Training at Daqingshan #1

by Paul Janssens on 2010/06/21

As I had booked my flights early, my final destination, after a short stop over in Shanghai, was Qingdao. The other people of the group enjoyed a few days in Beijing.  Master Chen organised the train ride from Qingdao to Wulian for me, and one of his friends (who works in one of the export companies in Qingdao) picked me up from my hotel and made sure I was on the right train, right carriage, right seat. Unfortunately, it was foggy that morning so I didn’t get to see much of Qingdao.  The train ride was about 2 hours, and gave me a good view of the landscape outside of the city.  Once we left the suburban areas behind, the country side was no different from the flat lands you find in the Canterbury area in New Zealand or the agricultural areas of Holland.

I nearly got of at a stop too early, but, even though I had not been talking to anyone (busy looking out of the window), one of the youths addressed me in perfect english, and ensured I got to the next stop, Wulian station. There is was met by one of the people from the resort and we took the small trip to the resort (what felt like about 15 minutes).  The road to the resort was lined with businesses that produce all types of products made form the local light-grey and pink granite rock.  There are a few quarries in the area ( you can see them in the distance as you look out from the practice area in front of the hotel)

As you turn right of the main road, a concrete road takes you up into the mountains.  The road winds itself around some of the small farms, your first point of reference for the resort is the Moon Pagoda. Sitting on top of the hill behind the hotel, it provides a stunning view over the valley  from the distance.  There are several walking paths around the hill, and you can access the pagoda and take the steps up to the third floor.

The actual resort is at the start of a valley that is hidden from view to those below.  As you drive up the steep drive, you can see a small teahouse on your left, and the restaurant, ahead is a pond, on your right is the hotel were we are staying.  Further to the left, up the hill next to the restaurant is the new development with more hotel rooms.  My room is like any other standard hotel room (although I am not talking about the Ritz or the Intercontinental) . There’s set top box with around 40 chinese channels, but I have only been able to flick through them on the first day or so, because as soon as the rest of the group arrived, training started in earnest. As I came a few days earlier that the other group, I was able to walk around the hills a bit and check out the Moon pagoda on my own.

Our average day is like this: Get up, train, eat breakfast, train, eat lunch, train, eat dinner, depending on the time of dinner, train, and then sleep. After lunch we walked along one of the tracks that takes you to a cave where it is purported that one of the eight Taoist immortals became enlightened.  Pretty steep steps take yo past big boulders and you can take side-paths that take you into smaller caves underneath boulders of granite.

In terms of keeping in contact with family. Everyone seems to have a laptop with them, and the broadband in each room enables me to talk to the family back home.

The food in the restaurant is very good. In fact, for the price of the course, I am surprised no-on came just to eat and not train. There’s plenty of food (in what looks like a  never ending supply of delicacies), and we need it to ensure we can do 20 time Yilu per day, and a fair set of applications where we spend unnecessary strength. We are getting better though. Master Chen is continuously showing us applications but he let us have a good push and shove in the first few days so that we could realise that that is getting us no-where.

We have also enjoyed the company of Master Chen’s chinese students, and this had made it the more interesting to see what techniques they use.

As someone who has never practiced the Practical Chen style, I selected an intensive training camp like this because is the best way to learn up a new movement structure. Having practiced Yang Style (108), Sun style (72) and Chen International 56  Taiji before, I know I have an additional difficulty of having to let go of old patterns. On the advice from Master Chen, we started a regime of doing YiLu twenty times per day.  It became evident to me that the practical Chen style is so different from anything I have seen/experienced before, that is will be a joy to dust the old moths out of my old Taiji habits. Master Chen is hands on and has demonstrated many applications with all of us.

Anyway. More later, like what we have been learning about Hun Yuan Taiji from Master Sun. I need my rest so I can do 20 YiLu’s tomorrow.

Paul Janssens

Canberra – Australia

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