On April 26-27 the Atlantic Region National Program was held in Halifax at our Regional Centre. For us, a weekend learning and practicing Taoist Tai Chi™ arts was the perfect event to welcome a long awaited spring and to put a hard winter firmly behind us. The Northern Nova Scotia Branch had the honour of organizing the weekend, the first time for some of us to assume this responsibility, and an excellent opportunity to learn. As usual the spirit was strong and all the help that was needed to make everything run smoothly was given freely.
Learning to work together is an important part of our training. We saw this principle in action in many aspects of the weekend, from receiving instruction and practicing together, to setting up tables, serving the wonderful food prepared by the kitchen volunteers, eating together, cleaning dishes, making breakfast, and taking care to keep our building and its grounds clean and tidy.
Of course we came not just for the food and fellowship with old and new friends, but to learn and practice toryu, danyu, the standing jongs and the moves of the set. We had the privilege to work with the President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada, Dave Frame, who travelled to Halifax to be our instructor for the weekend. Many of us arrived at the Centre on Friday afternoon to greet him, and to enjoy a meal and do some sets and practice together that evening.
On Saturday and Sunday he worked with us in groups and one on one. The experience was a joyous one for us all. Dave has had a long association with our organization and we thoroughly enjoyed and learned from his stories and received much benefit from his instruction. He led us outside on a sunny, breezy day to do several sets on new, green grass on the Commons across the street from our centre. It was a true spring day, one of the first, and these sets were indeed pure pleasure. We received many waves and smiles from passers-by who were also out relishing the day. We also had the opportunity to join a chanting practice session on Sunday morning when, using the Frequently Used Chants booklet, we could take turns learning to use the gong and the fish while we practiced the chants. For a few of us, it was a first attempt and it will add another valuable dimension to our practice as we all continue to learn together.
Throughout the weekend, Dave gave us much to think about and to practice. The only problem was that everything seemed to end too quickly, and too soon we were doing the final set on Sunday. But before saying goodbye to our friends, old and new, we were busy talking about meeting up at CIT Week and making plans for the next National to be held here in October.