Locations : Iowa (Midwest)

Taiji Classes by Levi Sowers and John Upshaw

We are pleased to have Master Chen Zhonghua back for the 4th annual training camp.  Once again, the taijiquan training, lodging and dining will be at one location with one cost at the same location as last 3 years.  This will be an intensive workshop focused Theory, Foundations, Yilu, Push Hands and Broadsword.  Disciples will take part in the instructions.
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Practical Method Popsockets for your smartphones are $12 plus shipping. As many of you are aware I teach a group of kids, which several have attended Iowa workshops taught by Master Chen. I was able to work out a fundraising deal with the company so 50% of all the sales will be applied towards tuition for my kid students that have financial need. So an awesome item + good price + great cause = excellent purchase!

For orders email me midwestpracticalmethodtaiji@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.


John Upshaw

Probably the biggest thing had to do with the learning process: The questions that arise in my mind are usually off topic and I think their purpose is to distract me from paying full attention to what Master Chen is teaching at the moment.  By asking them out loud I’m distracting everyone else too.  My mind doesn’t want to give up control.
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Comments on 2019 North American Practical Method training camp

From my perspective, this year’s training camp was outstanding! I came with the thought that I had progressed a lot but after a short time I realized (as usual) I have so much to learn. I am basically a very beginner but I can see that each time I attend a function with Master Chen I can get a little better grasp of what he is teaching.
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For the second consecutive year the North American Practical Method Training Camp was held at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This seventy acre retreat, located in a mainly residential section of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provided a relaxed and private location for training. While the center is an outreach ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration it is an informal center with an emphasis on ecology and  the many varieties of spirituality. It is easy to mistake the sisters for the volunteers working in the garden or helping maintain the grounds. One of the sisters, who is 80 years old and teaches Tai Chi Chih, a form of Qigong, can often be seen driving a tractor on the grounds. She took a break from her work to watch a group of us practice the First 13. Another sister told me she was happy to see our large, primarily, but not entirely, male group stay at their center, because we provided a different type of energy than is usually found there. My point in mentioning this is to suggest that the folks at Prairiewoods appeared to have enjoyed us being there

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Iowa180731 - 08

The body must separate into two. For example in the opening move, part of the body faces forward and part of it rotates 45 degrees
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Iowa180731 - 04

I’m extremely pleased at what I’ve taken away from the camp. I have a lot to work on between now and the next Master Chen Zhonghua workshop, for instance:
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Pretend to fight to find the end points. Once locked, move-in the middle point.


(Alignment) Rear fingers look for the front elbow. The rear kua looks for the rear elbow.

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Iowa Class i

by John on 2018/05/14

PMNATC2017_1 Read more

We are pleased to have Master Chen Zhonghua back for another workshop. This time Taijiquan training, lodging and dining will be at one location with one cost. This will be an intensive workshop focused on foundations, drills, form, push hands and applications.

Date: July 28 – Aug 1 2017
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Practical Method Iowa Workshop 2015

I attended the Practical Method Iowa Workshop 2015. Officially, the workshop was on Sep 12-13, 2015. I spent a total of 6 days there from Sep 10-15, 2015. It was the best workshop I had ever attended. We had a lot of dedicated Practical Method people there. Thanks to Levi and Christina who let a number of us stay at their place the whole time, and gave us the opportunity to immerse in taiji with Master Chen Zhonghua. Thanks to Levi and John for taking care and arranging food, as well as driving us around. We woke up early at 4:20 am to start doing yilus before breakfast, and we often pushed hands till 10:30 pm at night. It was just wonderful being around my taiji brothers.

The following are the notes I took:

Day 1
– Keeping the back straight at all times
– Always have an aim at the centre, every movement should result back to the centre (don’t deviate from it)
– Keep the movement small, otherwise it is wasteful, and there won’t be any left.
-Separation: When the hands have power, move in the waist. Have power in the waist, the hands can become free. Nudge in bit by bit.
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New disciple: Jeff Clevenger and Chris Christopher Thomas Dusek

New disciple: Jeff Clevenger and Chris Christopher Thomas Dusek

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Notes by Aaron from September 12th and 13th Iowa workshop:

stepping foundation drills: power is constant, speed determines the appearance of more force.
Positive circles, negative circles, mixed circles, 6 sealing 4 closing

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10856457_10153365437296528_603459249230409363_oAn awesome practice on Sunday with Levi and Gerry. We focused on separation of movements/body function, finding the lines, taking and not losing space…just to name a few…Levi corrected our first 13 postures

Iowa Workshop Clip i

by admin2 on 2014/09/02

Yilu by Spencer  and a correction at the end.

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Upper Midwest Practical Method Gathering will occur at Mount Hosmer City Park in Lansing, Iowa.

We will cover Yilu, Erlu, and push hands. We will be meeting on 08/09/2014 at 5:30 am through 9:00 am and 7:00 pm through 9:00 PM.We will meet again the following morning on 08/10/2014 at 5:30 am through 9:00 am. Read more

Inside and Outside i

by admin2 on 2014/07/18

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The event that originally was centered around a push hands workshop featuring Steven Chan has been reduced to an Upper Midwest Get-together hosted by John Upshaw in Iowa City, Iowa. These are great learning experiences that include a lot of sweat, bruises, and push hands followed by good food and great camaraderie. The get-together will start around 1:30 PM on Friday December 7th. There will be more fun and learning opportunities on Saturday and Sunday. If interested give John a call at 1-(319) 404-3962 or email him at johnnyupshaw@yahoo.com