22 Feb 2009 08:10 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
I'm home. Well, have been since a bit after 6 but just got off a long phone conversation with my mum.

Workshop was fantastic but hard. In the morning we practised a whole new level of the snake-cock-monkey sequence, it was almost like learning it for the first time. Unlike yesterday's Parting Wild Horse's Mane, I don't think I'll go back to this version before I can do the previous one perfectly. My body still has some changing to do. So yeah, good practice, good workout and a good time with loads of other people, most of whom would usually not be part of my social circle.
The social side of it is great, too. Literally everyone helps out in any way they can, be it setting up/taking down the tables and chairs for the meals, setting/clearing the tables, getting the food out of the kitchen (which is also staffed by members) etc. Just wonderful.

I'm going to sleep well tonight...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Yes, I'm back because my lift decided to drive back to Cambridge and back tomorrow. Suits me because 7 hours of sleep in my own bed are going to be much better than 6 or so in a partially lit (and as it's day, brightly lit) hall on an airbed.

I have this strange sensation again of feeling absolutely knackered while at the same time feeling invigorated. During the day, we worked on advanced versions of the foundation exercises and then applied them to the first four moves as well as an advanced version of Parting Wild Horse's Mane (which I actually a lot more fluid and logical than the basic version, although it's harder work). In the evening we did 90 minutes of Push Hands, which was very good indeed.
Catering was amazing as always, especially that Satay sauce for the tofu dish.

Right, bed. I'm going to sleep like a baby...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
First Tai Chi session after a long break. It was full on, hard but fantastic. I feel knackered and alive at the same time.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Tai Chi was hard. Lots of coughing etc but I managed to get through it and even picked up something to concentrate on.

A little comic relief came when the instructor explained the (rather complicated) timing during Wave Hands like Clouds, everyone was listening and watching intently when outside the hall one of the really obnoxious ice cream van tunes started off really loudly which had everyone in giggles.

Now in the Apprentice it looks like there's going to be another obvious victim. Let's see. *cringes at the Jewish/Muslim disaster*
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
This evening I went along to a new Tai Chi beginners' class as I had promised the instructor I'd be one of the "role models" and [livejournal.com profile] feanelwa so there would be someone she knew there.
We randomly ran into [livejournal.com profile] mageboltrat and partner there, goths everywhere!

It was odd to go back to the very beginning but also helpful in a way. I just had to concentrate to keep the moves simple. During the break the more experienced members who had come along to help out demonstrated the first half of the set which provoked the usual google-eyed reaction from those watching. I remember what I thought when I saw it during my first lesson (I'm never going to be able to do or remember all of this) and I chatted to a few people reassuring them that they were doing fine. I was actually quite impressed. Most of them picked it up really quickly and we went up to Single Whip (i.e. the first five moves). Cool.

I might pop in now and then, I think.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Today I'm groaning a bit because the Tai Chi workshop I attended was the first one that actually caused slightly sore muscles most likely due to unfamiliar movements as we worked on a lot of advanced concepts. Some more info in this post.
Sunday morning was lovely and frosty so I ventured outside before breakfast (I had slept in the hall so was woken up when it got light) and took a few shots. Click on the pic for more:

I didn't actually take any photos during the workshop but have a few other shots of some food etc. behind the cut )

Then after cooking a quick dinner last night, I processed the photos, caught up with LJ and emails, watched Supernatural and was in bed before midnight. Slept like a log and really didn't want to get up this morning.

First session of [livejournal.com profile] robinbloke's new Call of Cthulhu campaign tonight, yay. Let's see how much SAN we can lose in the introduction. ;o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
That's pretty much how the Tai Chi workshop I returned from an hour ago could be summarised.
The workshop was run by one of the first-generation instructors and firstgen pupils of Master Moy, meaning he started this over 35 years ago so someone who is as close to Master Moy's style as possible.
So, during the workshop he taught us rather advanced versions of a number of common moves. So advanced in fact that it was the first time for even the senior GB instructors who were there (people doing this for 15 years or more). People who usually smile and do things over and over again without breaking a sweat were huffing and puffing, the sweat running down their bodies.
I discovered parts of my body I didn't know existed and probably learned more about Tai Chi than in the last 3 and a half years so it was worth it. I'm really glad my first workshop (the International one two years ago) wasn't like this or it would have put me off workshops right away. This was my main criticism of the event, usually things were such that everyone, from someone just having started their reguar class to those with 10 and more years experience. This was exceptionally hard if not impossible for beginners and still hard for the veterans. Still, we survived and managed to come away wiser, fitter and with a better idea of how Tai Chi works and what it does to our bodies.

