On April 9 and 10, 2011, Italy hosted an International Workshop at the Florence branch (on Via Zanella 16/a). The workshop was led by two wonderful international instructors, Judy Millen and Carmen Capilla, who animated the group of 84 participants in a very lively and dynamic way. Europe was largely represented at the workshop with members coming from Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Great Britain, and Hungary, as well as, of course, from the three branches of Italy (Florence, Rome and Enna), and even from the USA.
Judy and Carmen had the group concentrate mainly on balance, teaching how to use the skeleton for structure instead of muscles, which proved to be an important distinction for many participants as could be seen by the improvement in their tai chi. We applied this principle to danyus as well as to brush knees and wave hands. Major stress was also put on finding the danyus in these movements and in dropping and letting go.
On the second day, the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Italy held its Annual General Meeting, where several future projects for “enlarging the family” were presented with great enthusiasm. Among them was the possibility of renting two new clubs, one in Livorno and one in Rome.
The workshop ended with a very special practice of the snake, for which three continuing instructors, monitored by Judy, were asked to demonstrate the movement before and after corrections. As a result, everyone returned home knowing they needed life-long practice in order to apply all of what was taught.
Delicious food was prepared by the great cooks of Livorno and Florence, with fresh, organic vegetables from members’ gardens and other typical flavors of Tuscany. Unforgettable meatballs were served, which Judy said were the best she’d ever had.