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Beginners' Tai Chi Courses Energy Makeup Analysis
Continuing Tai Chi Students Unique Tai Chi Stick Workshop 4 Mar
Wu Dao Gong Martial Arts China Trip
Push Hands Tai Chi & Meditation Retreat
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Tai Chi & Meditation
Retreat :

Relax the Body and Calm the Mind
Flow Like a River and
Be Still as a Mountain

Conducted by Chief Instructor Brett Wagland
and Fontane

5pm Saturday 8 April to
1pm Wednesday 12 April 2017

  Suitable & beneficial for everyone
No experience is necessary

Everyone is welcome.

The Tai Chi will be taught according to your current level.  If you are a beginner, you will be taught separately in
the beginner’s group with no experience necessary.


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This is our tenth year conducting the Tai Chi and Meditation Retreat at SIBA, so it has now become something of a tradition, an experience that everyone enjoys and that brings so many benefits to those who attend.  SIBA is the perfect place to conduct a retreat.  It has a great atmosphere, caring staff, fantastic food and comfortable accommodation. 


      In this retreat, we will cover the essential aspects of internal energy development so that those who want to go deeper can more clearly understand the milestones on the path.  The basis for this retreat is the opportunity to practise more deeply in a special environment away from the usual distractions of everyday life.  By practising more intensely, you will feel more and understand the requirements of the training.  This helps to facilitate a breakthrough in your practice.


      One of the unique aspects of this retreat is the combination of sitting meditation with moving meditation.  Just focusing on sitting alone can lead to health problems.  When Bodhidharma (the monk who brought Chan or Zen Buddhism to China which led to the fame of the Shaolin Temple) first saw the meditating monks, he said they were weak and needed to move.  This was the start of the many forms of dynamic meditation now being taught in the Shaolin Temple. 


      In the Taoist tradition, we find that the physical, if trained well, will lead to the internal.  The stronger the external, the easier it is to train the internal.  This is the Taoist way of applying the principle of yin and yang.  This enables students to develop in a balanced way.  The complete integration of yin and yang is regarded as the pinnacle achievement in our system.  The moving practices strengthen the body and train the mind, allowing you to reach deeper levels of awareness in the sitting meditation practices.  At the higher levels of training, the moving practices will enter the same realm as the sitting practices.  It is at this stage that the meditative states are harmonised with the active states; the integration of yin and yang is realised. 


      Meditation plays a major role in all the arts we teach.  It has many different stages.  By combining moving and sitting practices, we can more easily adjust the mind and body, allowing you to go deeper into these practices.  If you practise only sitting, you may find your body becomes weaker.  If you do only active training, you may not be able to gain deep insight into the mind.  By combining both the active and passive, we are following the Taoist way of working with yin and yang, helping you understand both sides of the equation.


      On the active side, we will explore the Wudang 5 Animal Qigong, focusing on the Snake which stimulates the lung function.  We will also work with the special Taiyiwuxingquan from Wudang.  It was first developed five hundred years ago by the eighth generation Wudang Longmen Taoist Master Zhang Shouxing.  He based the practice on the Five Animal Frolic (developed by Chinese medical practitioner and healer Hua Tou), Taoist philosophy of yin and yang, the 5 elements, traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts.  In Wudang, this art was kept secret for over 400 years.  The Taoists are very careful concerning whom they teach, so the purity and sanctity of the arts are kept in tact and that they do not fall into the wrong hands.  It was not until the early 1980s that the Chinese public caught its first glimpse of this once secret art when Pu Huan (the last emperor’s stepbrother) performed the movements for the first time.  His teacher in Wudang told him to show this only after he had practised for fifty years. 


      The roots of our system go back to Xu Benshan who was a great Taoist master of Wudang.  The system is made up of 12 foundational movements that train the joints and 12 major meridians of the body.  There is also a form which is based on the 12 movements.  You will have an opportunity to experience it in the evening sessions if you wish.  The foundational movements and the form are effective ways to open and strengthen joints and sinews.  The movements are beautiful to watch and contain both health and martial qualities.  This unique art form, which truly accords with Taoist principles, is rarely taught.