The drive home (via A12/Ipswich/A14) was good and far less crowded than last time via the M11. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous. While you couldn't actually see the sun because it was too hazy the haze diffused the deep orange light so much that it looked like the whole horizon was on fire. Beautiful.


16 Sep 2007 07:36 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Yesterday I got up even earlier than during the week to pick up [livejournal.com profile] mazzarc and drive to the European Centre of the TTCS in Colchester for a Tai Chi workshop. It was a very good one, not as big as the International one two years ago so we weren't too squashed in the practice hall. We went through a lot of basics and foundation exercises, concentrating on the first five moves of the set and on Parting Wild Horses' Mane on Sunday morning. Lovely and varied Chinese food was provided by the society's catering team from the purpose-built kitchen (full wok facilities with gigantic gas burners), there were at least three or four different bowls on each table (with at least one veggie option and steamed salmon at Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch), the special treat being freshly fried banana fritters with syrup as dessert for Sunday lunch.
Different this time was an introduction to Chanting, another Taoist Art taught and practised by the society. I'd only heard of it so wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd imagined it being a rather ritualistic/meditative so wasn't quite sure about it but wanted to try. It turned out to be more like a singalong. I guess it's something you need to try when you aren't tired from a weekend of exercise.

We spend Saturday night at [livejournal.com profile] mazzarc's parents' in Maldon (which we found despite travelling rather small country roads, never quite sure where we were). I don't think I've been in bed so early for months (around 11) and slept like a log until 7:30 when I woke up and then snoozed another hour. Our hosts were lovely and fed us a huge breakfast in the morning (well, cereal and toast and jam). Thank you again for your hospitality!

The workshop finished around 4 and we made our way out of Colchester only to hit very heavy traffic on the A120. Thankfully, as soon as we were on the dual carriageway, it was plain sailing all the way to Cambridge. Dropped off Maz at home, came home and collapsed. Am going to have a light dinner of fruit yoghurt for dinner in a bit, I think.

Another busy week ahead. *groan* I'd rather have a couple of days to relax and sleeeeep...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Watch me and some people who actually know what they're doing demonstrating our Style of Tai Chi in New Square (the green bit between the Grafton/Fitzroy St. and Christ's Pieces) tomorrow, Saturday, from about 11 to 5. I should be there for two hours or so from about noon.
Let's hope the weather stays as it is.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Friday: Finished work, stopped over at home to pack car, drove to Farcet without any delays, cooked AoM sausages, mash with leeks and onion gravy (stupidly had left the greens at home) which were inhaled in no time, played with Pippin a bit, chatted and then got to bed early because I was dead tired.

Saturday: Got up at the illegal time of 7:15, had breakfast and drove to Stamford and almost didn't get lost (the drive into the school was hard to spot until they put up a sign outside later). Said hi to people, signed in, wandered around, warmed up a bit and joined a group of people doing the set.
The workshop itself was very good indeed, concentrating on two moves: Single Whip and Wave Hands Like Clouds with liberal practicing of the various foundation exercises thrown in. I was very impressed with the instructors who managed to convey the ideas so everyone from the beginner (who had just learnt the set) to the experienced (there were some who've been doing this for 25 years or longer).
I didn't quite manage to get through the evening session because at one point my feet simply gave out. The fact that we had to walk through town to the girls' school for the meals didn't help, I guess. So I drove back to Farcet, crashed on the sofa a bit (see Saturday night post) and went to bed early.

Sunday: After almost nine hours sleep (dreaming of a Finnish virus that killed my computer and the planned Skype chat with [livejournal.com profile] jupiter_jones and some other random stuff), I was fit again in the morning and ready for the second day. The second part wasn't quite as hard (or I had gotten used to the exercise) as the first and we did more of the same. I was dead pleased when one of the workshop leaders complimented me on my form of Wave Hands.
Still, I was very tired by the end of it and didn't join the last set because I needed to drive home.
Stopped over in Farcet, packed my stuff, said goodby to the Humphreys and drove home in medium traffic.
Got in, had a much needed shower, cooked lunch for today (just pasta and pesto and some of the greens), caught up on LJ and email, installed Skype and chatted the evening away with [livejournal.com profile] jupiter_jones while editing the photos from the workshop with only a break for a rather spooky and superb episode of Supernatural. Was in bed by midnight, too.

