It’s good to start young. Long term physical health habits, hard-won gems of detail in traditional Taijiquan Gongfu are difficult enough to find in adulthood. If one starts on this path early that is a lucky fate and can inspire an embodied active physical and energetic life.
Spring was slow and summer has been welcome. Much gongfu activity continues as students and family grows and progresses. We post a bit less these days. As we are not commercially oriented, we are mostly training methods and approach rather different from the majority and so not really “radio-ready” for the most part, but we are putting in the training to produce quality gongfu.
After more than a year of delay we were finally able to host our 7th Colorado workshop. It was not without some difficulty and a lot of nasal swabbing & testing. The weather was very bright and clear with beautiful fall leaves and no rain, thankfully.
We covered mainly basics and applications, leaving form to our online training and library resource which has been highly and rather unexpectedly effective. On Saturday the 23rd we had almost an all day long tuishou gladiator summit which was a lot of fun and quite exhausting, but it’s been a long time. People are done with non-doing at this point I think.
We had I guess 15 people and hopefully a lot of new ideas and points to improve to hold us for a while until the next visit in a number of possible locations. Thanks all to those who attended, new and old. We all hope to do this again soon and create more opportunities for practice and progress.
Enjoying regular training these days in the somewhat stable situation in Massachusetts. We welcome some new Tudi as well as very much enjoy some quality time over good food and drink. Taijiquan gongfu is for the old, who have eaten the bitter in their youth. It’s a huge blessing to have younger students in this traditional practice, giving us hope of its preservation in decades to come. Generational teaching and guidance is also big advantage, and then some of these great friends have been on this journey for 15 years, a big piece of life.
I am offering online instruction, correction and support for our students and practitioners all over the world waiting their days away at home isolation and/or simply lack of access to visiting instruction etc. We all need support and inspiration. The teaching site is located at the members link on this site (https://members.molingtaiji.com/index.php)
This online learning arrangement has been ongoing since April. It is very successful and highly unique in its level of detail, quality control, personal attention, and of course difficulty. The teaching arrangement involves a discussion forum (registration open to the public), detailed instructional videos and live video instruction as well.
Given the nature of this art and my own approach to teaching it is also not really a public offering, but a suitability and commitment based offering; this is for the right people in the right situation with the right intention. Generally, this means student with the right psychological conditions, lack of poor character, required amount of dedication/fortitude, ability to follow-through, and suitable need-conditions.
This means this is for people who need it and are ready for it -those who are not already committed to another curriculum/teacher/school. Those who already have other/better options should stick to those. This is too demanding for a sideline approach. Those who’s goal is the become a teacher of this art and make money (anytime in the mid-future) this is not for you. Those who consider themselves ‘free agents’ hoping to get whatever they can from as many sources as possible this is not suitable either.
This is for those who really seriously want to learn this particular art, in this particular method from this particular teacher, because it is far too demanding and time/effort consuming to do for any other reason. That’s all fair warning, and we have done well so far to keep the level of seriousness good, it works. For those who know what they want feel free to apply via letter/message of interest through the molingtaiji.com contact form or the membersite message function explaining your background, current situation and reasons for interest and hopes for the future with this art.
Workshop in Paris in the works now. Dates are 2020, March 21-24 and then some extra days after for private/extended instruction.
We will be training all aspects of my first level Gongfu Jia basic drills, structures, forms and applications. Concurrently we will also have returning students at a more advanced level now working past the shorter forms into Yilu. This will be an opportunity for advancement as well as review. We have initially a 4 day workshop and then two extra days for either private instruction or extending group training depending on the number of participants.
As with prior workshops attendance is by invitation or application. I look forward to seeing returning students and friends and meeting new ones. Please inquire if interested.
