North Sea Tai Chi August 2011

I have been on the road man and boy attending international TCC events all over the world for more years than I care to remember, but this one was both amongst the most enjoyable and best-organized that I’ve taken part in.

I got to know Roderik Schoorlemmer at the Rencontres Jasnieres Festival and he came across as a typically pleasant somewhat bohemian Dutchman. He is all of that – and more. He found a great place in Haarlem, in easy reach of Amsterdam, combining beach and countryside. He recruited two good crews; one of helpers and facilitators and one of teachers. Then he sat back good-humouredly and let it happen. I believe this is what they meant by benevolent despotism. Though nominally a pushing hands event, there was a wide variety of workshop topics.

Jan Top (great name!) taught the use of voice to even non-singers, but having been banned from joining in school singalongs at the age of eight, by the dreaded Miss Bowers, I lacked the temerity to attend the ‘wagadoo’ man’s sessions. Ad Lakerveld looked at patterns of behaviour in individuals and groups.Ynze Waterlander taught jian fa and is involved in sword sparring competitions. Marlies Hanebrink taught Feldenkrais awareness through movement.

Old pal and all round good egg, Laura Stone, was on the team too, teaching partner work as was solitary Aberdonian and Ikea fan (good food at a good price) Ronnie Robinson. Then came Nabil Ranne, sharp, droll with the famous German sense of humour and very interesting indeed. Jan Bloem, an expert in violence control looked at the internal and

external elements of martial arts. Last, but not least was Zhao Qiurong who looked at similarities in the five main TCC families. After his workshops, he did not stand upon the order of his going, but went at once.

Added to this were sessions on iridology, demos and free pushing. The participants make an event and they were good fun too; as well as old friends like Ceciel and Judith, I met two amiable witches called Lies and Marie-Antoinette (no, really) and a waif-like Zen poet from Belgium.

Great location, good food , excellent company and relaxed, but effective organisation. I thoroughly recommend this event.

I’d also like to thank not just Roderik, but the team. Dan ‘the man’ Hengst put me up and chauffeured me to and fro. Others of the crew included: Helma Vinke – Event Manager, Pim van der Broek – Communication, and the Volunteers: Martin, Saskia, Ilana, Pauline, Nicole, Belle, Paul and Hans.

Dan Docherty