Today I'm absolutely fine, everything works and moves smoothly and nothing hurts. Just shows what a fantastic exercise Tai Chi is without putting strain on the body.


14 Apr 2007 10:45 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
First day of Tai Chi workshop was hard, very hard but I enjoyed it. I gave up before the end because my feet were hurting too much. Having to walk halfway through town for dinner and lunch (the school's hall was being used for a wedding) probably didn't help.
Got to Farcet, crashed on the sofa, first to watch Short Circuit and then to catch up on mail and LJ a bit.
My flist is far too long...

Anyway, off to have a shower, another hard day tomorrow but only til 4. Should be home at about 6 as I'll be picking up stuff from Farcet after finish. Then it's testing Skype time, watching Supernatural and then off to bed.

Oh, as there was a distinct lack of comments on my flist about it, I assume Dr Who didn't get aired?

PS: IE6 sucks

Tai Chi

5 Oct 2006 11:29 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)

Another fantastic Tai Chi session last night. First we did some more serious Push Hands and Chris ([livejournal.com profile] mazzarc's instructor) really put me through my paces. Push Hands is a great of realising if you're moving correctly or not and it made a few things "click" (mentally, not physically).
After the break, we practiced the Chop/Punch sequence, applying the principles we emphasised earlier and again things clicked and I'm a tiny step closer to what the coordination/timing should look like. Let's see where I'll be in five years' time...

I just need to get my arse in gear and practice more.


10 Sep 2006 04:02 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Casual me)

As I again didn't go to bed on time Friday night (I really need to get better at this) I only got up a bit after 11, did some shopping but was too apathetic to anything constructive so just relaxed until it was time to go into town. I needed to pick up a Borders voucher as bday present for someone at work and then made my way to the Grafton Centre for Tai Chi Awareness Day.
Unfortunately, I don't have many photos as I was either taking part in the demonstration myself or busy talking to people but there are a few:


Bigger and a few more )
Considering what the same event usually looks like in Toronto (where the headquarters of the TTCS is), it was pathetic but it was literally just a few members (mostly instructors and a few long-timers) from the Cambridgeshire branch and, most importantly, we had a spot with a lot of public traffic and there were many people who were interested in what we were doing (except for a bunch of disruptive chav kids, good thing we're peaceful...) and some even made a genuine offer to join in. All in all I think it was a success, if we get 10% of the people who picked up a flier actually make it to a class, we'll be happy. ;o)

Back home, I cooked dinner (lamb chops, creamy cabbage and leeks and new potatoes) and then went off to the Holloway flat for a few hours of relaxed chatting and hanging out.
For those of you not yet aware of [livejournal.com profile] jholloway's Gonzo History Project, it's an irregular blog picking a random person or event from history and giving it the Gonzo treatment. It's a damn fine read and a good laugh to boot (if my history teachers had been like that, I might have been a little more interested) and I urge you all to have a look.
As it's on blogspot and most of you are on LJ, I created a feed for it: [livejournal.com profile] gonzohistory. Add it to your friends page now!

I also finished processing the Airsoft Photos! There will be a photobox account sometime later this week, too so you can order prints if you like.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)

Just received the details for the new beginners classes:

Mondays 7pm-9pm
John Falkner Infant School
starting 25th of September

Tuesdays 7pm-9pm
All Saints Church Hall
starting 19th of September

Thursday 7pm-9pm
Netherhall Lower School
starting 21st of September

Wednesday morning 9:30-11:30
Meadows Community Centre, Kings Hedges
starting 24th of January 2007

Contact details on request or ask me for a flyer at the pub. The branch website is dead atm, otherwise I'd post a link.

Tai Chi

7 Sep 2006 10:44 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)

Another great session last night where several things clicked again. Now I just need to practise it all...

Mentioning Tai Chi, for those who are interested:

This Saturday (9/9, all day)
Grafton Centre (the "courtyard" in the back where Virgin and Heffers are)
Tai Chi Awareness Day

The Cambs branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain will be demonstrating their form of Tai Chi. There will be a little stall with information leaflets, class lists (several new beginners' classes starting later this month.
Come along, and if you dare, join in!

I shall be there from around 3 or 4 til 5:30. Watch me make a prick of myself.

I'll have details of the new beginners classes soon.
[livejournal.com profile] raggedy_man and [livejournal.com profile] mazzarc, there will definitely be one in Netherhall Lower School again, so no excuses, ;o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
The regular class continues apace. The physical demands are getting higher but that's a good thing. My major issue is still turning/squaring my hips but things like balance and general coordination are improving. I can now do twist steps with my full weight on the front leg, for example.

