While more than 1,300 members celebrated International Awareness Day in Toronto, those who couldn’t hop across the pond enjoyed regional events put on by the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain that offered a local parallel. On Saturday 10 August 2013, the Society held events in Edinburgh and Ipswich. Here’s a video of the Edinburgh festivities. Read all the way down to see photo slideshows from both events.
The Scottish Region celebrated Awareness Day in Edinburgh at the fantastic setting of the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens, just below Edinburgh Castle. On a normal summer’s day the gardens are busy with lots of families, shoppers taking a break, and tourists taking in the sights. However, this was one of the busiest weekends of the year with the Edinburgh International Festival in full swing. Add in well over a hundred members of the Society accompanied by friends and family, our friendly Dragon, and some sunshine that made for a great atmosphere and spectacle.
Members had travelled from as far afield as Aberdeen, Dundee, Forfar, Inverness, Glasgow and Perth to celebrate Awareness Day with their Edinburgh colleagues. Taoist Tai Chi™ Sets were performed throughout the afternoon, with each set being well received with much applause.
A commentary was also provided giving information about the Set and the health benefits of cultivating body, mind and spirit through practising tai chi and other Taoist arts. The commentator also spoke of the history and development of the Society from its humble beginnings to the international volunteer organisation it is today.
We were delighted to mention this year’s Grand Opening of the new UK National Centre for Taoist Tai Chi™ in Marionville Road in Edinburgh.
The Dragon caused quite a stir among the general public, especially the children. Many thought he was part of the Edinburgh Festival experience. As the Dragon went walkabout in the Gardens, and while others demonstrated the Taoist Tai Chi™ Set in the performance area, volunteers gave out leaflets and spoke to interested members of the public.
It was a memorable day for all, with many members of the public expressing interest in classes.
The East Anglia Region celebrated Awareness Day this year with displays in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, with the splendid facade of Christchurch Mansion as the backdrop. Over 90 members turned up for the event, with representatives from all six branches in the region as well as a modest contingent from London branch.
The sun did not really shine on Ipswich that day, but after the recent heat wave, perhaps that was a good thing! Everyone appeared as cool as their cucumber-green Awareness Day t-shirts and assembled from 1pm in small groups on different lawn areas around the Mansion. They practiced and demonstrated in these groups until the main display at 2.30pm. Many observers expressed interest in future beginner courses and stayed to watch and applaud the whole event.
Once we had settled into our ‘rows and columns’ the main feature Set was unfolded to a commentary about the moves, the health benefits and something of the founding and history of the Taoist Tai Chi Society. The Set was followed by some foundation exercises with commentary specific to the health benefits of each one. The commentator also mentioned the Aims and Objectives and charitable status of the Society and emphasised the remarkable volunteer culture based on the selflessness exhibited and instilled by Master Moy.
David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, watched the displays from the VIP tent, and spoke with TTCS GB Director Peter Jones.
Some members participating in an Awareness Day event for the first time said how much they enjoyed performing the Set outdoors and with so many others, and also how much fun it had been travelling together to get to the event from a neighbouring branch.