Rhenan meeting - Impressions and colors

The meeting

Yellow as the t-shirts of Cornelia's students welcoming people, telling them where to go and trying to answer all kinds of questions.

Green as the salads served by a famous cook, a specialist in vegetarian cooking, who treats us with exotic dishes like magic coming out of his hat.

Blue as the sky which is kind enough to let us practice outside and take advantage of a large open terrace.

Black and white as the Yin and Yang logo which stands on the front of the stage where various demonstrations take place on Sunday morning.

Brown as the handle of a sword, as the walking stick of Bob's workshop, as Dan's hat?


Orange as the season's pumpkins, as the carrots in our plates and the telephones which have the good idea not to ring just any time.

Red as the candles decorating the tables of the party which ends with a joyful dance lead by our Bulgarian friends and their bagpipe player.

Purple, the color of meditation, surrounding the musician who charmes us at the end of the party.

Multicolor, like the hall, at push-hands time, with everybody having a chance to practice with an excellent choice of partners.

Pink with pleasure as the cheeks of the participants who go back home with stars in their eyes.


Ca m'a fait beaucoup de plaisir

[...] Ca m'a fait beaucoup de plaisir de faire connaissance de toutes ces gentilles personnes, maîtres et élèves, et de profiter du grand savoir qui s'est rassemblé au cours de ce rencontre. J'aurais bien voulu faire un atelier avec chaque professeur, mais je sais bien que ça sera pour une autre fois. [...]


Un petit haiku


[...] Un grand merci pour la qualité de la fête, de l'accueil et de l'hébergement, les gens de mon groupe ont vraiment beaucoup appécié. On va essayer de faire aussi bien l'an prochain, mais ce sera dur !!!

Dans "l'excitation de la fête" ton calme est vraiment appréciable et c'est toujours un "réel plaisirr" de pousser avec toi.

Un petit haiku pour bien commencer la journée:

J'ai pensé à toi
Ce matin, un pétale
Collé au carreau


La fête fut magnifique

La fête fut magnifique, l'organisation impeccable, l'ambiance chaleureuse, la nourriture délicieuse, les professeurs de grande qualité et très intéressants,quoi encore... tout était parfait, même la météo.... Un grand grand merci à toi et à toute ton équipe pour tout le plaisir que vous nous avez offert grâce à votre enthousiasme et votre travail dont je peux imaginer l'ampleur...


La 11e édition de la rencontre internationale rhénane de Tai-Chi Chuan

Situated at 1000 meters above sea level, La Chaux-de-Fonds is the highest city in Europe and received in 1994 the prestigeous Swiss Waker prize for best location with regards to quality of life, honoring not only its healthy environment of the Jura mountains but also its prestigous buildings of « art nouveau ». On October 20 and 21 the eleventh edition of the international Tai-Chi meeting, Taiji rhénan, took place in this agreeable decor. The initiative for a new formula came from Cornelia Gruber-Bilgeri (Suisse) who has been teaching Tai-Chi Chuan for years in La Chaux-de-Fonds and in Neuchâtel, a city 22 km away.

The basic organisation of this anual meeting had not been changed. But one supplementary day of workshops had been added to the traditional one day event. Therefore the list of participants has become more varied. Well known Taiji- and Qi Gong masters were invited with their students to animate workshops and to exchange experiences and ideas in this way. A good publicity for Tai-Chi, an excellent possibility for participants to get some insight into the various methods of teaching Tai-Chi in Europe. 20 members of a Tai-Chi school in Sofia Bulgaria were invited as guests of honor.

Song and Thoma, improvisation Tai Chi and song Harald, demonstration with sword Didier and Epi, Tui Shou

This year's choice by Cornelia Gruber fell on 16 masters who have their own schools in France, Germany, England, Sweden, Scotland, Holland, Switzerland and Bulgaria. All but two of them showed up, including the initiators of the international Taiji Rhénan : Duc-Lai Tran, Song Arun and Christian Bernapel, as well as Bob Lowey, Heikki Nouisiainen, Georgi Denichin, Kate Wallis, Luc Defago, Epi Van de Pol, Cordyline Bartz, Helmut Oberlack, Dan Docherty and Cornelia Gruber-Bilgeri.

4 masters 4 styles

The offer of Tai-Chi practices which was available during these 2 days for the more than 200 participants was very rich. One could see and sample the many differences of Tai-Chi techniques: from the applications of the hand form taught by Dan Docherty from England ( full contact champion at the 1980 South East Asian Martial Arts Championship) to the applications of a stick form (convienantly replaced by an umbrella or walking stick if needed) demonstrated by Bob Lowey (Scotland) ; from various push hands exercises ,whos secrets and subtleties were exposed by masters like Heikki Nouisiainen (Sweden) and Duc-Lai Tran (director of the Association of Asian Arts and Traditions in Mulhouse) to the acupressure exercises and applications of Christian Bernapel (France); from a complicated spine exercise, which helps to open the so called small channel shown by Georgi Denichin (Bulgaria), the new chairman of the European Taijiquan and Qigong Federation to the playful exercises to observe, adapt and act by Song Arun (Director of Art and Harmony Association of Colmar).

Old people and public, Qi Qong

The only disadvantage of this meeting : time was to short for the students to orient themselves in this vast offer. Luckily the masters did not waste the few hours on superficial impressions. On one hand they chose themes representing their schools and on the other hand material which could be taught in a period of 90 minutes. Most of them also repeated their workshop during the day.

There were also the usual demonstrations : forms (with or without weapons) and san shou were presented ? often with musical background. It is obvious that the awareness of the organiser Cornelia Gruber of theatrical effect of human movement has played an important role. She had rented a vast space with a professional stage on which the schools could let their imagination run free.

One could only guess how much work went into the organisation of this meeting. It took place in 3 different halls and on one very large open terrace under the free sky of La Chaux-de-Fonds without any organisational problems. Also, a taste of traditional Swiss culture was discretly present during the whole meeting. The stage and the tables were decorated with pumpkins, wheat and dried leafs of the vinyards, there was a demonstration of the alphorn and wine of Neuchâtel, beer from the region

mirror form Fan form

During the whole meeting different distractions assured a good ambiance ? a questionaire of Tai-Chi on the table sets, a slide show about the region and on Tai-Chi Chuan, a photo exposition and a mini gallery with paintings from one of the Bulgarian participants.

Saturday evening, the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds offered an aperitif which was followed by a scrumptous party dinner. The disc-jockys charmed most participants on the dance floor with their choice of music and the Bulgars led a long chain of dancers through the hall in their traditional steps to their folk music. The firey energy was transformed into calm and peace at midnight by Thomas Clemens and his meditative songs.

To top off the event, Song Arun, closed the meeting for everybodys pleasure with some old Spanish and Scottish circle-dancing.

Next time, the meeting will come « home » to its initial place of Lapoutroi, Colmar, then alternating between its home and some place else in Europe. An expansion towards the outside, followed by a return to the original point as is characteristic for Tai-Chi.

Irina Ilieva

© Tai-Chi Chuan Cornelia 2006-2023