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Reepham Study Day

09 Aug 2018 2:02 PM | Anonymous

Thursday, 14th. June 2018, saw the EACAT, students, teachers and Director of training, make a summer pilgrimage to Reepham, Norfolk. The trip was organised to visit the resident teachers, Ken and Angie Thompson, at their home, to immerse in a day of teaching, instruction, dialogue, and of course tea and cake. 

The day began with Angie giving a warm welcome and providing an inter

esting potted history of the village and their house, which is one of the original buildings within Reepham. Over tea, we discussed the outline of the day which was to include Ken and Angie giving 'turns' to the students and teachers, with opportunity to deepen our understanding of the technique. 

Angie worked with, half of the group, giving each student instruction, using both chair activity and table work. An important aspect of the work with her was a detailed discussion of the use and value of the position of mechanical advantage, 'monkey'. For students of the technique, this is a hugely important aspect of use, and can be very physically demanding for new trainees. 

Simultaneously, Ken worked with the remainder of the group, working primarily in chair activity. Of course whilst not working with either Ken or Angie, teachers and students

 had a great opportunity to observe, ask questions, or discuss aspects of the work as each of us had our 'turn'. 

The teachers in the group, also had an opportunity to give additional hands on work in the intervals between. Lunch saw copious quantities of tea, cake and more tea and more cake, being distributed between further discussion anecdotes and laughter. 

With the groups swapped, the afternoon session began Ken's group working with Angie, and vice versa. The chair work is of course, the opportunity to experience ones own habits in an activity, and to observe our reaction to stimulus. In that activity we have the opportunity to 'inhibit' and to subtly undo our usual, habitual, way of 'doing', getting out of a chair. This teaching was very ably demonstrated by Ken's 'non doing' hands. 

The afternoon session continued with a viewing of a video created in 2008 of Chris Stevens discussing the primary control to students of EAS. This dialogue raised many questions and has since been a subject of debate at the East Anglia school. The key concepts that Chris was elucidating, were with reference to Alexander's 'Use of the Self' and conversations with Walter Carrington, where it became clear that one cannot actually 'free the neck', because we do not know what a free neck is, but rather:

  • 'What he was doing with his feet and legs, was causing him to pull his head back' 'You've got to track down what is causing you to pull the head back' 'The neck is the primary control' But ,'the primary control is not a lever you pull, it is an indicator of what is happening'. Just as passport control, inspects and makes sure everything is OK, so 'Primary Control', indicates if all is OK.

The day concluded by fond farewells. The dialogue continued into the next weeks at school and provided teachers and students alike with an ever greater understanding of this extraordinary work. 

Many Thanks to Ken and Angie for their kind hospitality and skilful hands.

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