Workshops in Olympos Mountain reached their 15 years. Their development is obvious. Similar to a teenager, who did his revolution and finally found his own way. Reconsidered, incorporated, integrated, matured. And all those as a result of hard work, deepening and questing from the part of our Shifu Dimitri Douka.
This year students from all levels were introduced to the art of Tai Chi that has been characterized as ‘poetry in motion’. “This year relaxing Tai chi” we were joking. However, when we begun the training we’ve realized that it is far more than relaxation. Tai Chi requires extended concentration and bodily awareness, with emphasis on the details of every movement that needs to be done spontaneously through loosening. And this so necessary loosening quality, so hard to achieve.
“Separate the empty from the whole, control breathing, use your mind and not raw power, keep yourself calm and relaxed throughout your acts. When one joint is moving all joints are moving, when it stops they all stop moving too.” Principles in training for strengthening that I believe are equally useful in our everyday life. Tai Chi emphasizes the movement of the back. Tantien is full of qi and power. Stillness in motion, motion in stillness.
The introduction to Tai Chi added a different dimension to the morning training. A peacefulness that left space to each of us to stay more within himself and in co-ordination with the physical environment.
The guidance of our Shifu invaluable in order to find the way, the cooperation with co-fighters precious, the personal training of each of us necessary to move forward. The synthesis of the group was special. In the process of training each of us brings something of himself. We get to know each other in deeper levels, others than the social one. We share difficulties, tensions, tiredness, confusion, stuckness, the tendency to quit and the willingness to move on.
Bodily loading sometimes numbs thinking while other times mind’s vigilance is so strong that holds and channels excessive energy to the body, to the point that one keeps extending his limits endlessly. And all the above makes you move forward and develop not only in the art of kung fu but as a human being.
Apart from Tai Chi we were all trained in learning Ba bu quan, a dynamic form with a great variety of techniques, to different kind of weapons, such as spear, pole, sword, or double swords, depending on the level of the students, also in the 64 hands of Ba Gua Zhang the strongest and more advanced ones. In the companionship we welcomed chickens and dragons that we’ve watched with interest.
Equally important was the presence of Takesi, Zozo and little Alexandros that aided to make the atmosphere sweeter and softer by adding new dynamics in the play.
Interestingly this year in the workshop we had a combination of three schools. Apart from those of D. Doukas and G. Divanis, that of K.Mukas was added in the companionship giving us more faith in the strength of human kind.
The mountain hosted us once more filling us with power and stability with it’s awesome presence. One unique Olympos, as each and every one, full of heat, rain, fog, fire and full moon and the absence of some co-fighters that couldn’t make it this year. We’ve missed you a lot! And finally the news of a greater loss. George, the brother of the honorary G. Secretary of our association lost his life by falling in Olympus gorge. A loss that made us realize that in front of the mountain we have to stand with respect and humbleness.
The same I believe holds true for Kung Fu training.
Have a great journey George