25 November 2020

Long Form classes continue with Mark online

Thanks to all those who came last night. We will be sticking with Mark's iPad in future so foresee no more major technical problems. For now we are not uploading the lessons. Last weeks still needs editing, and this week there was not enough bandwidth from the wifi to record it to the cloud, nor enough space on the device... So it's live only for now! These classes will continue on Tuesdays until we can be back at Trinity Church Hall. After that Mark will continue to teach an online class for those who wish to attend regularly and live far away or cannot come back to in person sessions yet. Please get in touch with me if that would suit you. We are proposing Thursday nights for this session. There would also be room for a couple of in-person students per week to attend at Hampton Court, if they wishes, and they would get 1/2 hr partnerwork or study questions after the broadcast had finished. Anyway, early days, more soon!

19 November 2020

Long Form class online with Mark

Thanks to all those who came to the first proper online long Form class with Mark this week. It was so lovely to see your faces, even on the screen. The video will be uploaded onto Dropbox tomorrow after I have seen Mark. I will send the link to the same list who received it this week. If you want to be added or removed, just get in touch. Tuesdays, 7.30-9pm, £10.

The Broccoli Seed Agreement

Hi friends,  I hope this finds you well, wherever you are. These are hard times for almost everyone, at least those of us not insulated from life by immense wealth and perfect health. I have been quiet here since the first lockdown, preferring just to keep you posted re classes, online resources and the like. That felt like the most helpful thing I could do. Meanwhile I have been studying, learning and practising in new ways. Something I came across very recently in a course I am taking I post below for your interest. It is from an excellent Indigenous-led collective called Gesturing Toward Decolonial Futures (GTDF). This is as good an introduction to the experience of advanced study of T'ai Chi in our tradition as I have ever found. Wish I'd had it 18 years ago, especially for when studying with John Kells... Anyway, here it is, full source at the end. 


In our current consumption-driven societies, where time and knowledge are perceived as commodities and education is becoming a transactional process between clients and service providers, we would like to create a different form of relationship with those interested in learning about the work of the collective.

In our experience, we have found frequently that people look for approaches with a very strong desire for something that fits their expectations of immediate consumption, convenience and autonomy/choice (we call this “candy”): they want something practical, fulfilling and pleasurable, and very frequently they feel disappointed, frustrated and sometimes angry when they do not have their demands met and desires fulfilled. Thus, we say that, while we understand that people may want “candy”, we can only offer “broccoli seeds” that will require soil, planting, watering and attending to for a possible harvest.

We request that people engaging with our work consider the following “broccoli seed agreement” that confirms that they understand what may happen during this engagement, particularly the experiential sessions.

The broccoli seed agreement invites you to consider the following statement:

I understand that …

  1. the engagement with the work of the collective may not have any immediate practical application in my context and that is ok.
  2. do not have to agree with anything presented, but I am happy to see what happens.
  3. may feel uncomfortable, confused and frustrated through this process and I take responsibility for observing and learning from my conscious and unconscious responses/resistances/fragilities.
  4. It is up to me to decide when to push myself further and when to stop and reflect/observe.


14 November 2020

Long Form class next week Tues 17th Nov

Thanks to the 14 students who joined us last week by Zoom, we got the hang of the iPad controls for Zoom eventually. This week I will lend mark my laptop too, as a monitor, so he will be able to see everyone rather than needing to swipe across to see the next 9 people...

I will be sending links by email to everyone who attended by Tuesday morning, and also those who have asked to be included on the list. If you want to be added, or require the link by text or Whatsapp, just let me know. Mark's payment details will be on the email too. I will upload the lesson to Dropbox too, as soon as Mark has checked it.

Best wishes from the rainy river. 

10 November 2020

Long Form Zoom class with Mark starts this evening at 7.30pm

I have spent the last few days attempting to email all the students present and recent past, scattered all over the globe, who might feel the benefit of these online classes with Mark. If I have missed you out and you read this, please get in touch at info at greatrivertaichi dot co dot uk.  This week I have sent the Zoom link to everyone. How it will work in future is this, I will send the link out by each Tuesday morning to the students who have attended the weeks before, and add anyone who emails to be added as time goes on. (If you would like us to remove your email from this list at any point, or from our contacts completely, then of course just ask, and we'll do that immediately.) 

All that remains is to clear a space in our schedules and living rooms, and turn up tonight at about 7.25pm. Sadly this time, you'll have to make your own tea, as my multi-location skills are just not up to it yet. 

I am not yet sure if Mark will want to record this first session, but in future all the lessons will be recorded so that you can do them any time. This week has no set cost, but if you want to contribute then get in touch for Mark's bank details. From next week the class will cost £10 per session, whether live or accessed via Dropbox (ask me for the link if you do not yet have it). All the other resources apart from Mark's and my Zoom lesson recordings are always free of charge to our students. We don't post our videos on the web, and ask you to keep them for personal study only. 

