Chen Style Practical Method Seminar Notes, San Juan Feb 12-13, 2011

by Rafael Velilla on 2011/02/16

During this last weekend Feb 12-13 we were honored to have in San Juan, Puerto Rico an awesome Chen Style Practical Method Tai Chi Chuan seminar conducted by Master Chen Zhonghua and assisted by his disciple Todd Elihu.

The beauty of the seminar was that it was open to everybody providing a friendly environment that brought to the seminar participants of different systems like Yang Style Tai Chi, Karate and Wing Chun among others. We would like to congratulate those participants from other systems for offering them selves the opportunity to see and experiment a pure and complete system that has gathered the many years of research and personal experience from Master Hong Junsheng who was a disciple of the Great Chen Fake.


The seminar was very balance with great emphasis in Foundations, Forms, Drills and a section of Questions and Answers. Master Chen with his background in education is an excellent teacher who is very passionate about teaching and when he sees that a person is interested in learning taiji he tries to find examples and countless ways to transmit the lesson and reach the practitioner.

Master Chen managed time each day of the seminar very effectively offering the practitioners with many exercises that covers positive and negative circles in all combinations (Single Positive Circle, Single Negative Circle, Double Positive Circle, Double Negative Circle, etc). Also he gave us the opportunity to practice lots of footwork to helps us develop stability, proper alignment and correct shift of weight. It was interesting to see that even beginners were able to follow the movements easily.

Master Chen put emphasis on Separation of Yin and Yang and also mention that we should always maintained the center. Master Chen also explained that when we move some points in the body should remained fixed to be able to create rotation around that point; he used as an example the door hinge. The participants were excited because they saw Master Chen doing techniques and then they were able to practice two person drills to exercise those techniques. On the second day of the seminar Master Chen gave us many explanations of how simple things in life can be applied to understand the principles of Tai Chi. One that we enjoyed a lot was when he said that he does not know how to ride a bicycle; that he only knew how to go forward but do not know how to make a turn. Wow it was amazing to hear that the human body was not designed to turn and the moment the body starts to turn there is an issue with balance; then he mentioned that one of the key things in taiji is knowing how to make a turn. It was also very interesting to hear Master Chen giving us his view about nature and logic and how the different definitions of nature created by man deviate from the real nature that rules the universe.

Everybody worked very hard at the seminar practicing the first 13 movements of the Yi Lu form many times; some trying to learn the sequence; others trying to improve and perform following the principles and rules explained by Master Chen. Master Chen is always paying attention to details so it was a great opportunity to have Master Chen watching us and correcting our movements with his clear instructions.

Another exciting and happy moment of the seminar was when Jesus Caceres and Hilda were accepted as disciples of Master Chen and became part of the Chen Family. Master Chen explained the meaning of the three kowtows: one for the ancestors, one for the teacher and the other as respect for the fellow practitioners. Congratulations!! To Jesus and Hilda.

We the Taiji practicioners in San Juan would like to say “Thank You” to Tudis Raul Pujol and Xavier Santiago for all the effort of organizing this magnificent taiji seminar and the hospitality provided to the guests.

Master Chen Thank You!! For coming to Puerto Rico for a whole weekend and shared with us your deep knowledge of this unique system and all your guidance. Todd it was an amazing experience watching in your performance of the Yi Lu the image of your Shifu, giving all of us the hope that with lots of practice we can someday reach a high level in taijiquan.

Master Chen thank you for your hard work and we hope to see you next year!!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Todd Elihu February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Thanks for your notes, Rafael! Your summary helps jog my memory and recall certain insights that I had not thought about since that time. Despite the busyness of your schedule it shows in your form that you have been working hard. It was great to get to know you and I hope we will have the opportunity to train together again sooner than later.

I, too, would like to extend my appreciation to Master Chen for his tireless transmission of his art and to my disciple-brothers Raul Pujol and Xavier Santiago for organizing this workshop and playing the host. I would also like to thank all the workshop attendees – you are all amazing people and without your participation the workshop would not have been so rich of an experience.


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