Allan has asked me to share my experience, so here are some of my impressions:
I saw Master Chen in 2010 on the internet doingand after further research I knew that was I wanted to learn or try to learn. I have studied Yang style before but won’t do this any longer. After one weekend workshop in Germany/Munich on practical method with one of the instructors and then Master Chen’s workshop in Munich I roughly new some of the foundation exercises and the first 13 movements of the . Originally I intended to do full time training in Daqingshan but didn’t make it, so Edmonton was my choice.
I spent 4 weeks in Edmonton. The best thing about fulltime is that you can focus on taiji all day and night. Having so many hours each day towas great. Sometimes the amount of information can be a bit much, but each single piece of information was so important that I could not decide which one should be left out. The hardest thing was and still is doing all these kind of empty movements knowing/feeling that the alignment is off because my body is not capable of doing the movements how they should be. But practice will hopefully improve this. After a few days training at home I can at least do some of the things required for practical method which I could not do a week ago in Edmonton. So Master Chen’s explanations and Allan’s teachings seem to be somewhere in my brain and will hopefully one day find their way into my muscles. I also enjoyed Sword very much (while practising yesterday a little Allan was sitting on my shoulder telling me: Watch your wrists, use more waist, use more force).
I went through all the notes I have been taken but I have written so much down I can’t repeat this all here. All of the principles are stated at various places on this site, like each movement has to be either part of a positive or a, in with the elbow, out with the hand, , leave the kua open, no shoulder movements, no wrist movements, no knee movements, negative circles have to turn over, stepping is slide down, step, adjust, never retreat, pull back while punching (my personal odyssey), seperate the body parts, after moving one part, it does not move any longer, lock body parts, stick to the principles and so on.
I would like to thank everybody for the great experience. Allan is a very good teacher, always friendly, patient, helpful, challenging and he is very good at practical method. Watching Master Chen just doing one tiny little move shows you what to aim for (although it is hard not to stop doing taiji afterwards because you think how you can ever move your body in such a way). Meeting the other instructors and students in the evening classes was also very nice and fun. I enjoyed meeting you all very much and hope to see you again.
Of course 4 weeks can only be the beginning and the work continues back home. It is not always easy as everybody doing taiji will probably know to find enough time for training in between work and private obligations. Also I am missing the training. Fortunately we can use all the videos on practical method to learn. Would I recommend fulltime training? YES! Would I do it again? YES! Will I do it again? YES, be it either China or Canada.