21 July 2014


Is spending time in the good company of so many T'ai Chi brothers and sisters at this week's workshop. 52 folks so far...
See you tomorrow. 

15 July 2014

12 July 2014

I Vant To Be Alone

A good friend and one-time student recently asked me for a few books to shed light on solitude, spending time alone and getting a bit of a meditative practice together. I just emailed him, but thought I'd share this odd little list here too. Suggestions for additions gratefully received.

Sara Maitland: A Book Of Silence,
see also http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/feb/02/sara-maitland-how-to-be-alone-interview for a good article about solitude with her.

Thomas Moore: Dark Nights of the Soul (very helpful for the inner path)
Stephen Bachelor: Buddhism Without Beliefs (not just good for Buddhists...)
Nan Shepherd: The Living Mountain (out in nature, alone yet not lonely)
Jack Kornfield: The Wise Heart (a great book of insight)
Clark Strand: The Wooden Bowl (a useful 'how to' book for a meditative practice, no fuss)
Marcel Theroux - Far North (a novel by our good T'ai Chi friend, featuring a post apocalyptic, indomitable heroine, alone and self reliant)

I would also add the 'Hainish' novels by Ursula K LeGuin, all the Taoist Classics and Clear Waters Rising by Nicholas Crane (of Coast TV fame) which is the remarkable story of his 18 month solo walk along the mountainous spine of the European continent from West to East.

10 July 2014

River Thames tides during the Summer workshop

Karen was asking me about the tides this year, and whether we would have a repeat of the photogenic flooding we have on our invite card this year. Here is a link to a good tide table, it doesn't quite reach to the workshop days yet, so check I a few days' time. As a rule of thumb, highest tides ('spring tides') are a couple of days after the full and dark moons. Lowest tides (neaps) are 7 days either side of that. The next Spring tides are on 14th July, according to my tide planner, so they will be highish again at the end of the workshop, but not like last year. Watch out for parking near the water end of River Lane on the last days of the intensive, stay near the road end.

July photos so far

Baby Whites aboard their mum last week. I had never seen this in real life, only in cheesy photos. Now I am posting said cheesy photos. It appears I am not immune to the soft power of furry cygnets. Last night on my way home I saw they were both asleep on her back, but they are almost too big already.

Sabre class last week at The T'ai Chi Centre.

Photos from June

Sword versus staff application from - immensely satisfying.

Form study at Finzean on Midsummer's day.

Sword applications: ' Falling Flowers'.

Graffiti on my way to Hackney class last week. 

Mrs White (she has white feet) has hatched two lovely cygnets, here shown at 3 days old. They just came round for a feed.

Pictures from The Blade workshop


The Bladers

Freshly crushed malachite ready for smelting.

The resultant ingots of copper, which were added to the bronze mix.

Will Lord, quenching my freshly-cast bronze sword.

My mis-cast bronze knife after cooling. It went on to be a lovely little knife, and I will finish the handle to it this week.

Antony Whitlock, starting a new flint core for us to knap from.

Dave Budd, knife maker extraordinaire, polishing a sword.

Open, close, open, close. Bellows in the forge.
The course may run again next year in this or similar format with Woodsmoke. Let me know if you would like to come. Flint-knapper and new T'ai Chi friend Antony Whitlock can be found here. We hope to meet up and do a T'ai Chi / flint knapping swap in Dorset in August. Will Lord's website is here, he can teach so many amazing things, and a good friend made a beautiful long bow with him a few years ago. Dave Budd knives are here. His knives (one tiny very useful one so far) and courses are where I can see all my spare money going over the next year.

09 July 2014

Hackney Tonight

7-9pm in the Church Rooms. Next week back in our usual space 6-10pm, for the last class of term.

The T'ai Chi Centre last night

Thanks to Mark for a great class, eapecially the applications, and here's a photo of the senior students working on Squatting Single Whip going in to Step Forward to the Seven Stars.

08 July 2014

Showers for campers this workshop

I have just bought a shower tent and pressure shower for everyone's use this summer, and I will use it in Dorset when I go away. Hope they make things more comfy for all campers!

London buses no longer take cash

...for all those who may be visiting the workshop from outside London, get yourselves Oyster cards for the cheapest fares. More details here.

