21 May 2017

Swirls grow

It's been a bit of a roller coaster fortnight.
Thanks to all for love, care, and kind thoughts coming our way.
See you at class on Tuesday and Wednesday.

And as the young man so rightly says...


19 May 2017

Plaistow class

Thanks to all for a great class tonight, next session 7-9pm 16th June.

No Thursday classes in London until announced here

Due to bereavement there are no London Thursday classes with Mark until announced here. If you are not familiar with checking blogs, scroll down to check for previous posts or put a term such as 'Thursday' in the search box and press return.

Thursday students are very welcome on Tuesdays in Tooting instead. Venue details, maps and times are on Mark's website www.thetaichicentre.co.uk

Tuesday classes run as normal all term. 

18 May 2017

Plaistow class tomorrow

From 7-9pm tomorrow Friday 19th there'll be our usual monthly class in Plaistow. All Mark's or my students who have finished Short Form are welcome. Get in touch if you'd like to come along.

17 May 2017

The last 10 days

Weapons at Fetternear - great Sabre applications all round. 

Beautiful lichen on an old birch tree near Balvack. 

Carn Loch in Alladale. 

Deanich at Alladale where we had Fire and Shadow. 

A good place to sit for a few hours. I saw 4 trout leaping the falls. 

The Great Ridge Woods on Saturday, full of bluebells. 

Airing my home tanned buckskins after smoking them over the fire. 

Lucas is correct!

Push hands last night. 

I met the 3 new local cygnets today. They are unfeasibily lovely. 

Last night's class

Thanks to all for great attention and energy when I covered teaching for Mark last night. It was great to look at being uprooted withe everyone. After The Long Form we also look in depth at a few postures and applications.
Sticking. 

Mark will return to teaching Tuesdays next week, (with Thursdays, 121s and Holly Road sessions resuming in the near future). 
Mark thanks everyone for their kind thoughts and messages. 

13 May 2017

London classes next week

Tuesday classes will run as normal all term from this Tuesday 16th.
Thursday class will not run this week but will resume as soon as possible. 
Friday class in Plaistow with Caroline will run as planned. All Mark's students who have finished Short Form are also welcome. 

08 May 2017

Heading West

Thanks to all the students who came to T'ai Chi this weekend for their good work and their kindness. I am now heading west in the train into Fire and Shadow.
Here's a picture of the beautiful trees at Fetternear Hall on Friday. You'll just have to imagine the sound of the rooks flapping and cawing. See you next month. 

06 May 2017

T'ai Chi outdoors for the forth month running

Bright sunshine all day. 


Spot the hidden sage. 


05 May 2017

Classes as normal this weekend in Aberdeenshire

The workshops will run as usual with me at Balvack this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing everyone. Thanks for all your kind wishes.
Everyone knows
Fruit ripens in the day's sunlight

However, the seed forms at night. 

All Mark's classes and 121s cancelled until 14th May

Due to family bereavement. Please check this blog for further details as we have them.

04 May 2017

May workshops, Aberdeenshire

This month's workshops with Caroline start tomorrow, 5th May, at 6:30pm with sabre/weapons at Fetternear Hall. All the info on the workshop schedule is available here.
It's lovely and sunny today so perhaps we'll get to work outside again at the weekend for the 3rd consecutive month !

No Thursday session tonight

There's no T'ai Chi at Monymusk tonight as the hall is in use as a polling station.
Thursday rota is available here.

Thursday class is cancelled tonight in Streatham

...as Mark's car is broken and is awaiting a part. Class will resume next week.

01 May 2017

Happy Beltane

Whether you have a Maypole ribbon to hand or are watching the dancing. Perhaps you're at a demo or a rally for worker's rights. Or maybe like me, indoors until the rain blows over, happy Beltane!

Apple blossom in the quarry, last week. 

All over the world folks celebrate May 1st, as a Workers' Day, for very good reasons. In some states it's a Revolution Day, and all sorts of regimes and causes put their name to it. However, in these islands, as well as a time to protest, it was traditionally a day off work for dancing, merriment, drinking and flirting. The Church and even Cromwell had a hard time stopping it. The spirit of celebrating Summer's return makes utter sense, and has survived to the present era- all over the country there are events. Perhaps there's one near you. When I was a kid, even in my C of E school, we would dance around the Maypole every May Fair, dressed in white and ribbons. There would be country dancing, plenty of cakes, including 'guess the weight of the cake', which was taken very, very seriously by The Mothers. 

The pole is the Tree Of Life, and also symbolic of the pole around which the years turns. Those of us who pay attention to the solar year (and the lunar month- such as with the fisherman / woman with the tides) do not expect to feel the same every season, or at every time of the month. Like all natural things, humans ebb and flow with their environment, although electric light and central heating has dulled this rhythm considerably. 

In T'ai Chi and Taoist Classics, the phases of the day, month and year are often used as metaphors for times to work harder, to rest, or as codes for specific moments in meditation, or at the peak of an opponent's attack, when it changes into retreat, for instance. This moment in the year in the Northern Hemisphere could be descibed as having strongly rising Yang energy, for instance. Everything is growing upwards. 

Close attention to the immense subtleties of the natural world, the entire environment, the wider context, the moment at hand - these are not the tenets of superstition or flakey ideas, they are indeed the basis of science itself. Empirical observation and attention to the subtle can be the foundation of great art, science, meditation or internal martial arts, all of which are enriched and refined by awareness and letting go of pre-conceived ideas. 

May blossom this afternoon in my veggie garden. 

May Day brings us freshness (in my case in the form of rain, which my seedlings need). What can we look at afresh today? 

Shingle Dragon

This just in from Wayne, with a picture from the Isle if Wight:
'...after a couple of seaward salutations I rounded the point and there was the shingle dragon (with needles) ........ (not at sea bottom but on horizon...'



May Aberdeenshire workshops with Caroline

This month's workshops with Caroline are this coming weekend 5-7th May. All workshops are at Balvack, except for Weapons which is at Fetternear Hall (please note the earlier start time of 6:30pm). Great River students of any level are particularly welcome to the Saturday sessions.

Friday 6:30-9:30pm: Weapons, including Sabre for beginners 6:30-7:30  (£5).
Saturday 1-4pm: Short Form, and related study
Saturday 5.30-8.30pm: Partnerwork
Sunday 1-4pm: Long Form
Sunday 5.30-8.30pm: Advanced Studies and Dance

The price is £16 (concs available) per 3 hr session. Please bring food to share on Saturday and Sunday. Get in touch with your instructor if you need travel directions or feel free to contact me with any other questions.

All the dates for the 2017 Aberdeenshire workshops are available here