12 February 2016

New Beginners class in Hackney

I'm Starting a Beginners class Starting tomorrow Saturday 13th February at 12-1pm.
There won't be a class on the 20th February but after that classes will be held weekly.

The Venue address is:  The Hive Dalston, 260-264 Kingsland Road E8 4DG
For more info check out their website here: https://hivedalston.wordpress.com

Aberdeenshire update today

Whilst I was en route to the airport just now, Flybe cancelled my flight, giving no notice or excuse. I have rebooked on to a late flight tonight but will miss teaching weapons this evening. Please meet up and practice, senior students will show the newer folks a couple of new Sabre postures. Just share paying the hall fees. I can review postures over the weekend as there will be time and enough space. From next month I will travel up and down purely by train, so am hoping these disruptions will not happen. See you tomorrow!

Caroline will miss tonight's weapon session

We’ve just found out Caroline’s flight has been cancelled. She’ll now be arriving in Aberdeen very late this evening.

We still plan to meet up at Fetternear Hall from 7-10pm and anyone who wants to come along for some weapons practice is more than welcome. We’ll share the cost of the hall between us. If any of the new sabre students do want to come, we’ll do what we can to help with revision !

11 February 2016

Easter Holiday and Summer term date changes

Below are amendments Mark has made to the term dates, this replaces any dates blogged here before, on hand outs or on the calendars, please update your diaries accordingly. I will remind folks at class each week.

Last class of Spring term: 24th March (as planned)
First class or Summer term: 12th April, with Sabre and Sword at class (bring your weapons!)
Sabre workshop, 2-5pm at usual venue, Sunday 10th April (as planned)


09 February 2016

I had quite an eventful weekend in the woods and returned to full-on gales on the river. Nature has no interest in our comfort or safety, that's our job, and one reason why we train in anything challenging and therefore life-enhancing. I am looking forward to teaching in Aberdeenshire this weekend, so see all the northern crew then. I will be missing Mark's Tuesday class tonight, as I will be way with family for one night, so you can catch up with any class register stuff with me next week. Carmen will be doing a taster session this Saturday in east London, and may be changing the format of Hackney class soon - watch this space!

08 February 2016

First Aberdeenshire workshops of the year

The first of this year's Aberdeenshire workshops with Caroline are this coming weekend, 12-14 February.  Great River students of any level are particularly welcome to the Saturday sessions. All workshops are at Balvack, except for Weapons which is at Fetternear Hall.

Friday 7-10pm: Weapons, including Sabre for beginners 7-8pm (£5). Click here for more details
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 (more info available here).

The price is £15 (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 2016 workshops in Aberdeenshire and London are available here

03 February 2016

Sabre last night

Thanks to Mark for a great class last night, good work by the sabreurs too. I enjoy teaching the Short Form students on weapons nights, as they always have great questions. The later Sword session was good, I sat and drew the class for an hour to alleviate joint pain... I'll post a few pictures later. It's years since I have drawn T'ai Chi folk, I shan't leave it so long again. I learned a lot even whilst drawing. Often I find I prioritise what I hear Mark saying as he teaches, but closely observing the moving figure was just as good, especially for the subtleties.

Wild Pottery

I will be going along to this great course from 16-17th April and thought some of the other makers and do-ers in the schools might like to read about it or come along. We will learn to make pots how our British ancestors did, from gathering clay from nature to building and firing vessels. Have a look...

This weekend I shall be in the woods, with only the clothes I stand up in (no Gore-Tex or modern fibres...), a wool blanket, my knife, fire-steel, billy can and a small folding saw. The aim is to camp in style rather than survive grimly, shivering. I will certainly need all my skills and some good fortune, as well as the awesome long green woollen jumper Davina knitted me, as the weather looks as though it will be foul. Wish me luck! See you at class next week.
Last time I did this it was not mid-Winter...

01 February 2016

Today is Imbolc.

30 January 2016

2016 calendar

I have a spare 2016 wall-calendar.  Let me know if you'd like it.

Weapons next week

Sword and Sabre at class on Tuesday 2nd, Sword on 4th.

26 January 2016

The Tao is that which first lets in the light, then the dark

(Quote from 'The Man in the High Castle'- Philip K. Dick)


I have some nice, black bokkens in stock, each used just a few times. If anyone would like one for £10, let me know and I will bring one to class. 

21 January 2016

Straight sword

It was a really good sword session on Tuesday. 
Reach beyond your familiar edges. 

-Mark, last week at class. 

20 January 2016

Shorter Thursday session this week

As the bowlers are in the main hall the Thursday session at Monymusk will be in the Small Hall from 8-10pm only.