Doug Gauld

Observations, insights, anecdotes, and some bad jokes about the content and process of  GM’s Zoom lesson on the above date.

 

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GM asked for 3 paragraphs on a part of the Zoom lesson, specifically, the topic of  ‘do the movement as required by GM, let everything else go’.

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- just after Roy’s 2nd private lesson with GM, it was suggested that I record his impressions about his experiences in this learning process
- I’m no journalist so bear with me here Read more

- I am beginning to understand some of the challenges in trying to describe, discuss, even think about PM in ways that pass along that information, in digestible bites to other people Read more

-so it was just myself, in back of a digital camera, watching GM teach a Zoom class, at 7:30 AM and I thought to myself, ‘Man I have to be careful of what I wish for because sometimes the fates are listening’ Read more

twisting towel

twisting towel

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-two things I have been thinking about my practice in the past couple of days: 1. the new task of ‘resetting’ my body, given me by GM, is more profound than it seems, 2. the process of how you learn is as at least as important as what you learn
1.
-the task GM has given me may be the most difficult one I’ve ever been given
-not only does it encompass a complete re-working, re-tooling, re-creation of my entire physical self it implicitly tasks me to begin to practice PM all-day long, not jibengong all day long, but finding ways to subtly inject elements of training into every action
-my body awareness and sensitivity will have to go up more than a notch, a quantum leap would be more descriptive, and my ability to accept and work with my cognitive-emotional states will have to ratchet up a notch also
-the task is to ‘re-set’ my body so that it produces expanding Peng (redundant?) energy without any observable or perhaps measurable tension in any body tissues, esp. the contractile muscles, ligaments and tendons
-this is proving to be extremely challenging and is of course affected by my psycho-emotional states, try relaxing contractile tissues while in pain (emotional or physical)
2.
-in keeping with working on my assigned task I noticed that the class last night at the Edmonton studio was remarkable in a couple of ways
-firstly, we had a visitor, GM’s newest disciple Sooyeon Zachrias, who was a most delightful addition to our practice group
-secondly, I found myself fondly remembering my experiences at TigerClaw Gung Fu School in the ’70′s when I trained & and competed in kickboxing, we had a pretty informal competition class atmosphere and we regularly teased and joked with each other and the teachers/coaches
-our group last night was ‘playing’ with each other, there was joking, and teasing and relaxed informality
- we were all laughing out loud, but respectful, nothing out of line or intended to be anything but supportive
- Sooyeon Zachrias mentioned how she was enjoying the training experience with others as mostly she only attends workshops in MapleRidge, thank you Sooyeon for reminding me that the time I share with my brothers and sisters in this art gives me something different from the hrs and hrs I spend working on PM alone
-not saying every class has to be a stand up session or that no laughter means its not a good class, I am trying to say that the moments we share in class are precious
- we all have the physical pains of trying to grind away the rough parts of our joints and the psychological pain of removing from our souls anything that fails to make room for Peng
-hope this is an okay subject to post on PM website
-learning to live a breath at a time

- 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

Notes from Grandmaster Zhonghua Chen Workshop on Sept. 14 & 15, 2019, Edmonton, PM Studio

埃德蒙顿2019.09.14讲座合影。本文作者是右四(后)。 Read more

DougGauld

I am 64 years old and have been on long-term disability for over 10 years due to a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). I previously studied and practiced several external martial arts and they all eventually made my AS symptoms worse. I have had the disease my whole life but only diagnosed in the ’80′s. It became so bad at one point I was bed ridden for almost 2 years. It causes difficult symptoms in multiple body systems. I have had to get steroids injected into my eyes a few times to bring down inflammation. The disease primarily fuses the spinal vertebrae together, which of course reduces, restricts and eventually collapses the vertebral separations so they cannot move normally, or at all. I have tried physio, multiple drug therapies, meditation and exercise all with no or next to no improvement in my symptoms.
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