I am sorry to have to cancel classes on 17 and 18 June due to a family bereavement.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival

We had a brilliant day again this year – despite the weather many more people came than last year and lots stayed for the whole day – we were delighted to see everybody. There was a lot of interest in all the classes starting with Tai Chi exercises to loosen up the body and a seated Zen meditation session to calm and connect both mind and body.

Shefford Tai Chi demonstration

Shefford Tai Chi demonstration

 

The first guest presentation was from the ENSO Jujitsu group based in Clifton and headed by Lee Alexander, who showed us a variety of exercises and self-defence techniques with flowing movement and exciting throws including a female student taking on a series of attacks from the rest of the class. Visitors were encouraged to join in some partner work and experience the effectiveness of Jujitsu for themselves. There was a lot of enthusiasm and some laughter as everybody worked together co-operatively to learn these techniques.

Jujitsu demonstration

Jujitsu demonstration

Ian Deavin then took a beginners Tai Chi class incorporating standing exercises and slow walking – the sort of activities that the Monday afternoon and Sunday evening classes regularly use to develop relaxation, balance and mobility and which are excellent for falls prevention in people over 50.

Massage and Aromatherapy consultation

Massage and Aromatherapy consultation

By this point in the day the hall was quite full with many people sitting or standing with tea and cake while they appreciated the activities in the display area. Visitors were also able to visit the presentation booths for Massage/Aromatherapy with Tom Rigby who was giving free tasters all day and to discuss reading matter with Joy Lakin from Shefford Library, who presented a selection of books related to the day’s activities – and lending them out to visitors who had their library cards with them.

Shefford Library presentation

Shefford Library presentation

Ian’s original and inspiring Alexander Technique teacher – Eileen Johnson took a group through postural work addressing their primary control of the head and neck leading to relaxed posture and use of the body. Eileen used hands-on touch to adjust each person – and the group was encouraged to adjust their own posture in simple movement.

Group doing Alexander Technique

Group doing Alexander Technique

More Tai Chi from Ian who sought to explain something of the history of Tai Chi and the way it is good for both health and for martial arts – the first thing that Tai Chi seeks to do is to develop a healthy body with relaxed posture and movement – these are the basic principles. This can then be used to aid movement in daily life and if the student wishes then they can progress further towards the martial aspects.

A demonstration of Wing Chun was next on the program – from the William Wong Wing Chun Academy in Shefford who displayed a range of exercises and patterns with students across the age range from young to mature. Finally featuring a young student doing a solo pattern to the delight of the audience. This breadth of relevance whatever age was a continuing theme of the day across all classes.

Wing Chun demonstration

Wing Chun demonstration

A much anticipated set was the Taekwondo demonstration by Instructor Tom Delve of the Shefford Taekwondo group – he and his class showed powerful martial patterns with punches and blocks and included a display of young students which drew much appreciation from the crowd – this finally culminated in a show of brick breaking by the instructor and his senior students, which had us all urging them on and applauding.

Performance of Taekwondo pattern

Performance of Taekwondo pattern

Ian took a further session of Tai Chi where he discussed the way that Natural Movement with relaxed good posture forms the basis for good martial techniques – taking standing exercise into walking and into light co-operative partner work. Ian demonstrated both the traditional slow hands free Tai Chi form and a brief but fast Broadsword form which he and senior students practice on Sunday evenings.

Tai Chi demo class

Tai Chi demo class

Tai Chi broad sword demonstration

Tai Chi broad sword demonstration

No health and fitness day would be complete without a Yoga class – which was taken by teacher  Rick Nunn from 9-Energy Natural Expression  – even at the end of the day there were many people still up for joining in with this excellent class which proved challenging and fun. There was even a little friendly competitive spirit expressed by some of the participants who had stayed from the morning and were still looking to enjoy themselves with healthy movement. Rick’s sense of humour in this shared learning environment was appreciated by us all.

Yoga demonstration class

Yoga demonstration class

The day closed off with more Tai Chi from Ian who took the class through walking backwards and how it related to balance and natural movement with a little more of the martial aspect.

