The Ronnie Robinson Bursary

Hopefully, now that the 2019 programme has been released,  you are excited  about next year’s event.

As well as pondering which of the many workshops you would like to attend why not consider somebody you may know who may be faced with some difficulties in being able to join you. Check out the Ronnie Robinson Bursary page and see if you are aware of someone who would benefit from this is annual award.

This could be a great opportunity for the right person. This year’s recipient was keen for us to share with you just what it meant to her so here is what she said.  Thanks, Zsa Zsa.

Tai Chi Caledonia 2018, Ronnie Robinson Bursary, with gratitude and love from ZsaZsa x

I had wanted to find a good Tai Chi class for years so when I joined Ken Houlker’s class in Deal, Kent in July 2016 I was content that I had found the right teacher.  Ken introduced me to Gill of Bright Moon Tai Chi and I then began classes with her as well.  Between my two brilliant teachers I was attending 3 classes per week and my Tai Chi practice was taking form.  In September of that year, 2016 I was then diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a bit of a shock for someone so young; I was 43 at the time.  I declined much of the conventional treatment that was suggested to me and opted instead to follow the Gerson Therapy after having a full mastectomy and auxiliary lymph clearance on the left hand side.  My journey back to wellness included my usual 3 classes of tai chi per week.  I considered my protocol tight and organised, having investigated and researched everything.  I was stunned in December 2017 when I met with my consultant to discover that the cancer had returned.  This time I was advised to begin hormonal treatment medication and to be referred to an oncologist. The oncologist advised that I take a full course of three weeks of daily radiotherapy.  I did so in April 2018.  My skin in that area is now sensitive and although most ladies wear a prosthesis my thoughts are that if it is uncomfortable for me, it is likely to be uncomfortable for others, therefore I shall lead the way by opting out of wearing a prosthesis altogether.  I’m not sharing these details for anyone to feel sorry for me but to give a little background as to how Tai Chi has been instrumental in helping me to turn my life around.  Yes, there have been several other components to my positive transformation but the most important aspect to consider, know and utilise when moving from a state of healing and into a state of wellbeing and out into the open fields of flourishing is that to harness the mind is everything.  This too is true with Tai Chi.  The better able I am to relax and concentrate my mind the better able I am to connect to my source and to flow in good form.  We all will have challenges in life and we can each overcome them once we know that our mind holds the key.  Tai Chi practice helps us to achieve balance and teaches us how to rise above any obstacles.

I never expected to be awarded the Ronnie Robinson bursary and was quite taken aback when Gill called me to relay the good news.  What a gift.  I arrived at Stirling campus for TCC 2018 and my first impression was that I felt I had come home, that I belonged.  There were smiling faces looking out to me as I slowly drove my car up the road and took in the sights of all the chalets and participants already practicing on the grass.  The week’s event exceeded all expectations and I wish to express my gratitude once again to Al and Aileen for organising such a great event, Ken and Gill for putting me forward and Ronnie Robinson, who despite not being there in his physical body was very much there in spirit.  Thank you.

On Saturday I was up sharpish at my usual time of 4.44am, eager and excited to begin training.  With such a rich array of talented and inspirational teachers it was a tad tricky to come to a decision as to which workshop to join but I am so happy that I began my Callie experience with Yanira Masich.  Yanira’s session was on the ‘5 words of self composure’.  I found Yanira’s teaching calming, peaceful and relaxed.  The way Yanira spoke and moved helped me to concentrate my mind.  I really loved her workshop and enjoyed the exercises within the group.  From there I went to move my spine in interesting ways with Tina Faulkner-Elders in ‘spine circle’.  The week definitely made me realise that I have a fair bit of work to do in that area. ‘Root down – connect up’ with Gillian Reid came next.  Gillian’s wisdom and movement was nothing short of mesmerising, I knew then that I was definitely going to work with her for the rest of the week.  I then attended another of Tina F-E’s workshops ‘hip circle’ this I found to be a little more challenging than her previous workshop.  Watching Tina in class and later at the demos was motivational because the flexibility in Tina’s body is unreal.  Knowing the practices she uses to achieve this flexibility is fascinating.  I then met Helmut Oberlack for ‘3 external harmonies’.  Helmut’s teaching style is very generous.  He allows for you to feel at ease immediately and to experiment with how your body feels to know correct posture.  He was a cool influence, easy to understand and patient in his approach.  My last workshop of the Saturday was with Bob Lowey ‘5 Animal Exercises’.  I really enjoyed Bob’s energy and charisma; he was clear and calm and made learning easier than normal in the subtle way.  On day two I began with Gillian Reid’s session on ‘Building and guiding qi’.  I loved this class and felt really good during and after it.  I then moved to ‘Xing Yi Quan 5 Elements’ with Birinder Tember.  This was quite different to anything that I had tried in the past and I thoroughly loved every moment.  I felt suitably challenged and happy when I was finally able to create the movements needed to be free. I went to Enrico Colmi ‘Neigong of 5 Dynamics’ next which was interesting as it demonstrated to me the importance of being centred, balanced.  Gillian had another workshop ‘The Empty step’ and I went to that one of hers too.  Having seen Angela Menzel in the demos on Saturday night I went and asked if her workshop would not be to vigorous for me to attend.  She assured me it would be fine.  It was a ‘Bagua Workout’ and my first introduction to bagua and lots of fun.  Glass coffee tables will forever make me smile.  The final workshop was with Luigi Zanini, ‘Xiao Yinjinjing’ this was much harder than it looked and holding some of the postures made my legs tremble but at the end of it I felt invigorated.  I also loved Luigi’s early morning qi gong session.  I went to bagua on one morning with  Simona Longeri and Sergio Uzzo and it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed myself but the qi gong was on at the same time and I really wanted to attend that too.  Most mornings I went to qi gong.  I watched the push hands but didn’t participate because I couldn’t risk a slipped hand or too much pressure on my left hand side.  Hopefully I will participate in push hands next time.  I chose to work with Gillian and learn some Bio Spirals and Angela and learn a bit more Bagua.  Two great choices I think because I loved their teaching so much.  The standard of teaching at Tai Chi Caledonia was exceptional and it was a gift to be able to learn from such brilliant instructors.  Kind and warm hearted individuals, I wish I could have worked with all of them.  It was therefore a real joy to watch the demos in the evenings during the weekend.  I filmed a fair few forms and made sure to use the # when I uploaded them to social media.  Thanks to everyone concerned – the teachers, helpers and all participants… Tai Chi Caledonia rocks.