I have to say that this 2016 Teacher Training was a highlight in my teaching career which, so far, has spanned 55 years, the past 25 being Teaching the Tao. And this highlight was brightened even more by a number of factors, first being the co-facilitation with my beloved partner, muse and inspiration, Anamarta of the Jade Circle. It became ever clearer why the Taoist tradition of the Double-Master is so effective.
When we have settled back in our London nest in mid-September I shall post videos and pictures of this wonderful retreat including video-feedback from students and candidates. Between now and then we have the amazing Boom Festival but more of that later. Meanwhile, regardless of the teaching, the venue was outstanding: an ancient manor house still in the hands of the family who built it 300 years ago, and run to at least Downton Abey standard! We even had our needs seen to by a Portuguese version of Mrs Hughes!
As for the food, well, mouth-wateringly delicious, five stars and three michelins would be an understatement. Vegetarian cuisine with a lovely Portuguese flavour, prepared with love by…Isobel and Ze, in real life Anamarta’s mum and auntie. Goodness me, each meal was worth the trip!! And the best news: they are coming back next year for the Qigong Teacher Training.
We were honoured to have the wonderful Sue Hix as guest teacher, sharing with us the mystical Tai Chi Double-Fan form she described – and then demonstrated – as combining the seductive grace of dance with the deadly intent of martial arts: feel the shivers up the spine! Some of you have already posted beguiling images on Facebook and yes, as promised, I’m going to share the video – soon!
We also had a surprise visit from my friend and teacher Mr Tchi, who many years ago introduced me to the Flexibility and Balance exercises that add to the unique feel of our Tai Chi, and who took me to Penang to train with the amazing Master Lim, direct student of Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing. Mr Tchi travelled from Morocco to share two enjoyable training sessions with us, and to remind me that I can still fly!!!
None of this would have worked without the presence and glorious participation of our students and candidates, an amazing group ranging from martial artists to healers, grandmothers to teenagers. And the wonderful thing for me was that some had trained with us for years and done many of our courses, while others had never even met us before committing themselves to this week of intensive immersion in Tai Chi.
So, congratulations on winning their Level 2 (Intermediate) Instructor Certificate to Diana Baynes, Cecile Chich, and Liz Kendall. And on winning their Level 1 (Junior) Certificate to: Ben Adams, Simon Bowden, Mark Brockwell, Alex Cavey, Donna Houston, Cleuta Medeiros, Lisa Vilela, Jenny Wright; and congratulation to those others who participated so wholeheartedly in what was for them an altogether new experience. The future belongs to you!