Tai Chi Camp 2006

Last week was our fourth camp with Lenzie and our Tai-Chi family and it was as special and wonderful an experience as ever…

This year’s camp came as welcome relief from the stress of the process of leaving and moving to another country. I think for most of us it was a time to step away from the world and to work on something we all love, as well as a time to live simply and to be able to reflect on the lives we live and the life lived since the last camp. For many, the past year was filled with many trials and losses, and with news the night before that Nelly from Holland had passed away, the camp began on a quiet and introspective tone.

Through the next couple of days, Lenzie guided us to very advanced concepts and ideas and worked with us a great deal to both understand mentally and physically these lessons, and especially to experience them to really get to know them. Well, it will really take years to get to really know these ideas, but through the experiences and teachings gained through those days, the doors were opened, and now it is only for us to take the steps through and to embody the ideas ourselves.

It was great to see the many friends from class and previous camps, to catch up with each other, as well as to meet new friends and to get to know them. The camps have really been extremely special in so many ways, and it’s always an honor to be amongst such a wonderful group of human beings.

By the end of camp, I felt that the days had gone by all too quickly and wished they could have lasted so much longer, but yet the days felt full and rich, each day filled with experiences. It was sad for us to not only say goodbye from camp but also to say goodbye to our friends and teacher for the following year. I will miss seeing them all every week, but hope to continue diligently with training and continuing to develop what was learned this camp.

And of course, I will be looking very forward to seeing them all again, and am already looking forward to next year’s camp! ^_^

Three Day Training With Lenzie – Spring ’06

This year’s Spring training session was–as always–an incredible learning experience. It was great to spend such focused time with Lenzie and the rest of our classmates to get to delve a little deeper into concepts and ideas than we would normally have the time to spend in our weekly classes. The work itself of course was great, and I felt this session was good for making some connections between ideas I’ve had in my mind but haven’t quite understood within the big picture of Tai-Chi. It was also just a pleasure to have the guests from out of town that we did as they brought a lot of experiences and challenges to the push-hands training, and I find that Tai Chi practioners are always enjoyable to meet. With so many great take aways from both the form work and push hands training, I’m looking forward to continuing on with practice, our weekly classes, and of course Lenzie’s next camp and training session!

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A Week of Tai Chi

This past week, Lisa and I spent a week at Walker Creek Ranch for our third Tai-Chi camp with our teacher Lenzie Williams, a camp every bit as valuable and memorable an experience as the past two.

As has been the case the past two years, the ranch has been an absolutely beautiful place to be. No television (we don’t have one anyways…), no radio, no computers, no cell phone signals: a wonderfully quiet, serene, and beautiful hilly, golden landscape. We saw many animals this year, from deer to sheep, from lizards to snakes, from all manner of birds. The air was fresh, the skies dynamic, and the wind was gentle but moving. The nights were lit with a full-moon, and sleep was easy with the cover of darkness and silence in the lodges we all stayed at.

I felt that this year there were many tai-chi gems of wisdom that I picked up, not only the many from Lenzie’s teachings and conversations, but also a great deal from the other participants who were so very generous in sharing their knowledge. (Some of the things I felt I had learned were not necessarily things that people gave so much as did, whether it be their character, their focus in posturing, the way they pushed, etc.) The push-hands experience this year was really great and getting to push with many different people was fantastic experience. The form classes were excellent, filled with solid work and great details.

It was really great to reconnect with a lot of people we had met the past couple of years, growing those relationships and sharing more of ourselves, as well getting to know new people at the camp. One thing that has always stood out to me after the past camps is how much I enjoy and respect Tai-Chi players, for their character and their humanity. Confucious discusses this somewhat, about surrounding yourself with good people, and I can’t think of a better group of people to be around than those I spent the last week with.

This camp had a different feel for me; the past two I felt were something of a peak for the year, while this year’s camp had a real feel of a beginning to the rest of the year. Hopefullly I will be able to keep focused and disciplined enough to take all of Lenzie’s teachings and continue on with what was established at camp.

There’s a lot more to think about in regards to last week, but it’s all things that will take time and practice to fully understand and experience (like how all the exercises we do in class have so much more depth to them than at first glance!). But just a final note: I am very lucky to have such a knowledgable, generous, and genuine teacher. Lenzie is a real treasure, a person gifted enough to not only understand tai-chi at the highest level but also be able to teach that information. I find that as time passes and I learn more and more about Tai-Chi from Lenzie, the more I realize how deep both the art and the teacher are.

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A Week of Tai-Chi

This past Friday Lisa and I returned from a week of Tai-Chi at our teacher Lenzie Williams’s annual Tai-Chi camp at the Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, California, about an hour north of San Francisco. This was our second year going and it was every bit as memorable an experience as the first.

The ranch is a beautiful place, away in the mountains, free from the noise of cars, televisions, radios, the news… the weather there was cooler than last year, but the skies and landscape every bit as beautiful. (And of course the deer and goats were as cute as ever to see. ^_^)

The week’s work was mentally and physically tiring, but in the end a very rejuvenating experience on all levels. Lenzie did a lot of internal work and spent a good amount of time on his idea of “tracing” in the transitions between postures. He had discussed the idea last year but I don’t think I was even close to experienced enough to get an idea of what he was talking about. This year however, I remember when he was going through this idea and thinking to myself “Of course!”. The idea makes a lot of sense to me and now it’s just that I have to do the work to make that idea a reality within my tai-chi practice.

Besides the tracing, I found the push hands experience to be very illuminating. The big epiphany during the push hands was getting somewhat of an idea of what everyone has been telling me about giving too much information on pushes, something which has translated into the term “soft push” in my head. It’s something which I’m sure will take years to understand, but having even this brief glimpse was very exciting.

All in all just a wonderful experience at this year’s camp. We had the great pleasure of getting to meet new friends as well getting to bond further with our friends from the weekly classes and the people we met last year. It was a real honor to be amongst these people, so generous with their collective tai-chi and life wisdom, and in the end a completely humbling and fulfilling experience. I’m looking forward to taking the lessons from this years camp and carrying that with me into the days to come, and of course, looking forward to next year’s camp!