Early morning quiet time in the Xixi Wetlands National Park was cool and beautiful. Chi Gong practice at the top of the pagoda overlooking the entire park. Some personal practice of forms in the empty village square was a welcome solitude.
Our first session we had demonstrations from an 84 year old grand master of Eagle Claw. His hands were soft as if they were empty with high temperature in the centre of the palm and cold to touch on the back. His movement was beautiful, and his manner very humble.
We then had demonstrations from Wushu Masters from too any styles to mention, They includes very famous chinese people, many the heads of their own styles, some of whom have visited Australia.
After a banquet lunch with the Masters there were many more demonstrations, so many the video will tell us who they were, and endless keepsake photos.
Eventually they left and we had a lesson in push hands from Loa Tao, first Disciple to Grandmaster Meng Xianming. His approach used very small force.
We finished the day with review of Tai Chi Daoyin Gong to keep it fresh, and Master Li taught some detail for the sword form.
Look to the right, look to the left, turn, move forward, look to the right, turn, move forward, look to the left.
Another welcome cooler day and another session with Teacher Liu Zhen Wei. We reviewed yesterdays push hands exercises and put them together as a sequence then practiced constant random changes and added some more. Teacher Liu demonstrated many things including about 12 variations of application for the opening movement of the form. We all got to experience being pushed by Liu Zhen Wei, feeling his movement is of greater value than seeing it.
In the afternoon we completed the Tai Ch Daoyin Gong set and were again treated to demonstrations of exotic forms of Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Finishing off with more practice of the applications we had learned, we have now completed that part of the retreat.
Draw in to lift and push.
A cooler day at last, overcast mid 20's with much lower humidity. We had the pleasure of Teacher Liu Zhen Wei instructing us in push hands this morning and he shared some absolute gems of information. We worked mainly with single hand practice and did some interesting variations on roll back and press.
The afternoon session added another quarter to the Tai Chi Daoyin Gong set, including a combination of Jade Lady, Single Whip and Snake Creeps Down, along with circle walking and inside leg kicks.
We were treated to some displays by Masters of Chen Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu, Eagle Claw Kung Fu and some of their students.
We finished the afternoon with more application practice with Mr Zhou using Parting the Wild Horses Mane and Embrace the Tiger, Carry the Mountain.
Ward off, roll back, press and push.
The calm, quiet mornings are easy to get used to. Swords were the feature of the morning, with some demonstrations by us for Master Li, then a review of basics and a couple of times through the whole form before some detail of the first half.
Some guests arrived and we were treated to a demonstration by a 60 year old Master who is a full time professional instructor - and it showed. Beautiful flowing soft but powerful movements with constant pace and rhythmad the sword seemed to be alive.
The afternoon of Tai Chi Daoyin Gong with Mister Zhou built on yesterdays session. The Chi Gung sequence and pushing exercises now half completed.
Turn to deflect in defence and push through while stepping forward to attack.
Early morning in the Wetlands was quiet and calm. There was a cool breeze at the top of the pagoda in the village square but at ground level it was very still. The streets were empty and all the shops and restaurants closed up.
Breakfast was steamed buns, boiled eggs and rice porridge. The absence of coffee was distressing. The coffee shops don't open in the morning because nobody drinks coffee until the evening.
Our first Tai Chi session consisted of taking turns to demonstrate forms for Master Li. He seemed happy with our performances and offered some advice on hand and foot positions and posture.
After lunch we had an official welcome ceremony attended by some of Master Li's Hangzhou Disciples, some guests, media and the Chairman of the Zhejiang Sports Commission, Mr Zhou. After the ceremony we had our first session of Tai Chi Daoyin Gong with Mr Zhou who will be be teacing us each afternoon for the rest of the retreat.
The first part concentrated on Chi gong exercises to strengthen the body and later we worked in pairs on a pulling/charging exercise. Lots of fun.
Pulling down turn the waist then shift forward and push.
100% humidity at the Lake for our morning Tai Chi practice. Not many locals out on a damp Sunday morning.
Relocating from Hubin/Westlake area to The G Hotel in the Xixi district 15 km northwest of the city our cab dropped us in the right place, then we walked 1.5km to where google maps said we should be, hot, very humid and light rain. Asking for directions the Manager of another hotel packed us into his very nice car and drove us to the hotel, which is in the middle of the Xixi Wetlands National Environmental Park. Awesome example of going out of your way to help.
We met Master Li at the hotel and had a feast. Master Li has conscripted a student who has studied English at school for years but never spoken to a native English speaker before. Kevin is doing a great job interpreting for us.
When Jan, Wayne and John arrived in the evening we had another feast. Moon cakes to eat today as there is a national celebration of the Harvest Moon.
Tomorrow we begin our training.
One section ends before another begins. Draw back to push forward.