Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 23 2007

7/21 Tai-chi

I’m always up late on Friday nights, so getting up on Saturday morning is tough. I managed to get to CKS Hall’s concert hall around 9am. The opera hall is all covered up for “renovation” and the concert hall looks like it is going to get the same treatment, whatever that is. Part of the balcony had been roped off, and all of the groups practicing were crowded together. Right next to our group was a group that looked like they were practicing Shaolin-style moves, all dressed in a particularly ill-advised shade of black, considering the punishing heat of the sun that day. It reminded me of way back when I practiced a similar style, all kicks and jumps and sudden, harsh tight moves. Not surprisingly, none of them looked older than 40.

Teacher Xu corrected me on some of my form moves, and then taught me a few more. I don’t mind going slowly; I figure I will try and keep just the two forms up, the sword and the empty-handed one I’m working on now, as I’ve forgotten two other sword forms and a many empty-handed ones over the years.

At one point a thin, older fellow in white came up and wanted to do Tuishou with me. He was apparently an old student of Teacher Xu’s, or at least they knew each other. He pushed a little like Yang Qing-feng, but faster and with a more limited repertoire, often repeating the same moves. I didn’t try to push him, instead just going back and forth for a while.

Later on a heavy-set fellow dressed in our uniform arrived. I didn’t recall ever seeing him before, but he obviously knew everyone. His name was Mr. Qin, and he talked about the stir caused when someone posted some Tai-chi-related articles on a Hong Kong Internet Tai-chi discussion forum. Apparently some pretty petty threats were tossed around. I listened to Teacher Xu and Mr. Qin as I practiced my form, fascinated at the level of complexity in the Tai-chi community, something I’ve never really been exposed to. After listening to them discuss it at length, I was rather glad of that as well.

Teacher Xu had to leave around noon, and there were only a few students left, including Mr. Qin. I asked if we could do some tuishou, and he obliged. When we started, I was discouraged to note that he seemed to push more like the Tree Root group and less like Teacher Xu. One time he pulled me down fairly harshly. “There’s no need for that,” I said.

“Sorry,” he said. I felt disappointed and wondered if I should just stop and go home, but there was something in his pushing style that seemed more substantial than the usual tree root stuff I encounter on Wednesdays, so I stayed. For one thing, he would push until he met resistance, and part of the reason he seemed so tight and inflexible was that he was putting more emphasis on the “locking” part of our mantra than the “relax” part, but also because he was seeing if I could get out of the holds. Once I admitted that I had run out of ideas, he was glad to explain the answers to me, and things improved from there. As with Qing-feng, I wonder how much of what he explained can be transferred to use while pushing with other people, but I guess I’ll find that out when I try it with other people. It turns out that Mr. Qin is actually an army officer who works at the Ministry of Defense. Interesting.

By the time I left. Only a couple of students from our group remained as I crossed the baking square on my way back to the MRT station.

posted by Poagao at 10:35 am  

1 Comment »

  1. Actually some of us are a little older than we look, but thanks for the compliment. I agree about the black uniforms though, they’re not designed for a Taiwanese summer.

    Comment by cmc — July 26, 2007 @ 10:03 am

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