Zoom class assignment, Sept 22/20, Edmonton

by Doug Gauld on 2020/09/23

GM asked for 3 paragraphs on a part of the Zoom lesson, specifically, the topic of  ‘do the movement as required by GM, let everything else go’.

GM told us in the Zoom class on Sept. 22 that we need to begin to cultivate an ability to ‘live in the moment’.  His experience is that by growing, creating, nurturing that kind of situational total focus of mental and physical capacity we will follow instructions more carefully and correctly.  I know I am having to make a mental gear shift, mine’s an old transmission so it’s manual, to bring my mental acuity and physical sensitivity to a higher level when in GM’s presence.  He is always instructing, teaching, guiding us so it’s up to us to absorb as much of the correct data being shared as we can.  In a way, there is an unspoken contract between all of his students and GM.  That contract is that GM is always offering some kind of information about PM, formal instruction, or no, while our part is to respect his offerings by acknowledging that we must be deliberate in our learning from those opportunities.  It is a time-limited contract; every time you are around GM you have to make this psycho-physiologic shift of focus.  GM asked us to focus, this class, on only moving one body part at a time.  GM was showing us he was rotating his waist with his outstretched forearm from the elbow, attached to ribs, moving in connection, gear ration of 1 to 1, with the waist/Kua, while the same side foot, heel down, toe-up, had the toe moving in a 1 to 1 gear ratio with the Kua rotation and the forearm movement.  Sort of like a screen door flapping in the breeze.  One of the many areas of partialization I had to realize was that the shoulders were absolutely uninvolved in moving the forearm, they were just moving as if they were ‘stuck’ to GM’s Kua.

This entailed a mental process as well as a physical one.  In effect, to be able to use what an old clinical counselling mentor used to call the ‘skill of partialization’.  Partialization is just the skill of taking a big chunk of information and using your noggin’ to break down that chunk into the most salient bits within your current time context; it’s always context-driven.  What are important priority bits of info during an informal lunch are much different than info during a private lesson.   We have to be able to observe a situation, in this case, the words and actions of GM Chen in his offered instruction during the Zoom class.  Then we have to take his words and analyze them for priority information.  For example when GM says “…do this movement…” we have to visually focus right at that moment on the movements of his body to the exclusion of attending to anything else.  Then our job is to observe, without adding or missing anything, the precise elements of the movement.  We have to partialize the movement to understand which body parts in specific are actually moving, which are not.  Of course, then we must begin to move within our bodies to mimic as close as our skill level allows that specific movement pattern.  In analyzing, on the fly, which parts of GM’s body are moving and which are not I would encourage asking questions.  I find that if I am not sure about which parts to move in what mechanical relationship to each other with what kind of specific ratio of power inter-relationships, then it is my job to take the risk to ask for clarification.

To do any PM movement more correctly means we have to be able to move certain body parts while others remain in a state of relaxed readiness, stillness, locked down. It is a process of eliminating from our awareness those partialized bits of info, mental and physical, that are extraneous to the particular learning context before us.  I am paraphrasing GM here, ‘to focus on what is important’ is part of our training in how to learn properly while a PM student.  It cannot just be to focus on the specific instruction while ignoring everything else; that’s just the beginning.   We have to take the responsibility to become as active in the teaching/learning relationship as GM is.  That doesn’t mean we have to match his energy level, because good luck with that, but it does mean we must be aware that paying our ‘sheckles’ for instructional time with GM is just the beginning of our implicit learning contract.  We are ultimately in control of our learning experience within the PM experience.  My goal is to make this psycho-physiologic downshift every time I am around GM without it becoming a hyper-awareness, anxiety-producing process.  It is my responsibility to work with my own learning challenges in an active and hopefully joyful process of personal growth and PM skill development.  It is my responsibility, full stop.  All mistakes and misinterpretations of this lesson from GM are, of course, my own.

…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 art...it 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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