Knowledge : Stories

What a fantastic set of online classes that Kelvin Ho has run! I was challenged in each class to bring myself back to the uncomfortable-ness of our practice. Read more

ChenZhonghuaAndKelvinHo2013Back in 2011, I wrote about how my taiji journey got started: http://practicalmethod.com/2011/10/how-did-my-taiji-journey-get-started/. 7 more years passed by quickly on this journey, and it is now 2018. Much of the time was spent learning how to learn. In this article, rather than talking about taiji principles or concepts, let me share Master Chen Zhonghua’s teachings on learning.
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Heintz DiscipleNathan Heintz was accepted as Master Chen Zhonghua’s disciple on July 28, 2018 at the North American Practical Method Training Camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The discipleship ceremony also welcomed Spencer Jones and Edward Liaw as disciples. Read more

I started taijiquan practical method in 2011. In 2016 I became disciple of Master Chen. Taiji – the separation of ying and yang and having both at the same time – is a part of my daily life and I am very happy about it.

1. Practical method
This style in the lineage of Chen Fake, Hong Junshen, Chen Zhonghua follows very clear instructions to establish the taiji movements. In the end there should be no fight anymore, one is just walking through the opponent without knowing.
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The 6th Daqingshan International Competition

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Daqingshan Mountain from the Pagoda

The start of my stay in China coincided with the 6th International Daqingshan Competition (April 28th to 30th this year), a yearly gathering that Master Chen started to promote both Taijiquan forms (a series of choreographed movements particular to each Family style) and also to provide a stage for a large scale Push Hands (a means of practicing Taiji techniques whilst trying to unbalance your opponent) tournament.

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Pawel's Notes at 30,000 feetI’m writing this at about 30,000 feet on the plane from Munich, Germany to Toulouse, France. Master Chen Zhonghua is sitting next to me, it’s late evening and we are both tired from traveling shortly after noon.

On the last flight, from Danzig, Poland to Munich Master Chen gave me another lesson about rotation.

Some of those ideas I had already heard on a flight almost two years ago, but what Master Chen taught me a few hours ago goes much, much further, of course. Some questions were answered, especially regarding applying the theory on the body.

The application cannot be written down, really. It must be demonstrated and felt. Trying do write it down will never do justice to the physical experience felt in person. Read more

Embarassed in Iowa 4

by 胡歌 on 2017/03/14

 

PM Iowa dinner 2016 John Dahms Hugo etc

From far left: Ed Alvarez, Hugo Ramiro, Jeff Clevenger, John Upshaw, Bruce Schaub, John Dahms, Todd Elihu, Spencer Jones, Brennan Toh

At some point one evening during the 2016 Iowa seminar, in Levi’s basement, a discussion occurred regarding the front kua and a particular orientation of it during a particular move. A statement was made about this requirement, followed by crickets chirping. Sensing that the moment was dying, I decided to wade in and stake my claim; to place myself at risk and bleed, hopefully. “I can do that! I can totally do that!” I crowed. It had been John Dahms, one of Master Chen’s senior disciples, who had stated the requirement. He said, “ok show me”. I sprang up and did something, as best I could, and his response was quick and direct – “You’re not doing it”. As deflated as possible I said “ok” and sat back down (I will come back to this). The discussion continued with some new indications and some new material, revitalised (with the help of my blood, I imagined). That moment still resonates with me many months later as I continue to work on the requirements laid out by John for that move on that evening.

The truth is I lied. I knew I couldn’t do it when I offered myself up, but I also knew something else: if I felt psychologically prepared during the teachable moment I would not really be listening. Somehow I had to create a situation inside of myself where I would be truly receptive, and I knew from Master Chen that two useful qualities in this respect were a. obvious failure (“Invest in Loss”) and b. confusion (“I don’t know”). Even if I simulated these by artificially elevating myself and then coming crashing down in front of everyone it would be better than being ‘very competent’ during the learning process or even not offering myself up at all. The emotional risk is necessary – in other words, I must be ready to put myself aside, no matter how bad it feels so that I can have a chance at real learning, which is always in an unknown and uncomfortable place.

I invested in loss, and in doing so, with John’s careful and attentive instruction, I invested in myself.

I had an interesting experience lately. I took singing classes with a professional classical singer. It was only one single event, but I learned two important things in those one and a half hours which are not only reflecting back on my Taijiquan but also on my life in general.

Western Learning Methods
Everything is about intellectually understanding things. After listening to my singing for a short time and before the teaching started I got two or three pages of text describing how the breathing organs work and how those relate to singing. Doing Practical Method for a while now and being in contact with eastern learning methods I just skipped through the pages to see if there’s something useful. I asked the teacher whether knowing this stuff is of any importance, especially in the beginning. She said, being a little puzzled, that most people want to know what they are doing, first. Intellectually. I explained, that I do PM and I trust her as a teacher to lead me through exercises which she figures are important for me at my current state. She started teaching me.

