In early Autumn 2019 I was training with Lutz and Fabian. I was doing a common drill for the Practical Method, Fabian as partner: He was pushing my arm repeatedly with same power, speed, distance and rhythm. On his move I was training the elbow-in/foot out (on the front side).
After a while I realised that I was doing something differently than before, but I didn’t know what.”Do you feel any difference?”, I asked. “No.” And yet I knew that something was different.
While I was getting changed after the training I saw in my mind’s eyes what happened while we were training the drill. I rushed out of the room. “I know!” “Have you called Master Chen?” asked Lutz making fun. “No, Master Chen called her!” said Fabian. And indeed something similar had happened.
I saw myself and Master Chen in Gdynia, 2016. We were waiting for something and Master Chen was teaching. He pushed me a little bit and I reacted stretching my foot out. This is what Michael Winkler always told me to do. “The foot must be faster than the hand“, he was used to say. And we did a lot of this training. So my foot went out, Master Chen looked at it with… his look. “Sorry”, I said. “Now, whatever you do, I’m going to bounce“. I didn’t do anything. “Watch!” He pushed and bounced. I was blank.
This is what I saw, and also images and words like “taking out/up the space with the bottom”. I asked Fabian to repeat the drill with me. “Look: now I’m moving the arm. But do it again: I’m not moving the arm. I moved the bottom more to cover the distance. It’s like as if you were pushing repeatedly against the wall, same power same distance, and all of the sudden the wall comes closer. You are going to bounce back!” I went to the wall and I pushed it. The wall did not move, but I got closer and pushed with same power. I bounced myself back.
I had heard Master Chen explaining this many times and saw him demonstrating many times and yet only three years after my third workshop with him I understood.
Learning is a process we cannot truly measure. It happens mostly in the dark and one day we see sprouts coming out. We usually like to believe that what we cannot see does not exist.
If you have experiences with children you certainly know: One day you look at him or her and he/she is talking differently or behaving differently. He/She might be able to do things that just the day before were impossible to him/her.
We mostly see only the result. The learning process is way more complex than what we can see and understand. We have to trust.