Posted by Editor on March 29, 2009
We attended Chen Zhonghua’s workshop in Milwaukee, March 13-15. Since this venue replaced Fairfield as the Heartland host for this spring, my perspective was somewhat different as a traveler/attendee, rather than host and organizer. In this and subsequent posts, I will attempt to share some observations and perspectives, which hopefully will offer a glimpse of the remarkable depth of knowledge and experience brought out by Master Chen at this workshop.
This workshop was somewhat unique in its makeup, as there were no beginners, and almost everyone there had a fairly serious approach to their study of Taiji for its practical applied value—-i.e., a fairly hard core group even by the standards of most Chen Zhonghua workshops. This degree of interest allowed Master Chen to add layers of depth and subtlety to a wide range of demonstrations of mechanics and foundational skills, and an even greater precision in his execution and instructions for techniques and applications.
This environment resulted in a continuous flow of demonstration of various moves, or drills, or techniques, always accompanied by hands on execution on each workshop participant in succession. To describe it with a pictorial flavor: even more so than usual, all the students were flying and/or rolling on the floor throughout the weekend—- learning by first having it “done” to them, and then attempting to replicate what they had experienced.
Chen Zhonghua’s workshops always provide a vigorous, hands on immersion in the awesome potential of higher level applications of Chen Taiji. But this workshop gave me an even greater appreciation of the marvel of Master Chen’s tireless dynamism in his weekend long outpouring of knowledge from his vast reservoir of experience and skills. So much of what he does creates a sense of awe for the students who witness and feel the effects of skillful applications. This appreciation appeared to be universally felt for all who attended.
In upcoming posts, I will attempt to identify a few key principles and insights garnered from my instructions during 2 private lessons and at the group workshop. The weekend gave me some experiential understanding of some aspects of Master Chen’s teaching which he has emphasized for many years. Yet the teaching on this weekend gave me some very new and fresh perspectives on the means of implementation and the value of these principles. It may be difficult to convey some of the subtleties, but I will strive to at least stir the ingredients for the possibility that some flavors might emerge.