I’m still bouncing back from spending most of Sunday sitting on airplanes, but I wanted to make a post about my 3 days in Tucson training with Sifu at the winter retreat.
The first thing I will mention is that I got much more out of this than from my initial meeting with Sifu last spring. I sort of wish there had been more Q&A like we did last year, but Sifu explained that a lot of concepts that I thought I knew about the Taiji Principles were not actually correct. In I Liq Chuan the first part of the curriculum is the concepts and principles, but to actually learn I Liq Chuan, “the feel” is where the real learning takes place. I got a lot more “feel” this time.
What was really cool was getting to spin with my I Liq Chuan brothers and sisters in Tucson. Even people who had not practiced regularly were able to manifest the qualities that I felt from Sifu. I don’t want to put Alicia on the spot, but she had not been practicing for several months. If she came to Nashville and played push hands with a lot of the Taiji players here, she would toss them around—some of them include men around Doc’s size!
So I guess for Sifu On Demand students who were not present, you would probably like to know what all I got to do—
Every morning started out with some walking meditation. I’m not sure how much Sifu would like for me to say on this on an open forum, but I am going to do my best to keep this practice going at home. We would follow that up with some sitting meditation. In all, I think we sat for at least 90 minutes a day. The morning practice sessions were always different. There was one day I got to do the 21 form. I have not actually learned this form (and only saw it once during a student level 3/4 testing back in September). I thought it was awesome that even people who did not have a rank knew the form. When Sifu does it, it really looks like some hard style kungfu done at a Taiji/slow/soft tempo. The most important thing about the 21 form is that I could immediately see the 15 basic exercises within the form.
I don’t know how the solo practice changes when people are introduced to the butterfly and 21 forms, but I really feel like practicing the 15 basic exercises is like…uhh…fine tuning things? The forms pull them all together, and then the partner practice teaches/reinfornces those skills under a mostly noncompliant situation. I say mostly because sometimes partner practice is, you know, “we’re working on this skill, so provide some resistance, but feed me.” It’s sort of like training your fake move in basketball—your partner knows the fake is coming, but if it’s a weak fake, they don’t bite on it & they throw your shot back in your face! LOL
Hmmm…what else? Oh the food—I was ranting over Sifu’s crockpot ribs last night in my training session! We ate as a group—family style for every meal. The food was awesome. I got exposed to some new things. I hope my business will be in a much better situation one year from now so that I can attend the full retreat.
I don’t want to rub it in that I got to attend this event, but I will say that for people in the online program—find an ILC community as soon as you can. If you can’t find one, start one. I’m in the same boat where I’ve felt Sifu twice now—I’ve felt Sigung if only for a moment. Sifu doesn’t show off, but sometimes I can tell that he has fun teaching us (and throwing us all over the place…WRAAAAP! WRAAAP! WRAAAAP! Hahaha), but when you get a feel and know that he’s really holding back, and when you see Sigung move at his age…wow. Sifu won’t like what I’m about to say, but when I saw Sigung throwing punches and kicks, I really started to think “this is how Bruce Lee would be moving, in good health, at this age.” The videos don’t really show how quick and how strong he really is. It’s scary.
Anyway—my point about finding a community—I get discouraged from practicing as much as I should because I don’t feel like I’m “doing it right.” It’s true that you can spend years practicing the wrong way and not make any progress, but to be honest, that’s not completely true. Think of it this way—if I were to walk 1000 miles in the wrong direction, I have built up the stamina to walk 1000 miles. When I finally reach my destination, I am going to be twice as strong as the person who only had to walk 1000 miles.