Tao, the Way 


      The style of Tai Chi that the Academy teaches is the Hun Yuan system developed by Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang (1928- ).  He is the last living disciple of Chen Fa Ke (1887-1957) who spread the Chen family Tai Chi to Beijing and eventually, to the outside world.  Chen Fa Ke was famous for his martial power, humble character and martial virtue.  Another teacher of Grandmaster Feng was Hu Yao Zhen (1879-1973), a famous traditional Chinese medical practitioner, a Taoist master skilled in the art of Xin Yi Chuan (Heart Mind Boxing).  Hu became known as the father of modern Qigong in China.


      Grandmaster Feng combined the teachings of his two teachers to create the Chen style Xin Yi Hun Yuan Tai Chi system.  The characteristics of this system are circular, flowing movements which relax and open the body’s joints and tendons.  The movements promote the smooth flow of blood and qi throughout the body. 


      The principles of the Hun Yuan system are based on these Taoist principles:
1. Train the internal as well as the external.
2. Focus on stillness while moving.
3. Nourish jing (essence), qi (energy) and shen (spirit).


      In other words, we learn to conserve energy, not waste it.  We train the mind or intention to lead the energy through the body which then guides the Tai Chi movements.  In this system, cultivating the gong or internal energy is emphasised from the very beginning.  Grandmaster Feng often says, “Without gong, one’s training is only empty forms.”  


      The Tai Chi will be taught according to your current level.  If you are a beginner, you will be taught separately in the beginner’s group with no experience necessary.


Meditation – the Way to Perfect Contentment
Apart from the moving meditation of Tai Chi, Fontane will present an in-depth sitting meditation practice.  The style of meditation is non-denominational.  It focuses on relaxing the body and calming the mind. 

In the retreat, the following areas will be covered:
● the causes of frustration brought about by some
   common meditation techniques
● getting in touch with the natural effortless calm within
● turning daily activities into a meditation practice
● maintaining a successful meditation routine

       Fontane takes you on a journey of self discovery.  Being aware of the rich tapestry of experiences during meditation will enable you to accept yourself and others.  This allows you to transform negative situations into positive experiences.  The effortless calm you will discover within will become part of your daily life.


      In the mornings, we will greet the day in the Golden Hall overlooking the tranquil pond and surrounding hills.  Qigong and various exercises to nourish and relax the body are taught at this time.  This is followed by a delicious breakfast and a meditation session.  Lunch is served at 12:30 followed by a walk or a rest.  In the afternoon, the Tai Chi is taught : beginners with Brett and advanced students with Fontane.  Dinner is served at 6:00 and is followed by a meditation session or alternatively, you could try Push Hands (which teaches the application of the principles of relaxation, sensitivity and correct body mechanics with a partner in a safe and fun way) and the Taiyiwuxingquan form.


      The retreat is designed to give you a balance between sitting and moving states of meditation.  This will enable you to maintain a sense of deep relaxation, peace and calm experienced by both practices.  The skills learned and insight gained here will serve and inspire you for your whole life. 


      We hope you can attend this retreat as I am sure it will inspire your practice and lift your spirit to new heights.



Workshop Presenters

Chief Instructor Brett Wagland established the Tai Chi Academy in Canberra in 1982.  Brett has over 34 years of teaching experience.  Brett’s teachers include Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan, a world recognised authority on Yang Style and Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang, the founder of the Hun Yuan Tai Chi system, who is known universally for his amazing feats of internal power.

Brett is the creator and presenter of the television series "Let's Get Fit", an innovative exercise program of 65 episodes, based on Tai Chi.  This most popular program on Foxtel's Lifestyle channel is the first of its kind in Australia. The series is also broadcast in South America and Europe. 

Fontane Ip is the assistant director of the Tai Chi Academy.  Fontane specialises in meditation practice and the integration of its wisdom in daily life.  She has over 26 years of teaching experience in relaxation techniques.  Fontane's method of teaching meditation makes it easy to learn She speaks about significant aspects which are rarely discussed.  The knowledge is usually not taught openly.  She explains the relevance of this wisdom as it applies to our daily lives.