Home baked cakes with tea, coffee and squashes were provided free throughout the day by the Shefford Tai Chi group – with donations for charity collected at the counter which finally totalled £110 – going equally to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Hitchin homeless.

refreshments

refreshments

Our grateful thanks go to the many volunteers from Shefford Tai Chi who gave their time (and cakes!) to making this annual free community event such a success.

Shefford Tai Chi FestivalThe Shefford Tai Chi Festival is held at Shefford Community Hall each year on World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day designated by the World Health Organisation for the last Saturday of April. This year it will be complimented by a wider Community Festival held at venues throughout Shefford in September from 22nd to 30th.  Organisations wishing to participate in either this year’s Community Festival or next year’s Tai Chi Festival should contact Ian Deavin on ian.deavin@btconnect.com

Contacts:

Tai Chi – Ian Deavin – 07860 218334

Jujitsu – Lee Alexander/Nicky Tribble – 07780 971004

Alexander Technique – Eileen Johnson – 07717 154732

Wing Chun – Yvoone and William Wong – 07900 922486

Taekwondo – Tom Delve – 07743 918487

Yoga – Rick Nunn – 07535 676319

Massage/Aromatherapy – Tom Rigby – 01767 314185

Shefford Library – Joy Lakin – 0300 300 8067

Shefford Community Hall – Elsa Tattersfield – 01462 811607

Class cancellations

30/04/2018

There will be no more Friday evening classes from today.

There will be no classes on the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekends:

Sunday 6th May

Monday 7 May

Sunday 27 May

Monday 28 May

According to a piece in this weeks New Scientist – research in Australia is using a harness and booby trapped obstacle course to train older people as a falls prevention measure, the piece at  www.newscientist.com explains that results show a 50% reduction in vulnerability to falls. This is an important factor since the article states that “One-third of people over the age of 65 fall every year,”

The article goes on the suggest that “research is increasingly showing that exercises that challenge balance and involve lots of movement work best for preventing falls. These should ideally begin before older people have their first fall,”

This reminds me very much of the Tai Chi practice we do in our classes with balance and walking exercises and co-responds to findings by the World Health Organisation in their report which mentions the benefits of Tai Chi, Yoga and Dance in an active aging process. A theme further developed in this piece from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Tai Chi has long been recognised as an exercise for life and beneficial into later years – especially if practice is begun before age related physical deterioration leads to vulnerability – for example around the age of 50.

 

Classes and Merry Christmas

19 December 2017
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Chen Taijiquan’s Integrated Curriculum by David Gaffney

2 November 2017

A great insight into Chen Tai Chi by a very experienced martial artist with long term connections to the school at the Chen Village. This piece covers important basic stuff in easily understood terms – I am looking forward to the rest of the series. Read the article … Share the post “Chen Taijiquan’s Integrated Curriculum […]

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Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence

2 November 2017

Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence – an excellent piece by Sam Moor – really well written and easy to read – covers so much of what I try to get across to students but better written! Read the article … Share the post “Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence” FacebookTwitterLinkedInE-mail

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Classes and events over the Christmas period

2 November 2017

Nov 3 Nov no class at Shefford 26 Nov no class at Shefford Dec 11 Shefford lunch 13 Letchworth dinner 18 lunch at Letchworth 21 no class Letchworth 22 no class Shefford 24 no class Shefford 25 no class Letchworth and Shefford 28 no class Letchworth 29 no class Shefford 31 no class Shefford Jan […]

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World Tai Chi Day – Shefford Tai Chi Festival

30 April 2017
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The last Saturday in April is designated by the World Health Organisation as World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day – so this year we decided to have a festival of Tai Chi and related arts at the Community Hall in Shefford. And it was BRILLIANT! As a first event we set our sights high […]

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Attending a Martial Arts (Tai Chi) class for beginners – further thoughts

20 March 2017

Attending a martial arts class may well be very different to other activities you have undertaken and it should be remembered that Tai Chi is a martial art – and I believe it is extremely important that this link is maintained. This is part of their paradox which I have written about elsewhere.  So the […]

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