Is 2019 Your Year for T’ai Chi Chuan?

Harrogate’s Taoist Arts Organisation classes restart for the Autumn Term in 2019 on Monday 2nd September 2019 with the beginners class.  If you have never tried T’ai Chi before then this is the class for you.  20180618_192323740_iOS

Alison welcomes everyone to the class with a friendly smile and hopes that you will enjoy your journey with her.

We start at 7.15 pm with students arriving a little before hand to get any admin work done. The class starts with a very gentle warm up to manipulate the joints, release the muscles and ligaments a little. There are partner exercises to attempt, followed by learning how to do the Lee Style Form, then finishing with a breathing exercise.

We train in the small hall at Woodlands Methodist Church and I look forward to meeting you there.

Space, the final frontier

Where have we heard that before? My thoughts on space from a weekend of looking for space.

In karate we create space by measuring up, measuring up is the safety mechanism used in set techniques. Without the safety mechanism, practice would be a messy affair and the uniforms are usually white!

And so we move onto Tai Chi, space in taiji is not necessarily given to your partner so that safety can be practiced. It is more likely used to let your partner fall into. Space is what you are looking for when attempting to disrupt your partner, you know, where you want them to fall into. But is it?

Space is what we are all looking for, but where are we supposed to find it? Is it where the opponent is supposed to fall? Is it the gap between you and your opponent? What is space for?

You need space for your ‘C’ shape, to make your shape you need to bring space inside. Inside what? Firstly inside your body by breathing in, the air fills the space inside, then the mechanical takes over so that you tuck under, so that once the chin is then in place you have your spinal C. So space created by filling yourself with air then needs to be kept In whilst relaxing in your chest, this keeps your back expanded and rounds the shoulders for your other C dimension.

Space in our joints. Getting space into the joints by elongating through the ligaments and moving the muscles above and below the joint. Once the space is in the joint that helps you move more smoothly if in the hips, or takes the weight if in the upper joints to allow correct position for producing the behind the pressure idiom.

The idea of space is not often thought about as you learn the set movements of your tai chi, however, once the concept has been explained a little, movement can be improved.

Realisation, about starting martial arts in adulthood.

This week started on a bit of sad note, one of my students decided that there was not enough time to find for my sessions, this happens, everyone has a busy life and not everyone can fit everything in. They thought they were not giving themselves enough time to practice at home so therefore thought they should stop altogether.

This realisation probably hit them after they had missed the week before and when they realised it was class again and they had not found the time to practice at all whilst not attending.

Starting Martial Arts in adulthood is a fabulous thing to do, but being able to stick at it is not always feasible unless you let yourself do it. Every man and his dog wants their little piece of you, and to be honest, learning a martial art is a very personal thing. You cannot just think, right, I am going to learn how to defend myself, this is not martial arts, or think, right I am going to use this to get fitter, this is not martial arts, or even that looks so good, perhaps I can do it? That is not martial arts!

Martial Arts is a union of mind and body in meditation, to be able to allow the body to move whilst the effort being put in is tempered to the scenario. When I am practising my arts, I am not thinking about dinner, I am not thinking about what I will be doing tomorrow or what I did yesterday, I am thinking about what my next movement may be. If I have practiced enough I sometimes do not necessarily think the next move through but just do.

Those people who know me, have seen me in some very loud situations and some very quiet ones, I strive to make both as meditative as I can for myself. Training in Martial Arts is one of the few things you can do individually as a group. If you Can get your head around that, it can open doors for you to think differently. The enjoyment from a noisy class is different to that of a quiet one. The energy made by the people and noise around you can buoy you along in the noisiest of classes. The quiet class, the energy you produce pushes you along the path in a simple manner and only affects yourself. Both options have their merits, which is why children enjoy those noisy classes.

Being kind to yourself in everything you do, helps you become more rounded, and trying to fit things around your life, even though can be problematical, should be practiced as their benefits will out way any negativity felt.

Autumn Tai Chi Starting Soon

Harrogate’s Taoist Arts Organisation classes restart for Autumn on Monday 3rd September 2018 with the beginners class.  If you have never tried T’ai Chi before then this is the class for you.  20180618_192323740_iOS

Alison welcomes everyone to the class with a friendly smile and hopes that you will enjoy your journey with her.

We start at 7.15 pm with students arriving a little before hand to get any admin work done.

 

We train in the small hall at Woodlands Methodist Church and I look forward to meeting you there.

New concept – Control

Why is this a new concept? To some people it’s all they know, to others it’s alien. Today, I spent the day attempting control with my Tai Chi friends. I think it was initially called three star principle, and even though I was unsure what it was about, it was explained.

