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!

go (baduk, wei ch’i)

My brother asked me the other day if I knew how to play baduk. Not knowing much about it, I scoured the internet and became very interested in the game. I purchased an introductory book this weekend and already find myself drawn to the game. Contemplating the positions has that same intensity and focus as the evaluation of a position in chess, yet something about the simplicity of the playing of black and white stones has such a beautiful elgance to it. I’ve always enjoyed chess and I expect that I will find myself spending quite a bit of time in the coming months learning and contemplating this wonderful game.