Berlin Online Workshop on 2020-12-06

by Florian Bartosch on 2021/02/14

My impressions of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method Online Workshop

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Germany, 06.12.2020

The Taijiquan Practical Method Group in Berlin, Germany, organised an online workshop on 6 December 2020, marking their 10 years anniversary. The workshop took place under the lead of the head coach, Sven Carl Gusowski, in cooperation with the instructors Carlotta Viviani, Kerstin Kummle and Lutz Liese. The workshop focussed on basic Taiji Principles and their application in the foundational exercises and the Yilu Form.

Foundation Training

After a brief introduction by the participants, Sven and Carlotta gave a brief overview about the Practical Method system of Taijiquan, in particular the importance of foundational practice for the development of correct habits and body transformation. The coaches discussed the three foundational exercises ‘Twisting the Towel’, ‘Fetching Water’ and ‘Six Seiling Four Closing’. They talked about the most common mistakes and the purpose of each of these foundational exercises. Sven emphasized the importance of ‘Non-Movement’ as the fundamental principle to create a Yin Yang Split, as essential component of any Taijiquan movement.

After the foundation practice, Sven and Carlotta elaborated different ideas of ‘Stillness and Motion’ to create ‘Yin Yang Splitting Power’ on the example of a rope. A Yin Yang split can either be achieved through a central non-moving point while the edges of the rope can move, or a moving centre point while the edges of the rope remain still (non-movement). In reality the non-moving reference points can be joints, the spine or lines connecting different joint groups, like the line connecting the left shoulder with the left hip joint.

Yilu Training

Kerstin Kummle gave a brief instruction on the first 13 movements of the Yilu Form. In her demonstration, Kerstin explained about the directions and the position of the body in a three-dimensional space while performing the 13 movements. She used a grid pattern on the floor to illustrate the line of movement and the correct angles. Such a grid pattern can be used as a reference for beginners and intermediate level practitioners. Kerstin highlighted that the majority of movements in this Yilu section follow two straight parallel lines.

Changes of direction commonly use 45° or 90° angles. It is important to maintain the central axis of a movement (either along the spine or the lines connecting the shoulders with the hip joints) and avoid tossing the centre of gravity while changing direction, just like a door hinge – the hinges never move but the door opens and closes. The practitioner should always align the hips and shoulders with the imaginary line on which we move when practicing the first 13c moves.

Sven added that it is important to pay attention to the correct application of principles while practicing a Taijiquan Form. The principles do not only guide us to prevent developing wrong habits, but also enrich the form practice. Instead of simply repeating a pattern of movements over and over again, we should focus on particular principles/aspects while performing the form. Accordingly, one form can be practiced in 10,000 (endless) different ways, while the movements itself might almost look the same from the perspective of an external observer.

Practicing Taijiquan in Daqingshan

The last 30 minutes of the workshop were used to give the participants an impression about the training in the Practical Method Training Centre in Daqingshan, China. Lutz Liese shared his experience staying and living in Daqinshan with a Powerpoint presentation, anecdotes and tips. The participants were free to ask questions about the practice in Daqinshan and his personal experiences on the ‘Mountain’

Conclusion

This workshop was a great initiative and opportunity for beginners and intermediate students of Taijiquan Practical Method. I personally gained new insights into ‘Six Seiling Four Closing’, ’Shovel out’ and the first 13 movements of the Yilu Form which I can apply to my personal training.

Big thanks to Sven and the instructor team in Berlin for their time and commitment to carry out the workshop. I am looking forward to participate in the next one!!!

Florian Bartosch

About Florian Bartosch

Chen Style Practival Method Practioner since 2016

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