        SIBA is a wonderful environment for practising self cultivation.  This retreat centre is managed by great people who have a passion for what they do.  We teach our arts with love and gratitude, so be prepared for an enjoyable and inspirational experience!


 Retreat Venue

SIBA is a purpose built retreat centre ideal for meditation and healing.  This 108 acre site is located in the mountains of East Gippsland, Victoria, surrounded by Australian bush.  The property grows its own organic vegetables.  All meals are prepared and cooked on the premises.  Just staying in this peaceful setting for a few days will calm your mind and renew your energy.

Meditation Hall and Dining Hall at SIBA

Duration of Retreat:
5pm Saturday 8 April to 1pm Wednesday
12 April

Venue: SIBA Retreat Centre (formerly known as ONTOS)
            2592 Gelantipy Road, W Tree, East Gippsland, VIC 
            (25kms north of Buchan Caves)

Motel Style En-suite Rooms at SIBA


$680- per person for motel style en-suite shared room (twin share)
$580- per person for camping site (toilet & shower amenities included)

Shared accommodation, delicious vegetarian meals (much of the food is sourced from the certified organic gardens on site) and Tai Chi and Qigong Meditation teachings are included in the above cost.  Great value!

The creative cook in SIBA is happy to cater for special dietary requirements (such as gluten free, etc.).  Please specify in your booking.

Dining Hall at SIBA

Retreat Schedule
Sat 8 Apr
.45pm          Dinner
7.15 to 8.45pm   Welcome and Introduction - Brett and Fontane

Sun 9 Apr, Mon 10 Apr & Tues 11 Apr
7.00am                        Qigong
8.30am        Breakfast
9.30am to 12.15pm    Qigong Meditation and Talk (morning tea at 11am)
12.30pm       Lunch
2.30 to 5.30pm            Tai Chi Workshop (afternoon tea at 4pm)
5.45pm        Dinner
7pm to 8.30pm     Qigong Meditation and Talk
                                  or Tai Chi Push Hands
                                      and Taiyiwuxingquan

Wed 12 Apr
7.00am            Qigong
8.00am            Tai Chi
9.30am        Breakfast
10.30am          Qigong Meditation and Talk
12noon        Lunch

      This retreat has something for everybody so join us on a journey of discovery and recovery.  We look forward to seeing you there!

      Bookings are essential as numbers are strictly limited.  Book now!  Please confirm your booking by paying the full retreat fee or a $200- deposit, with the balance due by Tuesday 22 March.  Everyone is welcome. 

Reflections on the 2012 Tai Chi & Meditation Retreat
Reflections on the 2011 Tai Chi & Meditation Retreat


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Directions to SIBA
By Car from Canberra:
At Cooma, turn left at the roundabout to Bombala.
After Nimmitabel, turn right to Bombala.

Monaro Hwy A23 – 244km south to Cann River.
Turn right on Princes Hwy A1 110 km to Nowa Nowa.
Turn right at Nowa Nowa, then follow Bruthen Rd 7 km to Buchan turn-off on the right.
After Buchan (29 km), SIBA is 26 km north on the right hand side of Gelantipy R
Tibetan prayer flags at the SIBA entrance.

By Car from Melbourne:
Princes Hwy M1/A1 – 294 km east to Bairnsdale.
Omeo Hwy A195 24 km to Bruthen.
Then follow Nowa Nowa Rd 22km to Buchan turn-off.
After Buchan (29 km), SIBA is 26 km north on the right hand side of Gelantipy Rd.
Tibetan prayer flags at the SIBA entrance.

By Train and Bus from Melbourne:
4 hours from Melbourne by train to Bairnsdale and
2 hours by bus (Mon, Wed, Fri) to W Tree.
Contact SIBA (ph 03 5155 0329) to confirm the bus timetable.

Book Now!

Certified Organic Vegetable Gardens at SIBA