“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen."
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Leaves collected in Belmont churchyard with my daughter
As the days grow colder and darker, Autumn reminds us that change and decay are a natural part of life's cycles. Sometimes, as humans with all of our accomplishments, we think we are beyond nature. In fact, we are fully dependent on everything in nature and connected to our environment. It was only in the last few tens of years that we in Western civilisation have largely escaped the immediate and apparent impact of infectious disease. Across all of human history (and although we have made great strides in the developing world today) humans were at the mercy of various infections and parasites. We share our world with a whole host of organisms (and viruses!), some benign and many less so. This isn't an unusual state of affairs but the normal state of humans throughout history, and just as our ancestors struggled and overcame these hurdles so will we. The current state of the world might seem permanent, unchanging and terrible, but it is Autumn that reminds us that all things change.
It has been a hard year to launch a new health and fitness business, and I have had to shut down group classes and postpone two seminars. I continue to teach private martial arts lessons and run personal training sessions. I have also spent the time investing in my own training and in the digital space.
Digital developments include launching a YouTube channel. I now have two ongoing series: 30 Day Qi Gong and the Kung Fu Book Review. The former is an instructional series where you can learn basic qi gong postures that you can do at home. It is for beginners and each class is about 30-40 minutes long. In the later I review books on Kung Fu, meditation and martial arts.
I have joined the app Fitain as one of there representative trainers. This is a free app from a new UK based start-up that connects clients to personal trainers. If you are interested in personal training you can contact me on the app. I'm also running a weekly Learn To Lift online coaching series that teaches the main barbell lifts (Squat, Press, Deadlift etc) which you can join via the app or contact me directly if you want to purchase the recordings.
The Phoenix (and StrongLab!) continues to rise! Public outdoor tai chi, kung fu and group exercise classes will be be back in the spring and our second studio location in Sutton (SM1 close to the high street) will be launching soon. More digital content for Wing Chun, Xing Yi and Tai Chi is in the works too.
I thank you all for your help and support during this difficult time. Particular thanks to the small but dedicated group of private clients that have kept me going. Starting a new business is hard at anytime, but if we can make it through COVID, business as normal will feel like a fresh Autumn breeze!