Roy Croucher private lesson review, GM Zhonghua Chen, Edmonton, Sept. 16/20

by Doug Gauld on 2020/09/17

twisting towel

twisting towel

– I was lucky enough to observe this 1 on 1 training session as GM worked with Roy, focusing on Twisting Towel movement
– what follows is a review of this lesson
– Master Allan Belsheim was operating the camera
– GM commented that Roy’s basics in this move were good but lacked a strong connection to the Kua, the emphasis was on training gradually approaching new information on a step by step basis to improve retention of instruction as given
– GM used this session to remind Roy that receiving instruction calls for calm attentiveness, the importance of closely observing (watch, listen, take notes) what GM is doing then taking the opportunity to touch GM as he is performing a move, then to think only about the information offered by GM without interpreting/adding/evaluating the material then to try to replicate the observed and felt movement in your own body with multiple repetitions over time on your own and in class
– this observation is particularly germane for me is I often find I lose the thread when GM is instructing, sometimes I am left with the impression that the amount of information GM shares in any one instructional moment is overwhelming for me
– my anxiety about getting something wrong or just missing a piece of the PM puzzle gets in the way of just listening, just being a good observer without embellishment of his words & his movements
– this session was remarkable for the amount and precision with which GM lead Roy through the details of the next level of skill for him in practicing this move
– GM has found a way to transmit to us how the Gong and Fa of each movement are actually accomplished in our own bodies
– in this case, he set Roy’s body into the correct alignments, he adjusted his kua (both), his shoulders, his arms, his hands, etc, etc. in short, GM creates an experiential learning moment for students, giving them the embodied experience of performing PM movements as correctly as their bodily structures (joints, muscles, ligaments, etc) are able to manage at the moment
– as each successive repetition was performed by Roy GM would offer immediate feedback and make some adjustment to his posture/position
– I often wondered as I contemplated trying to learn this genuine lineaged Taijiquan style how I would ever go from using my body incorrectly towards eventual competence, GM puts you into the correct posture then gets you to move your body step by step in micro-increments towards more correct PM biomechanics
– seeing Roy’s struggles to get his body to move in the correct PM ways reminds me of all our struggles to change our bodies, a necessary if not sufficient condition to be able to replicate each PM move
– GM covered several elements/parts of the move, such as the angles of each body part, the relationships between the body parts and how much energy in each, reinforcing how important to all PM movements the ideas of Isolate/Lock/Rotate are to each portion of a move
– Roy had to work hard to move his body in the ways GM requested and I will have to work hard to try to make my own body parts move in the ways GM instructed

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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...

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Moore September 18, 2020 at 12:47 pm

A key note you mentioned and I keep hearing this week: Don’t try and analyse what MC is doing. There is no theory to wrap our head around. If he says move your knee out one inch, he means move your knee out one inch. If he says touch this spot on the wall, he means touch EXACTLY this spot on the wall.

The keys are being handed to us on a silver platter, we just have to stop trying to analyse the composition of the keys and the design of the platter.


Doug Gauld September 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm

…absolutely Eric, its doing that consistently and with increased precision that helps us balance on the wire, as GM said there are many ways to do a movement, but only 1 way that is correct according to PM…


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