Finding the north star

by Kelvin Ho on 2022/01/26

Master Chen Zhonghua’s choice of language is straight forward and literal.  However, I find myself like many others having a difficult time understanding his instructions at the beginning of the Practical Method journey. It’s not that I didn’t want to follow the instructions. Whatever I did just seemed not matching what he meant. Instructions such as putting the left hand in front of the right hand gave me a hard time. The reason was that what I thought was front was not the same as what Master Chen intended front to be.  Let’s say setting up the hand positions is the first step, and other things are built on top of it. If this step was not done correctly, everything else would also be wrong. Therefore, it was utmost important to get the first step correctly.

However, how can we get the first step correctly?  We would say following the instructions. How can we follow the instructions correctly? By placing yourself in the shoes of Master Chen.

We have to orient ourselves the same way as Master Chen. We have to seek to see and think in his way.

I learned to listen as much as I could before asking any question. The answer was often given out. The problem was often that we got stuck in the first question we had, and we couldn’t hear the rest of the content anymore.

Once we could see what Master Chen saw for one of those points, we could follow his instructions easily, everything would seem to fall into place and make sense.

Finding the north star allows us to figure out the rest of the directions. Once we find one direction, we find them all. When we first star-gazed, there are so many stars in the sky, and we couldn’t tell what was what. If we look at them enough, we would start to figure out some patterns. With certain non-moving patterns like the bigger dipper and little dipper, we can tell where the north star is. In the context of Practical Method, here are my suggestions on what to do to locate our north star:

  1. Do a lot of yilus.
  2. Watch a lot of his videos.
  3. Write a lot of articles to express your own understanding.

Everyone faces the obstacle of following Master Chen’s instructions. It takes 4Ps (practice, patience, persistence, and perseverance) to overcome this obstacle.

About Kelvin Ho

Kelvin Ho, Master Chen Zhonghua's disciple, is the instructor for Practical Method Toronto. He has been teaching and promoting the Practical Method system in Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Canada since 2011. He has received numerous medals in various Taiji competitions. He is also a vice-president of MartialArts Association Canada. Like his teacher, he feels an obligation to pass this great art onto others. Contact: kelvin.ho@practicalmethod.ca.

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