Sixty nine participants in a two-day National Program hosted by the Kingston Branch on June 7-8 studied alignment in the Don Yu and Tor Yu and how that could be extended to the set. They also got a chance to ponder the provocative question of what is required to keep a family of 42,000 individuals strong and still growing. And, of course, they had a lot of fun, mingling together, sharing meals and preparation and clean-up – lots of camaraderie, making new friends and catching up with long-time ones.
The program, led by Judy Millen, included participants from Kingston, Ottawa, Peterborough and the Orangeville branches. It started by focusing on the Don Yu, specifically finding the front of the feet when pushing up, and the notion of stacking bones. Finding full height and the drop were also stressed. That was then applied to the Tor Yu, and later to Push Hands, with a return to the Tor Yu to see how Push Hands could help. A variety of moves were looked at, including Repulse Monkeys, Single Whip, and the transition from Single Whip to Manes.
Throughout, students were asked to take personal responsibility for their own training – to understand what they were doing and how to take in the improvements suggested – and to reflect on what they were feeling. This would often be shared in small discussion groups – people asked to pair up with someone they didn’t know.
Participants were asked how many people they had in their immediate family – one replied 38 – but our tai chi family has about 42,000 people. We know from our own families the difficulties of keeping people working together, and so the program broke into groups to discuss what five elements were needed for a family of 42,000 people to be successful. There were many ideas, but it was suggested they might be broken down into the following five umbrella themes:
- Common Cause – our aims and objectives of making Taoist Tai Chi™ arts available to all, promoting the health benefits, promoting cultural exchange, and helping others, as well as easing suffering.
- Discipline – instruction must be consistent and instructors properly trained
- Administration – need to look after the organization and its property
- Fund-raising – we need to raise money to keep growing as an organization
- Locations – we need places to practise the art and socialize.
Throughout, examples were given from Mr. Moy and the blueprint he laid out for us.
The program was held in the Grace Center in Sydenham, north of Kingston, and was a record in number of attendees for programs in the branch. The final bit of advice to the tired but exultant group: “Practice.”