Last day with teacher Liu and his students was plenty of work but lots of fun. We played more competitively with push hands, which brings out individual personalities. In the afternoon practice was less intense. While we reviewed the week and looked closely at White Stork and Brush Knee, the main emphasis was to concentrate on the basics - straight spine, eyes forward, move from the waist, nothing stops, everything circles, relax and enjoy your practice.
There was much tea and conversation. Days spent practicing with Teacher Liu will be missed, but a rest will be appreciated.
Quite warm today, some patches of blue in the sky and a little direct sun. Lots of push hands practice at morning training with around seven of Teacher Liu’s students attending. While Liu takes half a step and has my back, the students find me difficult to move around. I wish I could see how he does it.
The trip across town today was via public bicycle. A little red bike with yellow basket, choosing the one with the highest seat, my knees were above the handle bars and above my elbows. Must have looked a sight. Easy ride though, all flat, but busy traffic and practically no brakes.
The afternoon was concerned mainly with internal abdominal circles creating all movements of the hands and feet. This reminded me of the picture from a couple of days ago in front of the Civic Centre.
Rain hadn’t stopped since yesterday so everywhere is sodden. A bigger umbrella was first business of the day then back on the bus. In Hangzhou there is public art to be found on streets and parks everywhere. The pictured piece is near my bus stop.
Training today looked at many variations of Part the Wild Horses Mane, Single Whip and Raising Hands. Starting with “this is what it’s for”, then lots of “if this happens do that”. All consistent with the follow then change and moving forward while moving back concepts. Much emphasis on weight change and keeping shoulders-hips, elbows-knees, and hands-feet aligned.
When we emerged from the afternoon session the rain had stopped and the pavement was dry at last. The subway was a new adventure in returning to the hotel. Excellent service with electronic location displays and English announcements.
A special mention of Kevin Hu. As he has done on previous trips, Kevin has taken time out from his study at Uni to act as interpreter. He has never been paid for this and travels more than an hour each way to be here. He always goes the extra mile to make things easy for me and others who have accompanied me on these Tai Chi study trips. He finishes his study in november and returns home to Ningbo, North of Shanghai, so this is probably the last time he can help. I hope we get the chance to reciprocate some hospitality on the Sunny Coast in future.
Rain day training moved 20 metres to be under cover and our view out is the golden orb of the Hangzhou International Convention Centre. Only two of teacher Liu’s students ventured out in the wet and the focus of our work was variations on Ward Off, Roll Back, Press and Push with many examples and much discussion along with the practice.
The scooter ride across town was hairy (but incident free) with weekday traffic and rain. In the afternoon we reviewed yesterdays material and went deeper into the footwork, width of stance and basic forward stepping. I feel some progress was made today, We ended the session with a look at a practice step called mud walking - using the waist to walk as if dragging heavy weights with the feet.
Looking out from morning training at the Grand Theatre the Hangzhou Civic Centre rises like a sci-fi Stone Henge into the misty grey sky. Today I was early enough to watch Teacher Liu’s students practice the Long Form. While we do 81 forms, the movements within movements make this seem like 1000 forms of Tai Chi.
There was much review of basics in good couple of hours push hands with various students under the critical eye and direction of Teacher Liu before we stopped for lunch. Key points were follow then change, moving forward while moving back and vice versa.
The afternoon session was a change of pace with internal aspects of ward off, roll back, press and push, stepping forward and stepping backward. more emphasis on going one way to go the other, foot placement and inversion of palms.
The Hangzhou Grand Theatre in the new CBD was the setting for Push hands training with Teacher Liu and his students this morning. There was a BMW sponsored running event across the way so we had a live band playing Beatles, Stones, Joan Jet and Disney classics for a soundtrack. After a few hours Teacher Liu took me across town on the back of his electric scooter and we had lunch including some very potent red wine he made himself.
After lunch was more training and Lang Jingchang joined us.
Bus services are everywhere in Hangzhou and it seems I will get to experience a few routes at least. It costs 2 RMB (35c) to get half an hour across town to the CBD.