Come on in, pull up a chair, have some tea, relax for a while. Let me tell you a story…. Ahh, this idea stirs of images of children sitting around a fireplace listening to ‘days of old’ as told by grandpa. But what does this have to do with martial arts and taiji?
I remember back in one of my old taiji schools, a fellow classmate had taken some private lessons with the head instructor. I asked him how the lesson went and what did they cover. He told me they did some application work and qinna and then spent about 20 mins listening to stories. Huh??? You’re paying someone $50/hour and you spend almost half of it listening to stories???? I really didn’t see value in this, especially during a private lesson where time is of the essence.
But then, I thought back to my days of wushu training. We would be drilling sets when all of a sudden the teacher would call everyone around him for a bit. He’d ask a student to demonstrate a bit of their form. Afterwards, he’d tell a little story that tied a moral to the teachings. At this time, he was telling a story of an army general and how he would lead his troops with various colors of flags. Based on the color, the troops would know what to do. He then asked us to think of our mind as the general and the flags like our intentions. Only through precise coordination can all the troops work as one to win the battle.
Over the weekend, I came across a new blog that’s basically an online b00k Chen Zhonghua is putting together. The topics of the blog will eventually be published in print form as well as any commentary or discussion that stems from the post! How cool is that! The blog is titled, Pull Up A Chair. I was pleasantly surprised to see stories about the trials and tribulations of Hong Junsheng and training accounts from students!
After reading some of the stories in the online-book, I couldn’t help but link some of the morals to my own training. I thought about the stories I would tell my son about my training. I thought about how important it is to share those things that make us who we are. In retrospect, if we spend too much time searching for techniques and secrets, we may miss the forest for the trees..