December 2018 Holiday Schedule

Just a quick heads up about the class schedule this December (2018, if you're reading this in the future).

All classes will run as usual throughout December, with the following exceptions:

Monday, December 24 (no classes)
Wednesday, December 26 (no classes)
Monday, December 31 (no classes)

I will still be running classes on the Friday and Saturday before Christmas (the 21st and 22nd) and the Friday and Saturday between Christmas and New Year's (the 28th and the 29th).

A reminder, there is a Tai Chi Workshop open to Intermediate and Advanced students on Sunday, December 9, from 1-5pm at the Regent Centre. I will also be running the Spiritual Development workshop on Sunday, December 23rd. Go here for more information about workshops!

If you are receiving these posts by email, and wish to inquire about anything you've read here, please don't hit "reply"—your message will go into the void! Start a new email to me at smithmk2@gmail.com OR make sure that address is in the subject line before you hit SEND. Thanks!

Upcoming Workshops: November and early December 2018

Note for email subscribers: If you wish to inquire about these workshops or about anything else, please don't hit reply to this message—your email will drop into the void! Make sure that my email address, smithmk2@gmail.com, is in the address line before you hit SEND.

I ask that you enroll ahead of time for workshops. It's easiest for me if you contact me by email so I can track attendance, but phone works too. Thanks!

In the club where I learned most of what I know, there was a strong tradition of monthly workshops. The idea was that these were days when we could put aside whatever else we would normally do on a Sunday, and spend a longer amount of time than we usually managed to take for practice. It always felt like an absolute luxury to me, to go much more slowly and deliberately through the steps to good practice on workshop days. With a longer amount of time to practice than we had in class, it was much easier to dig deeply into a topic or issue or correction, and really let it sink into our bones and sinews.

In the past few years I've continued that tradition with the workshops I offer at The Regent Centre. It is a remarkable boost to one's practice to be able to think deeply about a single topic related to Tai Chi, Qigong, or any of our other practices. In December, I'm offering a Tai Chi workshop, open to everyone at the Continuing or Intermediate levels, that I think will be a wonderful way to ease ourselves into the impending holiday season.

I've also started a new tradition with Spiritual Development Workshops. The Spiritual Development meetings are for the purpose of discussion and meditation. The goal is to help participants use the lessons we learn through Tai Chi and Qigong in our daily lives, to help us become less grumpy, more effective, and more peaceful. Lately, we've been working with Taoist chanting and some traditional Taoist teachings to help us on our way. The next workshop is coming up fast, this Sunday, November 18. Let me know if you'd like to attend either date!

More details follow.

Spiritual Development Workshop
Date: Sunday, November 18, 2018
Time: 1-4 pm
Cost: $15 suggested donation / person
Location: At my home—see below for instructions on how to attend.

Spiritual development workshops are for people who enjoy, or are curious about, the spiritual and esoteric aspects of Taoist practice, and who are also interested in working on themselves as spiritual seekers. While I personally don't plan to hand down spiritual truths or claim to know the answers, I have more than 25 years' experience working in Taoist and other spiritual frameworks, and am happy to help gently guide participants as they work to find answers for themselves.

Participants can expect to work with a variety of different techniques for connecting to Spirit, as well as time spent sharing individual experiences, as we work to bring fresh meaning and purpose to our life journeys.

You can read more about the philosophy behind the spiritual development workshop series here. This series will be run from my home. I need to know ahead of time if you plan to attend. Contact me at (905) 521-0043 or smithmk2@gmail.com. Even if you've attended in the past, I'd like to know if you plan to attend each workshop. Because these workshops represent a more advanced perspective on everything we do, I reserve the right to let you know if it would be inappropriate for you to attend.


Tai Chi Workshop
Date: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Time: 1-5pm
Cost: $60
Location: Regent Health Centre, 150 Locke St. South
Prerequisite: Open to Intermediate or Continuing Tai Chi Students

It's been a while since I ran a workshop that focuses on internal martial art through Tai Chi! Tai Chi is our core practice on the internal martial art side of things, and an excellent basis for your regular workout routine.

This workshop will focus on a key technique that will benefit all your internal martial arts practice: dropping the internals to connect with the ground. Whether you want to call this dropping your weight, dropping your centre of gravity, grounding, earthing, or connecting with the centre of the earth, this method is the key to achieving profound relaxation through your practice, improving mechanics, and completing each movement. It is extremely helpful for fall prevention, and on an energetic level helps nourish and replenish your entire system.

