My Summer on the Mountain

by Lee Hrappsted on 2010/09/03

When I started studying Practical Method  Taijiquan with Ronnie Yee back home I knew I had found a martial art that was special. When he told me about the Victoria workshop last fall, and I mentioned interest in going he encouraged  me, telling me it would be good for me to meet Masted Chen. After that week I knew I needed to get to China for a full time workshop in the next 2-3 years.Luckily for me it worked out this year (again Ronnie encouraged me, telling me it would help my taiji immensely ) . In the last 3 months I have been able to tie together many lessons from the  previous 2 years, and learned much also.

Being able to not worry about work, or any other responsibilities  (even cooking or laundry )and the only thing I have had to focus on is Taiji.

This has allowed me to make more progress than I expected. My goal was to learn Yilu this summer, still need alot of adjusting but have basics. I have also seen the improvement we are all able to make by doing at least a little every day when we have 10-15 min. Foundation exercises, circles, form don’t need 1 1/2-2 hrs to train. When we have a lot of time to train more improvements can made, but doing what we can, when we can, also helps. This is 1 of the many things I am going to try to take home with me and apply to my training. Also drop the shoulder, open the qua, don’t push, keep butt tucked in,stretch and too many others to mention here.(Also can’t forget FULCRUM, rt. Steve.)

The chance to be exposed to a small part of  the vast culture and history was wonderful and something I didn’t think I would find as memorable as I have. Came here to study martial arts and check out some of China. Some of the conversations with Master Sun greatly increased my interest in the history of China, and finding out more about the cultural revolution. Would like to thank him for spending so much of his summer with us, and for all his help. Met many great people this summer, but Master Sun is one of those people that has made me feel I am a better person for knowing him, and can’t thank him enough.

Being surrounded buy many people who have the same goal made the summer lots of fun and provided a great learning environment. Even though we where all at different skill levels, ages, and from many different countries, the common bond of taiji brought us together in ways rarely experienced by me.(Found this to be in Victoria workshop also). I think  Taiji just attracts a certain type of people (the cool ones), and am grateful to have had the chance to befriend and train with a few of them. Some  people I spent the summer with I may never see again, but will be with me for the rest of my life, and I thank them for sharing this experience with me.

This summer was a defining time in my life, and would like to thank Master Chen for providing the opportunity to come here and train with him. I know I will make this pilgrimage again(hopefully next summer) and am looking forward to discovering more about Grandmaster Hong’s Practical Method. You have been a great teacher and master to me in many ways (not just Taiji), and I am excited by the chance to do another full time seminar with you.

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