Friday, January 13, 2017

A Private Class with Grandmaster Wai-lun Choi, Fall 2016

At the end of October last year, I traveled to Chicago and had the pleasure of taking another private class with my teacher, Grand-master Wai-lun Choi. I try to visit him every time I go to Chicago and his basement kwoon is now as familiar as his old school on West Irving. I can even find his house now!

We started off with Q & A . I always keep a notebook around when I practice or teach, that way when questions come up, I can jot them down for the next time I see Master Choi. I also write down questions from students and classmates. Sometimes I need to know, and at other times I need to confirm. Plus, some questions really get Master Choi going and he teaches a ton, and at other times my questions just piss him off!

We talked about the history of Liu Ho Pa Fa and the qi-gong and meditation methods in that system. Master Choi related many aspects of training and reminded me, " Many styles, but one body." He talked a lot about developing instinct and the need for correct learning and practicing. He said to be clear about your martial arts goal and that "there is no end to this art!"

After some in depth discussion, we went to work. Master Choi went over sensitivity with me and I got to practice hands with him. I have to say, he is even more soft, sensitive, and powerful than ever! He emphasized that that coiling chase hand can cover many angles and attacks. He showed that the push/pull aspects of combining the Dragon with the Tiger made a good combination. Together they make the toi-fong unbalancing technique used in Tai-Chi pushing hands and many other styles. He said the Dragon and Tiger don't fight each other, they work together.

We went over how to train the eyes with a simple ball hanging from a string. Of course, anything Master Choi does is useful, needed, and deep in theory and application. It turned out to be a lot more than a ball hang from the ceiling! We also went over heavy and light bags and different training and benefits of both. "Don't let the heavy bag hit you! Use it to test your structure." Plus a swimming noodle to practice solo chin-na was funny and frightening at the same time!

As it usually does, the two hours flew by and I had to go back to Minnesota. I did make tentative plans for Master Choi to visit this Spring, and will keep you posted. I'll leave you with a treasure from my notes. Many times I've heard from Master Choi, "Tension bothers your breathing." This time he said,

"Tension bothers your instincts."

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