Croucher-GM private lesson #3, Review, Edmonton, Sept 22/20

by Doug Gauld on 2020/09/24

GM reviews specific elements of  ‘6 sealing, 4 closing’ movement…or Roy’s body get’s adjusted, again, some more..


On a mild fall morning in September, a man drives through the streets of Edmonton unaware that in minutes he will be bent, folded, stretched, and generally discomfited in the name of Taijiquan.  Roy Croucher’s been a student of GrandMaster Zhonghua Chen for about 4 years.  Roy diligently applies himself to the study and practice of PM and is an assistant instructor at the Edmonton studio. GM is offering Zoom classes to students from around the globe, several times a week.  He is also making time to teach private lessons to students of all levels who can make the trip to Edmonton.  It is worth mentioning that while Covid numbers are climbing overall in Edmonton the studio has implemented strict health protocols to ameliorate chances of infection.

GM’s presence in Edmonton for a longer period of time than the usual 2-day workshop has prompted several students to make use of this unique opportunity.  His ongoing presence due to the effects of C-19, worldwide health measures, and travel restrictions is ironically turning into the opportunity of a lifetime for the Edmonton studio.  GM is adapting to the new reality by centering his teaching enterprise in this northerly Canadian city and family home.  Several Edmonton students have decided that accessing teaching time with GM is just too good to pass up.  The irony is not lost on these students, discussing several times the weird way the world seems to turn.  The pandemic is an ongoing burden to every citizen of terra firma and it seems that reframing the negative into a positive is causing us some ‘head shaking’ but, nonetheless,  eager acceptance of this rare opportunity.  Who knows when we frozen stalwarts of the north may again be presented such a worthwhile and overwhelming chance to tap into GM’s font of PM Taijiquan knowledge and skill.

Roy signed up for a series of ongoing private lessons with GM to avail himself of this chance.  Some students have signed up for 5 days a week private lessons for an entire month. Our little band of intrepid PM students is helping out with some minor renovations to the Edmonton studio and with providing support to GM as he finds new ways to offer the gift of PM.  So we return to our brave student who is being given a thorough review of the theory and practice of performing ‘6 sealing, 4 closing’.

Highlights of lesson content and process:

  • move body as 1 piece
  • imagine a stick going from the front hand then the other end connected to the body, or rear hand, as the body advances the tension keeping the stick attached must be constant, note that the stick never alters (doesn’t bend or move)
  • the expansion between the front hand and rear hand must be reciprocal and balanced, a rubber band stretched from the middle outwards in both directions simultaneously
  • both stretches must be done without moving the arms, so the rest of the body locks
  • waist and Kua need to be engaged to assist in creating a more correct structure for the body
  • Roy was, again, placed into various positions, his body segments moved to create a more correct structure and then his extremities and core were manipulated by GM to offer the embodied sensations and bio-mechanical patterning allowing for attempts at replication of these moves
  • there are no short cuts in PM, a student cannot miss a stage of training, most crucially for those of us under 5 years of training is the need for an intense focus on re-making the body to open up, especially, the shoulder and hip joints sufficient to meeting the art’s physical standards
  • every part of most joints, maybe all of them, must be ‘ground’ down to completely remove any adhesions or fusions that might impede that joint’s ability to open and rotate properly
  • GM mentioned that Roy body is moving in more PM ways than last year, GM also said that ‘Opening the body is not easy’ ( a massive understatement as failure to open one’s body appropriately means only ‘playing at Taijiquan’)
  • any lack of upright posture through the centre line loses potential power in practice & application
  • stretch means elongate along a very specific line
  • no leaning, maintain the line, vertically and horizontally
  • on the touch make the move, immediately
  • moves are more correct when you ‘look good’ doing them
  • students need to discover the many uses of levers within the PM system

…learning to live a breath at a time…


About Doug Gauld

took one two day workshop with Master Chen years ago in Victoria...studied with Gord Muir in Victoria for about 5 yrs, during that time was coping with spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis)...have moved back to Edmonton to be closer to family...trying to learn more about has helped with my arthritis and perhaps if I learn it more completely and make my practice better my health will improve more than it has already...

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