Tai Chi Workshop With Yuan Wei-Ming

This weekend I attended a Tai Chi workshop in Detroit, taught by Yuan Wei-Ming and hosted by Carol Yamasaki.  What an wonderful experience!  Wei-Ming is a very generous teacher and has such a wonderful calm energy about him.  It was very interesting to learn his exercises and Mr. Liu’s, and the comments and corrections he gave were very much appreciated. I very much appreciated the logic behind his exercises and the pace and focus that were given while performing them.  I think they will be very interesting to work with.

One of the most interesting aspects for me was that although the exercises were new to me, all of the things Wei-Ming talked about were so familiar.  I spent a lot of time listening to what we being said and realizing it was either exactly as Ben or Lenzie would say, or was just a different perspective on the same principles.  I think getting the different perspective has in some ways already shined a light on understanding more of what I have learned from Lenzie and Ben.

Beyond the wonderful teaching, it was wonderful to meet so many of the east coast family of Tai Chi players in Professor’s school.  I feel like I got to know the history of the school more from this trip.  It was truly a joy to meet new people and get to reconnect with those whom I haven’t seen in some time.

Overall, it was an excellent weekend.  I’m very grateful to Wei-Ming for his teaching as well as Carol for organizing this workshop and her generous and kind spirit. I look forward to visiting Detroit again in the future.

Tai Chi Camp 2010

Today we completed yet another amazing Tai Chi camp with our teacher Lenzie Williams at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, CA.  Now that we live across the country, I think I noticed the golden hills of California even more this year.  The ranch was extremely beautiful.

I found myself a bit drained going into this year’s camp.  The work we did at camp and the fellowship amongst such wonderful Tai Chi practitioners was absolutely rejuvenating.  I certainly feel much more receptive and curious as well as inspired, and look forward to taking this wonderful energy forward into my daily life back in Rochester.

The Tai Chi work was also excellent.  It is always amazing to get to study with Lenzie and this camp was as fruitful as ever.  I enjoyed being able to focus on Tai Chi this week and hope to take the many experiences and things and keep going with them.

I’m extremely happy to have gotten to see my old Tai Chi family and meet new members of the family too.  I will value the memories from the past week and and look forward to seeing how life unfolds ahead!

Two Day Training With Lenzie – Spring ’09

This past weekend I was once again able to attend one of Lenzie’s workshops. The two days were–as always–filled with a lot of information and great experiences.  Lenzie often talks about how we get "little pieces of the puzzle" from all the experiences we have in Tai Chi, from our practice, workshops, camps, and lessons. The pieces of the puzzle at first might not make much sense but that we note it and file it away, and that later the pieces start to link up and we start to get an understanding of all of those gems.  Certainly after this workshop I had a strong experience of this as it seemed that a few pieces of the puzzle in regards to articulation of the waist and sinking started to come together. 

It was also great to see the members of the school there, both those whom we regularly see and those from out of town we get to see on occasions like this.  It was also nice to meet new people as well as seeing other guests (it was particularly nice seeing Veera from Utah).  It’s always great to get together with good people to learn and experience Tai Chi and to enjoy community and friendship.

Tai-Chi Workshop with Ben Lo

This past weekend I had the great fortune to attend a workshop with Ben Lo in Logan, Utah. Like the previous workshop I was fortunate to attend, the work as tough as it was inspiring.  One of the biggest things I took away from the workshop was that one can work just as hard at home as there at the workshop: “I hope you work like this when you practice at home” he said, and really one can work at home with as much focus and intensity as one can at a workshop.  This is certainly one lesson I hope to keep in mind in my practice here on out.

There were many lessons learned from Master Lo’s teaching as well as all the push hands experience with the other attendees and enjoyable conversations. Being my first time to Utah, I was very impressed by how genuinely kind everyone was, and was grateful for the hospitality.  Inspired, I hope to take the the lessons forward and will be looking forward to being able to see these people again, either here in California, at other workshops, or hopefully again in Utah!

Tai Chi Camp 2008

This year was our teacher’s 10th Tai Chi camp at Walker Creek Ranch, as well as Lisa and my 6th camp that we attended with our teacher.  The camp was a couple weeks ago from Sunday through Friday, June 22-27th, though I’ve only managed to find time to write about it now. 

Every camp has been an incredible experience and always a very special week of great fellowship, learning, inspiration, and rejuvenation. This year’s camp had all of these qualities, but also was a very special one for us as we got engaged at the ranch just before camp started! The love and support we received from our fellow tai chi players was just phenomenal and something I will always look back with great appreciation.

The tai chi practice and learning itself was of course of great as usual.  This year’s camp, like last year’s, was not one of the more physical camps, but again filled with a great deal of information.  There were many times where a single sentence made a connection as a gem of information, or something that was described briefly illuminated a much larger concept that was until then hazy.  The work we did on these concepts really did help to make progress in understanding them, especially all of the work and discussion on waist development. 

Coming away from camp, there are some very clear things I will be focusing my attention on, and plenty of notes that I will go through to see what other gems of information I had missed initially. It was great too to be back in class yesterday and to have a nice medium intensity practice.  It is a really great fortune that after camp we who live in the Bay Area can simply continue our practice with Lenzie in our weekly classes. I will be looking forward to taking what was learned at camp and continuing to work on these ideas during our classes at the school.

