Tai Chi walking at the Swiss Garden

I had a lovely time teaching Tai Chi in the Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth this morning – the sun came out and so did many people who were eager to learn about Tai Chi.

Since we were in pretty much ideal surroundings we took advantage of being able to start with a brief sensory walk, grounding ourselves by connecting with the trees and bushes of the garden, calming our minds and bodies. I and my student Steve Milsom then took these enthusiastic beginners through 40 mins of exercises focusing on balance, posture, relaxation and moving about the centre, including waving hands like clouds, standing Chi Kung and Tai Chi walking. This was followed by our demonstration of the Laojia form and the Chen Broadsword form, with a brief history lesson to place Chen Tai Chi in a very wide context of both health and martial arts also covering briefly some of the Buddhist and Taoist philosophical backgrounds and other precursors to it’s synthesis. 

We then we went into learning the first move of Laojia with discussion of what a beginners lesson might look like and further questions. 

After the class feedback was very positive and many people stayed to ask questions including “where can I learn Tai Chi locally?” – at my classes in Shefford or Letchworth! So I am delighted to have been invited back later in the year and I would love to do more at this delightful venue.

Spitfire at the Swiss Garden ShuttleworthMany of us then retired to the restaurant from where we could observe a Spitfire and a helicopter visit.

Important updates


Please note there will be no classes on the forthcoming Bank Holiday Mondays May 6 and 27

Students wishing to train with my teacher Karel on May 14 should contact me to arrange payment and car share if needed.

Tai Chi practice at the Shefford FestivalWell we had last years weather again but that did not deter many people from coming to the Community Hall and taking part as demonstrators or as visitors in this now regular community event – organised by the Shefford Tai Chi group on an entirely free of charge basis, supported by volunteers from the group who provided refreshments ( home made cakes, tea, coffee, soft drinks) all by donation to charity – we would like to express a big thank you to all who assisted – incidentally we raised £80 this year.

Refreshments at the Shefford Tai Chi Festival

Each year on World Tai Chi day we throw open the Community Hall to local practitioners of martial arts and alternative health activities – so this year we had a gentle Tai Chi loosening at 10.00 to get us all in the mood. Ian Deavin (chief instructor of Shefford Tai Chi) took the group through some normal class exercises aimed at developing good posture and balance for people of all ages.

This was followed by a very interesting session of Yoga led by local teacher Laura Johnson who led everybody through a typical class of gentle stretching and balance exercises aimed again at the development of healthy movement for all.

At 11.00 Eileen Johnson gave a wonderful hands on seminar of Alexander Technique focusing on relaxed posture and ease of movement which had many people feeling as if walking on air. Alexander Technique is an intervention much valued for dealing with back problems and balance.

The pace stepped up at 11.30 with Ataru Shotokan Karate under Sensei Jamie Thomson and his wife Tracii – an enthusiastic group demo and participatory session with many youngsters, followed at 12.00 by Ian Deavin with a graceful Tai Chi demo of the Chen style Laojia form and Sword form.

12.30 saw us involved with ENSO Jujitsu under Lee Alexander Sensei for another interactive session including more young people, followed by an exquisite demonstration of Iado – Japanese sword drawing by Lee Alexander Sensei.

Ian Deavin followed with more Tai Chi showing how Tai Chi may be practiced in small soft movements suitable for people of all ages interested in developing better balance and healthy movement  – as well as how it may be done with bigger faster movements for the younger or more martially inclined.Tai Chi group practice at the Festival

Sadly the hoped for Taekwando demonstration led by Sensei Tom Delve, with his much enjoyed brick breaking, was not possible due to ill health – we send our best wishes.

By 2.00 when we had all had our lunch we were in the hands of the William Wong Wing Chun Academy under chief instructor William Wong and his wife Yvoone who led us through their style – and then by popular request William took enthusiastic leadership of a fully interactive all styles self defence partner training session, followed by a similar session with Sensei Thomson which pretty much took us through to the end of the day.

Ian rounded off the event by having with some Tai Chi discussion with visitors while the demonstration area was taken up by martial artists playing and having fun in a mixed styles practice.

All in all it was a brilliant day, which only gets better each year – we look forward to 2020. See here for details of demonstration participants.

If you run a martial arts or alternative therapy activity and would like to join us next year – or would like to know more about Tai Chi please contact me – Ian Deavin on 07860 218334 or e-mail ian@sheffordtaichi.org the festival is funded by Shefford Tai Chi in order to promote related community based groups. Participation and visitor entry are free to all. See more at www.sheffordtaichi.org

With special thanks to the following for providing refreshments and help through the day:

Jackie, Joy, Penny, Judith, Lynn, Janet, Margaret C, Margaret S, Lloyd, Lloyd’s wife, John, Steve and my own partner Lesley.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival 2019

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