Tai Chi Caledonia, what an opportunity to return to my birthplace, OK OK I know I'm Italian but I was born and brought up in Scotland and as I'm sure all who met me this year will guarantee I have the accent to prove it!
Anyway, Tai Chi Caledonia from the 18th to 25th June 2004, I didn't know what to expect, I only met Ronnie last year to introduce Master Franco Mescola and Master Enzo Simeone as possibile instructors for TCC 2004, and just from that meeting, my appetite was already aroused.
During the coming months emails and internet communication was buzzing between all the particapants and from what I could see most of them were old associates of TCC and just as eager for the arrival of the coming event as I, a new entry.
We arrived from the sunny heat of 30° in Milan to be welcomed by a surprising, though not for me, 18° and wet Glasgow, ( I had already warned Franco and the rest of the Italian party that Scotland was not quite the tropics). This however did not dampen the spirits, we were met by many different Caledonia participants and instructors all smiling and laughing, already we were beginning to feel the friendly heat . Shortly, afterwards we were all taken to Stirling University, to begin another chapter in the mysteries of Tai Chi . Initial introductions and eating,sleeping arrangements were quickly and efficiently dealt with.
The next 2 days were the organized "entrées" to a feast of tai Chi, which we were going to be delving into . From Tui Shou to Sword Techniques, Chi Kung to Applications. It was all there under the one though noisy roof. I must say unfortunately for myself, I found too many things I wanted to partecipate in but unless I could become a "Dolly clone " I would have to make choices.
I touched on a few sessions outside of my own with Franco, of which a couple rest in my mind - Nigel Sutton "Fa Jing" and Ian Cameron "tui Shou" :
Nigel a jolly looking chap with the power of a locomotive behind him, watching his techniques looked as if he had been practising tui shou with bulls. His explanations and exercises were very interesting.
Ian as I've been told always a very interesting session and found it to be true, basic tui shou techniques put over in a simple but understandable fashion.
As mentioned it's a pity not to be able to go through all sessions but I'm sure that everyone who was participating with other instructors found the same attention and training as I got.
From Monday thru Friday again full immersion and again full marks to all instructors, something for everyone and the weekend "starters" did not elude the expectations for the week.
I was helping with Franco's class on Chi Kung in the morning sessions, sensing and building qi, and a variety of chi kung exercises that he has been developing through the years, his over 40 years experience quickly created a warm atmosphere and he managed to easily to communicate his knowledge, even though sometimes my translations or accent confused the issue.
In the afternoon sessions I chose through the vast variety of options, Jan Silberstorff Tui shou, which through his simple key exercises managed to demonstrate some really effective techniques in building internal energy flow .
The After hours training continued into early evening and unscheduled sessions popped up here and there . With Jan giving some extra points to tui shou enthusiasts. Franco and Enzo on application techniques of Tai Chi, etc .....
Finally, there were also some excellent seminars by Ken Van Sickle "chen man ching" and a general discussion on ins and outs of what is good form .
On the lighter side of life "Ronnie's gang " kept the whole thing rolling smoothly, food, fun, tour of Glasgow etc. all controlled by his team, a special mention has to be given to Karen and Fiona for all their help.
Even Franco and Enzo got a taste of a local pub and its fine selection of beers, as far as I know their still recovering.
I can only say that after the weekend session we had already decided that we would like to participate again next year. and I would suggest to anyone interested in starting Tai Chi or already involved in this great adventure to give TCC a go, they can only gain from the vast amount of experience that is brought together in one place.
Well done to you all at Tai Chi caledonia for giving me this opportunity to enrich my training and circle of friends.
To recognize what you don't know is wise
not to know that you don't know is the problem.