Tai-Chi Workshop with Ben Lo

This past weekend I had the great fortune to attend a workshop with Ben Lo up in Fairfax.  While the experience was difficult and very challenging, it was also incredibly inspiring and provided a very high set of standards to push towards. There were so many gems of wisdom given by Ben that were so simple yet so deeply profound.  I will be studying my notes for some time to try to really take that information and to truly learn and embody it.

Beyond just the teaching, I think there was a lot to take in and absorb about Ben Lo the human being.  His humor and character were really amazing to be around and I felt there was much to learn from and emulate.

The whole workshop was really inspiring on many levels, and I left the weekend really motivated and excited for my tai-chi practice, music, and life in general.  I’m grateful for the experience and will value it for a long time to come.

Three Day Training with Lenzie – Spring ’08

The past three days have been as enjoyable and as enlightening as all of the past workshops I’ve attended with Lenzie. With each workshop I only grow more and more appreciative of the opportunities I have to learn from Lenzie and to be with such wonderful groups of people to learn tai chi together with.  I am still sorting through the experiences and thoughts from this workshop and will enjoy reviewing my notes tomorrow to gather up all that has happened. 

One thing I do want to note is how much I enjoy the people associated with the school.  It’s great to see all of the people we see regularly, and it’s a special treat to get to see those from out of town whom we’ve had connections with in the past.  Training with the class, I found myself genuinely and completely happy… ^_^

Three Day Training With Lenzie – Fall ’07

The past three days have been excellent: hard physical work, a great deal of learning from Lenzie’s conversations and corrections, and a wonderful sense of comradery between everyone in the push hands class. That sense of working together was something that was really noticeable to me on this final day of training, and it’s a tribute to Lenzie’s teaching that he can create the kind of environment where people are really working cooperatively to push each other and to take each other to limits to help development.

Besides all the wonderful push hands work, the practice time for posturing, standing meditation, and form as a flow were really solid. We had a some great questions and Lenzie gave us a lot of information this training and I found myself writing down a large amount of notes. It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard a lot of these things Lenzie says but haven’t ever really sunk in completely. I’ve been finding myself writing down notes more and more for all the things I am studying or presentations I am attending to help retain the information and I hope the notes I have taken the past couple of days will help with that.

It was also wonderful to meet those guests who were not regular members of the school as well as to get to know some people from within the school whom I did not really meet yet. Of course it was also a wonderful treat to see people I did know but whom aren’t local now.

I hope now to take all of this great work and learning and to continue to study it and to develop it further!

Tai Chi Camp 2007

This year’s Tai Chi Camp (June 17-22) was our fifth Tai Chi Camp with our teacher Lenzie Williams. As always, the experience was fruitful on every level, from deep work with the body, a great deal of learning, and of course getting to spend time with an absolutely wonderful community of Tai Chi players in the beautiful setting of Walker Creek Ranch.

This year’s camp seemed to have gone by faster than other years.  It may have felt that way as in the past camp normally came around as a real break from the regular schedule of daily life, while this time life had already been floating along so that we didn’t have the shift in perception of time that we had in the past.  It may also have been that it was our fifth camp and having some familiarity and sense of how camp goes, though I think each camp has its own unique sense of time and this one felt as if time was just flying by.

Although it felt fast, the camp was a very welcome time and experience.  I felt that the work on the body building a more stable posture really seemed to have transferred over to daily life as I feel much better grounded since camp.  One of the biggest take aways from camp this year for me personally was the discussions on practice.  Being in Lenzie’s school and having been to other camps, I felt like I had heard a number of these ideas before, but like many things in Tai Chi, they did not ever really make the impression that they did until this time around.  (I have the feeling Lenzie has not done anything different but just simply the my mind is now opening up to ideas he’s been explaining for years… :P)

I know from past camps that I would always have learned a great deal but somehow would miss carrying a large portion of what was learned into the every day practice after camp.  Since the end of camp though I think that I’ve really begun to establish a strong daily practice now, largely in part due things really clicking from what was discussed at camp about practice, but also starting to keep a journal logging what I’ve been doing at each of my practices (warmups, form, sections of form postured, standing, etc.). Practices since camp have been as mindful as they ever have been and I’ve been enjoying waking up each morning and again engaging with study and practice of Tai Chi.

While the camp came and gone, I have a strong feeling that I will remember this camp as one where many things came to fruition.  It was another great camp with our teacher and friends from the school as well as new friends and old from other parts of the country.  I feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to experience these camps and am looking forward to the next camp already!  ^_^

Five Years of Tai Chi

Last Friday (the 15th) marked five years since I began my studies of Tai Chi.  After five years, I find Tai Chi as enjoyable and as valuable as when I started. Even though the form initially seemed very short, after five years I feel that there is such a great deal to explore within the postures and that there is so much to learn from the practice that it is only now the begining.  I am looking forward to continuing my studies of this wonderful art and am sincerely grateful for having this as a part of my life.