- Introduction of Emcee
I am Todd Elihu, 20th generation disciple of Chen Style Taijiquan under Master Chen Zhonghua. I am very happy to be here at the 2018 North American Practical Method Training Camp and to have the opportunity to learn from Master Chen, as well as practice and exchange with my disciple-brothers who are present and the other participants of the camp this year. I am very grateful to my brothers Levi Sowers and John Upshaw for organizing these camps and all the hard work that they have put into making such a special event.
Today we are gathered to induct three new disciples into our Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method family: Nathan Heintz, Spencer Jones, and Edward Liaw.
- Introduction of Master
Master Chen Zhonghua was born in 1961 in Shandong Province, China. He is a world-renown martial artist, teacher, and author. He is the disciple of two outstanding 18th generation Chen Style Taijiquan experts, Hong Junsheng and. Over many years, he has actively promoted the arts of his masters through his students, seminars, books, instructional videos, websites, and social media. In 2004, he was designated the International Standard Bearer of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method of Hong Junsheng in a ceremony held in Jinan, China. Since 2006, Master Chen has run residential taijiquan training programs and competitions on Daqingshan, Shandong Province, China.
- Introduction of Other Disciples
As the most senior disciple present I have the honor to emcee this ceremony. I would now like to introduce those who I have the privilege of calling disciple-brother: John Dahms, Levi Sowers, John Upshaw, Kelvin Ho, Hugo Ramiro, Brennan Toh, Erwin Ramthun, Aaron Bartholomew, Jeff Clevenger, Bruce Van Slyke, Paddy Hanratty, and Winston Wang.
- Introduction of New Disciples
As mentioned before, we are welcoming three new disciples into the fold:
Nathan Heintz was born in Oakland, California and currently resides in Berkeley. Before studying the Practical Method, he studied Chen Style Taijiquan and Hunyuan Taiji. After researching for full-time training opportunities, he decided to attend Master Chen’s full-time program on Daqingshan in 2007. After these initial three months on Daqingshan, he has also visited the mountain for 6-week sessions in both 2011 and 2013. In addition to attending workshops in Victoria, Maple Ridge, New York, and Iowa, he has also hosted Master Chen for two San Francisco Bay Area workshops.
Spencer Jones was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and grew up wrestling. Before coming to the Practical Method, he learned Xingyiquan and Yang Style Taijiquan. He researched more applicable and practical martial arts online and came across Master Chen’s videos and training opportunities. He called the school and Master Chen told him right away that Taiji was very hard and most people quit. Spencer persisted, however, and spent four months of full-time training on Daqingshan in 2012 and two months in 2013. He has since attended workshops with Master Chen in Iowa and Milwaukee, close to his current home in Chicago.
Edward Liaw is originally from San Jose, California and now resides in San Diego. Before coming to study Practical Method, he trained in Yang Style Taijiquan and Wing Chun. Edward connected with the group in Irvine led by Master Chen’s disciple Ping Wei in 2015 and switched his focus to Practical Method. In 2015, he travelled to Daqingshan for three months of full-time training. He has also attended several of Master Chen’s workshops in Arizona and Iowa.
- Offering of Tea
In an act of humility and respect for the Master, the new disciples (Nathan Heintz represented all new disciples in this) will now offer him tea.
- Three Kowtows
The first kowtow is Grandmaster Hong Junsheng. This is a show of respect to the founder of our style of Taiji.
The second kowtow is for all of those who are present today. This is to show respect to all martial artists who are present at the ceremony.
The third kowtow is to Master Chen Zhonghua. This elevates the relationship between the student and Master Chen Zhonghua. This is a vow that they are now disciples.
- Exchange of Certificates
The new disciples will now exchange their applications for certificates of discipleship.
- Change of Title
In recognition that Master Chen is now more than their teacher, the new disciples will chant “Shifu” three times in unison. Starting after the ceremony, they will address Master Chen Zhonghua with the title “shifu”.
- Official Photos
We will now take official master/disciple photos and group photos. Each disciple will stand to the master’s right, slightly behind and take an individual photo. Then a group photos of the new disciples together with the Master will be taken. The new disciples are the first level of their disciple brotherhood. All the other disciples are second level. Another group photo of all the disciples present with the Master will be take. Last all present at the ceremony will take a photo together with the Master.
- Master’s Speech
Master Chen Zhonghua gave all present a speech on the meaning and responsibilities of the lineage.
He talked about the lineage, the transmission and the major representatives of this particular lineage. Many stories about previous master were shared by Master Chen Zhonghua with the people present.