By Patrick Hanratty
**Due to my computer crashing these notes have been recompiled using my original written notes, which are somewhat incomplete. As such there are some blank spaces, which I’ve indicated with an asterisk. I would very much appreciate anyone filling in those blanks, as I don’t feel confident enough to do so myself.
Taking notes at workshops is a useful tool for making progress, and going over them as soon as possible (at the end of the day and after the workshop) helps to internalize the most salient points. Furthermore, sharing notes, as well as potentially helping other students in their practice, can also engender a need for the note taker to test the accuracy of their personal understanding of Master Chen’s teaching. A testing strategy that I have recently adopted is to imagine that I have to explain my understanding to other students through practical demonstration.
This imaginary process helps to reveal any flaws in my understanding which, unchecked, can and have led to much wasted effort over the years. As a personal example, my lack of attention to the significance of being double weighted and improper use of the kua have been a major factor in my lack of progress in, and ineffectiveness in push hands.
This lack of attentiveness to the process involved in assimilating workshop information has, in the past, made me reluctant to share my notes. For this reason, I would like to suggest that it would be very helpful to readers of these notes if fellow students, especially the workshop participants, were to add their comments to these notes in places where more clarification or correction would lend weight to their usefulness.
We started the workshop by warming up with theexercise and were quickly corrected by Master Chen, who pointed out that we were all using our upper bodies as opposed to our kua’s to move the arms. He demonstrated, showing his elbows glued to his waist and the power coming from the of the kua.
Later in the workshop, he demonstrated this use of the kua using two plastic water bottles marked with two vertical lines drawn in ink to demonstrate thethat occurs with the of the kua. He then drew a series of instructional diagrams that expanded on this point, accompanied by practical demonstrations using a combination of students and various props.
The first set of diagrams followed an earlier demonstration of Yin Yang separation using two plastic water bottles.
Master Chen used the first two diagrams to demonstrate the difference between the theoretical aspects of our training, and a more realistic interpretation of what is usually happening.
I have to confess that my memory of Master Chen’s accompanying explanation is somewhat cloudy. For example, observing the first diagram as if viewing it for the first time suggests to me a small degree ofcreating a lot of power while the second diagram, showing a longer line created by additional dots, suggests more (and extension) to create the same degree of power. Now what comes to mind is statement Master Chen made in this regard…*
He then went on, in the third diagram, to explain the relationship between the dots, the line created by their alignment and their inter-relationship with the directional tension on the knees. Master Chen then followed up with a practical demo using a student with a broomstick….