15 December 2015

A fond farewell to Hackney

Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th December, will be my last regular Hackney class after almost exactly 9 years of teaching there on a weekly basis, about 42 weeks of each year. Stephen Moore asked me to take the class on when he emigrated all those years ago, and I am really glad I took the plunge. That's over 1500 hours teaching, though amusingly, about 1700 hours travelling to and from class... Apart from teaching in Aberdeenshire, since moving back down south, I haven't committed to anything as thoroughly as I have the Hackney class, and it's been an chance for me to put my energy where my mouth is. It has been a great privilege and pleasure to teach all the students who have come along over the years, and I am sure I will see you again when I cover the class if needed, or at The T'ai Chi Centre classes and events with Mark. I have decided to pass the class on now that someone more local to Hackney from our T'ai Chi family is ready to teach it. I spend 5 hours each week travelling from the far south west of the TfL system, and it's too much when added to the regular Aberdeen travel. For me it is also important to keep bringing the next generation along, rather than hold tight to a class or 'opportunity'. In that way, Great River T'ai Chi is the antithesis of franchise schools, but is a real 'family tree'.One of my joys is watching how folks' T'ai Chi deepens and grows as they begin to instruct. At my weekends in Aberdeenshire at the moment, it is a real treat to meet the students of my students, and to see the thread of what I learned from Mark Raudva and John Kells woven into the fabric of their practice. It is very heartening, and I am sure it will happen at Hackney too.

Carmen Saccone, who has been assisting me for several years, will be taking over the class. Carmen also studies every week with my teacher on Tuesdays, becoming a fine instructor and T'ai Chi practitioner. She teaches 121s, has run several workshops, classes and events, as well as having been one of my main assistants nationally and internationally for over 5 years. At first, classes will run along the same timings as usual. Later, Carmen will be welcoming new beginners for an hour at the start of class, for warm ups, Short Form and perhaps sticking. This will not affect the current schedule, as that is what we do during the first hour anyway. Long Form, Heart Work, weapons and Dance will continue to be taught. Please support Carmen in her new endeavour and help create the Hackney T'ai Chi class you wish to attend. You'll be able to see any announcements here on the blog. 121 lessons are still available with me in Hampton Court or with Carmen in Hackney, and folks can get in touch any time.

What will I be doing with those extra 9 hours in my week? Getting my own 121s with Mark! I will have more time for self-practice and for singing and drawing, which have re-entered my life recently.

Finally, thanks again to all the students over the years for their attention, hard work, good energy and excellent humour. It is always a good day when we can do our T'ai Chi together.

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