05 August 2020
I have formally handed-on my regular Aberdeenshire teaching responsibilities to our teacher, Master Mark Raudva, who is looking forward to teaching there from October. Now that I have contacted all my Scottish students in person, I would like to say here what a great pleasure and privilege it has been to teach such great students over the years and to get to know and spend time with such wonderful people. I shall still be coming to the October workshop, and will see folks when they are studying down south. I am available by email and phone, and will keep this blog and the website running, as Great River T'ai Chi is by no means ending. Wherever any of us teach or practice, that's Great River. Those who may be able to return to instructing after Covid measures change, just let me know, and we'll put it online. (I will update and renew the website in September).
As most of you may know, the last year and a half have been full of external challenges, the kind of periods we all have at times, when despite being fine in oneself, difficult events seem to come thick and fast, leaving no time to recover in between. It's fine, and not a calamity, like those effecting so many I know, through death of a loved one, illness or injury. Practice, nature, family and friends have been true wellsprings of support, thanks to everyone who has reached out to me in this time.
I will be taking at least a year off teaching advanced T'ai Chi groups and 121s. Due to Covid, I am unlikely to travel to Sweden for the foreseeable future, so do not know what the future holds for teaching the small group of advanced students in Gothenburg. I will keep abreast of the travel rules and changes of advice. My plan is to spend a great amount of time in the woods and at the huts on the coast, to rest in Tao and do non-doing. It is also an opportunity to practice T'ai Chi 'just for myself', rather than as part of a conveyor belt of learning to share with others, however wonderful that is. This will be a first for me since 2002.
In September I hope to resume teaching the 1hr Short Form class at Tooting Bec Lido again on Wednesday mornings. However, there is as yet no opening date for the venue, and emails to them go unanswered. So for now, I will be teaching online again by Zoom 9-10am from 2nd September, unless I post otherwise here. There are email and Whatsapp groups for the weekly invitation to this. If you are a student of mine, Mark's or used to study with John Kells or his other instructors, you are so welcome to join us for chi Kung, T'ai Chi and warm ups. Just get in touch via caroline at greatrivertaichi dot co dot uk. The class costs £5 per week, and the video is uploaded to the school's Dropbox or can be sent by email, for those who are not free at 9am, but would like to do the class at their own leisure. Lastly, there are plenty of study resources on the Dropbox, get in touch if you need the code, as it's for our students only.
Have a wonderful late summer, full of fruitfulness and warmth. I send my best wishes from the great river, in this case, literally, as I am standing in my boat, looking out over the Thames.
24 July 2020
Today would have been the start of the T'ai Chi Centre 15th Annual summer intensive. In lieu of this, may Mark and I take this chance to wish everyone a great summer.
In August we'll post here the start dates of Mark's public classes which will resume again in September, Covid allowing.
My public classes in Tooting may resume in September, but so far I cannot get any reply from the lido pavilion, so I have no news as yet. In the meantime I will plan to resume the weekly Zoom classes in September, dates and times will be here as soon as I know. There are no more Zoom classes this July due to ongoing circumstances, and I always take August off.
Best wishes to all who read this! Enjoy outdoor practice.
14 July 2020
Mark is recovering very well, you'll be glad to hear, and was fishing today. He caught a PB Barbel, which I saw. Huge...
This is the first July in 15 years that I have not been planning the summer workshop. It feels strange not be be getting ready to meet up with all the T'ai Chi posse, from near and far. Mark and I send our very best wishes to you all. We are hoping September brings in-person classes and workshops back into possibility.
Wednesday classes online continue until the end of July, get in touch by email or text from www.greatrivertaichi.co.uk if you want the Zoom login details to join us live at 9am each Wednesday. The lessons, along with all our resources, are available at our schools' private Dropbox, get in touch for links.
08 July 2020
Thanks to all who have sent best wishes to Mark for his recovery. He is doing really well.
I am just uploading today's Short Form lesson to Dropbox right now. Classes continue online each Wednesday morning in July. We break for August as usual, but in the meantime I will record a lesson that you can play to have an hour's practice anytime. Of course you can replay any of the 13 weeks sessions so far any time too. I will also do some little stand alone sessions on Chi Kung and Five Elements, Warm ups and and so on, for folks to practice along with.
Any suggestions gladly received.
Have a great week.
01 July 2020
The latest Zoom Short Form class is up on the Dropbox, along with all the other resources. If you have mislaid your link, get in touch.
The Two books mentioned in class today for beginners were:
'The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan' by Lo / Inn Amacker / Foe. ISBN 0913028630
'T'ai Chi Ch'uan Becoming One With The Tao' by Petra and Toyo Kobayashi. ISBN 0804837643
Amy from the Tooting Lido class is a photographer and has produced lovely Lido cushions which might help with lockdown-induced withdrawal symptoms. Details and link coming soon. Obviously for authentic results at home one should appreciate the cushions while sitting in a cold bath :) Some of the profits will go to the Lido charity.
Mark is home and recovering well. Thanks to all who have sent best wishes. He will be able to teach 121s again in a fortnight or so.