One of my NY resolutions is to practise more (can only do foundation exercises at home until it's nice enough to go outside but they are designed for exactly that) and to attend as many workshops and intensives as I can. There's a branch intensive on the 5th of Feb but I'm in Glasgow then and the first big workshop in Colchester clashes with the Charity Poker Tournament (although I could probably attend the morning/afternoon, drive down to the tourney and back to Colch for crash and the full Sunday session.
Then there's a big workshop in Stamford in early April (no clashes there) and a Sabre Workshop at the end of April (am very tempted to do that).

ION, just "won" two bits from [livejournal.com profile] becky_spence's auction on ebay. :o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
I haven't written about it in a while because it was difficult finding something interesting to say other than "today we practised really hard".

We're a proper regular class now and the group consists of about 15 people of varying degrees of experience. Currently, there are four (including me) beginners from last year left, everybody else are either members of the regular class that was discontinued in September due to venue issues and instructor availability or of Chris's ex-beginner's class.

Currently, a session consists of a set at the beginning, then intense practising of one or more of the foundation exercises (only tor-yu today). After the teabreak we practise the application of the previously learned foundation exercises in the set. Basically, we're starting from scratch again, looking at the moves from a different, more complex angle, paying particular attention to coordination and timing.

Today, we practised Push Hands, a partner exercise, for the first time. It's a great way of checking you're doing the whole weight/force shift correctly and helps coordination, too.
Other styles use this as the basics for martial applications but we only use it as a force application/sensing exercise. I apparently impressed my partner (a senior member and ex-instructor) because he asked me if I had done this before. And I had but only briefly at the big workshop earlier in the year (I watched some peole do it and Sam showed me).

The great advantage (and most likely the point why they were devised) of the foundation exercises is that you don't need much room (as much as you need with your arms outstretched in diameter) and practising them improves your Tai Chi as the moves in the set is just an application.
I'm quite pleased with my progress in some areas but in others I'm still lacking (e.g. squaring my hips). However, considering how badly coordinated and inflexible I was a year ago, I can be reasonably confident this will improve in the next months and years, too.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Another harsh Tai Chi session. More groundwork and foundation exercises (I really sucked and dan-yu today, getting the timing all wrong) and then towards the end starting on the set again, incorporating the foundation bits. This is going to be fun...

I'm now getting a start on putting stuff together for Manchester while watching Chronicles of Riddick, then shower, Lost and bed. Another early morning tomorrow so I can leave early on Friday (I want to be on the A1(M) before rush hour hits the A14).

I randomly mentioned going to Manchester at work and Sami, a Finnish colleague asked me if he could get a lift, so I'm going to have a passenger and navigator and someone to chat to (plus the added advantage of someone chipping in petrol money). He's into obscure music, too (and plays in an obscure Finnish band), so that should be interesting. Will drop him off at Stockport station and pick him up again on Sunday before I leave.


14 Sep 2005 11:36 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Too many dan-yus today but it's good pain. I'm now confident enough to practise all the foundation exercises at home, too so I'll set aside 15 to 30 minutes or so each day for that. I can even do it while watching TV or something. Very useful. :o)

After two sets, we practised the foundation exercises and learned the final two new ones (the arm/shoulder stretching one and the spine rotating one that looks a bit like a reverse Wave Hands in Clouds, I don't think they have names). Lots of repetitions, lots of attention to detail, lots of work.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Master Yoga)
Today, we started with two sets in a row and went through a few bits of pieces afterwards.
Then, we practised don-yus and tor-yus again, two foundation exercises that are perfect for practising principles of the set at home when you don't have much space as they will be part of the regular moves (and what matters, too, the rest is just choreography). Next week, we'll start from the beginning again, going deeper into the structure (rather than just doing basic choreography). It'll be more intense physically but I think I'm now prepared for it.
The size of the class (4 regular ex-beginners) is currently perfect because Sam can concentrate a lot more on each student.
Another high point for me: When we were practising don-yus, Sam was going round, watching everyone  and correcting necessary bits (stance, posture, movement and so on), watched me for a while and then carried on without saying anything...
The class will soon grow, however, as the other regular class (on Thursdays) has now been discontinued so we'll have more advanced people joining our class, too.

Don't forget, all those of you in Cambs interested in Tai Chi, the TTCS will be demonstrating sets on New Square (the park between Grafton Centre and Drummer St.) on this Saturday, from 11:30 ish to 4:30. Come and watch, get info or even join us!

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