Saturday 7 July 2012

Don't Just Look for the Good Things!

Training with Zhu Tiancai during his first visit to the UK in 2001
We are all striving to improve as we learn - even Chen Xiaowang says he's constantly examining and refining his practice.   Some years ago, another great contemporary teacher of Chen Taijiquan, Zhu Tiancai, stayed in our home for about a month during his first visit to Europe.  One of the things he encouraged us to do was to watch films of well-known practitioners, to see if we could spot any mistake in their practice.  He explained that even if a master's skill is higher than your own,  when you can pick out a mistake, then you have understood something important and can begin to work on this aspect within your own training.  If the mistake is there and you cannot see it, this is indicative of your own level of understanding.  Also, just because you have spotted some deviation doesn't mean you can do better, or that that practitoner's overall skill level is not superb.  Here we are not talking about differences in choreography, but in deviations from Chen Taijiquan's core principles.  Some people never get past the stance of seeing all famous practitioners as perfect and any suggestion that they could be making mistakes as almost sacriligious.  Even highly skilled practitioners have deviations within their forms. Your ability to spot these is indicative of your own level of understanding.  Drawing motivation from the fantastic skills of the famous teachers is great, but do it with your eyes open!

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