We'll be spending lots of time on physical practice, and will also learn to use guided visualization and meditation to facilitate a nice, deep drop for all participants.

It doesn't matter if you've been doing Tai Chi for just a little while or for years (or decades!) — learning how to drop your weight is something you can start anytime, and which could always use more work.

To attend, contact me at (905) 521-0043, or smithmk2@gmail.com.

Spiritual Development Workshop, October 21, 2018

As some of you know, I've been running a once-monthly workshop since Fall 2017 as an opportunity for participants to discuss and share the spiritual and esoteric aspects of everything we practice in class, as well as to check in regarding any blocks to your personal development that might arise as you go. 

The Taoist practices we work with are deeply effective for clearing emotional blocks and healing, but we often don't get time in class to discuss the core concepts behind these practices, or to talk about how we're doing. This is the purpose of the spiritual development workshop series. These workshops are not a substitute for whatever spiritual practices you might already be pursuing, but rather, a chance to process your own journey and receive support while figuring things out for yourself. 

After last year's workshops, I've decided to make a couple of changes to the structure. The two hours we were doing last year were simply not enough--most of our sessions ran to three hours. So, I'm making it official! I'm also bumping back the start time from 2pm to 1pm, so that we all have time afterwards to get our Sunday evenings in order. 

The new time for the Spiritual Development Workshop will be 1-4pm.
The next workshop runs on October 21st, 2018.
Suggested donation: $15

I run these workshops from my home. Please let me know by email at smithmk2@gmail.com whether you plan to attend, and that you please do this in the week prior to the workshop. (If you let me know weeks ahead of time, chances are I'll forget you're coming, and you might too!) So far we haven't had any trouble with fitting everyone in, so don't worry about saving a spot. 

At the time you contact me, if you haven't been before, I'll pass on my address. 


NEWSLETTER FALL 2018

The new fall season of classes is swiftly approaching! I'm looking forward to sharing more internal martial arts and qigong teachings with you in the coming year.

Gillianne Shaver's Wednesday Tai Chi Continuing classes and new Tai Chi Beginners classes will start on Wednesday, October 3rd. All other classes will start on Friday, October 12th.
For any inquiries or to sign up for classes, contact Melissa at (905) 521-0043 or smithmk2@gmail.com.


IN THIS NEWSLETTER
*What to expect from this year's classes
*A note about upcoming workshops
*Changes to monthly fees


TAI CHI BEGINNERS
We've tweaked the Tai Chi Beginners schedule from previous years. Gillianne Shaver will now be teaching Tai Chi Beginners on Wednesdays, from 2:15-3:30pm. I'll continue to teach Beginners on Saturdays from 2-3pm. If you're coming in as a brand new beginner, then these are the classes for you! Intermediate and continuing students are always welcome to attend Tai Chi Beginners classes in order to revisit specific movements, or review.


NEW INTERMEDIATE TAI CHI CLASSES
Mondays from 12:30-2pm will now be the home of Intermediate Tai Chi. This class is specifically for people who have just completed (or mostly completed) learning the Tai Chi set. Participants will refine their technique, while having the opportunity to practice the whole Tai Chi set, and review material covered by Tai Chi for Beginners. While this class is recommended for people who are just beyond the absolute beginners phase, continuing students who want to focus on Tai Chi and who are looking to polish their foundation skills are welcome, and encouraged to attend.


CONTINUING TAI CHI CLASSES
Continuing Tai Chi classes on Monday mornings 9:30-11am, Friday afternoons 1:10-2:40pm, and Saturday afternoons 3-4:30pm, will offer the opportunity to study advanced internal martial arts sets and challenge participants to deepen their understanding of everything we do.

Monday mornings will continue to focus on Tai Chi specifically. While Tai Chi will continue to be studied in all Continuing classes, on Friday afternoons, we'll be studying Tai Chi Sabre; on Saturday, we'll work on the Hsing-I set. By request, and because I think it's an extremely important part of the training, we'll be working with Push Hands in all Continuing classes. This invaluable exercise, performed with a partner, is one of the keys to truly understanding how internal martial arts work. I'm really looking forward to delving into it deeply.


QIGONG CLASSES
Qigong will continue to be available to all students at all levels, at the same times as last year: Mondays at 11:15-12:15, and Friday afternoons, 3-4pm. Qigong exercises and meditation allow us to sink deeply and in a relaxed fashion into refining the techniques that translate throughout all the different internal martial arts. It's an excellent starting point, for people who've never tried any of this before, and a complete practice all on its own.

