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Concrete Flip Flops

posted 28 Oct 2019, 12:36 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 30 Oct 2019, 07:27 by Mandy Moor ]

As well as training with Ben throughout the year at Bristol, in May and October I join him, and his students, for a weekend of training in Padstow. A group of thirty of us trying to absorb, and understand, a little more about this intelligent structured exercise system that has no limits to the vastness of its teachings of the internal balance of mind, body and spirit.

These weekends usually follow a regular pattern, starting with a few Taiji conditioning warm ups-always more to learn about these too! Then it is straight into thirty minutes standing meditation exercise. From my own experience, stilling the mind from the constant chatter is very challenging but, with Ben giving us encouraging words and continual 'hands on' postural corrections, the time passes remarkably quickly. This October, ten minutes in, he told us to feel rooted and heavy in the feet-‘imagine you are wearing concrete flip flops’. I didn’t think much more about that one until I got home but now it has become one of my many ‘little gems’ on this never ending journey. The feeling of heaviness in the base is what we want to maintain in Taiji and the many varied analogies that Ben is renowned for helps to reinforce this. Of course, building up the leg strength to feel that heaviness is another matter altogether! Then we are on to a lengthy session of silk reeling and the rest of the day is spent breaking down the moves of the form-so many repetitions! Plus, a ‘specials’ hour after lunch and we never quite know what is on the cards for that until the day!

For me, two full days of soaking up more Taiji with Ben is brilliant and always reinforces to me how lucky I am to have crossed his pathway. Yesterday, it was topped up with another five hours at Bristol-the learning just never stops! This Saturday sees Ben return to Bratton Clovelly for another workshop and another great opportunity for me to further my learning alongside everyone else. It is being well supported again and it is always nice to see people from other classes come together. A good day will be enjoyed by all I am sure. Looking forward to seeing you there; with your concrete flip flops of course!

Samhain blessings to you all 
Mandy-Instructor