Contact here (contact page) or here for FB users:
Marin Spivack Chen Taijiquan Gongfu Jia Paris March 2020
Having just returned from my first visit to Beijing in 5 years I have a lot to think about. It was a specifically long and tiring trip as I first went to Poole, UK, accepted a very promising apprentice and taught Gongfu Jia for an exhausting 8 days. I then flew to Beijing and spent more than a week with the kids mostly on my own to give my wife a change to take some time in India to pursue her traditional dance/culture training. After that I was able to take some time to visit old & new friends and connections including specifically Shifu.
I was, thankfully, able to get in many good practices in the courtyard of my father in law’s residential block in the mornings before it got too hot, and occasionally in the evenings before the mosquitos attacked. That courtyard is not so crowded and the stone surface over dirt is the best. The ‘chan’ (cicadas) were memorably loud in the summer as in the years past when I lived in Beijing, and the bats were out in force at night.
Taking one’s gongfu practice to a different geographic location, and climate and is always interesting. I am always surprised that I managed to bring it with me and it still functions. It should not be surprising, but it is to me; the fact that it lives within me. Besides that normal thrill, returning to Beijing and the climate in which the bulk of my gongfu was trained, and a huge part of myself was forged, is a bench mark of progress. I cannot help but feel the shocking difference in my practice from the last time, and the first times I was there in 1999 The progress of gongfu is still something that I rationally understand yet still don’t quite believe, and never did believe would take me to this point. Practicing on the hard stones or dirt of Beijing with the cicadas screaming above and feeling an entirely different action is a measurement of time, life and progress, against the backdrop of 20 years of memories of training in that city.
I was able to meet with my Shifu, Chenyu, Shimu, and elder and junior gongfu brothers for some wonderful celebratory dinners. My senior, Hu Weihangwas in good health and great spirits. We remembered many years past and how fortunate we were to have the opportunity to learn from Shifu in the way that we did at that time.
I met many new junior tudi in person who I had contacted online before and the feeling was warm and fun. My student, HuangYi who now lives in Beijing and trains with Chenyu and Chen Shiwu was able to visit me a few times and review bitter practice.
Chen Shiwu is all grown up now, a big strong guy who has good manners, maturity and a similar sense of humor to his dad, seems he is likely to be married soon. I look forward to watching his progress in practice. Shimu is in good health and is managing a lot, turned 50 this year. We had many old stories to remember.
Shifu’s health is good. He was in great spirits and the jokes were flying. I was honored to sit on his right with Hu Weihang on his left like the old days. We had some excellent baijiu and I heard a lot of the gossip of the Beijing Taijiquan community. We ate Yang Xiezi, which is lamb on the bone in hotpot that is both spicy and numbing. This is something that seems impossible to get in the US and really outside of Beijing I think as well. This brought back wonderful memories. I think we spent nearly 5 hours at dinner with the last two of them involving Shifu teaching application after application with his left hand, which has not apparently lost any power or terror. Several of us left with bruises and other sore spots, but that is what Baijiu is partly for though. Everyone agreed it was a special time and I wish I had more time to spend but this trip was limited for me.
After 20 years from the first time in Beijing and more than 17 following Shifu’s guidance my heart was full with feeling about Shifu and the gongfu family and how the situation and myself had changed, and what remained the same. Something that is very poorly understood in the west and seems impossible to convey is the relationship between Shifu and Tudi. Surely many people know the cinema-romanticized version of this from Hong Kong movies, and while this IS an accurate melodramatic version of something that Chinese do understand, only the superficial side of this seems understandable to westerners. Often the relationship (like many in China) can be quite complicated. There is no monolithic generalized relationship, but is as different and individual as any person in China or elsewhere. Those who are able to persevere will understand, eventually. Those who cannot, certainly won’t understand, and most likely won’t achieve gongfu on this traditional pateither. After many years I begin to understand what the term “Shifu” means. This visit really struck that note very loudly. I am beyond honored to be still standing by Shifu’s side in this line. I kept emotions to myself, but everyone had that feeling anyhow. At this point I am sincerely thankful for yuanfen.