The Brandon Branch hosted a 5-day International Instructor Workshop at the Dunedin Center, February 25-March 2. Sixty members attended the first three days of the workshop and were joined by 46 more for the weekend.
Andrew Hung was our instructor, assisted by Karen Laughlin and Sean Dennison. Andrew stressed the importance of understanding pain. Throughout the workshop participants came forward to describe pain they were experiencing in a move and we all watched with Andrew as they did the move, then as he suggested changes they could make to relieve the pain. This was an incredibly beneficial experience for the instructors there, since, as Andrew pointed out, if you don’t have pain, you need to learn from the pain of others how to do a move without pain.
Being balanced and centered in all we do was our number one goal throughout the workshop. In addition to learning from pain, we concentrated on being centered and balanced in the foundations and as we did many Brush Knees and Wave Hands. We also learned to drop like a water melon, to exercise the bone, to shift our weight digitally and hydraulically , relax our elbows, drop into the front foot, keep our knees over our toes, and connect our arms to our whole body.
Karen introduced us to our Spiderman suit, the composite of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia—connective tissue in general. Andrew provided insight into the Eastern medicine connected with our whole bodies and Paul Rubin provided a Western Medicine perspective. The kitchen, guided by Virginia Amos, provided delightfully tasty meals to help us maintain our energy and incorporate the changes we were experiencing. And, we learned how to yawn (hint: keep your elbows down).
This February 87 people came together for a wonderful FLK week at our international centre led by Marsha Eberhart and Jim Nicholson, who both generously shared a wonderful depth of understanding and lightness of heart. We missed Sean Dennison, who couldn’t be there this year for the first time in many years, but we know he was there in spirit. The program was transformative in large and small ways for all who attended.
We had the opportunity early on to consider our personal goals for the week. Many people wanted a chance to understand more about chanting and meditation, while others were looking for a chance to relax and become more peaceful in the way one can only do through a week of practice together with others. By the end of the week we had met our goals, plus some!
In the mornings we practiced the Goon Yam Lighting Ceremony in the big temple, which was new for many people. This chant is quite a workout and requires some coordination. Jim and Marsha shared wonderful “tips” each day that built our understanding. On the last day we conducted the full ceremony with confidence and clarity of mind! We also had a chance to practice the Taoist Chant-Ching Mei Lai Dau Foh-The Pure And Refined Ceremony Honouring the Dippers’ using a combination of the book and the karaoke DVD. Taking small sections at a time and repeating them was a great model for how to practice once we return to our home locations. The Taoist chanters from Toronto, led by Mr. Tam, joined Continue reading
On February 22 and 23, 2014 the San Francisco Bay Area branch hosted a regional intensive led by Theresa Roll to celebrate The Year of the Horse. About 50 California tai chi-ers participated in instructive and eye-opening sessions—with many “ah ha!” moments—at our headquarters in Pleasant Hill, a beautiful town in the East Bay, about 25 miles from San Francisco. Our gala New Year’s banquet was held at Three Brothers from China, one of our favorite local Chinese restaurants.
We invite everyone to join us on April 5 and 6 at an international workshop to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of our Pleasant Hill branch center. Transportation and billeting can be arranged. For more information, call (925) 979-5509 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NYC Tri-State branch held its 8th annual Chinese New Year event to mark the arrival of the Year of the Horse on Sunday, February 16. More than 90 participants gathered at the historic culinary landmark, the James Beard House, for a Chinese banquet prepared by branch volunteers. The weekend festivities began Saturday with a regional intensive led by Carol Anne Gallagher from the Syracuse Branch. Sunday, cooking started in the Beard House kitchen at 8 am. Guests arrived at 6 pm and immediately begin bidding on the robust silent auction. More than 120 items valued at a total of $12,000 dollars were on offer. NYC Tri-State’s new branch president David Goldberg welcomed everyone and spoke about the symbolism of the year of the wood horse. Between dinner courses, members gave testimonials about the value of the community of Taoist Tai Chi and its invaluable contribution to personal health. The world-class musical entertainment after dinner ranged from classical to folk. All in all it was tremendous success.
More than 50 people gathered in our club in Prague to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Members of Prague’s branch were joined by people from other branches to help with preparation and to celebrate. What’s more, honored guests from Prague 1, including the city manager and the director of the Centre of Social Services, came, too, and stayed with us whole afternoon. We were happy to serve and eat around six new round tables we purchased for the club at Christmas time. Everybody enjoyed a big menu prepared and cooked in the morning in the club´s kitchen: a two course menu accompanied by salad, spring rolls and homemade desserts. In the course of the banquet we learned all about the Year of Horse and what it brings, health benefits of tai chi, the meaning of coins in Chinese history, and more. After the raffle and a tai chi set, the club´s choir sang a new year‘s song “gong xi.” In the tradition of “what eyes see, hands do,” we cleaned up the club very fast. The Czech branch wishes all a very Happy New Year of the Horse.
The Year of the Horse began auspiciously for the Denver, Colorado, branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, despite a wrenching Denver Broncos Super Bowl loss. About 100 members, friends and honored guests attended the Denver Chinese New Year Banquet on Saturday, February 1. It was the first New Year’s celebration banquet at the branch prepared entirely from the organization’s onsite kitchen.
Branch Council Member Bob Tank emceed the evening, introducing several political guests including Councilwoman Debbie Ortega , State Senator Irene Aguilar, Commander Pazen of Denver Police Department, District 1, and a representative from Senator Mark Udall’s office. Several of our local neighbors were also invited as honored guests.
Local singer/songwriter Cole Dillingham played the guitar and delivered heartfelt vocals for the evening entertainment. Branch members decorated tables with centerpieces made of horse photos, equine lollipops and Chinese stickers. Horse temporary tattoos were given out to members in search of a little New Year’s “street cred”.
Virginia Amos led a seven-person kitchen team that included Ukiko Maxwell from Portland, OR. The crew created corn soup, pork adobo, salmon with black bean sauce, rice, salad, baby bok choy with Chinese mushrooms and mango pudding for the feast. Whole mushroom tops were included in the dinner for “good luck” in the New Year.
Virginia led an intensive focusing on foundations and single whip the day after the banquet. Forty-two members attended the intensive.
In 2014 the Calgary Branch will have the honour of hosting National Seniors Week and welcoming participants from several countries to the City of Calgary. While in the middle of the city but still within sight of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, participants will check in at the University of Calgary Residential Services on Saturday, June 28 to start visiting and ‘playing’ Taoist Tai Chi™ from that evening through to Thursday, July 3. More information >