Tai Chi Festival

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

Sheford Tai Chi Festival at the Sheford Community Hall

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!

Shefford Tai Chi Festival - Tai Chi Class

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Tai Chi Class

As a first event we set our sights high but our expectations low – both were exceeded – we lost count of the number of visitors and were totally impressed by the enthusiasm of the demonstrations. For those who dropped in on spec the atmosphere was warm and friendly with a multi-generation make up – so much a community event.

The Tai Chi demos took the form of a short beginners class with lots of people joining in and some demonstrations. This was the sort of class that beginners can expect at classes in the afternoon on Mondays and Sunday evenings at the Community Hall.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Yoga class

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Yoga class

Les Hummel was our first guest and he took a taster class of Yoga through 1/2 hour of exercises and I started to notice what was to be a trend over the day – so much of the Yoga overlapped with Tai Chi in particular and other demos in general – these activities really are complimentary to each other and to the health and fitness of the human body and mind.

David Sheppard offered massage tasters all day and had a constant flow of takers who got up from the couch looking so relaxed it was wonderful to see.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Massage

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Massage

Next up was a delightful group of Wing Chun students from young to a bit older – an exciting and high energy demo for the martially minded under the direction of Master William Wong.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Wing Chun

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Wing Chun

Shash Gajjar followed on with a Pilates class for anyone keen to try – Shash did some detail body work with the group and I think all were impressed.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Pilates class

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Pilates class

More Tai Chi with on the spot exercises for relaxation and mobility followed by some Tai Chi slow walking and a demonstration of the form.

My friend and colleague Judy Hammond took over with a class on Alexander Technique where she worked with individuals on their posture and took us all through some partner work. Judy and I regularly run joint seminars and have a residential retreat coming up on May 12 to 14 – there are places available – see here for details.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Alexander Technique

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Alexander Technique

A quick Tai Chi class with a request from Shash to see “something more advanced” so I did a fast demo of the Chen style Broadsword form which seemed to be enjoyed by all.

The Community Hall Taekwondo group led by their fourth degree instructor Tom Delve took us back up the energy level with a routine that culminated in a brick breaking demo – do not try this at home kids!

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Taekwando

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Taekwondo

Bringing us to lower energy there was more Tai Chi – where did all this Tai Chi come from? Well for those that were interested there was a history chart showing where and how it developed since the early 1600s.

Back up the energy ladder with Thai Kickboxing by Master Miggy Marcantonio and a brilliant class of enthusiastic young students really going for it for 1/2 an hour non stop.

Shefford Tai CHi Festival Thai Kickboxing

Shefford Tai CHi Festival Thai Kickboxing

The last demo/class of the day was another Tai Chi class to finish off a very successful day.

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Tai Chi

Shefford Tai Chi Festival Tai Chi

Many many thanks to all who gave up their time to demonstrate and take classes – and of course to all our visitors.

Also of course a personal thanks to everybody who gave their time ( and donated cakes! ) in the organisation and running of the day – what a fantastic team support – thank you.

Finally thank you to everybody who donated to charity for their tea/coffee and cakes – we collected over £73 which will be split between the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and a local charity for the Homeless.

Contact details for the participants are below:

Tai Chi – Ian Deavin 07860 218334
Yoga – Les Hummel 07841 862975
Wing Chun – Yvoone & William Wong 07900 922486
Pilates – Shash Gajjar 07963 232666
Alexander Technique – Judy  Hammond 07930 552797
Taekwondo – Tom Delve 07743 918487
Thai Kickboxing – Miggy Marcantonio 07885 249745
Massage – David Sheppard 07776 230327