Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tai Chi Sabre in Brighton

"A command of the traditional Taijiquan weapons, Sabre, Straightsword and Qiang, or Spear, enables practitioners to take the early concepts from barehand solo and partner work much further, bringing the work to higher levels of skill. This in turn matures the understanding of the early stages of the curriculum. For example, in the barehand work we come to understand the basic structure of the Gong Bu, or Bow Stance. This enables us to learn solo form and Push Hands drills correctly and progress to weapons training. But when we begin to study Sabre or Straightsword, we see that the Bow Stance behaves quite differently than in barehand circumstances. It often needs to be longer and narrower to support the use of the blade. Having learned and embodied this we can then explore the stance variations in a barehand context which in turn enables us to develop new sword-like barehand skills. Thus in order to deepen understanding of barehand work, apparatus training is used." Sam Masich

We not only have the pleasure of hosting Sam again in the UK in a few weeks time, but I will be teaching a Sabre Day to help everyone prepare this Saturday 3rd March in Hove. Everyone's welcome, although you'll need some experience of Tai Chi, Kung Fu or similar to get the most from the training (not necessarily weapons, that's what the classes are for).

Get in touch, book your places, and bring your Tai Chi friends!

01903 369501 / 07825 410967

Friday, March 27, 2009

27th March - nearly done!

As our time here is drawing to a close (only 2 days to go) I’ve been considering a few things: what will I miss about being here; what have I got from being here; what will I not miss; what am I most looking forward to about being back in Brighton…

Firstly I’ll miss the people I’ve been here with. Ed for his compassion, Javier for his intensity, Dorian for her laugh and insight, Karin for her caring and clarity, Erik for his gentlemanliness (one might almost say he has the nobility of a fine horse!), Bobby for his wisdom, Tony for his questions and openness, “88 Mary” for her passion and joy for life, Trude for her listening and gentleness, Declan for his eagerness, and Sam, of course, for his jokes…

Then there’s the food; as people who’ve got to know me here will testify, I do enjoy food! And I love Mexican cuisine, with it’s warmth, freshness, juiciness… a little rich and meat heavy, but you can work around that somewhat. Our housekeeper, for all that she’s done the laundry, kept the place clean, done the shopping, hasn’t been an inspiring or inspired cook – but then we also didn’t have to do any of that for ourselves. I’m looking forward to some good British food: curry and a pint at the Unity; sushi at Moshi Moshi; tapas in the South Lanes.

The weather here has been perfect, even able to sunbathe sometimes; I’m not expecting to be able to do that for some months in England. It’s been wonderful to watch hummingbirds, butterflies (including monarchs), kiskadees, egrets, hawks… there was an incident at training this morning – a large hawk disturbed the nesting egrets from their nests above us and circled whilst herded by those huge snowy white galleons of the sky. Beautiful!

I may take some time to not be on the lookout for scorpions if walking barefoot. We have had a couple wandering the house, and a few cockroaches. The scorpions got killed before I could see them, so I’ve been out at night with a torch looking for them but no luck yet.

I’ve got many things from being here, particularly as this intensive was held in Mexico, a place which has the feeling of coming home for me.

It’s been a source of frustration to me for years that, even with all the Tai Chi out there, a cohesive and well developed curriculum has been difficult to piece together; and now I and our students don’t have to scrabble around to find it. I feel very honoured to be able to bring back what I’ve learned, add it to the fine foundation and enthusiasm for the study that we already have in Sussex and take things forward as a community of Tai Chi players. (I remember sitting around at the pub trying to find a collective noun for Tai Chi’ists and hitting upon a Tao of Tai Chi players… what do you think? Will it catch on?) The skills of Tai Chi we all work on in our training on a daily (or at least frequent and regular basis), and that’s the road we’re all on.

27th March - The Test!

There's going to be a test for all students who've been training this term, focusing particularly on those students who've not left any comments or asked questions on any of these blogs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

19th March '09 - Anniversary

So, we were at the pub last night and I was telling the story of my last trip to Mexico; how I'd got in touch with Bert, Tlakaelel's translator, and let him know that I was coming and that I'd be arriving on March 18th, at about 7pm... "But it's March 18th today", said Eric! "What time is it?". "Trude checked her watch, "7pm..."
So I got to celebrate my ten year anniversary to the minute, with a beer or two, great company, wonderful food... In as much as there is so much I'm looking forward to when I get back ('Hi Babe'), there's a lot to celebrate having been here for. Twice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

18th March '09 - Sam vs The Leprechaun!

Yesterday was St Patricks Day and we were visited by a very friendly Leprechaun. He merrily ran around handing out gold, blessing us and wishing us well... and wouldn't you know it, this one knew the Two Person Form as well! The pointy shoes may have been a bit of an advantage in some of the kicks, as even Sam found out...
And I don't feel so wealthy in the light of day, I thought I was rich but I've mis-placed my gold. If you happen upon it, it's mine!

18th March '09 - A Race Against Time!

My shoes are wearing pretty thin... I think they'll probably survive the last couple of weeks, but whether they'll make the journey home or heroically suffer and expire, their remains interred in Mexico, I don't know. The one thing I was certain of is that as long as it doesn't rain my feet would stay dry even if the sole wore through - then last night, just at the end of class, it actually rained! For the first time (properly) since being here! I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4th March '09

It's kind of odd to come all the way to Mexico and find someone making really good spear tips of all styles, but kind of nice, too; it fits with choosing here for such intensive training. I'm looking forward to fitting and working with the one I've bought...

Well, we've covered a lot of ground these last few weeks, enough to realise that we could easily have been here for two years (or more) getting deeper and deeper into Tai Chi. Just as well it wasn't for that long, though, isn't it, Cher?! I'm very happy that we have such wonderful students with a deep desire to research and study this amazing art. The next few years are going to be amazing!
Looking back over the time here so far the study has kind of been the reverse of how most Tai Chi is taught in the west - for example, we're finally about to study 'the form'. What we've been putting in place, though, has been the foundation of what the form is for, rather than asking that as a question later, so we've been doing lots of principles applied to partner and solo practice in pushing hands, sabre and sword. I think that part of the joy of Tai Chi is it's depth and challenge, almost as much as that's part of the challenge. This afternoon we'll be at the terraces starting the 108...

It's getting quite warm here now, maybe reaching late 20's in the day. Still chilly at night, though, so although it's been cold in Brighton (is it still that way?) I've been quite glad that I brought my gloves. Nearly had to wear them, some mornings... And do I miss the rain? A bit, strangely, it's very dry here. No seagulls, though - we have egrets instead! They're nesting above the terraces so I'm trying to collect some feathers to bring back.