On top of a hill, below a mountain, surrounded by cultural heritage gardens and other cultural exhibits is the Research institute established by Master Paul Li. We were welcomed very warmly by the Chairman and the Executive Director, Vice Deans and staff. Our day included tea ceremony with tea from Hunnan Province I had not encountered before, calligraphy, and excellent collections of paintings and ceramics. There was a real centuries old sword we handled. The entire area was done in the style of the Song Dynasty. We demonstrated our Push Hands and shared a magnificent feast. Teacher Liu insisted Kieran and I finnish a bottle of the best Rice Wine with him. Later we wlked in tne surrounding National Park which included Bamboo forest and many natural and constructed features.
The entire experience was relaxed and pleasant and went all day. The setting was beautiful and peaceful. The exhibits rich and captivating. The people warm and the conversation relaxed and natural.
It is a great achievement for Master Li to have established such a institute and a privilege for us to be associated with it.
A warmer morning with a blanket of mist over Hangzhou. Some solid practice in the park before breakfast and a 9am start. Today we worked with the 2 handed exercise of ward off, roll back, squeeze and push. To begin we practiced without stepping, then stepping forward and back. After lunch we progressed to walking in circles then put it together with the exercises from the last two days with freeform transitions. Lots of fun. Much emphasis on staying soft and balanced with lively footwork.
9-5 again with lots of instruction, practice, and correction. As well as push hands we had detailed instruction on weight distribution, breathing, chi circulation, visualisation, power vs. strength, fa jin, circles, standing and more. Teacher Liu has a great sense of humor and a counter for every move. He lets you choose how he is gong to defeat you, waiting for you to try to attack then moving with your force until it dissipates then recoiling explosively. he describes a three part process. Defuse incoming force, trap, then attack.
Overnight rain has washed the streets clean of the brown pollen from a few days ago. Some early morning forms at Westlake and we met Teacher Liu at the hotel. Kevin Hu was there to help us communicate with Teacher Liu and we walked a short distance to a community centre where we were met by Lin Guoqing, a Disciple of Master Li who knew us from the Xixi Wetlands retreat.
The days Push Hands lesson went from 9am to 5 pm with a break for lunch. A review of what we had done before, with more detail. The major theme was to yield, taking away the opponents force, creating all movement from the waist. To attack start second but finish first, fast as lightning, faster than the blink of an eye.
Quiet at our morning practice area on Sunday morning. more tourists than Tai Chi. Lots of young tourists taking photos of us and imitating our warmup exercises. A little cooler today with a breeze but in the bright sunshine it was warm enough. The breeze brought out kites. The photo doesn’t catch most of them, only the near ones, there was about 20 kites in view.
We spent the day exploring another part of town and found lots of public street art depicting historic events and cultural scenes from daily life. The streets were packed with young people and family groups. There is a festival this weekend which celebrates older family members and dead ancestors.
More great food including noodles for lunch served cold.
Saw some great sword forms in the park early in the morning. We practiced forms for about an hour and attracted a few onlookers. Another pedestrian adventure finding our way around, exploring shops.
I had excellent noodles for lunch but Kieran got a huge surprise with his point and shoot method of choosing from a menu board. He managed to select a bowl of mixed sea monsters in garlic, ginger and chilli soup which was big enough for 4 people.
Late afternoon there was a sudden storm of fluffy brown flower pollen falling from trees. People everywhere were covered in it, trying to keep it out of their eyes and nose.