Workshop set-up

Anyone wanting to help me set up can meet at the venue from 5pm on Friday 18th July. The venue is not free until then.

07 July 2014

Changing view

Been in London on and off for over 20 years. Still wonderful to cross the Thames on a moonlit summer night and look east to St Paul's then west to Parliament and the London eye. I was walking back to Waterloo Station from seeing Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' from RSC at the Aldwych Theatre.

05 July 2014

Summer Workshop final details

A couple of last details for the workshop:

Each year we share great food at the workshops, it always seems to work out just fine with a minimum of intervention and planning. This year it would be great if people whose first name begins with A-M could bring food on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and people with first names from N-Z could bring food Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Let's all bring a little something on Saturday. When planning what to make and bring, have a look to see what's left over from the day before. I'll bring teas and coffee to start us off, but feel free to bring your favourites along too. 

Please feel free to email or call me anytime re travel, camping, times, concessions or other questions you may have so that you may come along.

Lastly, as a few students can get migraines caused by flashing effects, they would be grateful if we didn't wear stripy or clashing / optical patterned clothes during the workshop, not that we normally would wear them to class anyway...

Changes to The T'ai Chi Centre Autumn Term dates

Mark's classes will resume on Tuesday 9th September not 2nd September as previously announced. Power workshop will still take place on Sunday 14th. Sabre and Sword classes will move back and be on 16th and 18th September respectively.

Great River classes will still resume Wednesday 3rd. 

Sabre Sunday 8th July

2-5pm usual place and prices. All GR and TCC students welcome.

03 July 2014


© BBC News.  This would make a great T'ai Chi venue! Full story here


I will post more pictures soon as well as links to the teachers and exhortations to join me at a workshop soon, but here's a taster from my Blade course stuff. I have just got June's large stash of photos to sort through tomorrow. Phew.
Knapped flints - hand axes, scrapers, butchery blades, drill and knives.

Set flints knife and tools, bronze and steel knives with as-yet unfinished handles. A bronze sand-cast sword from era and area of Boudicca (original found in Thames at Chiswick and is called the Ewart Park Leaf). I will make a handle for it very soon based on the likely original shape.

02 July 2014

From Neil

      Tai Chi on the Green 
   Tai Chi Workshop 
Tai Chi on the Green     Free classes 
Mon 4 Aug 2014 – Fri 8 August 2014   9:00AM - 10:00AM 
T’ai Chi is a powerful meditative exercise practised by millions throughout the world. It helps co- ordination, breathing and balance, and is a proven way of maintaining health and energy. Tutors Neil Dey and Anneke Stolte are registered teachers with the Great River School of Tai Chi. 
 In these very practical classes they will show you warm-up exercises and the beginnings of the Yang Short Form. Join them for the week or whenever you can. Complete beginners are welcome as well as those with more experience. Booking is not essential. 
 Location is Aboyne Green, (in the sheltered area beside children’s play park), but please note that the first class on Monday 4 August will be held next to the Green in:,  Aboyne and Dinnet Parish Church Hall Huntly Road,  Aboyne,  AB34 5HE. 
The classes are sponsored by Aboyne Festival and there is no charge  
Tai Chi Workshop 
Sat 9 Aug 2014, 10:00AM - 12:00PM 
This workshop follows on from the daily morning ‘T’ai Chi on the Green’ classes where learning was in the Chinese tradition of watching and copying the moves. Now we will be able to look more closely at some of the main principles of Tai Chi and to practice them as a group as well as with a partner.   There will be time for questions and for considering Tai Chi’s significance as an ‘internal’ martial art which teaches us how to make peace with ourselves and others. The workshop is suitable for complete beginners as well as more advanced students. 
Location is Aboyne and Dinnet Parish Church as above 
Tickets £10 Adults £6 Children (12+)  
Book online: http://www.aboyneanddeesidefestival.org.uk or by phone from Ticket Source on 03336 66 33 66  

Hackney tonight and next week

Class will run from 7-9pm only with no tea break in the Church rooms, Powerstock Road, round the corner from The Round Chapel. There are no other available venues nearby and this is our usual stand in venue, but it is much more dear, hence the truncated class, but better than no class! So we will crack on with short Form, Long Form, partner work and Dance.

Back in usual hall, usual time for last week of term on 16th.