The main function of the initial exercise was to use the principles taught to block an attack (in this case a head punch). Some people were taught how they should be punching, some people were taught how to keep their hands up to protect themselves. I had to learn to be less square on when in an initial guard position. It seems I can punch if nothing else.

I had some success with the ward off, and then trying to off balance your opponent. The next step is then to take the control and strike. This in itself is not too difficult a concept, however, the next step is then to continue with the strikes, adding so there were 4 or 5, this was hard for me to connect with.

Any previous training I’ve had has not included a control which you had to keep, if any control at all. My initial efforts were rather dismal, if I got the control and say one strike I had not particular idea where to put the next. It’s not instinctive to me. Even with a compliant partner I was unable to grasp the concept.

Errors were

Pre-empting the strike with the ward off. Remedy : Close your eyes until I tell you when to open them. Forcing me to deal with something, either flusters you or you do get it right. I do seem to need the extra assistance in seeing what I am doing (usually incorrectly), to be then shown the way to do it.

I tend to block myself with my own perception of what I think I can do and what the instructor wants me to do. This is something I am trying to undo, being blocked in internal arts is not the correct way to be, you need to be open to everything as well as open in everything. One day, I will be able to explain this.

T’ai Chi Anyone?

Since retiring from Karate, I have been able to spend some more time doing my other hobby, T’ai Chi.  The movement is fabulous when you get it right, and even though it causes me a lot of consternation, I am going to keep at it.

My class only runs once a week, and I usually top it up with weekends away a couple of times a year.  So far I have managed to get to the Easter Weekend, the Wetherby Weekend, I have just booked for the Summer Week, and I know I will be attending the Weapons Weekend later on in the year.

My current T’ai Chi Teacher, knowing my background has asked me to start to teach a beginners class. To that end, I have attended the British Council of Chinese Martial Arts Coaching Course, passing their Level 2 (rather pleased, felt a little intimidated by the training to be honest, but he is a nice bloke :))  I have been accepted for Insurance purposes by my organisation, and I have a hall lined up!

The first Date will be 14th May 2018, anyone interested in having a go, please do stop by, it will be an exclusive affair as the hall is small, so I will only have around 10 students. The venue is Woodlands Methodist Church, Wetherby Road, Harrogate, HG2 7SG and we wil be starting at 7.15 pm.

How much sword???

Since retiring from karate, I have been concentrating on my T’ai Chi in the hope that I can get the Broad Sword form I started to learn over a year ago into my head.  We are nearly there and whilst I am not as fluid as I should be, I hope that it looks like I am doing something with that sword.

The next training sessions for it will be at Easter and I hope to report back then!

Moving on

In life things get complicated, don’t go as planned, or get exciting with new things happening.  Life for me is about to change.

It was nearly 6 years ago that I fell into teaching karate. I knew I liked to practise it myself and an opportunity popped up which meant I could do it more. I was recovering from an operation, and thought it would be quickest way to get fit again and back at my hobby.  Over the last six years, that hobby became a full time job which is very satisfying and I have really enjoyed teaching the younger students in our club.

And here is where it ends, around the same time of year as it started, I have the opportunity to start again at an old job I know well, I initially took it on to help me get to New Zealand, but now its offering more and I feel it is time to hand over mantle.

I am retiring for a while, I am pretty certain that I will be popping up in classes again, but right now I am going to have a bit of rest. Watch this space in the future, you may find me training in your class!

You can still find me on Facebook and my Karate-lady Facebook page, I’m also on Twitter and Instagram. If I know you personally and you would like to stay in touch, please let me know. I’ll be around until nearly the end of January.

Kong Su!

Summer is here

We all like the sunshine and everyone loves the summer. At Martial Arts For Life we try really hard to ensure that our classes run as normal.

We are sometimes disappointed with the numbers so we started to ask for people to book and pay for their classes in advance over the summer period.

This year we are really pleased to see a number of our school students signing up for classes to get ahead of their peers.

Thanks guys!

Demonstration anyone!

Summer is just about here and the summer fairs are appearing.  This year my club was asked to advertise at one in Tadcaster. Our club in Tadcaster is thriving and when I was asked about a demo, I thought why not.

There are a lot of children who go to the primary school involved and I rather hoped as they would all be going anyway, they would help out.

The class is around 25 children and we got nearly half of them involved. It made me feel very proud to be in front of them as they all behaved impeccably. It was hot with the sun shining and everyone tried their best.

The only problem with the day was that I’d not grabbed a picture of them in action. I did see some of the mum’s out with their camera’s. I’m hoping that someone will let me see what they took, so I can have it for social media.