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Heavy Below, Light Above

posted 30 Mar 2019, 03:02 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 30 Mar 2019, 03:02 ]
“Engage the quads” are words that have stuck with most of us after last Saturday’s workshop with Ben and, boy, did we know it! There was a mix of people-a few having been on the journey for a year or more, others only a few months or weeks but, from the feedback, it was an inspiring and memorable workshop for everyone. All of Ben’s workshops have been really good but there was something about this one that topped them all. From warm ups, to the basics-standing and silk reeling, the form and the martial aspect -it all just flowed. As I have mentioned before, Ben’s gift of finding a perfect balance between the theory and practise is not something I have witnessed with any other teachers. He is very structured in his way of teaching, even to how he gets us spaced out into even rows! It can seem a little regimental at first but once you get over that you become completely absorbed in listening to him as he guides you through the method of learning Taiji and how the body has to move through the different stages of each move. The small tweaks and adjustments as we did the basics certainly engaged the quads and was a shock for some as he pulled their hips back and lowered them down. Standing for ten minutes as he made these corrections can feel like an eternity but as he said, “the legs are the bass guitar and the arms are the melody” - another wonderful analogy to help us understand the ‘heavy below, light above’ feeling. I often recall, when the classes in Bratton first started, asking one villager if she was going to try it. Her reply still makes me smile-“it is too delicate for me”. 

Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing was once asked, “When will my legs stop hurting?”

When your legs stop hurting, you have stopped improving,” was his answer.           

Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the workshop. Ten minutes standing mediation every day to engage the quads and calm the mind will benefit us all and be ‘a piece of cake’ when Ben returns in June. For me, roll on Sunday for five hours training with Ben in Bristol-I cannot wait! Spring Equinox blessings to you all.