Knowledge : Learning Method

Embarassed in Iowa 4

by 胡歌 on 2017/03/14

 

PM Iowa dinner 2016 John Dahms Hugo etc

From far left: Ed Alvarez, Hugo Ramiro, Jeff Clevenger, John Upshaw, Bruce Schaub, John Dahms, Todd Elihu, Spencer Jones, Brennan Toh

At some point one evening during the 2016 Iowa seminar, in Levi’s basement, a discussion occurred regarding the front kua and a particular orientation of it during a particular move. A statement was made about this requirement, followed by crickets chirping. Sensing that the moment was dying, I decided to wade in and stake my claim; to place myself at risk and bleed, hopefully. “I can do that! I can totally do that!” I crowed. It had been John Dahms, one of Master Chen’s senior disciples, who had stated the requirement. He said, “ok show me”. I sprang up and did something, as best I could, and his response was quick and direct – “You’re not doing it”. As deflated as possible I said “ok” and sat back down (I will come back to this). The discussion continued with some new indications and some new material, revitalised (with the help of my blood, I imagined). That moment still resonates with me many months later as I continue to work on the requirements laid out by John for that move on that evening.

The truth is I lied. I knew I couldn’t do it when I offered myself up, but I also knew something else: if I felt psychologically prepared during the teachable moment I would not really be listening. Somehow I had to create a situation inside of myself where I would be truly receptive, and I knew from Master Chen that two useful qualities in this respect were a. obvious failure (“Invest in Loss”) and b. confusion (“I don’t know”). Even if I simulated these by artificially elevating myself and then coming crashing down in front of everyone it would be better than being ‘very competent’ during the learning process or even not offering myself up at all. The emotional risk is necessary – in other words, I must be ready to put myself aside, no matter how bad it feels so that I can have a chance at real learning, which is always in an unknown and uncomfortable place.

I invested in loss, and in doing so, with John’s careful and attentive instruction, I invested in myself.


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1) Maintain a non-moving vertical rod from head to left heel throughout the action.
2) Hold the right forearm in front of the chest with a fist, while the left fist is on the side of the body.
3) Throw the right fist down to the right side as hard as possible with a raising right knee to create a scissoring effect, while throwing the left fist up to the left ear.
4) There should be no tossing or turning of the body, but there is a spiral stretch along the vertical rod.

Today, we focused on the details of 3 foundation exercises:

  1. Twisting the Towel
  2. Fetch Water
  3. Six Sealing Four Closing

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Stay on the line i

by Kelvin Ho on 2016/11/19

At the Ottawa Nov. 12-13, 2016 workshop, Master Chen Zhonghua talked about when doing twisting the towel or six sealing four closing, our hands and elbows must stay on the same line. Where was that line exactly? We often just imagined where that line was. He told us to use a physical object to guide us, and he used a stick to show us. In today’s class in Toronto, we started with twisting the towel and covered what I learned at the Ottawa workshop. We went on to use the railing at the community centre to do the six sealing four closing exercise.
Six Sealing Four Closing - 1Six Sealing Four Closing - 2

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Instructor: Kelvin Ho

Topics:

  1. Footwork
    – Shoveling out with Front Heel, Land the Front Foot, Pull up the Rear Foot
    – Jumping across to cover distance
  2. Aiming
    – Aligning Front Hand with the Rear Foot

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NegativeCircle_KelvinHo
Negative circle is likely the second thing one learns in Practical Method.  The following are some starter instructions for a right-side negative circle:

  1. The right side is considered the front side, and the left side is consider the rear side.
  2. Find a line that is parallel to your chest on the ground.
  3. Put your right foot at 45 degrees to the line with the heel touch the line.
  4. Put your left foot at 90 degrees to the line with the toes touch the line.
  5. Read more

PositiveCircle_KelvinHo
Positive circle is likely the first thing one learns in Practical Method.  The following are some starter instructions for a right-side positive circle:

  1. The right side is considered the front side, and the left side is consider the rear side.
  2. Find a line that is parallel to your chest on the ground.
  3. Put your right foot at 45 degrees to the line with the heel touch the line.
  4. Put your left foot at 90 degrees to the line with the toes touch the line.
  5. Read more

How to train Yilu 11

by Sarah on 2015/11/13

I have a question regarding the training speed of Yilu. I remember Chen Laoshi saying, that doing two slow and one fast Yilu (and then again two slow, one fast) would be good. But I am not sure about the context anymore. Here on Daqinshan the „group“ prefer to do fast Yilus (like 4:30 minutes), instead of slow ones (like 8 minutes).

What I would like to know is, if there is a certain method to train Yilu (like two slow – one fast) or if the speed is just depending on the circumstances (learning level, day`s form and so on).

Thank you!

Kelvin Ho Fist Drape Over Body

When I first studied practical method in Nov. 2009, there were a few things that made a long lasting impression. They were:

  1. In with elbow no hand, out with hand no elbow.
  2. Don’t move
  3. Yilu, which is made up of only positive and negative circles.

Many beginners including myself usually ask the following questions:

  1. How did you (Master Chen) know to do that?
  2. How can I not move?
  3. What can I do that myself?
  4. How do I train that?

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Richard JohnsonShifu Chen Zhonghua often emphasizes how to learn Taijiquan. This web site has a great article called 6 Methods of Learning Tai Chi. (Read this if you have not already.) It expands and elaborates on Grandmaster Hong’s “Look, Listen, and Ask” practice method.

In motor control research, I found the neurological basis for this method of learning. There are neurological mechanisms called mirror neurons. The basic premise is when we see a person do something, mirror neurons fire off in our brain attempting to duplicate the pattern in our nervous system required to copy the movement. At first, it is an imperfect copy because it follows old neurological pathways. With repeated viewing of the action, our brains and nervous system do a really good job of creating new neurological pathways to accurately copy the movement. Read more

1) Shovel out the front heel
2) Land the front toes and knee together
3) Extend the hands out

Note: Don’t push the opponent in step 1 and 2.