There were about 30 students attending form Sweden, Scotland, Germany and Denmark attending sifu Dan Docherty´s training camp in Halmstad, Sweden. Weather conditions were fortunate so we could train outdoors most of the time.
First day we worked with Punching Patterns and development of striking and punching skills using Running Thunder Hands and Tiger Embraces Head. As it is said – ”When Tiger Embraces, there can be no escape…”
Sifu Dan was relating a great deal to his upcoming book – ”The Complete Tai Chi Tutor” – and the research he has done while writing it. In the midst of Unknown Unknowns and Unknown Knowns we tried to focus on the Known Knowns and explored the relation between the Ming General Qi JiGuang´s ”The Classic of Boxing” and Tai Chi Chuan. Digging deep there seems to be a great deal more in that relation than most Tai Chi Chuan practitioners want to admit (if they are at all familiar with this classic text).
Although Tai Chi certainly was influenced by Taoist thought and practice, it definately had a strong theoretical foundation in Confucianism and strategic works like Sun Tzu´s ”The Art of War”.
At the advanced sessions we did thorough work in Cai Lang, Da Lu and Flying Flower Palm. Conceptual stuff that i, from my exposure to other Tai Chi styles both in Europe and Asia, realise we are quite alone to practice these days. Many of the concepts and strategies in Traditional Tai Chi Chuan (and other traditional chinese MA) cannot be found in the Forms, nor in the applications, nor in the formal drills. The skill-developing key is to bring these concepts into your practice, but of course you need a solid foundation and understanding of the art first. It takes time and there just is no shortcut.
Sabre, Spear and Sword groups had plenty of time for correction in Forms and working with applications, one-on-one and agaist multiple opponents.
It is always a pleasure to see my brothers and sisters and as usual there were allot of good laughs, discussions and chilling out after the training was done. Although the surrealistic Steak House with live entertainment in the form of dancing cowgirl´s and staged bar fights was special the food climax was Arvids and Ivans combined Austrian/Hungarian Gulasch over open fire. Simply delicious!
In between the scheduled training sessions there were plenty of improvised training sessions. Some of the guys geared up for impact sword sparring, while others had a go at each other in San Shou – sparring or Tui Shou.
Although numbers from time to time drop, as in most traditional training in Europe (and to my knowledge in Asia as well) it is assuring to see so many of the old guard and eager young centurions engaging and comitting into this art. Skill takes time to refine and i believe we have quite a lot of it here in Sweden,
To sifu Dan, the arranging club in Halmstad and all my Tai Chi brothers and sisters from all around – gratitude and appreciation! It was a pleasure and i look forward seeing you all soon again.