on 11th June as part of the 3 days program in Budapest, after which a festive banquet will follow.

Hopefully, many Society members will attend and we can make this a memorable celebration for all of them. We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to this eventful period to come!

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Filed under Branch Updates, Demo's, Events, Hungary, Regional Updates, Society News, Tai Chi for All

BUSY WEEKEND AT THE SOUTHERN EUROPEAN CENTRE

Since the Grand Opening of the Southern European Centre in June 2010, the different branches in Spain and our neighbor organizations from Portugal and Italy have taken turns to organize and host intensives. This weekend it was the turn of the Catalunya Branch. 16 members made the 6-hour drive from Barcelona for a busy weekend: Dragon Dance practice, cleaning, cooking, chanting, Moon Festival, quick visit to the Old Town, and of course tai chi… Toni Lamarca led the intensive with 47 participants. A good workout and then a delicious traditional Catalan lunch. And time to head back home… tired but happy and looking forward to next year’s visit.

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Filed under Branch Updates, Centre Updates, Cultural Exchange, dragons, Events, Society News, Spain

1st anniversary of UK National Centre

The Society celebrated the first anniversary of the UK National Centre at Marionville Road in Edinburgh with an inspiring international workshop and a birthday lunch. Workshop leader Jim Nicholson explained that the first anniversary is more important than the grand opening as it shows that the local members are all working together to maintain the Centre.

Jim Nicholson, Secretary of FLK, Philomena Pretsell, Vice President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain, and Kenny MacAskill MSP cut the celebration cake!

Jim Nicholson, Secretary of FLK, Philomena Pretsell, Vice President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain, and Kenny MacAskill MSP cut the celebration cake!

Kenny MacAskill MSP and many local dignitaries who had attended last April’s Grand Opening, as well as a few who hadn’t been able to make that event, came along for the lunch time celebration. Both dignitaries and Society members expressed their pleasure at returning a year on and seeing the Centre so vibrant and active. Local ward Councilor Stefan Tymkewycz talked about the positive impact that the Centre has had on the community, improving the area by refurbishing a derelict building and bringing it back to life. He said there were concerns by some about noise and increased traffic, but these fears proved unfounded and he was pleased to hear that many in the local community had visited the centre and taken part in classes.

Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz talked about the positive impact our Centre has made to the area.

Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz talked about the positive impact our Centre has made to the area.

A Society member who was travelling to the workshop on a bus got chatting to a local woman who was interested to hear about the workshop. She said that initially locals thought a tai chi centre would not last very long but is glad to know that it is going from strength to strength.

Picture 4Good hospitality and excellent food was clearly appreciated because several councillors hoped they would be joining our celebratory meals for every anniversary to come!

We are very grateful to our honoured guests from Edinburgh City Council for attending. Thanks to: Councillor and Mrs Ronald Cairns; Councillor Adam McVey; Councillor Cameron Rose; Councillor Alastair Shields; Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz and Mr Kenny MacAskill (MSP).

 

Dropping, rising – the elephant in the room!
The IWS was attended by 114 members and under Jim Nicholson’s instruction, they each found their elephant. Some people had baby elephants, some people had pink elephants, but everyone had a completely different tor yu come the end of the workshop! In the tor yu, Jim taught us to each find our elephant, the sweet spot where the structure was strongest and we could rest and let the weight drop through the structure whilst rising up through the top of the head at the same time. Participants were encouraged to explore their own body parameters, listening to the subtle movements inside and then to try the same thing in the set. This was not easy but everyone experienced lovely calm, grounded sets.

Members performed a set for our honoured guests

Members performed a set for our honoured guests

Jim also found time to give a very interesting and informative talk about the history of the buildings in Canada, the recent purchase of a Centre in Krakow and some of the future plans which follow the model set by Master Moy.

 

More news & updates from the UK >

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Filed under Anniversary, Branch Updates, Events, Great Britain, Regional Updates, Society News, Workshop Watch

Yet Another Record Breaking Day!

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It was great to see all the familiar faces as well as so many new faces. Three hundred and fifty-two participants attended Seniors’ Day at the International Centre this year, many for the first time.

 

Group shot 2The theme of the day was Open Mind and Eyes Open, finding a balance between the world inside of us and the world outside. We focussed on being aware of those around us and using our peripheral vision. The result of this practice was evident in our final set. The atmosphere in the room was very calm with 352 people moving together in harmony.

 

Group shotThe participants were divided into groups where they worked on the theme with a group leader.  They also did their assigned tasks together with the more experienced ones helping the newcomers become familiar with the way things are done at the International Centre.

 

Upstairs lunch

Many favourable comments were heard about the day as people headed back to their locations and it is expected that there will be another record attendance next year.

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Filed under Branch Updates, Canada, Helping Others, International Centre Events, Regional Updates, Seniors, Society News, Tai Chi for All, Workshop Watch