I had thought about attending a Deyin bootcamp for a while, and with the offer of a free place for TCUGB members I decided to take the plunge and also booked on to the health qigong workshops the following day. The bootcamp was fully booked, so I knew in advance I'd booked onto something special. As Laozi said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and what a journey this weekend was.
Not being familiar with Telford I arrived a little early and was greeted by other tai chi enthusiasts that had travelled the length of the country to descend upon the Chinese Arts and Cultural Centre. With each additional attendee, some from as far afield as the North West of Scotland, this friendly atmosphere remained and was a standout feature of the weekend. A lovely touch by the organisers was free tea, coffee and biscuits which during the various breaks provided a focal point for people to come together to chat.
The day opened with an exciting lion dance performance, which was a wonderful display from the Centre's younger members to start proceedings. The Bootcamp program offered participants choices of seminars. First up was tai chi principles with John Smith and using tai chi qigong for people with Parkinson Disease with Terri Owen. A difficult opening choice, I opted for the tai chi principles session. A wonderful, thought provoking session delving into Yang Chen Fu's 10 principles and how to use them in our personal training. John was a wonderful tutor. He ensured that regardless of style or experience you could engage with the principles and enrich your practice. I really appreciated the logical and layered approach, encouraging us to use a principle, to lock it into our training, then move on to the next. A methodical, critical methodology easy to apply in our training. The analogies used also really helped me to grapple with the difficult concepts presented. Usefully a hand out was provided, a very useful takeaway that I no doubt will be referring to for a long time.
Next up for me was Master Faye Yip's key sword techniques, whilst the other group worked on Zhi Neng qigong with Diane Brindley. This was the first time I'd trained with Master Yip, it certainly won't be the last. The session was very enjoyable, covering the basic Jian thrusts, chops and a figure of eight movement. Personally, as an inexperienced sword player, it was a brilliant session, very accessible with plenty of repetition of technique. However, even with such 'simple' movements the level of detail and quantity of refinements Master Yip delivered was exceptional. From grip, to blade positioning, footwork, when to shift the weight, as well as the applications of techniques, ensuring we were not just going through the motions but fully focused. Then, impressively we were partnered up for a 2 person drill. One attacking with a straight thrust, the other retreating and covering into horse stance. Throughout the session Master Yip had alluded to the martial properties of the blade, detailed the intention of the movements, where we would strike and so on. For me, coming into Tai Chi from a different Martial background, I often struggled with the lack of application explanations, here they were not only fully explained, we also got to work with a partner on the timing and distancing.
The last split session of the day was a choice between Chen style silk reeling with Pete Hornby or taiji kungfu fan 2 with Nicola G Day. I was very excited by the prospect of having a go at the fan so went along to Nicola's session. She had the challenge of teaching the very dynamic, advanced second fan form to a room full of people who mostly hadn't learned the form and some students, like myself, had very little, if any, fan experience! She undertook the challenge with good humour and a fantastic teaching style that instantly engaged us in the form and before we knew where we were, we had all successfully done our first fan opening. Nicola taught us the first section of the form in great detail, breaking down each technique and transition, refining and linking them together. Like Master Yip, she too detailed applications of the movements, providing a focus for the movements. I came away able to repeat the first section, with plenty of technical refinements to try to improve on.
The final workshop was undertaken all together by Master Faye Yip on the 12 pieces of brocade seated qigong. A relaxing way to finish the day. I was impressed throughout the day at the approachability of all the teachers, all of whom encouraged questions, happily and comprehensively answering as we went along. The variety of what was taught was also extraordinary, a real taste of the many facets of tai chi.
Sunday saw the British Health Qigong Association workshop on the six healing sounds in the morning and a workshop on the health qigong taiji stick. Master Faye Yip took both sessions and delivered a detailed look at both forms, going over each movement and the transitions. Answering all our questions, explaining the theory in detail, and ensuring we were all practicing correctly with good form. I wasn't familiarly at all with the stick form, however due to the comprehensive instruction I was able to keep up and I really got a lot out of the session.
All in all a wonderful weekend, with new insights, techniques and concepts to take home and practice. A thoroughly enjoyable voyage into so many aspects of tai chi and qigong.
Dear Faye, Tary and all the instructors who made such a great Boot Camp.
Thank you so much for yet another great day of instruction, new ideas and sharing at Boot Camp today. I feel very supported as a newish instructor myself and find the Boot Camps fascinating and inspiring.
My suggestion is that there is a collecting box on the table/in the kitchen so that those of us who are unable to help with setting up/admin/tutoring etc for whatever reason can show their appreciation by donating some money as a thank you. I think it's great that Boot Camps are free and that refreshments are also included as it makes the day affordable for all but I would happily donate something on a voluntary basis. I would be interested to know if anyone else feels like this.
Dear Faye, Just like to say what a fantastic time I had on Saturday at the Spring Tai Chi workshops and the dragon dance routine was amazing. I thought that Terri Owen workshop was very interesting and enjoyed the qigong workout of Shibashi.
The workshop with Diane Brindley I thought was one of the best workshops I have ever attended and people around was asking if the Zhi Neng Qigong was available to buy on DVD ? If not could this be included in future training workshops as I would be very interested to learn !
Pete Hornby workshop was excellent and as I know Pete from my Lau Gar Kung Fu in cannock days knew that Pete would get the message across to everyone in the room.
Faye your 12 Piece of Brocade seated was amazing even though I have not sat on the floor with my legs crossed since I was 12 years old, still managed to do the exercises....Phew!
Many thanks again and look forward it seeing you on the Instructor Course on May 25th.
Hello Faye, I would just like to express a heartfelt thank you and much gratitude for a well organised, excellently delivered Qi Gong Workshop which I attended on Saturday 22nd April.
This is the first time I have ever attended a workshop organised by yourself. I came for the workshop becaused I have booked to attend the Instructor Course and wanted to have the opportunity to networks and share with like minded people.
However, I arrived with an open mind, however a little uncertain of what to expect. I arrived an hour earlier and was starting to get worried that I had come to the wrong venue. As a few people started arriving, I was amazed how friendly and welcoming everyone was. It helped when my Teacher Arthur arrived as well. The event was very well organised and provided opportunity to try out the different sessions.
Apart from the friendliness and warm welcome, I was struck by the quality of the teaching by all the teachers, with such care, compassion and precision. I could not have asked for more.
Lunch time gave everyone a chance to get to meet people, network and share. I have met many nice people who share the same interest in improving our health and to learn more to be able to share with others.
Thank you so much for this opportunity and I look forward to learning more at the Instructor course.
What a fantastic day yesterday at the spring festival boot camp.
Very pleased that Jamie and Leo gave and good lion dance performance accompanied by Nicola for the first time no drums. Looking forward to even more lion dance tricks at the July Interfest.
Also I would like to say thanks for the fantastic response from the students that I received teaching the Chen silk reeling exercises. I truly hope this helps on on their journey of learning in whichever tai chi they practice.
I look forward to the next boot camp in September.
You can see many more pictures of the Easter 2017 Boot Camp in our Photo Galleries section