Rick first visit to Daqingshan
Rick is on the right with yellow shirt.I just spent 11 or so days on DQS for a short trip as a prelude to full time training in 2014. I live in Beijing and train with the Beijing group under Master Sun Zhonghua’s direction, via Master Chen putting us together this year. I am an international student of PM, arriving in Beijing as of May of 2013. I wanted to offer some insights and review for those thinking of coming to DQS for the first time, I write this for you.
I must say how enchanting the mountain is with it’s many places to explore from the Eight Immortal Caves, Pagoda, Dragon Tongue sites etc., far more places than I had time to fit in, but will next year. With the many smiling faces and welcoming hardworking hands of the staff, we enjoyed three meals a day together, of a wide variety of food dishes, much of which is grown organic and super fresh right on the mountain itself. Tim and the staff took care of me very well, tending to even the smallest detail or request. Tim even made us pizza one night!
My many new friends and training partners taught me so much about PM, I am super grateful to all of them. From being able to train with other beginning students like myself or students that are disciples with vast martial skills of Master Chen’s, I found that the quality of the people and training knowledge is wide spread of PM and this diversity allowed me to be able experience it first hand in many different settings and practice levels. I found an equality feeling from the senior students like Tim, Wilkin Ng, Chen Xu, Hugo and many others that was embracing, friendly and kind. If you train with them, you can see and feel consistency in them, lending to the fact that this system is effective and a high level is achievable by anyone willing to put in the time and work it demands. This kind of evolution with a master’s students is a great testament to a martial lineage and teachings of the generations. I have learned that age, physical level, prior experience etc does not come into play at Daqingshan mountain. There is truly something for everyone, from Qigong energy training, martial push hands training, or just a beautiful retreat get away, this exotic setting to me, is one of the worlds neatest places.
My room had air conditioning, wifi and all the amenities of a first rate hotel from available washer for clothes, extra pillows and towels if wanted, and a great view of the huge new training square. There’s even a pool table in the hotel I was at! Additionally, a huge new hotel is in process and being built to be completed sometime next year. Master Chen took us on a personal tour of this new hotel, showing and explaining what is yet to come. Very exciting and well thought out building, this new hotel is going to be a world class facility!
My training days where more than I could have hoped for. Up early each day to get in basic’s and with a few yilu’s lead by senior students as well as personal corrections from Master Chen, followed by detailed explanations and applications by Master Chen. Then breakfast with tons of great dishes, and coffee to order as you wish available from the staff. After breakfast we are free to work on what we like. Before I came to the mountain, I really only wanted to fine tune my (which I was learning from the DVD series and Beijing’s Master Sun’s classes), and experience a little pushing hands. But to my surprise I was offered to learn the straight sword form, experience parts of Erlu, and cement the all important all while working on my personal goals of training. After lunch (with great ginger soup and local specialty breads etc), most days we would take a break in our rooms or some of us would go for a hike to a site, or just take a nap. After supper most evenings (fish, chicken and vegetarian or vegan dishes available) was warm ups and push hands training. You could be involved if you like, or just sit and watch and learn. Then off to shower and sleep, only to get up and do it all again!
With his time, energy, personal attention and knowledge, Master Chen is one of the most generous people and master’s I have ever meet. There is not a question he won’t answer or a technique orhe won’t allow you to feel first hand. His sharing of knowledge and understanding of taiji principles to the students is far beyond any experience I have had yet to date. After spending personal time, and group time with him, I truly feel reborn and motivated in a whole new way to stay on this path of learning Chinese martial arts, from one of the greatest master’s alive today. His grasp and command of Chinese and English languages is also extremely notable. In my opinion it is one thing to train under a great master, but it’s another to actually be able to learn and progress quickly when the language is spoken with clear intent and examples are attainable to the International students and the like. Making the experience very enhanced and skills achievable without all the mystery that sometimes comes from language barriers in learning Chinese martial arts. Along side all this, I find Master Chen to have a personality that truly defines his personal goals of passing on this great lineage and teachings of those he learned from, with high intent. He makes you feel important, and lifts up all those around him. He is easy to laugh with, and has a quick wit and fine balance of humor and serious training deemed appropriate for all settings. How lucky we are indeed to have him.
In closing I must say, I left the mountain with far more new training knowledge and skills to work on than I had intended on, and am very grateful for it all. I only spent a short time, but came away with a whole new outlook on my life as well as new goals to attain. So if your thinking of coming to DQS, and you where to ask me about it I could only say, stop thinking, start planning and just do. Cheaper than most vacation spots in the world, DQS will give you so much more than just sun tan or relaxing atmosphere, it will give you life tools and training most will only ever dream of and us lucky few will experience. Come and join us 2014, I look forward to seeing you there.