31st March 2020 was the very first day of Lockdown Tai Chi. The restrictions here in the UK after the very first wave of Covid19 saw us completely shut down by government edict and unable to teach any Tai Chi classes, we had people booked into accommodation and a week’s course booked for Easter.
For some years now we have been toying with the idea of teaching Tai Chi online, and so I was in Sainsbury’s car park queueing up to go sho[pping when I overheard a man talking about Zoom and doing his Feldenkreis method classes online. So we decided to take the plunge and purely as an experiment go ahead with buying a Zoom license and teaching online. I made a Facebook group and we posted something about it in various Facebook groups and before long with the help of our students and teachers people started showing an interest.
The very first lessons were in the field out the back of our garden, at first, it was quite a steep learning curve. We sent out MailChimps to everyone in the Association and everyone who has ever bought a book by Chee Soo. We had people signing in from all parts of the UK, Australia, Israel, France, Germany, The Netherlands, The United States, Canada, India, Portugal, The Phillippines, Kuwait, Vietnam, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Ireland, Turkey, Singapore, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia, Wales, Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Spain, Italy, Liechtenstein, Greece, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Belgium, Estonia, Serbia, Romania, Argentina, Malaysia, and Scotland.
Then I had a genius idea and bought a Macbook pro on credit and got unlimited data on my phone once I discovered there was in actual fact a Vodaphone transmitter on top of the phone box at Sennen Cove, and we could go down there and do lessons on the beach. Incredibly the data rate was as good as cable.
Well, no one wanted to be doing anything indoors so we had to forget our Ester Course again that year but we did do a Summer Course with a handful of people on the beach and transmitted some of it to Zoom. Then again last year we did the whole Summer Course from the beach which was an incredibly powerful experience. And so we have continued, adding the courses to Eventbrite, and making them completely free of charge right from the start so anyone can come as long as they have a connection to the internet. Now we have the assistance of several of our teachers who had to shut down their real-world classes, and what is even more incredible is we have trained up new teachers, some of whom have never met us in real life. What started as a lifeline for our Associates has now become a new way for people to experience our Taoist Arts from the far-flung corners of the world.