Olympus - Nissiros Summer 2008!
The 9th Kung Fu summer seminar of Kerameikos Athletic Club, took place in the area of Olympus, at an altitude of 1.200mt. The Eagle Athletic Club of Galatsi participated in the seminar, widening the family of our system. Despite the high level of the seminar, the moments of relaxation and joy were a lot. The camp was set on a hill, near the village Kriovrissi, overlooking the impressive mountains of South Olympus. The programme depended on each student’s level. The morning training contained running 5-10 km of rough road and then practicing the Lily Lau Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu techniques; the afternoon was dedicated to the learning of a new Taolu. Apart from the training, some of the other activities of the camp have a share in our memories: the excursion to the beach, the climbing on the top of Metamorfossi (2.701mt altitude), the evenings around the fire, the discussions and the group games, gave the opportunity to the students to come closer. In parallel, these activities trained them to organise their daily routines in common.
In September, we were back in the city and to our daily life rhythm, looking forward to our next appointment on the mountain, in the summer of 2009.
Taiji Seminar, with Lars J.E. Larsen/Nissiros 18-24.8.2008
This summer, A.S.K. organised for the first time a Taiji seminar outside its headquarters in Athens. The large number of the participants and the feeling of satisfaction of those who came in touch with Taiji for the first time proved that the seminar was an excellent idea. The students that were already involved in Taiji, or had met Sifu Lars Larsen in the past, were certain that it would be a very interesting week. No later than the first day, Sifu Lars explained to the students (whose majority were beginners) the basic principles of Taiji. Through expressive exercises, he described the notion of relaxation and the value of keeping one’s body aligned, when confronting an external force -so as not to disrupt one’s balance. Lastly, he talked about the importance of maintaining the structure, when moving from one position to another.
During the everyday classes, he demonstrated the five loosening exercises, developed by Master Huang Sheng Shyan, that constitute the basis for anyone who wishes to approach the complex art of Taiji. In addition, he began teaching the 37 movements form, connecting it with the more simple exercises he had already shown. The advanced students were taught the whole form, while Dimitris Doukas was shown the Chin Chien form. This form was developed by Master Huang, towards the end of his career, in order to satisfy the needs of the more advanced students. It is usually referred to as “the Master Huang’s form” or Chin Chien Taiji. It comprises 77 moves, and it is structured in a way to help the trainee to reach the more refined aspects of Taiji, especially synchronising and sinking, which will eventually allow him to acquire the receptive power (jiejin).
The result was that by the end of the week everybody had sufficiently advanced. It is certain that Sifu Lars managed not only to create a stable base, but to arouse the interest of the students for Taiji. We couldn’t neglect to mention that the seminar was taking place in a beautiful and, for many, unknown island. The relaxed summer mood and the already comfortable and pleasant relationship between the students made the seminar a really amusing and vivid experience. Some of our unforgettable moments are swimming at the beach of Pachia Ammos throughout the day (and the night), the inimitable landscape of the volcano, the experience of the hot baths and the natural sauna, the fiesta (panigiri) at the Panagia Kira monastery, the square of Mandraki. Sifu Lars soon became part of the company, and won the impressions with his humour and good mood.
Lars Larsen teaches Taiji since 1987, himself student of important teachers. He remains loyal to the analytical spirit of Huang Sheng Shyan and he showed endless patience during the seminar, analysing in every detail some of movements; even though they were very tiring at the beginning, we realised their importance after a couple of days practice.
Anyone who wishes to read more on Taiji can visit the website of Sifu Lars (also found in the Nei Jia Quan unit of our website). Nonetheless, as Sifu Lars admits: “If the choice is writing about Taiji or practicing it, I will always choose the latter”.