2020 was a very different year. The world suffered from covid-19, everyone had to experience a lot of changes. Master Chen Zhonghua used to hold workshops all over the world non-stop throughout the year, which was inevitably halted, but Practical Method seeked to adapt and developed an online teaching platform with the latest technology. From a set of random classes to regularly scheduled classes by the beginning of 2021, the participating students made rapid progress and benefited a lot from them. This was largely due to being able to have more timely access to Master Chen Zhonghua and his instructors for guidance. The pandemic created an opportunity to allow a new level of Practical Method to soar to a higher level in the new year. Read more

Fetch water with the rubber cord

  • Step on one end of the cord to lock it on the ground, pull it with the rear hand.
  • Train opening of the front kua.
  • Find the appropriate strength in the rubber cord to be strong enough that we cannot use the hands/arms to stretch it, but weak enough that we can use the kua to stretch it. Read more

We hear those things often. In this article I‘ll give an overview of what that means and also write a little bit of how to implement it into your body.

The concepts are very easy to explain. So here we go: Read more

The video showed 3 moves of the Practical Method Straight Sword form, namely, Left cut wrist, Right cut wrist and Sweep down one thousand soldiers. Read more

Six Sealing and Four Closing

Open the Kua and rotate the torso to push the elbow and drive the arm foward. The elbow need to stay at the top of the Kua and flatened the shoulder. Do not move the knees so the rotation comes from opening the Kua. The movement of the entire arm is like flat to the board and stay inside the rail. The front shoulder need to have a line to the rear foot.

This is the new definition tossing. The movement comes from compression. Large movement compresed to a smaller movement.

Recorded at around 13,500 Yilus.

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During this time of the pandemic, I had a very valuable opportunity to attend Shifu Chen Zhonghua’s online class. By listening, seeing and following the instructions given in the class I began to understand the principles of the Taiji practical method and apply them to yilu and push hands. All this time I thought that I understood and could do yilu well, but what I understood was wrong. Read more

…learning about adaptation vs. action…screwdrivers only engage one way…

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…GM gives Roy opportunities to try to use PM to move him in push hands…very focused session…

RoySept22-20 v2

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…one of the messages I hear, daily, from GM Zhonghua Chen is that he wants us to use our head as much as we use our body…

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…I am seeing PM, everywhere…making lunch today and…

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…in my experience, great teachers are the ones that do certain things…

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…focused on Yilu corrections and body mechanics…make sure you view the video of this class…

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…what is the essential nature of Peng?  …is there room for creativity in training processes as a PM beginner?  …could be that how we answer these questions will affect the speed of our learning and our ability in PM over time, maybe…this is a speculative piece…

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… I have been telling Anton and Eric that my review of their lesson with GM, above date, was already submitted to the PM website, but I can’t find it anywhere, must have made an error in saving or posting or forgot to rub my magic ring, no really guys the dog ate my homework, anyway here it is, though I suspect the original version contained some absolutely brilliant insights that would have improved your training immeasurably, c’est la vie… Read more

…class was a part of the online Zoom ‘Make it Real’ series of lessons, focusing on the double-positive circle…be sure to check out the posted video this review relates to…

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GM reviews specific elements of  ’6 sealing, 4 closing’ movement…or Roy’s body get’s adjusted, again, some more.. Read more

Feng Zhiqiang Teaching Chen Zhonghua Sword 冯志强教陈中华剑

…double-positive circles and the journey towards correct movement…

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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

My Week In Review i

by Eric Moore on 2020/09/19

This was a busy week:

  • Wednesday
    • Private session with Master Chen
    • Advanced foundations and Yilu class with Master Allan
  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Private session with Master Allan
    • Basic foundations and Yilu class with Master Allan

 

Key notes in no particular order:

