Together, we all contributed to each meal by cooking and cleaning in the mess hall. On Saturday evening, Sifu Dug invited us to learn that "gluten-free" is not synonymous with "flavor-free" and treated us all to his own preparation of brown rice Italian pasta, meatballs, garlic bread, and gluten free brownies, much to everyone's delight.
After dinner, the first International Fraternal Kuoshu and Wushu Education Society (IFKWES) Certifications were presented to instructors. A very special event took place beginning with the viewing of a video of the martial arts career of Aaron McIntire. A very proud Sifu James gave his first certification for instruction to Aaron McIntire along with Sifu Dug's IFKWES certification. Aaron demonstrated his skill and then participated in a traditional tea ceremony. He received his awards among a shower of applause and congratulations from his kung fu brothers and sisters.
Saturday evening featured a campfire, conversation, music, and conviviality as Lotus Dragon family members took the opportunity to catch up with old friends, re-tell some old stories to a new audience, and just enjoy each other's company. As such evenings often go when this group gets together, Push Hands playing eventually took center stage (quite literally).
Our last morning at camp began the same as the first, with Tai Chi followed by the 32 sword form. After breakfast, we all gathered in the mess hall for the powerful 9 Dragons Chi Gong set. That afternoon, the group hiked a short way to a waterfall by nearby Battleship Rock. Some took the opportunity to play push hands in the water before returning back to the mess hall for the final seminar, the ever-popular (if slightly painful) "18 Gruesome Holds" Chi Na set. Everyone partnered up to place each other in awkwardly entertaining positions.
As everyone departed, the last of the participants gathered for a group photo on the really BIG chair at Camp Shaver. General wishes of wellbeing and good byes were given as everyone left with warm feelings, and anticipation of next year's Annual retreat, which will probably be held in the Spring of 2014 back at Camp Shaver.