20 March 2020

Taichi video resources coming today, online teaching from next week...

Dear students of Great River, The T'ai Chi Centre, and friends of ours who also practice Dr Chi or John Kells lineage T'ai Chi, I hope you are all OK in these difficult times. Mark and I had a quiet 'Thursday Class' here at the Hampton Court woodland hut HQ last night. We did some free pushing and a very open, expanded Long Form. We are both working on what we will share with you in person when the times allow it. This blog will be where all the latest news is, and I will attempt to update it far more often, as appropriate. Long post, but hopefully packed full of vitamins for you.

The last few days and probably today, we will be busy with lock-down preparations, buying food, (mainly for the swans, to be honest), etc, as measures are likely to come in force here very soon, as is correct.

In response to the new circumstances, Mark has in principle agreed to start teaching via Zoom, as I said I was going to do so for my Tooting Short Form class as soon as possible. Give us the weekend to try things out and trial a few things, senior students with iPads or laptops, we may be in touch to ask you to trial using a session for us. I need to get a tripod for my phone today, somehow...

Meanwhile, I am forcing myself to watch the many, many clips I have made over the years for students, to label and sort them. I have already posted many onto my Dropbox. There is a very easy way for you to obtain any videos you want, without us having to post them online on platforms we don't like, even with passwords, as that's not really what we want to do. We also don't want folks to have to trawl random videos of strangers doing slightly or very different forms, on web pages full of adverts for ridiculous things, as it can be confusing, especially for the beginner.

All students, friends and old members of either school please send me an email to info at greatrivertaichi dot co dot uk , or my personal email, for those of you that have it, they both come to the same account. In the email put 'Taichi' in the subject line. Please put your name in the message, as your email address may not be recognised by my account, and may not reflect your name. You can leave the rest of the message blank if you have nothing to tell me :) otherwise, requests for certain videos of forms, applications, heartwork, or whatever would be happily received. I have a Dropbox account and am currently uploading lots of the films we have. Some are new, some are very old. You will receive an email that gives you access to the videos any time, you can download and keep them for personal study only, and do not post them on the internet or share them to non-GR and TCC students. We appreciate your care with this. All you need to get the files is to download the free version of the Dropbox application from the web or your phone app store.

I will write more here tomorrow when the files are fully uploaded, the connection here is average, so it takes a while. Lastly, as you will know, Mark and I rely on teaching face to face, and our entire livelihoods have evaporated in a matter of days, with no guarantee the summer workshop will be secure. We do hope it will run, and would reschedule something for later in the year if it were cancelled. Mark and I will work over the coming days and weeks to make sure you have 1: resources for private study, 2: Zoom (and Instagram for my beginners) based online sessions which you can join in if you have an internet connection and laptop / pc / iPad, etc., 3: Access to us for study related questions and resource requests by email, any time. Long term students are also welcome to call, of course, that hasn't changed. My 'sabbatical' is on hold, I am available to my students throughout this time. I may not be travelling to teach until September, but nor is anyone else! So I am now 'back on duty' as regards and T'ai Chi or related queries.

In the Dropbox folder tomorrow will be a file giving the Paypal details for both of us. For students in the same boat who now have no income, we totally understand and it's fine not to pay subs. If you have secure income of whatever type, and feel able to transfer a small amount for the videos and other resources, we would hugely appreciate it. We will keep it informal, and leave it up to everyone to decide how, when, to whom and how often they transfer any remuneration. It could be one-off, it could be monthly, weekly, whatever. I will post separately about specific online class costs and 121 Zoom sessions, another day. I will be talking to Mark about him teaching 121 Zoom sessions from next week, so that you can book 121 slots, even from the comfort of a Scottish sitting room*... I will test a session here, from his boat to mine, but rest assured we hope not to only communicate with each other in this manner in future.

I am upgrading to a paid version of Dropbox again right now so we have plenty of room for the videos, as they are large files. I have spent / am about to spend many hours (gladly) doing all the admin for this, and hopefully it will be a great resource in future, especially for students now living far away. So just to say, bear with us while we set this up, check in here daily for the latest info, and wish me luck not getting brain death having to watch videos of myself all weekend. These resources are all for the existing students: to us, the films would make no sense to someone who is not already studying with us. Who knew that it would take a global pandemic for Mark and me to finally find a way to have video available and yet also 'not enter the competition'?

Best wishes to you from the river. Go outside to practice whenever you can. Last night we had an owl hooting through the Long Form - priceless.

*Ivor Cutler joke for those in the know.
Porthole full moon, last month.

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