I have just come back home from a month training on Daqingshan. I enjoyed it immensely and wanted to write a bit about my experience in hopes of convincing others who are thinking about going to go. I must admit from the experience I have only one regret, that I wasn’t able to stay longer.
Training full time on the mountain was probably the best thing I have ever done in my Martial Arts journey. Having nothing else to focus on other than training really helped with my understanding and development. A typical day would be 5:30am training session, self-directed training sessions before lunch and dinner and then another training session at night, mostly push hands. For me it was the perfect balance for optimal learning. During the morning and night training sessions I would attempt to take in as much as possible, observe, ask questions and immediately write notes. I would follow up and practice what was learnt in these sessions during the day. When I first arrived there was one other international student, Pawel, and we discussed and exchanged ideas and tested them out on one another. This continued when other international students arrived. All instructors and students there are extremely friendly and are always willing to teach and share. I have heard many people mention that they take in different things when viewing the same lesson and it was great to have fantastic people around at different stages of development willing to exchange their views. I must admit I have never felt more at home in learning Martial Arts, being around people who take their training seriously and also being taught by Master Chen who is very generous with his teaching, always willing to share, demonstrate and answer questions. I am amazed at how simple Master Chen makes everything look and what impresses me most is no matter how big the group is he will take the time to demonstrate on each and every individual in the group. Not only do people get to experience it firsthand but you get to see the effectiveness of the technique or principle on a variety of different body shapes. I actually thought of it as good training for Master Chen as he gets to constantly feel different energies from a variety of people as well. It motivates me to train even harder and try things with as many different people as possible.
The food on the mountain is fantastic. I was eating so much and was always full. At one point I had to request that they reduce the serving sizes. It was hard to stop eating as the food tasted so good. Despite eating a lot and always feeling full I managed to lose 5.5kg (12 pounds) during the month I stayed there. The food is very healthy and in combination with the training it is perfect for anyone who wishes to lose weight.
Daqingshan is an extremely beautiful and serine place. It was exactly where I needed to be during my time away from the stresses of work. When I first arrived it was rainy and foggy. It was hard to see beyond 10 meters. I was taken on a small walk around some of the sites and the place looked mystical, very fitting to be learning Taiji in the clouds. Two days later the weather cleared up and to my surprise I felt like I was in a whole new place. I didn’t realise that I had been standing and training beneath the new hotel the whole time I was there. I went for the same walk I had gone on during the first day and it was amazing. The views are spectacular. My favourite spot was the Pagoda that is featured in a lot of the Daqingshan drawings. After breakfast and lunch I would always go for a walk and enjoy the sites and stunning views of the mountain. There are many things to see and I would quite often find places and small paths that I had not noticed before. The mountain provided the perfect place to relax and reflect on what I had been taught earlier in training sessions.
As I had mentioned before the people that I had met on the mountain are great, whether they are local students, international students or just staff. Everyone is friendly. It was great to meet people from around the world with the common interest of Taiji and all at different stages of their journey. I have made some really good friends and am glad to know that I have training partners all around the world.
In conclusion, my visit to the mountain was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I have learnt a lot, met a bunch of great people from around the world and discovered how much I want to continue to pursue and train Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. I am glad I took Master Chen’s advice and came to the mountain for the first time early in my Taiji journey. I hope to make the trip regularly and would highly recommend anyone who is thinking of making the trip to drop everything and just do it.