  • Your body may be tired and sore from the previous day(s), and you will ask yourself if a day of rest would be better than going to train. Go to class! Once you start moving, blood will flow, and that soreness will go away. Every class has multiple gems, but they’re only available in the moment and in the context of what is being taught. If you miss it, you miss it, which I find to be more painful than the discomfort of tired muscles.
  • Move with power: This is a martial art, not a dance. Every move must come from a place of power. Visualise your opponent and make sure you are affecting their body with each movement.
  • Our arms are not part of the movement; they are only along for the ride. EVERYTHING comes from the kua and rotation.
  • When Master Chen demonstrates a specific point, only look at that point. He could be sacrificing his form elsewhere in the body to emphasise something very specific. If you’re watching other things, you could be learning something wrong.
  • When Master Chen is demonstrating a movement, he is not teaching anything theoretical. He is showing you EXACTLY what he is expecting you to do. Do not try to analyse it. Mirror it to the best of your ability.
  • Training should not be comfortable. Always grind your joints that little bit further than they want to go, so they will continue to open up.
  • It isn’t easy in the time of covid, but if possible train with a partner. The difference in someone physically stopping your shoulder from moving back, or locking your knee so it doesn’t follow, makes a big difference! (Please be safe! I’m lucky to get to train with family)
  • Practice your form without moving.
  • As always: Don’t move, only rotate!

 

I know I am missing so much, but it was a week of brain overload. I’m very happy with the progress I felt in my body. I was a little concerned on Wednesday as I felt a pop in my right kua. Thankfully it was a good pop. My right side has opened up a lot!

I’m looking forward to seeing the video from Wednesday’s private session. We worked through section 3, which I’m just trying to get my head wrapped around the choreography. If you’re looking for some great detail on that section, I’m sure between my session and Anton’s you’ll get great material. If you’re looking for a great taiji comedy, I’m fairly certain I played the part of the uncoordinated court jester to a T :D

 

-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

Today, Master Chen corrected the following students’ partial yilu:

  1. Karen Mattox
  2. Gerry Gebhart
  3. Albert Chung

Single Whip

Master Chen used the foot shovelling out in single whip as an example to talk about the concept of using a stick to pry open something. We shove the stick into a crack, then the front end of the stick cannot move anymore and stays in the same place. We can then make the crack bigger by prying with the stick. The key is that the one of the stick is not moving. As we pry, we may meet resistence, we can add a longitudinal rotation as we pry, it will allow the stick to go over the resistence. Regarding the single whip, we want to make sure that the toes do not point up as we shovel so that we can apply the longitudinal rotation on the entire left leg. As we shovel the left foot, the weight must stay on the right foot. As we shift over to half horse stance, the longitudinal rotation on the left leg occurs at the same time. Read more

Wed Sept 9, Edmonton, Alberta; approx 8 PM local time
Impromptu training with GM…how to move…

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Six Sealing Four Closing 六封四闭

Grandmaster Hong Junsheng studied the names of each move.  He looked into the origin of these names, and how the pronounciation might have changed when the information was passed down based on the dialect of the region.  The dialects in China can be so different that people from one region might not understand people from another region at all.
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Master Chen demonstrated the foundation exercise Moving-Step Shake the pole, which is the positive and negative circle. He held a real pole to begin with to show the idea behind the foundation exercise. He locked his fron hand, which was holding the pole as a pivot. The rear hand moved the pole. Read more

Master Chen corrected a few people’s partial yilu today. Each person should remember himself/herself the stopping point, and so it can be continued from that point in future lessons when it is that person’s turn for correction again.

To stretch, we need to so find anchors on the two ends.

Empty means solid, it means power.

We need to find a line in ourselves. Master Chen showed Tinh Thai a version of fetch water that line up her rear elbow with the front hand. We need to make sure that the front shoulder is not in the way.

If we want to have grip in the hands, we need to have grip in the teeth and in the toes.

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Moving Step Positive Circle

  • Hold your head up, tuck the chin.
  • Each body part performs its own duty. Don’t merge together.
  • Factory workers work, not everyone does the same job, but at the same time.
  • Example: Move the feet back and forth by themselves, keep the central axis upright, move your hand out and elbow in.
  • The waist must go backward while the hand goes forward.

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Edmonton Practical Method Taiji Academy Customized Sword Sales

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Our Edmonton Studio has another function other than teaching Taiji and Qigong – we do sword sales, but more importantly we do customizations so the sword you buy from us is unique. The sword shown here is the latest completed Damascus Jian. Because of having to limit the number of students during Covid-19, we now need to boost our sword sales in order to ensure our Studio stays open.

All our swords are made in Longquan, China Read more