Feeling Awkward
With different exercises she tried to get me in a mode where the voice was full. She put me on a stepper on which I had to walk while singing. At some point I had to lean forward in a shoulder wide stance. Singing “dui dui dui” up and down the scale in this position felt strange and she directed me saying “try this” or “try that”. At some point my voice felt awkward. The setting of my muscles in my vocal tract was so wrong. I even got a little scared somehow. I stopped after being in this state for not even a second. Suddenly the teacher almost shouted at me: “why did you stop?! That was wonderful! Do it again!”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that setting during the remaining 15 minutes of the lesson.

This moment, when the awkwardness was on its peek was the moment when the door opened. I didn’t step through it, but now I know it’s there, at least. Even if I would have find this door without the teacher, I would be convinced that it’s the wrong door.

14138127_1225470587484056_3943916346075667431_oFresh new Mr. accountant John and I had a catch up today and celebrated. Despite his absence, he has been keeping up with the basics and was able to develop new moves on the basketball court. Yeah, he sent a guy rolling across the court when pushed from behind. I am impressed! And, John didn’t know what had happened except for not moving!

 

 

We have a great visitor last weekend in Prague. Rick Pietila from USA currently based in Wienna (Austria) paid us a short visit. Read more

TO15 - SusaneMy name is Susanna, I am a Toronto student of Master Chen Zhonghua. I started studying Practical Method in the fall of 2012. At that time, my first daughter was just 9 months old. I brought her to the workshop and carried her around as I learned from Master Chen for the first time.

I learned the first 13 movements at that seminar and practiced them a couple times a week. Since the fall of 2013, however, I started practicing the first 13 movements everyday, without fail, 5 repetitions per day. It would take about 20 minutes to do. I continue to practice like this today. Read more

Daqinshan with infants i

by Sarah on 2015/09/28

20150826_191800 -scalTo all parents hesiting if to go with their baby or infant to DQS, we collected some informations and impressions.

At the moment we, that is me with my husband Michael and 2 1/2 year old boy Lukas, are on Daqingshan, Shandong Province in China for Taiji Fulltime Training.

The three of us have been here together already last year, so here are our experiences with our little boy on the mountain.
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Chen Zhonghua with Ronnie Yee in 2004 陈中华和余永安Last Sunday I made arrangements to have coffee then train with my elder disciple brother, Levi. He teaches Practical Method at The University of Iowa’s Chinese Martial Arts Club. We decided to train during his regularly scheduled class time as it provided a good space to practice. A new student arrived wanting to check out the class. Introductions were made. He was a visiting professor originally from China. After some discussion the gentleman disclosed he studied Hong Style Taijiquan for 7 years. Levi and I exclaimed that is the lineage we practice under our Shifu, Master Chen Zhonghua. He stated he studied under a disciple of GM Hong Junsheng and one of his grand-disciples, both Levi and I not having any knowledge of this Master. Read more

LaiQingwenWhat they are

is simple: challenges!  This information is for the few who don’t know.

The case of study used is the challenges that happened in Yishui, Shandong, China on Feb. 1, 2015. The two videos are included below for references. There are lots of comments at the youtube site where the videos are. Read more

深山里的国际范The video is in Chinese. Qilu network video reports on Chen Zhonghua’s taijiquan on Daqingshan, China.

深山里的国际范儿太极
http://v.iqilu.com/wdy/wcp/2014/0704/4095036.html

The Yilu Challenge 1

by Kelvin Ho on 2014/07/01

Serious students of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method are asked to do as many Yilus as possible for a single day. This practice started in 2001 by Master Chen Zhonghua and is known today as the Yilu Challenge.  The 100 Yilu Challenge tests the students courage, endurance and power level. Read more

邯郸学院 - 33On the 10th of June, 2014, Master Chen Zhonghua became visiting professor of Taiji at the Handan Colledge in Handan, Hebei Province in China at a simple ceremony held by Prof. Ma Jibin, president of the College. He was also named the official representative of the college for Canada and the United State. Read more

(click the cc button in youtube window for translation)

Italian Job: Veneto 2013

April 5, 2013

I was invited by Master Bon and Master Neresini to lead a week long private teaching and weekend public workshop. Here is short report and some pictures from sweet northern Italy district Veneto.

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Mr. Hong Junsheng’s Taijiquan Science and Philosophy (a translation)

January 8, 2013

Hong Junsheng Taijiquan Philosophy – As I See it By Zhang Yanhai 张延海 (Translated from http://chenzhonghua.cn) Mr. Hong Junsheng (1907-1996) of Yu County, Henan Province was an indoor Taijiquan disciple of Mr. Chen Fake for 15 years and as the result has received true transmission of the art. After many years of inheriting the tradition [...]

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Do Not Move!

December 21, 2012

Originally written by: Allan Belsheim Nov 2007 When Master Chen Zhonghua shows us how to do the Chen form, he assures us that the hands are NOT moving. To look at him, everything is moving, including the hand. When we copy his moves, we are told that we are moving our hands and on top [...]

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Inside and Outside

December 8, 2012

Originally written by: Allan Belsheim published Nov 2007 During one of our full time Taijiquan course sessions with Master Chen Zhonghua, we were talking about secrets. As we were all of the opinion that there are no secrets, he went along with us. However, he pointed out, “There is a difference between inside and outside.”

