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.