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Learning the Practical Method: from Videos to Seminar

by Carlos Hanson on 2011/07/09

I started learning the Practical Method from video in February of this year (2011). Because I had studied Chen Style Taijiquan since 2006 and did not have a Practical Method teacher in my area, I thought I could learn from the wealth of information and videos available on the Practical Method website.

My first videos were the Basic Foundations and Yilu (First Routine) Detailed Instructions. I have since bought the Energy Alignment videos and various Mini Lessons. I also recommend Yilu Corrections.

Everything I have read and watched has been very useful. The instructions enabled me to quickly learn the choreography of Yilu and helped me understand some of the details of the Practical Method.

All this is well and good. However, it is one thing to watch the examples of the Practical Method in a video. It is completely enlightening to feel the examples applied to your own body.

I felt that it was important to go to a seminar to physically validate what I understood from the videos. I quickly found out that I made the correct decision. During the Edmonton week long seminar Master Chen manipulated and aligned my posture in such a way that I had a stronger structure. Naturally, it is up to me to continue to practice and work towards those ideals, so I can create the structure myself.

During the seminar there were many things covered directly and indirectly that I had learned from the videos or the information provided on practicalmethod.com. There were additional discussions that added to my understanding and gave me a path to follow and improve.

I used to think that you can learn Taijiquan on your own. However, it has taken many generations to get to this point. Each generation has transfered their learning to the next to continue and improve. This transmission is essential to learning Taijiquan. I now believe that I cannot learn it on my own.

The videos were an excellent start. If that is all you have, do it. Follow them and learn. But also know that you will need a qualified teacher at some point to show you how to really move and demonstrate the depth of learning that is possible.


About Carlos Hanson

I have studied Chen Style Taijiquan since 2006. I started learning the Practical Method in February of 2011. Before studying the Practical Method and attending a seminar with Master Chen Zhonghua, I maintained interest in Baguazhang and Xinyi. However, the Practical Method is now more than enough for me to learn.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Fadjar July 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I agree… in the absence of good teacher nearby, I would think the DVD or trailer and videos from this website is a great source to make a start. A lot of things are covered in the instructions and other videos, all that limit our success is ourselves. I am particularly weak when it comes to flexibility or speed, as well as weak at memorizing the sequences… so having a rewind button with a DVD player is an absolute must for me……

And yet after meeting with Master Chen, there are many little things and major things that are mentioned in the videos but would not be understood unless we learn it from him directly. He said, “GM Hong touched hands with GGM Chen Fake, it means he touched hand with all the previous masters that “HANDED DOWN” the transmission to GGM Chen Fake”. I am happy to have touched hand with Master Chen Zhonghua because it means I was also handed down the transmission received by GM Hong. So many things to learn but only for my limited ability that I cannot yet achieve it. Still need to practice more and learn more from Master Chen Zhonghua.



Carlos Hanson July 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

David, thank you for picking out the essential points and expanding on them. I quickly realized how much I did not know after Day 1 of the seminar. But I didn’t start Taijiquan to learn it overnight.


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