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Seeing Is Not Believing

December 6, 2012

I had always believed that the Hong Junsheng school of Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method was not for curiosity seekers. All who gravitated to Hong were serious students or masters of Taijiquan. So much so that a certain master named Zhao was not ready to join Hong’s classes, even after observing training at Daming Lake for [...]

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The Rock

December 4, 2012

The rock in the north western corner of the Black Tiger Springs Park weighs about 30 pounds. It has special significance to me. It was the special object that told me just how strong Hong Junsheng was.

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A Can of Pepsi

December 2, 2012

One afternoon during our full time Taijiquan studies, in the Hunyuantaiji Academy studio in Edmonton, Master Chen Zhonghua spoke of the mysterious, spiritual borderlands between yin and yang called ling. 

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My Garden Loves Taiji

July 15, 2012

My garden loves Taiji practice i get to admire it then catch stunning glimpses of orange

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“WHAT IS IN A NAME”

February 13, 2012

The following article was once originally part of Master Chen’s former webpage www.chenzhonghua.org. It gives us Grandmaster Hong Junsheng’s first-hand account of what actually happened in the talked about encounter in a martial arts tournament in Beijing between Great Grandmaster Chen Fake and Wu Tunan. I thought it would benefit everyone interested in Taijiquan history [...]

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Study in Handan Allegory

December 23, 2011

Driving through the immense rural landscape of China by car during a recent research trip my teacher, Chen Zhonghua, and I sought diversion from the lengthy journey by entertaining each other with stories. As we were traveling from the city of Jinan to Chen village (Chenjiagou) we happened to pass Handan, a little hamlet tucked [...]

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How to “see” the energy alignment?

December 11, 2011

Today, Michael Winkler of Germany suddenly “saw” the energy alignment on the body. This is part of the enlightenment of taiji learning. This is also part of the “entrance” to taiji. Now he is busy looking at many of the “masters” photos to “see” if there is energy alignment in their postures. Just what enabled [...]

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How did my taiji journey get started?

October 23, 2011

I have been wanting to write about how I started learning taiji for a while. I guess everyone has his/her own story, and I will share mine here. When I looked back at it, I always felt that it was fate and luck with all the stars aligned to be learning from Master Chen.

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Daqingshan Stories (2)

October 5, 2011

One Before talking about Master Chen Zhonghua’s Daqingshan Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method Seminars, it is necessary to discuss the historical significance of Practical Method of Grandmaster Hong Junsheng.

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Review of Master Chen Zhonghua’s first Practical Method seminar in China

August 23, 2011
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Daqingshan Taiji Stories (1)

August 10, 2011

陈中华先生云:习拳悟道,当有机缘.所谓机缘者.顿悟之锲机.并言洪师爷逸事一则:某年夏夜老人外出散步.不料脚下踩一物以致不能自控而倾跌倒地.洪师爷起身,作辑,向四方拜一拜.

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Stories of Daqingshan and Taijiquan

August 5, 2011

做为一个没入门的太极拳爱好者,我很长时间以来,一直经常在网络上看陈中华老师的一些文章和教学视频,对陈老师独特的理论和精彩表演感到非常好奇。此次借出差之机,途经大青山,得见陈中华老师,并体验了他神妙的太极功夫。

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New Yilu Records set on Daqingshan!

July 19, 2011

Brennan Toh set a new record of 150 Yilus in one day on June 26th, 2011. Two days before his taiji brother Steven Chan left. Steven previously set a record of 124 in one day. Yilu repetition is designed to train body endurance and integrity. It was said that Chen Fake did 25 yilus a [...]

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Taiji Enlightenment on Daqingshan

July 18, 2011

The long transpacific journey over, my wife, Baraka, and I stepped onto Chinese soil, thrilled by the permutations of consciousness that this ancient, yet forward-looking land was already beginning to effect upon us. Our toddling daughter, Akasha, for whom any experience was a delightful curiosity no matter how mundane or extraordinary her parents deemed it, [...]

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Learning Taiji on Daqingshan

June 4, 2011

二上大青山 2009年10月,第一次上大青山,认识了陈老师,初次领略了实用拳法的奥妙,前已为文记之。下山时,便许下愿心,日后有机会定当再次上山。其实,这想法自然不过。我在大青山上遇见的拳友,没有不被陈老师的为人和功夫所折服的,几乎所有人上山都不止一次。

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My Conversion

May 24, 2011

I have been practicing Cheng Man Ching 37 style for 2 years, and in 2010 Apr, I started learning Chen Style Taiji in Singapore. After 3 months, I walked away feeling frustrated as I realized that what I learnt was “flower punch”. Nothing more than moving and waving my hands in the air. I didn’t [...]

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Gongfu and Techniques

January 5, 2011

I was watching Chen Zhonghua teach push hands one day in July of 2010 on Daqingshan when I could not resist saying, “I have a method.” On hearing this, Chen Zhonghua stepped away. The opponent did not move. I picked up where they had left off and proceeded to knock the opponent down. Of course [...]

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