Background: I’m Harshil Meraiya, age 32, from Pune, India. I learnt Yang style Taichi from August 2011 to Jan 2014. I had no other Martial Art background. I was introduced to Practical Method by Sandeep Desai in Jan 2014.
During next 6 months I learned choreography and basicfrom Videos and Skype sessions with Kelvin Ho and John Upshaw. I started accumulating lots of PM brothers as friends on Facebook providing me feedback, guidance etc on my videos I posted…
In Aug 2014, in response to my video post I got message from Bhargav Khaund inviting me for practicing PM in Mumbai. By end of 2014 I started regularly practicing with him. As we live in different cities, we were meeting once on weekend that required me travelling to and from total 8 hours via train. I continued my learning from Bhargav and Master Chen’s website. I already made up my mind to visit and learn from Master Chen by mid 2015 but it took me a year to actualize it.
I Visited DQS from 18 to 27 Aug 2016.
DQS Administration and Hospitality: My visa got through in one shot, I applied for tourist Visa through agent but as Invitation letter mentioned me as a Tai Chi student, I was given Student Visa “X2”. No hassles. Documentation was managed very well.
I was provided Driver even in midnight who picked me up from airport to mountain, no hiccups there either. I was given shared accommodation in Yulange building, decent clean room, with AC, WIFI etc, nothing to complaint for. Hotel staff was very cooperative, I don’t speak mandarin hence sometimes I had to fetch specific English speaking person to communicate. Hotel staff took personally care of international students. Can’t find such hospitality easily. Kudos to DQS hospitality.
Food I found a little bland for Indian taste initially, also using only chopsticks was difficult to pick it up, however I got used to it in a couple of days only and had no problem afterwards.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner were scheduled at 7 am, 12 noon and 6 pm with approx. 30 dishes in total and 5 to 10 of them keep changing. We were having a lots of “healthy food”. Only problem I faced, as I had no idea black tea is not very popular in china, I really missed it in mornings. Green tea was awesome though!
Training: Training at DQS was scheduled everyday at 5.30 am to 7 am, 9 am to 12 noon, 3 pm to 6 pm and Push hands at 8 pm onward. So 8 or 9 hours a day minimum!!! I was always overexercised. It was long time I had subjected myself to such long physical activity. By the end of day my body was exhausted and especially leg muscles were completely worn out.
Training involved Basic, Advanced , , Push hands drills, Rubber cord drills, Partner drills etc… I did overexercise my arms in rubber cord drills and had sprain in shoulder muscles. I broke my wrist in friendly push hands drill and twisted my knee in push hands. I preferred falling down than getting injured, but still found difficult to control my own movements in push hands.
Besides Master Chen, training was led by Li Xiaohui, Chen Xu, Han Rui, Ling Zili and Ling Ziming. When led by disciples, Master Chen randomly arrives and picked people personally and provided them corrections.
Although theses trainers are not fluent in English, they do know taiji and could guess my doubts/questions very well. At DQS medium of instruction was primarily mandarin but Master Chen made special efforts to make international students understand instructions, sometimes by translating simultaneously and sometimes taking all international students separately to provide instructions.
I had some grasp of taiji terminologies and theories watching videos from website but to experience those concepts firsthand with such sharp clarity was revelation of a kind.
A very common phenomenon “FDCC-Famous DQS Chinese Circle” occurs in training sessions. While Master Chen is explaining taiji concepts, Chinese students surround him so closely that nobody can see anything! I waited till someone screamed “Bigger Circle please”!
In training with different people I observed majorly there are two kind of students – those who practice hard but do not listen/follow instructions and those who listen to instructions but do not practice enough. I was latter!!
Hunyuan Qigong was also taught by Master Chen. I found myself fumbling around trying to catch up with instructions but I was too slow!!
Master Chen as a person: Master Chen is very welcoming and polite. I was treated like his personal guest. Immediately upon arrival, I met Master Chen at front door, and he recognized me as Bhargav had already sent my introduction. Master Chen asked about my travel and invited me for breakfast as I was late for early morning practice. He briefed me about immediate schedule and how to get further details.
Master Chen is Brilliant and Funny. Meal time at DQS involves Master Chen’s jokes and funny incidents clubbed with philosophy of Taiji and life explained with his experiences. Master Chen is very Generous, his attention to details is exemplary and approach very systematic. He already knew about my Taiji practice level, he introduced me to English speaking Taiji brothers to make me feel comfortable, he told International students I had recorded very goodvideo and also praised me for my writing skill (for notes).
Taiji experience with Master Chen: In my First demo when master Chen asked me to push him, it was like pushing the wall and suddenly a door opens from the floor and then I fell down. To experience a wall means there was zero feedback of anything alive or moving, absolutely no push. To experience door opening from floor means there is no glitch in control, it’s flawless and for a moment I felt I’m floating in the air and not thrown by push.
In a second demo, Master Chen just stood without moving and his hands touched my chest. suddenly I felt like tons of bricks were dropped on my spine and it went straight down. I felt if it was one more brick my spine would have cracked somewhere.
In another demo, Master Chen asked me to press his waist from Front and Back. I pushed too hard and it flatten as such I could feel Master Chen’s spine and organs, and then he started expanding it like Tyre tube expands due to air pressure inside, even with full force by my both hands it was unstoppable.
Summary of my experience: I was completely mesmerized by mountain and fully enjoyed DQS hospitality. I was stupefied by Master Chen’s skills and had whole new revelation about human capabilities. I feel lucky to be a part of Practical Method family and learning directly from Master Chen.
Outcome of my visit: My sense of belonging to PM has strengthened multi-fold and I feel I owe a lot more practice and contribution to PM.