Monday, January 2, 2012

Chen Plunge

Chen Plunge

Starting out the new year right, my third class with an excellent pair of teachers in nearby KC. Third and best yet, with much more to come.

I have dabbled in Chen Style tai ji quan for a few years, but it has been very much back-burner for me, other things to focus on with my teacher before leaving Japan. Curiously, I did not complete the xin jia form, but did have special access to intensive year-long seminars in both dao and jian. I am able to get through both weapon forms, but neither is good yet.

And now I am in a new country with a new teacher, a pair of new teachers. The relationship is just getting started, but I have very good feelings so far.

However, there are a lot of new things for me to get used to.

1. For more than ten years, almost all my tai ji instruction has been in Japanese. Except for a year in China in 1999, it has been 16 years since I have had any instruction in tai ji in English. Suddenly I can learn about tai ji in my native language, and it takes some getting used to (and brings back good memories of my main {and Chinese} teacher {D.M.} of tai ji here in the U.S.

2. I am driving about 45 minutes each way to class. I don’t think I have ever regularly driven to martial arts classes – always by bike in the US and China (or taxi), and by bike or train in Japan. I am a Nebraskan and I do not do well on the interstates of the big city like Kansas City. My tension level goes off the charts with each visit.

3. I am learning from a wife – husband team. I did this for many years in Japan when my daughter and I went to gong fu classes. The husband of the pair focused on Chang Quan / long fist, which is what my daughter focused on. The wife of the pair focused more on Nan Quan / Southern fist, which I concentrated on. But in my new situation, both spouses are teaching the same art.

Anyway, I am full of extremely good feelings as we enter the new year. I am starting from absolute ground zero – endless silk reeling exercises, zhuang zhan standing exercises, the likes. And it feels good.

My only complaint so far this year is that, due to reasons both gastronomic and economic, I have moved another notch downward, from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Milwaukee’s Best Light.

Ugh. Fortunately I did find some 绍兴酒 for cooking purposes at the store of many 8’s.


hermann said...

Well, interesting, Chinese wife, American husband teachers, no?
So the journey goes on, hm?
I'd rather expect you to do some teaching yourself!
Driving from the countryside downtown, oneway 40 min., once even 50 min, that's what I do, too, over here in Taiwan, 4 days a week. If the teacher is right, it is worthwhile, isn't it?

BP said...

You are right on their countries and roles. Yes, I will be teaching (other things, not Chen Style!!) in the future. And you are absolutely correct about finding the right teacher. It took me several years in Japan to find the right teacher for me, but once I did, everything changed.

Zacky Chan said...

haha "the Beast"! Haven't touched the stuff since college. Good luck!

crayon_ponyfish said...

Your blog is always interesting, but I'm now especially looking forward to following your transition from Japan to the US.