This year, in addition to continuing to work with the Five Elements set we've been studying, and Eight Brocades, we'll be deepening our relationship with Six Healing Sounds, a powerful movement and meditation technique that participants can use to balance and refresh their energies in a matter of minutes. While we've worked with Six Healing Sounds in its formal setting along with Mantak Chia's Inner Smile meditation, we'll talk about how to use it as a practice on its own, and to integrate it with other practices, like Five Elements Qigong.


SUNDAY WORKSHOPS
In addition to regular classes, I'll be offering Sunday workshops at the Regent Centre in December 2018 and throughout 2019. Workshops are an opportunity to sink deeply into your practice for a longer period of time than the length of a class. The topics will vary, so watch this space for announcements, and if any of you have a request for workshop topics, please let me know! Previous workshops have included Qigong and various forms of meditation, Lok Hup Ba Fa, Sword, Tai Chi, and Push Hands.

Spiritual Development workshops, offered once monthly from my home, will also continue throughout the coming year.


CHANGE IN MONTHLY FEES
After many years of keeping my monthly rate as low as I can, it's time to acknowledge that inflation is affecting me as much as anyone else. At the same time, I need to address an imbalance in the fee structure that has meant that classes are not as accessible as they could be to people who work full-time.

As of October 2018, the monthly fee is $40. This rate applies to people who were previously paying the Senior's rate of $30. It also applies to people who were previously paying the regular rate of $60.
This rate does not apply to people who are in financial need, who are on ODSP, people under the age of 18, or students. The rate for people in any of these categories is still $20 / month.

Because classes are running from the beginning of October, starting on October 3rd, you will owe the full monthly rate for October. Note that the classes I run are still beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving, but Gillianne is available from the beginning of the month.
My goal with this fee change is to enable me to continue to offer classes. If for whatever reason this change will make attending class cost prohibitive for you, please talk to me.


No Classes This Weekend, August 17, 18, and 20, 2018

This is a reminder that there will be no classes this Friday, August 17, Saturday, August 18, or Monday, August 20, 2018.

Classes at the Regent Centre will resume on Friday, August 24, and carry on through until the end of August, before my hiatus in September.

For those of you in the Lok Hup class, class will run on Wednesday, August 22, and Wednesday, August 29.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lok Hup Workshop, Sunday, August 5, 2018

This workshop will cover intensive study of individual movements from the Lok Hup Ba Fa set, and techniques of Lok Hup that we can transfer over to Tai Chi and other internal martial arts.

Prerequisite: previous study of the Lok Hup set, particularly the first half, up to Wild Tiger Turns Head (32). If you've studied the Lok Hup set previously, but not with me, that's fine.

Workshop Location: The Regent Centre, 150 Locke St. South
Date: Sunday, August 5, 2018
Time: 1-5pm
Fee: $60

Please let me know by email if you would like to attend: smithmk2@gmail.com





Canada Day Long Weekend, July and August Workshops, and September Hiatus, 2018

Greetings, All! This is an overview of upcoming events and breaks over the next little while.


CANADA DAY LONG WEEKEND
Classes will run as usual on Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30, 2018. There will be no classes on Monday, July 2.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
There will be a Qigong Workshop on July 15, 2018, at Regent Health Centre. We'll be doing an intensive study of the Five Elements set we've been working on in class.

The July Spiritual Development Workshop will take place on July 22.

The August Tai Chi / Qigong workshop will take place on August 5, 2018, at Regent Health Centre, topic to be determined. The August Spiritual Development Workshop will take place on August 26.

NOTE: the August 26 date is a change from the earlier announced date.

Find more information about upcoming workshops here. 


CLASS CANCELLATION IN AUGUST
I will be away the weekend of August 17-19. There will be no classes on Friday August 17, Saturday August 18, or Monday, August 20, 2018.  There will also be no Lok Hup class on Wednesday, August 15.


SEPTEMBER HIATUS REMINDER
I take the month of September off from teaching each year. This is an opportunity for me to rest, pursue my own training, and come back in October with fresh ideas for class. (I am absolutely open to requests for advanced training topics, by the way! If there's a set you'd like to focus on or something you would like to polish, please let me know!)

Gillianne Shaver's schedule is pending, but Wednesday classes at Regent Centre will probably continue during this time. Watch this space for announcements about Wednesday classes!

The last class before hiatus will be on Friday, August 31, 2018. My classes will resume after Thanksgiving, on Friday, October 12, 2018. The fees for October 2018 will be reduced by 50% in light of the start date.