The Great River T'ai Chi Instagram is now almost complete in terms of the planned resources. All the chi kung, warm ups and meditations are there. I will leave it as-is over the summer and, depending on future lock downs, decide whether to begin demonstrating the Short Form on there in the autumn, as a helpful resource. For now you can go anytime to www.instagram.com/greatrivertaichi
Lastly, my drawings are in the Wilderness Art Collective group show which was due to take place this summer, but which is now online. It is a great show full of artists who also make art like the earth matters. I am so glad to be a part of this organisation. You can enjoy the show 'Wilderness for the Mind' here. My work is in room 4. All the work is for sale, so you can support artists and makers by buying direct.
If you are involved in any projects, art, theatre, music or otherwise, please let me know so I can post details here.
30 June 2020
Joining details have been sent out to all Zoom class regulars, let me know if you need me to resend them or include you in the email and Whatsapp groups.
Thanks to all who have been asking after Mark, I have been passing on your good wishes. His operation yesterday went very well and he spent the night in hospital. He is in some pain but is recovering well. He came home today and we have just shared home made apple pie.
24 June 2020
23 June 2020
I have just sent the joining details out to everyone on the Whatsapp and email groups. If you would like to join the class on Zoom 9-10am each week, but do not yet have the details, let me know, and I will send the details to you. This week we are looking at Golden Rooster.
17 June 2020
Thanks to all who came to the class today, so nice to see all your faces now that the link is available easily. If you would like to join us, just email or text me to join the weekly link Whatsapp or email group. Promise it's 100% spam free! Class is £5 per week and the recording is available to all regular students on the Dropbox, get in touch for details. If you don't have my personal details, use
info at great river taichi dot co dot uk
and I will get back to you.
The lessons are 1 hour and we are covering new postures now, just looking at Golden Rooster.
Best wishes to all, see you next week.
Also, all the warm ups, chi kung and Five Elements, plus several meditations are now up at www.instagram.com/greatrivertaichi for free, for all, for as long as the platform exists. Each clip is 1 minute long, with a few exceptions, and simple instructions for all the moves are given for folks who have never done T''ai Chi. You can use the Instagram app on your phone or tablet, but by using the web address above, you can access them without the need for a smartphone. It was something to offer for lockdown, for those feeling isolated and unable to get exercise, but it has become a decent little course and archive, (not only of my changing hair and gardening outfits). Enjoy.
14 June 2020
Or rather, no news...
Please bear with us for another week or so before we make any announcements regarding the summer workshop. As some of you may know, Mark is injured, so his recovery is our main concern. The English guidelines re Covid are hardly clear, and although the event may be possible, it will take some discussions with Mark that he is not able to have right now. Quarantine guidelines mean no one flying to England from abroad would be able to attend without staying an extra 14 days first... Yet different rules apply elsewhere in UK. Frankly, it's a mess and I do not claim to understand it. If you do, feel free to send me an email!
Thank you for being patient. If the summer Intensive does not run this year, then we will have an all-singing all dancing October workshop, which had already been lengthened to 4 days by request. Perhaps it may be extended more, if people wanted it and the venue were free. I have not yet looked into it as everything is so provisional. Will there be a second wave of Covid-19 at that time? I will put news here as soon as I have it, but due to hospital plans and trebled life admin taking all my time now, it won't be sooner than next weekend.
I also have to sell my home and move elsewhere by 2nd September due to circumstances beyond my control which I cannot mention here. I will still be teaching the short form class on Zoom each week and will do that from whatever place I find myself. All T'ai Chi family are welcome and it would be lovely to see any faces. I have work and great support, so please don't worry about me. My loved-ones, friends, neighbours, family and nature are always at the heart of my life, and in times like this, their love and reciprocity sustain me.
People have been asking what they can do to help. Drop Mark a line by text or Whatsapp if you like. But phone calls and emails are not his thing right now. All Mark's livelihood disappeared in March and will not return for the foreseeable future. I imagine September will be the earliest classes can possibly resume, July if he is well enough. You can book and pay for a 121 in your diary with him in advance if you like, either in person or by Skype. Folks said those sessions are great too, although you have to make your own tea! We both appreciate all your messages, support of many kinds, and kindness. The best thing is to keep practising and come back to class as soon as we are able to run them.
I have a hour's daily work online for a great woodlands company, the weekly Zoom short form class,as well as other things lined up. And unlike the airlines, banks and big companies, I did have a contingency plan in place, as well as food in store, and the skills and networks I needed to get through difficulty. 'Deal with things when they're small' being a central Taoist tenet, I am attempting to crack on with that now. Forgive tardy or shortish responses to email or calls for a while from me. I was going to write to you, the T'ai Chi family, about all this for the last two weeks, but I haven't found the right words. So instead, here's this, for the ones who read this, and I trust the gentle web of shared practice and friendship that is The T'ai Chi Centre and Great River T'ai Chi can disseminate this info as it sees fit. Anyway, it'll be an excuse for some lovely phonecalls and texts between people, so that makes me happy.
Right, gotta go now. Time to sell a boat and buy another one this afternoon. Wish me luck.