This December I had the honour of being invited to teach an introductory workshop on the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. I’d been to Brittany twice before to work with the theatre company Teatr Piba and this time my friend and colleague Erwan Cloarec asked me to also teach Taijiquan.
The workshop took place at the Centre Tsurugi, home of an Aikido Dojo run by instructor Tanguy Le Vourc’h. The space was formerly a restaurant and has been converted into a training centre. The two dining rooms now serve as training halls and the lobby, bar and kitchen areas allow people to meet, socialize and enjoy an espresso after classes.
The workshop was spread over two days and was attended by ten participants, all of whom had previous experience in Taijiquan or Aikido or both.
In the pictures I’ve included below, I’ve put a calligraphy that Master Chen made for me that says simply ‘The Rules!’. It served as a theme for me in preparing the workshop; my principal objective was to share the Practical Method view and movement guidelines and Master Chen’s emphasis on these things.
Our work concentrated on the Jibengong or Foundation Exercises of the Practical Method, principally, the positive and negative circles in their standing and stepping modes. We also worked on the first Duan or section of the Yi Lu form.
In order to communicate Master Chen’s material as well as possible, I made sure we spent fifty percent of our working time on partnered practice. My principal aim was to share the basic methods of making a ‘split’, of keeping one part of the body still while rotating another.
Both the participants and I found that Master Chen’s clear presentation of the basic activities to be trained led to a very constructive learning experience. I heard a few people sigh, shake their heads and smilingly say to themselves ‘I wish someone had told me this years ago…’
I was especially gratified at how hard working the group was and encouraged everyone to attend Master Chen’s upcoming classes in Germany and Italy.
Here are a few of Erwan’s photos:
And here’s his account, in French, of the workshop:
My thanks again to Erwan and Tanguy and to all the participants.