My name is Edward Liaw; I currently reside in San Diego, California. I was accepted as Master Chen’s 283rd disciple during the 2018 North American Practical Method Training Camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, alongside Nathan Heintz and Spencer Jones. Every day, I am grateful for being a part of a passionate and supportive community of practitioners, students, and teachers.
Taiji changed my life completely. Up until the day I graduated from college, I was an awkward and introverted person. I rarely exercised and spent most of my time in front of the computer. When I was 22, I began to have migraines with aura. As the migraines became more frequent and intense, I realized that this was not a wise lifestyle choice, so I sought to be more physically active. I began with yoga, then light running, and then I joined a taiji class at the university I was working at. While I enjoyed learning the form, I sought a little more. I joined a local push hands meetup and quickly I realized that I lacked a good foundation and understanding of what taiji really was. However, I could not understand the abstract terms that were often used to teach taiji. I experimented with another local group that practiced Wing Chun, before I found the Practical Method Youtube videos. What made this method unique was that thewas logical and every exercise had meaning. It gave me a process to understand my body. I believed that to make real improvements requires a period of dedicated study and practice, so I arranged to leave my job and study full time at Daqingshan for 3 months. It was an opportune time for me, as I had few responsibilities and enough savings for a year of practice.
Master Chen often remarks that when I came to the mountain, I was so loose and weak, like a bunch of noodles. Looking back at some of the videos from DQS at the time, I can only agree. I was incredibly uncoordinated. Mywas hunched forward from sitting in front of the computer all day. In the push hands ring, I would spend more time on my back than on my feet! Within the 3 months, I was able to gradually work up to doing 20 yilus a day, and listening to Master Chen and the other students helped to solidify the theories of Practical Method in my head. 3 years later, everyone that knows me from before can see that I’ve changed incredibly, and for the better. I practice 5 yilus a day, 2 erlus, and about 100 repetitions of all the foundation exercises. I attend many of Master Chen’s seminars in the US, as well as Ping Wei’s seminars in Irvine. I hope to share Practical Method with the community in San Diego and anyone who is willing to learn. I hope that it can benefit others as much as it has benefitted myself.