I’m extremely pleased at what I’ve taken away from the camp. I have a lot to work on between now and the next Master Chen Zhonghua workshop, for instance:
- Don’t push—instead of pushing against the opponent, let the him have what he’s pushing against and fill the spaces he’s created by pushing me. As an old, weak guy I don’t want to fight an opponent and there’s no effort involved in filling the spaces where he isn’t.
- Stretch internally to the max in all the movements in . The strong stretch forces you into the next movement and there is a continual, connected stretch happening throughout the form;
- Don’t move, that is, don’t toss. The outside movements are to be created by an internal stretch. The hand can’t move in any direction on its own without the internal stretch backing it up;
- When stepping, stretch your foot out by squeezing it out. The body doesn’t move in the direction of the foot; it just stretches downward to make the foot go out;
- When taking a step, don’t go forward by pushing with the back leg; instead pull your body forward using the tan tien and the femoral bicep of the front leg;
- Don’t analyze the teacher’s movements, because the analysis is made using your past and is not capable of grasping the present moment. If you’re up in your you aren’t seeing what’s taking place right in front of you;
- Unlike the American way where everything is designed to make your life easier, you need to make your practice harder. If it feels comfortable you’re doing it wrong.
It was a tremendous camp. Everyone was helpful, Master Chen Zhonghua was his usual exceptional self and extra hilarious this time, the cool weather was perfect for practicing before breakfast and the food and staff were great. It was too exciting to get much sleep, that with the irreverent and funny conversation on the dorm porch.