As any martial artist can tell you, one can only progress in their training if they are actually training! However, seminars such as the Chen Taiji Seminar led by Master Chen Bing can be quite vital to one’s progression. Master Zhichao Ling owner and head teacher of Master Ling’s Oriental Martial Arts (based in Noblesville, IN) hosts this event each year. They are in their year of putting on these events, and as a student who has been to each of these events, I can honestly tell you that my appreciation of taiji (and Chen form in particular) has grown exponentially afterwards. However, my understanding and martial arts growth only happens when I actually train in these lessons upon my return.
I write this to note that you only get out what you put into any seminar. And in this seminar there is a wealth of knowledge. Students who are interested in taiji for the martial arts applications, meditation, flexibility, strength, and form can get what they seek from the seminar. This recent event (May 17 – 19) was three days of training. Friday was training with swords. Saturday was Chen form. We learned the He Xie form. The following day was martial arts application.
I came to tai chi roughly 9 years ago from an external background. I had trained in Karate, Ninpo Taijutsu, and Judo. I took tai chi to gain more experience in an internal martial art, plus I knew it was a good way to calm the mind (which I really needed at that point in my life). With my sifu, Ray Shonk, I was able to learn more about moving from within to explodingoutward. I was able to strengthen my balance and, probably best of all, I was able to manage my vertigo issues that I have been battling for years. So, after nine years, I wasn’t a novice to tai chi, but no matter whether one is a novice or a veteran of tai chi, there was something for everyone to study and practice.
Most of Saturday was spent training in the He Xie form. Roughly six hours of standing on one’s feet and moving, only to restart all over again allowed for us to focus on how our body was moving. Concept such as “being heavy” and “keeping the joints open” were focused on and we learned how our bodies felt while we were in an “open” state or a “closed” state. After being on one’s feet for that long, and holding postures for minutes on end while Master Chen Bing corrected how we stood, really took a toll on our feet, but this was (in my opinion) one of the most rewarding parts of the seminar.
Sunday was martial application day! This day was probably one of the most fun simply because the group that I went with (Quest Fitness, of course) is all about application. Learning how to use the He Xie form to defend against punches, how to parry, and ward off were all interesting since our training is a little different from this.
All in all, direct transmission from a descendant of the famed Chen family was an honor. With this being my third time attending these seminars I knew that the energy from these events come from the practitioners who are learning. Every time I go to Master Ling’s Oriental Martial Arts, I feel like I am coming to a second home. The people there are so welcoming and the conversations are enriching. These are the times where I learn that tai chi means different things to different people. This is something that Master Chen Bing knows all too well, and it is evident in the structure of the seminar.
So to anyone interested, I would wholeheartedly recommend this event. For as long as Dr. Ling and Master Chen Bing put these seminars on, you will see me there. I hope to see you there, as well.