D. Gauld re: GM Chen lesson, Edmonton, Fri. Aug. 11/20

by Doug Gauld on 2020/09/12

- just before class began on Friday evening GM held another instructional session at the Edmonton studio
- he instructed on several topics, I am mindful of trying not to add or delete any of his words intentionally
- he observed part of my first section Yilu and commented that I was still tensing, flexing, using my deltoid muscles when I was doing the form
- he then demonstrated how he could open his hand, create Peng energy in his hand, forearm and upper arm, entire body, while not creating any tension or flexion in the internal contractile tissues; he was totally in control of what was locked and what was moving, down to the tendon & ligament level of his body
- he further demonstrated as he asked me to grasp his forearm firmly, he moved his Kua and his arm, still with no observable tension pulled me off balance, I scrambled to my notebook to begin writing
- the main message was that I need to work towards ‘re-setting’ my entire body so that I only create expansion or Peng energy in it
- he spoke about how Taoist theory holds that for Taiji to work, for our bodies to be ready to create the conditions necessary for Peng, we need to create a centre point, a still point inside our bodies like a black hole, a kind of gyro-scope that creates a centre point around which rotations, stretches, elongations, etc. can happen properly
- I think he said that each body part, joint, fascial connection, all have to have a centre point around which I can learn to open and rotate
- he said that the act of creating Peng energy in the body must become continuous while practising, eventually
- am still not sure of the exact mechanics of how to begin to try to manifest this expanding energy within my body without engaging any of the surrounding musculatures, or even ligs/tendons that are superfluous, it seems I must take what I experienced when GM demo’d on me and try to replicate this within my body as best I can at my skill & understanding level
- a big part of this, it seems, has to do with releasing my anxiety & mental tension during practice to facilitate my ‘listening’ skill, to be able to feel the body dynamics of push hands partners I need to develop sensitivity within my own body, realizing that it is not a direct correlation, my body creating tensionless Peng expansion energy will sometimes likely outstrip my ability to feel/detect movement cues from my push hands partners
- he also demonstrated the footwork skill of using the leading leg to pull your body in the desired direction, rather than pushing off the trailing leg, using the ligaments on the inside of the legs, finishing the movement by using the trailing legs recontacting the floor to create a brake for the momentum, movement
- any errors, omissions, or plain mistakes are due to me, my old man memory, and my beginners understanding of what GM was trying to teach

About Doug Gauld

took one two day workshop with Master Chen years ago in Victoria...studied with Gord Muir in Victoria for about 5 yrs, during that time was coping with spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis)...have moved back to Edmonton to be closer to family...trying to learn more about art...it has helped with my arthritis and perhaps if I learn it more completely and make my practice better my health will improve more than it has already...

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