On Friday 29th April many eyes might have been on Westminster Abbey, but in Ballina Co. Mayo, all hands were on deck for the final preparations for the grand opening ceremonies for our new premises at Abbey Business Park, Ardnaree. The gods smiled and the sun shone, which made the work go very smoothly. We had Midwest Radio broadcasting live outside the premises during the morning, highlighting our new location. Tai Chi demonstrations and live interviews were interspersed with setting up tables and chairs. 170 guests, including government representative Michelle Mulhern TD, our Lady Mayor Frances McAndrew, town councillors Barry McLoughlin, John O’Hara and Josie Egan, and numerous health practitioners, attended the celebrations. As well as members from the national branches, we also had members from all over the UK, from France, and one member from Australia on hand to bring greetings from their locations. The evening’s entertainment included traditional Irish music and Sean Nós (old style) dancing by the Stenson Family, Michael Cronnelly and Basil McDonnell, and a lion dance by the Success Lion Dance Society from Belfast. A traditional ceilí dance followed the meal, and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
The good weather held over the weekend and our three-day international workshop, led by Judy Millen. The blue skies and sunshine allowed for relaxing walks on the beach in between sessions working on dan-yu, tor-yu, push hands, and brush knee, and that was just for starters! Judy taught us the difference between using the bones in the body and using the large muscles, and the benefits of “letting go” with the muscles and using the bones to get the most benefit from the exercises. Judy also imparted valuable lessons about the society, etiquette and propriety, and Master Moy. The 96 people attending the workshop not only enjoyed the tai chi practice, but also the wonderful food from the kitchen, thanks to the dedicated kitchen crew, and all the members who supplied food for lunches over the three days.
The workshop was a wonderful chance to work together to improve our understanding of the tai chi, and ultimately, to improve our health. So check the calendar for 2012, and maybe we’ll see you at our next International Workshop.