Ready for 2013?
As the sun sets on 2012, we ready ourselves for the coming year. 2013, Year of the Snake, the Year of Mathematics of Planet Earth. Whatever we call it, resolutions are a common theme around any shift of identification.
We resolve to:
- continue to foster and support the growth of Chen style Taijiquan, meditation, and traditional Taoist practices
- bring in the best of the best to teach us and our students
- recognize that everyone comes to study with us for different reasons, and all will be welcomed and respected regardless of their reasons
- practice more!!
We will start 2013 with an open taiji flow by the ocean - please feel free to join us. You can flow with us or simply watch and relax in our flow. We will be at Sunset Park on Coronado Island at 9am. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Great documentary on taijiquan in Chenjiagou featuring Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang
"Making Pesto" is an analogy I used in the intermediate laojia yilu class tonight. I was trying to elucidate the idea of sinking into the lower body, or "sitting in the hips" during the transitions. The hip joint should move like a mortar and pestle, maintaining strong contact through the range of motion, without rising up or separating. An analogy only, since of course the hip joint shouldn’t really be separating anyway.
We practiced this through a couple of moves. The question arose about how best to practice this technique. The tale of Chen Fake doing 30 rounds of laojia yilu a day has been a topic of conversation lately, and the thought of “making pesto” through all 70 something moves x 30 reps was a bit intimidating.
So how to practice?
I played classical piano from age 3 to age 20. I was a very serious student - I was told I could have really gone somewhere with my talent (but I chose a different path). I can easily compare practicing piano to practicing taiji.
Scales, and pieces. Silk reeling, and form. Basics, and flow.
My signature piece was Fantaisie Impromptu by Chopin - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantaisie-Impromptu- an exceedingly difficult piece that I happened to play very well. For many years I practiced this piece, and for as many years, I practiced scales, over and over, and over. I never could have mastered this piece without the practice of scales. And it wasn’t like I practiced scales for a while, then mastered the piece, and never had to practice scales again. I always had to practice scales. At the same time, I had to play the entire piece, over and over, and over. It wasn’t like I played it a few times, and mastered it. I always had to play the whole thing, many times.
It’s like that with taiji. Practice the silk reeling, flow the form. Practice the moves, flow the form. Work the technique, flow the form.
You have to do both. That’s how you move toward mastery.
Exciting Spring and Summer Line Up
We have Grandmasters and Masters, 19th generation and 20th generation, friends and family dropping in to teach at the Taoist Sanctuary this year!
- April 12-15 Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing
- July 10 - 16 Master Chen Ziqiang
- August 10-12 David Gaffney and Davidine Viaw-Soon Sim
- September - Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang
- November - Stephan Berwick
Something for everyone! Don’t miss any of all of these great opportunities to learn Chen style Taijiquan from the Chen family and their 20th generation disciples.
Special offering in March - Qi Gong with Ken Cohen, one of the world’s foremost experts on Taoism and Qi Gong. This will be offered as a 6 week evening seminar on Tuesdays at 7pm. Starts March 6th. Space is limited so sign up early!
Follow us to keep up with the latest offerings—check out our webpage for more information on seminars and classes.
The Road Goes On Forever
Here’s the thing about taiji. You can practice it for a lifetime! It lends itself well to practice for health, martial ability, strength training, relaxation, and old age. You can practice superficially and enjoy, or you can go into the deepest examination of each and every move and revel in the complexity.
Taiji has kept me busy for 18 years, and I expect to continue down this road until I am no longer able.
The universe makes perfect sense, if you know how to read it.
This is a nice question/answer blog on the practice of Taijiquan.