Aug 6, 2017



Posted by: Dan

Rencontres Jasnieres [Jasnieres Meetings], named after the rather good, but often over-priced, local Loire Valley dry white wine, is the name of the oldest Tai Chi and Chinese Internal Arts event in Europe. RJ was started by French soccer player and pushing hands buff, Serge Dreyer, in July 1989. That same year I held the first British Open Tai Chi Championships in London.

I had heard about Serge and his event from some Dutch instructors who attended my 1990 seminar in Belgium and met him in Taiwan later that year. He invited me to come as an instructor.

The RJ format was to hold a whole bunch of varied seminars in two separate 2 hour time slots over three days followed by 3 hours of free Tuishou practice after lunch. Every 10 minutes a bell was rung so participants could take a break or change partners.

I attended almost every year, until for various reasons I was in absentia from AD 2000 until this year, though since 1998, I've been holding my own Tai Chi camp at the same location, starting on the day after RJ ends. I figured it was time for 'A la recherche du temps perdu', so I applied to teach at the 30th anniversary of RJ and was accepted. I travelled over with Roddy 'The Highlander' Henderson and we had a good time practicing Tai Chi, tasting the local delicacies, imbibing the local vino and checking out the talent. 

Ten nights eleven days in a tent is about all the fun I can handle,  but I introduced Roddy to Chinon and the medieval world of Rabelais ['A boire! A table!'] and Eleanor of Aquitaine's fortress which still glowers over the Loire. We also went to Mont Louis and Vouvray to partake of their fine libations.

It was a good crew, including the excellent Jessie Cazales, who will be organizing the next PTCCI Gathering in October 2018 on Ile de La Reunion.  They organised a couple of 'auberge Espagnole' lunches and spent some pleasant evenings - a particularly good one was at Dr. Luce's cabin where we sang some Georges Brassens numbers before accompanying 'The Highlander' with that old Scots favourite, 'Donald, where's your Trousers?' 

If only I'd listened to my family, friends and all those other helpful folk who had advised me that I should get a proper job. It's not too late. Hmmm, think I'll be a brain surgeon..

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