Learning taiji in the new world
Due to Covid-19, cities are locked down and travel is restricted. Practical Method workshops by Master Chen Zhonghua have been cancelled sihce Mar 2020. When there are new problems, there are new solutions. Master Chen Zhonghua is now offering Zoom online classes, which fill a large part of the gap when workshops are not possible. In fact, I would say that we get to interact with and learn from him more often than ever. He has arranged two classes currently on foundation and yilu respectively. They are available at two different times on different days of the week, aiming to suit people from different time zones, although they may not work for everyone. In terms of the class format, in the first few classes, Master Chen started with the basics of the basics. Currently, every student participating is taking turns to get their foundation moves and yilu moves corrected. Other students benefit from watching and learning from the corrections given, as we share some common mistakes. The classes are very interactive. Students get a chance to get corrected as mentioned and ask questions. Once of the unique things about these online classes is that we get to see Master Chen through a director's view (the lens of the camera). Master Chen gets to direct us to focus on a specific aspect as intended. One of common issues is that students don't know what to look at during a in-person demonstration, and often look the wrong way. I would also like to share one of my personal experiences on a correction during the Zoom online class. Master Chen was instructing step-by-step on a exercise that came out of Right Turn Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pound Mortar. The particular move was broken down into three steps. Each step involved a different body part. He was very detailed in what to do exactly in each step, e.g. where the energy should be, which body part should be connected together. I was able to take that back as an exercise for further training. More details about the exercise can be found at: http://practicalmethod.com/2020/09/master-chens-online-lesson-on-sep-10-2020-kelvin-ho/. Another tip for participating in Zoom online classes is to equip yourself with a tripod for your smartphone, and a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds. The tripod will allow you to change the height and angle of your camera easily. The wireless headphones will make it seem like Master Chen is right beside you instructing. The only thing missing is the physical touch for correction or being thrown by him onto the ground. Lastly, don't be camera shy!
In terms of effectiveness, here is the order of venues we can use for learning Practical Method from Master Chen:
- Workshops (Physical learning and hand-on corrections)
- Online Classes (Interactive virtual learning)
- Videos (Visual and audio learning)
- Articles (Indirect learning)
To register for Practical Method Online Classes, please visit: http://practicalmethod.com/2020/09/practical-method-online-class-registration/