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Birmingham Tai Chi Club and Studio B’s tai chi story so far
Studio B has been running tai chi classses at free and reduced rates throughout Birmingham for a few months now as part the Birmingham Tai Chi Club project. The journey so far has had its up & downs but generally it’s been positive.
We began by launching a website to keep aloft of the industry this time last year. The Birmingham Martial Arts Network website is now Birmingham’s premier source of reference on local martial arts clubs and popular styles of martial art. It’s also one of the few websites we’ve completed to such extent. This website has been generating dozens of free training advice requests each month and this soon led to us setting up our own club to ensure we can always recommend clubs that we wholeheartedly endorse (ie, our own).
So we went about setting up Birmingham Tai Chi Club. We chose tai chi because it’s theoretically the least aggressive of all martial arts – the most focused on balance & harmony of movement rather than hot-headed & over-committed assaults – and as such Tai Chi tends to be commonly perceived as something other than a martial art, indeed, it seems to be the only popular martial art that doesn’t carry the geeky stigma of martial arts. And the name “Birmingham Tai Chi Club” of course symbolises our work towards becoming Birmingham’s premier tai chi club in no time at all. So we made a website dedicated to this new club – birminghamtaichi.co.uk – and we sought out volunteers to setup & run various branches of the club.
On the plus side, immediate volunteer interest was coming in by breadth and depth, and we were offered great prices for hall hire at many of Birmingham’s suburban churches and community centres, so we bounced this great value back to our club members whom incidentally have been steadily increasing in numbers. The great new website also attracted commercial interest from Midland Heart and other potential corporate clients.
Challenges though, included expensive & red-tape-ridden insurance applications, CRB checking and similar such procedures synonymous with the independent setup of local sports clubs anywhere in the UK. We’ve also had (and been trying to make best use of) a huge email marketing database – millions of UK consumer email contacts of which over 200,000 are Birmingham-based, but email sending is the problem – when bulk emailing on such a scale it’s near impossible to avoid being flagged as spam by all the major email service providers. Travelling to & from Birmingham’s distant suburban venues to teach tai chi classes has posed a considerable expense to our volunteers. And as as you might expect, while some people have keenly applied for the volunteering role – we’ve interviewed and/or met up with most and it seems like we have a bit of an issue with volunteer retention whereby even those who seem interested often soon drop out. To top it all, a recent storm took out the roof of our venue in Weoley Castle, so we were without classes for a few weeks. The building has since been repaired though, so Weoley Castle is back in business, and our new classes in Kings Heath are due to start any week now.
Weoley Castle tai chi classes are running on Tuesdays from 7pm til 8pm at:
St Gabriel’s Church,
(on the corner) Marston Road / Shenley Lane,
To find out more about Tai Chi and what’s going on at Birmingham Tai Chi Club visit the website: birminghamtaichi.co.uk