Tai Chi Summer Camp 2016
Every year Grandmaster Brian Jones and Master Ricky Crofts host the Integrated Kun Tao Summer Camp in Peterborough which is attended by students and instructors from across Europe. This year we were joined by instructors and students from Germany and Belgium, alongside several groups from around England.
Although the main focus of the 4 days is always Tai Chi, there is also training in Wing Chun, Latosa Escrima, and Chi Kung (Qi Gong), depending on what individual students are working on, with a look at how they all can integrate together as your knowledge and skill develops.
This year the majority of the training was on weapons. There was the staff, spear, broad sword, narrow sword and fan from Tai Chi, staff and double knives from Wing Chun, and sticks and knives from Escrima. To help with all the teaching were joined by Masters Jay Dobbrin and Phil Cheany of BIFF as well as several senior instructors from a wide variety of other arts to show the transition to unarmed.
We all had lots of fun training with each other and learning enough new material to last quite a while and, as it was mostly a rather lovely sunny weekend, we all managed to top up our British tan. Interspersed with many a cup of tea, the 6 hours training each day seemed to fly by in a whirlwind of forms and applications. Every question was answered with just enough information to make you think about the subject in a different light as, with the wealth of experience in attendance, there was never just one possible answer - it all depends on the person and the environment.
Overarching the whole camp, with all it’s different material and weapons, was the idea of awareness. Each different training exercise and additional weapon helps you develop greater awareness of yourself and how to move. Each weapon uses a different strategy to match its features, and those strategies are slowly absorbed into your own body and mind to use during other parts of your life.
We were training so hard we almost forgot to take photos, but here are a few we managed to take…