9th Tai Chi Caledonia Stirling - June 2004Gino Verrecchia
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, my 1st visit - 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.
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,eating, sleeping arrangements were quickly and efficiently dealt with.
The next 2 days were the organised "entrées" to a feast of tai chi: 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 participate 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's "Fa Jing" and Ian Cameron's "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 runs a very interesting session and found it to be true, basic tui shou techniques put over in a simple but understandable fashion.
It's a pity not to be able to go through all sessions but I'm sure that everyone enjoyed 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 Chi Kung morning session on sensing and building, and a variety of chi kung exercises that he developed over his 40 years experience. He quickly created a warm atmosphere and successfully communicated his knowledge, even though sometimes my translations or accent confused the issue.
In the afternoon sessions I opted for Jan Silberstorff's tui shou, which through his simple key exercises managed to demonstrate some really effective techniques in building internal energy flow . The 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 applications etc .....
There was also an excellent talk by Ken Van Sickle on being a student of Cheng Man Ching and a general discussion on "What is good form?"
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.