If for any reason Zoom or Dropbox do not work well on your devices, or you do not wish to use them, please email me and I can send you individual links, files, or a usb stick full of videos... Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you practice.  

See you later, friends!

08 November 2020

Music by Lee from Tuesday class

Today is the Day that the first five Digidub singles will be available for download online for the first time - EVER !!

The rest of the singles will appear online monthly for the next few months…

They are up on all the major sites - but we like Bandcamp

Bandcamp link here - https://digidub.bandcamp.com/

For anyone who doesn't know Digidub was Lee Berwick's critically acclaimed and genre creating/evading record label.

It was active mainly in the 90’s but releases from the 80’s and the naughties and maybe even more modern ones will be appearing in the coming months…. years…… 

watch this space…

Thanks LEE.

06 November 2020

Online Long Form class with Mark starts next week

News! Mark will be running Long Form class each week on Zoom while in-person classes in Tooting cannot run. The class will start at 7.30 and finish at 9pm, with another 15 mins online for anyone who'd like to hang out with their cuppa and catch up with their taichi pals. Class will contain short form, warm ups, Heartwork and long form, with time for questions. Unlike the class in Tooting, folks from all over the world can join, so if you are reading this and have studied Long Form with me or Mark over the years, then you are invited! Let any colleagues or friends know, who you think might not see this. I will email a few extra people too, although we do not keep 'a mailing list', preferring folks to come here for info.... 

Class will cost £10 per session and can be paid by bank transfer to Mark's normal account details. Get in touch with me for these if you do not already have them. If you want to join in, drop me an email and I will send you the zoom link on Tuesday. If you do not yet have Zoom, you can download it to your device for free. I will be helping Mark with the admin for the first session, so will be there in the room on my laptop at first, then joining in out of the way.

It has been a ray of light going to taichi class this last two months, and it is also lovely teaching the short form Zoom class each Wednesday morning, and seeing everyone's smiling faces. Taichi in both these instances has certainly helped my own mental health and sense of being settled, and we hope this will help you too. Yes, it's tricky to learn anything 'new' in our taichi online like this, but that's not the point. Outreaching, seeing each other, attempting to move in concert despite geographical distance, these are all worthwhile activities, and more important in the current context. So get in touch with me at my usual email address if you'd like to receive the weekly class invitation by email, until such time as Tooting Tuesday evening class resumes. 

Much love to you from the sunny Thames.

04 November 2020

Thursday classes postponed until after lockdown

There will be no Thursday class this week as lockdown starts tonight, (midnight Wednesday) not Thursday at midnight as Mark thought. 

03 November 2020

Possible Tuesday night Zoom Long Form class with Mark

 After a wonderful final night at the hall for a while, Mark and I discussed a Tuesday Zoom class for all the students studying Long Form level T'ai Chi, whether Tooting regulars, Hackney folk, Scots, Swedes, or far flung old students around the world. The studio at Mark's is free from 7.30-9pm, so he could teach a 1 1/2 hr class of Short Form, warm ups, Salutations, Dragon walk, Long Form and questions, as we did tonight 'in real life'. I can help Mark set this up, as I am used to teaching my short form class on a Wednesday morning. Class is likely to be weekly while lock down persists. If you are interested, drop me an email to info at greatrivertaichi dot co dot uk and I will let Mark know if there is interest. Good luck everyone, be well, where ever you are.

Tonight is the last Tooting class until after this lockdown

We have just been informed that the hall may not hold exercise or education classes during this next lockdown, which means T'ai Chi class will be on tonight 3rd November, but not run for the next four weeks. As soon as I have a date for return, I'll put it here.

121s by Skype are available with Mark.

121s in person may be possible, socially distanced, but we are waiting for clarity in the government rules.

Zoom classes continue each week with Caroline. 

02 November 2020

Tuesday class is running this week, and news

Just a quick post to say that Tuesday class in Tooting is still running this week at Trinity church hall as usual, 7-9pm. As soon as we hear from the hall as to whether class may legally continue or not in December, I will post it here. Please come a long if you can for our usual socially distanced session, as perhaps we will not see each other for a while after that.

Zoom Short Form classes on Wednesday mornings will continue each week. 

I have been asked to start an online total beginners Taichi class and am probably going to do it. I am just waiting for a filming space here where I live to become available, which a neighbour has kindly offered me. More on this soon. 

Love and best wishes to all.

28 October 2020


 Stepping with such poise, watched by Rosemary and I this week in Bushy Park. So single-weighted...