Not in Sydney and difficult to travel-/ too far away- to come to the classes?
No problem. There are plenty of resources available for you to learn from.
The priority for students interested in the Chen style Taijiquan Practical Method is to learn the form choreography and to practice the basic foundation moves daily. The Basic Foundation practice, simple yet effective, are there to open the body so it is more connected. The form practice links the basic moves into each other and provides you with a track to follow.
Learning from video
Learning from video is for everyone, and gives you easy access to the material. Research found that our brains do not differentiate between actions witnessed in person or through video recordings. With videos, you can repeat it until you remember every single word. Here are two simple rules:
- Watch a video often until you understand what is going on. It may be that you have to watch the video more than 10, 20 or even 50 times. The more you repeat view movements, the better you’ll be at copying them. Watch some with the sound of some with the sound on. Only watch, do not practice a move, only watch. Give 100% of your brain to watching, don’t split it by trying to copy at this stage. If you are going to take notes, write down what is being said, do not write down what you believe is happening. The method is precise, the value of the words will become clear when you persist.
- Once you decide to put movements on the video into actions, limit the number of movements to maximum two or three. I am not kidding. Repeat the for about two days. Do an internet search for the classic ‘forgetting curve’ by Ebbinghaus. Apply it.
Access more than 500 videos via www.practicalmethod.com. The site has a system where you buy credits, and then you can view a listing of trailers of all the videos. They range from workshop videos to private corrections, to detailed push hands applications. Watch the trailer, select the video, use the credits (‘web dollars’) to purchase and view the complete video. You can always download them so you don’t have to use bandwidth for watching videos.
Highly recommended are the Basic Foundations videos, the Yilu Instruction videos and the Energy Alignment videos. If you are further with your study, there is a whole series that was shot at the September to November Full time course in Edmonton. Get your hands on them because they are VERY detailed and are very valuable for any student of the Practical Method. (The below free video with Matt Beausoleil was shot in Edmonton)
Or, you can try some of the 200 odd free videos the Master Chen Zhonghua has loaded onto Youtube and Youku (chinese site).
Some free online materials for you to sample
Introduction to the Chen style Taijiquan Practical Method
Basic Foundations – Jibengong – The Positive and Negative Circle
Yilu or First road/routine – The first 13 moves.
Corrections of other students are an often forgotten source of details that are very clearly explained. Without correction videos I would not be where I am today. In the beginning, don’t worry about whether you understand what is being discussed when Master Chen talks about ‘Dimensions’ or ‘Distance’. Get the choreography in your body, and by the time you get good, you’ll take it in faster.
Some form correction videos:
Learned the form from video but still feel stuck?
Book yourself into a cheap youth hostel in Sydney (there’s one at the end of Glebe Point Road in Glebe. A short bus trip from Sydney’s Central station) for a week (or 2) and I can take you through the form during the morning practice (5:30am to 7am). Then you can practice the rest of the day or visit Sydney until you are ready for your next session the next morning.