Here is an update from Switzerland where I am right now experiencing the first snow.
Tai Chi Tcho held in La Chaux de Fonds, the city at the highest altitude in Europe, is organized by Cornelia Gruber every two years, this being the seventh edition.
There are over 20 teachers invited so there is alot for participants to choose from covering everything from Qi Gong to self defense. With about 120 participants it´s one of the more well attended events in Europe.
Food wise is all vegetarian and organic and Saturday evening’s highlights were performances from the invited teachers with the following mingle and party .
My task was to teach applications from Hand Form. Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art in which all parts are interrelated. What is interesting as well as and difficult , is usually not the actual techniques but to master the principles . Therefore in my classes we worked with the basics – distance , timing and angle to be able to continue with the various tactics/skills;
Long range – striking , kicking – Da Shou / Ti, Techniques with sweeps and takedowns – Die Pu
Mid -Range – Locks, breaks , controllning techniques – Qinna
Close range – throws – Shuai Jiao
Using the principles from Pushing Hands is helpful when metodically looking at how these skills must flow into eachother. Listening ability, following, sticking, beeing continous, change and turn, engage and adapt/intercept.
The relationship between forms – push hands and application is clear but in the class we also discovered how easy it is to loose track of the principles we are supposed to use especially when dealing with and opponent or training partner under a bit of pressure. This is why we have drills and repetetive exercises.
Initially it is helpful to slow things down from time to time , giving your nervous system some space and time to find new, more effective ways to function. On the other hand, it is important to be able to apply techniques with power and vigorously pursued. It´s all about a balanced approach. We also covered a bit of leg work; leg trapping, sweeps and take-downs which is something i personally really like to use. The participants in my classes where from Switzerland, France , United Kingdom, Italy and of course Holland! Everyone practiced with good focus and intensity contributing to a good training atmosphere, and I would like to express my gratitude to those who participated. It was a pleasure, and i hope to see you soon again!
Big thanks to Cornelia and her very able staff for a really nice event!