a review by Dan Docherty
Saturday, November 3rd, year of Our Lord 2007 and yours truly with editor Ron and ex-TCUGB Chairman, Bob Lowey and wife are largein’ it as guests of our Dutch uncles at the Stichting Taijiquan Nederland (STN) Taiji Festival in Old Amsterdam.The Stichting has been running the event for 15 years and this year was also their 25th anniversary.
Loraine Sonnemans Fan Form
Essentially the event has been run by pretty much the same crew for all that time and old colleague, Epi van de Pol was both President and Master of Ceremonies for the Festival. The competition side of things was controlled by the very capable Joppe. & Petra Douwes; Joppe is a three time winner of the Dutch Chevy Chase look-alike competition.
We had some very good entertaining demos. Mr. Lowey did his Farmer Bob cane form to great acclaim. I greatly liked the nifty Qinna shown by Mike Mar- tello from Belgium; Mike trains in Taiwan with the same master as my good friend Albert Yefimov and I hope he will be able to demonstrate and give a workshop at the Tai Chi Festival I am organising on behalf of the TCUGB in Oxford in early April. Capable old hands such as Henk Jansen, Luis Molera and Julian Webber also showed what they could do.
Yu Shaoyi demonstrating Shuai Jiao.
An unexpected blast from the past, who used to feature in Combat magazine in the 80s and early 90s, was Sifu Mark Houghton who has been training with US based master Doc Fai Wong for quite some years in both Choi Li Fat and Tai Chi. He demonstrated some hard Qigong including roundhouse kicks with bare leg on a solid iron bar and bending a hefty looking sabre with fist and palm strikes. He also I hope to see at the Oxford event as his pushing hands people are always amongst the medals in Holland.
As for the competition, the pushing hands went smoothly under the guidance of the brothers Rob and Eric Volke though the rules were quite limiting in terms of permitted techniques. The quality in the forms event was mixed with some excellent stuff and some over which I prefer to draw a veil. On the British side, Albert St. Catherine from London who comes to this event regularly, was the male Victor Ludorum.
After the event we sat down to a meal of school canteen pasta and veg washed down at least at our table, with Ardmore Whisky to which I treated the Dutch and it encouraged them to ask us to come back next year with more people. My only regret was not finding someone to go Dutch with me for the taxi ride back to the hotel. All kidding aside thanks to the members of the STN team for all their hospitality.