Roy Croucher, review of private lesson, GM Chen, #2 in series / Edmonton / Thurs. Sept.17, 20

by Doug Gauld on 2020/09/20

– I am beginning to understand some of the challenges in trying to describe, discuss, even think about PM in ways that pass along that information, in digestible bites to other people
– as GM has been saying a lot lately, we students can only learn, truly learn any portion of this art when our bodies and minds are ready, prepared to absorb what is being taught
– a concrete example is what this private lesson was all about
– for me, it was all about GM showing in very visceral embodied terms just what Roy needs to be able to do with various parts of his entire body and his mental preparation for learning PM
– the lesson focused on the jibengong called ‘Fetching Water’ and Roy was being asked to ‘fetch’ his fortitude because he was going to need it
– GM went through all the elements of fetch water, moved Roy’s body parts into the correct angles, mostly 45-degree angles I noted, and then got him to lock most of his outer body framework, then molded his Kua on one side to open/stretch while the rest of his body remained still and straight
– he stacked and poked and prodded Roy, then instructed him on exactly what to move, how much force to generate, what to keep still, etc. etc (pls see video for precise GM directions), that all contributed to Roy sprouting so much sweat you’d think he was doing HIIT cardio
– GM was asking him, instructing him, guiding his body and mind into the correct state to be able to perform Fetch Water more correctly according to the principles and rules of PM than Roy knew was possible, and I’m not just using prosaic license here, I actually asked Roy in an interview after this second private lesson, the interview will be posted on PM website soon
– the experiential learning for Roy was about how he needed to open his body parts up and his mental picture of what it means to move correctly according to PM theory, as well
– GM seemed to have determined that Roy was in the physical and mental state of preparedness, had made enough incremental physical and psychological progress in PM that he could treat Roy’s body parts, especially his shoulder joints as if Roy was the human equivalent of ‘Gumby’ (an old rubber cartoon character whose body parts could be bent in any direction at the same time)
– in one of the postures GM placed Roy into (you should be able to see this quite clearly in the video) GM took hold of Roy’s arm and shoulder joint, he then placed Roy’s body into a more correct upright PM position, then GM began to pull and rotate Roy’s arm and shoulder joint at the same time as if he were trying to pull off a turkey leg from a celebratory bird
– the amount of strain and effort these exhortations created for Roy was evinced by his profuse perspiration and heavy grunts, he was however able to navigate his way through these somewhat choppy previously uncharted waters with aplomb and a bit of stunned appreciation for the overwhelming amount of potential learning contained within one hour of private lesson time with a GM who can walk the talk
– the effect on me, observing this, was feeling grateful that it wasn’t me going through those gentle but insistent ministrations as my shoulders still need a lot of work, anyway, the other effect was a question ‘how does he know when we are ready to receive another piece of the puzzle’
– the answer is I suspect unintelligible to me at this point in my knowledge of the art, and I mean embodied knowledge not ‘head’ knowledge
– I think it has to do with how GM was taught by GM Hong, he was probably shown when he was taught, told what was right to teach when a student reaches such and such a level of correct movement and knowledge of the mechanics and theory, he saw and heard GM Hong teach about the stages of development of students and experienced learning that way himself but that is a guess
– really I’m only trying to extrapolate from other stories GM Chen has shared about his learning process with GM Hong and my apologies if that guess is off-target
– my understanding of the art is pretty pedestrian, at 23 months of study at the Edmonton studio, I’m a beginner still so it’s mostly mechanics for me at this point
– I have been given the task of opening up my body, re-setting it so that I can begin to generate Peng at will, I guess GM knew I was ready for this next stage of my growth in PM and if it’s anything like the other stages it will be the hardest work I’ve ever done
…learning to live one 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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