Tai Chi Gala back to nature and serenity

Tai Chi Gala has been an annual staple for Tai Chi (Taiji) enthusiasts not only domestically but also internationally. This year, it is taking a bold step and moving the event out to the woods. So pack light and bring your spirit to Mt. Poconos, PA in the first weekend of June to make new friends or renew old friendships with fellow Tai Chi practitioners, to learn a few new Internal Martial Art forms, and most importantly to rejuvenate your body.

Sifu Loretta Wollering (photoed by Vikik Reed.)

Sifu Loretta Wollering (photoed by Vikik Reed.)

“Zhang San Feng Festival” was founded by Grandmaster Jou, Tsung-Hwa in 1977 and later held outdoors at Jou’s Tai Chi Farm in 1984 for years until he was fatally hit by a careless driver in 1998. It was the largest event in the U.S. and attracted masters from all over the country and abroad, not to mention Tai Chi aficionados. Sifu Loretta Wollering is Jou’s only disciple. She took on the responsibility of running the event after his passing and renamed the event Tai Chi Gala to honor him and the tradition. In recent years, Tai Chi Gala was held in a hotel. The location was convenient and the facility was comfortable. However, attendees missed the tranquility that the Tai Chi Farm had; not to mention, Tai Chi and Qigong are best practiced in a natural setting. After long contemplation and a hard search, Sifu Wollering decided to restore Tai Chi Gala to its original concept and to hold the event out in the woods.

The Pocono Mountains is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, an approximately two-hour drive from New York City and Philadelphia. The Poconos is upland overlooking the Delaware River and Delaware Water Gap and is bordered by Lake Wallenpaupack and the Wyoming Valley. Its wooded hills and valleys have been a popular recreation and resort area for fishing, hunting, skiing, horseback riding, hiking, and other outdoor sports. Tai Chi Gala will be held at the 175-acre retreat property of Lindenmere. You have the option to stay in a Lindenmere’s cabin or nearby hotel room within walking distance. You can watch the video below to have a have peek of this locale.

One unique aspect of Tai Chi Gala is that majority of the attendees are long-term Tai Chi practitioners and a great percentage of them are instructors. They join the event to advance their knowledge and skills by attending workshops and to exchange notes with their peers or simply to network. Several of them have become seasoned instructors and leaders in their own communities. Therefore, Sifu Loretta decided to invite them to share their art with all. From the presenters’ page, you will find a few new instructors this year in addition to the usual suspects of Sifus Richard Clear, Jianye Jiang, Angel Lo, Ken Lo, YuZhi Lu, John Painter, William Phillips, David Ritchie, Wang Ren-Gang, Stephen Watson, Loretta Wollering, and me. Sifus Sandra Balint, Robert Castaldo, George Chase, David Doljan, Joseph Ng, Yancy Orchard, Shizi Charlie Pasquariello, and Ramsey Yunan will also join the teaching staff.

Presenters at 2017 Tai Chi Gala

Presenters at 2017 Tai Chi Gala (courtesy of Tai Chi Gala)

Push Hands is a two-person Tai Chi exercise. It is not easy for an instructor to find qualified counterparts in his or her own city to play or to sharpen the skill with. Therefore, Push Hands was a popular drill during the past Tai Chi Gala. People like magnets were drawn voluntarily and practiced Push Hands whenever there was a break time. They enjoyed the peaceful and respectful game of “sticky hands”. Throughout the friendly engagement, they all improved their techniques and understanding of the Tai Chi Chuan philosophy.

This year the formal program will start on Friday night, June 2, at 6 pm with dinner, Taoist Incense Ceremony, demos, and “meet and greet”. Both Saturday and Sunday morning will start with Qigong exercise to absorb energy from nature followed by 30 different workshops for students to choose from. Tea Connoisseur Sifu Ken Lo will host a rare Chinese Kung Fu Tea ceremony. Instructors will present at the Saturday night Friendship Demos to showcase various forms and styles of internal martial arts. New this year is the BIG BONFIRE, drumming circle, and musicians’ jam after the Demos. Another new activity this year is a Tai Chi Tug-Of-War game. All are encouraged to use their physical and energetic rooting skills to be a kid again. Sifu Wollering will lead the “Closing & Energy of Gratitude Ceremony” Sunday afternoon to conclude the program.

DR. John Painter

DR. John Painter

For Baguazhang lovers, Dr. Painter is hosting “Gathering of the Baguazhang Circle” the following week from June 5 to June 8. This year’s topics will be “Unlocking the Nine Healing Circles,” “Earth Palm Bagua Power,” and the “Flying Dragon Fist Weapon!” There will be three sessions each day for a total of four days. The first session covers a powerful method of circle walking used as a Qigong exercise. The second session will introduce many layers of spiraling palm, aka “Earth Palm,” as a health and martial art method. Evening sessions are devoted to training in the flexible weapon known as “Flying Dragon Fist.”

For more information, you can visit http://taichigala.com.

Disclosure: I am invited to teach at Tai Chi Gala.

(Edited by Doc Luecke.)

Please visit www.VioletLiTaiChi.com for more articles on Tai Chi, Qigong, and healing arts. Share the article on your social media to raise the awareness of the art. Thanks!

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One Reply to “Tai Chi Gala back to nature and serenity”

  1. Jim Kelly

    My wife and I had an AMAZING time at the Tai-Chi Gala. Thank you for your time and efforts in organizing this event. We hope to return next year with more Tai-Chi folks from FL.
    Jim & Denise Kelly
    West Boca Tai-Chi


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