2016 Chen Instructor Course

Instructors’ courses are always an intense and enjoyable time, and this year’s Chen Instructors course was no exception. The course was attended by many people from the UK, Denmark, Norway, Germany and the USA.

Chen Instructor Course 2016It is always nice to see old friends and make new ones. However, time is always a precious commodity on Instructors courses and so after warming up and a quick talk from Master Tse, to remind us why we were here, it was on to polishing warms ups and forms. Master Tse began with the Level I and II warm up exercise, he then moved on to the Chen Taijiquan 19 Movement and 25 Movement forms.

The process of breaking down the movements and demonstrations has been perfected over many years now and so everything seems to run very smoothly. Also Master Tse’s explanations and answers to the many questions asked are perfectly pitched, simple yet profound. It is a mark of someone’s understanding when they can take something very complicated and help you understand by explaining thing in a simple way and Master Tse has a vast amount of experience in doing this. Each demonstration was followed by a question and answer session and then everyone split into groups to work on what they felt they needed to work on. This freedom to work on what you felt you needed to work on also helps the learning experience as you are in control of it. After the forms, Master Tse then went onto Tui Shou – Pushing Hands. In Chen Taijiquan there are five different Tui Shou Methods and so as instructors we need to be able to do these and also understand what they are for. Master Tse placed a great emphasis on this as without good Tui Shou we cannot ever say our Taijiquan is good.

Chen Taijiquan push handsFrom there he moved on to the 38 Form and then finally to the Eight Jin – Eight Energies of Taijiquan. I have seen many explanations of the Eight Jin over the years, but there has always been something missing from them. The majority are really applications of the Eight Energies, which in themselves are good, but they still do not get to the essence of what each Jin is and how they relate to each other. After Master Tse’s explanations, which were again very simple and to the point, everyone understood.

The final part of the day was taken up by the written exam. The purpose of the written exam is to cover different aspect of what is required of the instructor for the Tse Qigong Centre, from the rules of the Centre, to the protocols of how you behave and conduct yourself as a teacher. However, there are always some questions which make you stop in your tracks and think hard. These are questions which really probe how you think and are designed to make you realise how Master Tse thinks. These are always points of great discussion when it comes to marking the questions.

Master Tse's birthday mealAt the close a very busy day, it was then time to relax and enjoy ourselves and join Master Tse in celebrating his Birthday and also Chinese New Year! The Chinese restaurant Confucius in Wimbledon has become our “eating home”. We always have exceptional meals there and once again we were in for a magnificent feast. Over 60 people came to join us in celebrating Sifu’s Birthday and they were not only from Master Tse’s classes, but some student’s travelled from far and wide. It was so good to see everyone. When you attend seminars and instructors course you start to get to know a group of people, but on occasions like this there are people who you have never met before or have not seen for a very long time. Not only that but many people bring their family and their children and it is great and a little frightening to see how quickly they are growing up!

Master Tse's birthday group photoI’ve said in the past that it is hard to buy Sifu a present, but this time it was quite easy, as I already knew what he would like, having already planted the suggestion a few months earlier. A collection was organised and students from many different classes chipped in and we were able to get Sifu a lovely new phone (as he old one was on its last legs). He was very surprised and very happy!
When the food was incredible and never ending. We had some very traditional dishes, like steamed fish, Three Roast Meats, Chicken, and also some more unusual dishes, like Walnut Honey Shrimps and Vegetable and Pine nut Fried Rice. To finish off we had Sifu’s magnificent Birthday cake and also Long Life Lai Wong Bai. It was a very, very good night and we all had a fabulous time.

The next day, while others slept off their feast from the night before, others had a small matter of testing their Chen Taijiquan forms and Tui Shou. Like the polishing on the first day, the routine of testing has also become a very smooth and relaxed affair. Even though being tested naturally causes and little anxiety, the method puts everyone at ease and even those people who are attending for the very first time find it not too taxing. As the day progressed so did everyone and by the end of the day, when the final rounds of testing were being announced, not so many people wanted to test and were happy with where they had got to. This is always a measure of how well they day has gone and it also means that those who really want to try another test have the opportunity to do so.

All to soon it was time to end, and while Master Tse was preparing certificates, we all had time to enjoy some Pushing Hands together.

Back in September, Master Tse was invited by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang to give a talk at a Taiji Forum in Chen Village. During his talk he said that to be a Master of Taijiquan we had to have three things. First we need to be healthy, second we need to be able to perform the movement well and third we needed martial arts skill, which comes from Tui Shou. Over the weekend he certainly covered all these three things in abundance. However, there is one thing he did not say in his talk, but has said to me and others on many occassions, is having a good teacher. But what makes a good teacher? It is the ability to develop many good students. Some students are very talented, but without the right teacher they will never realise their potential. Other students may not be as naturally talented, but with the right teacher they are able to excel and reach a high level of skill. Master Tse is one of these teachers. He is able to make students realise their potential, no matter their “natural ability”. He inspired students and makes them realise that with enthusiasm, passion and effort we can all reach a high level. The ability to do this for so many different people is a very exceptional skill and no simple thing.

By Darryl Moy

Student comments

RTEmagicC_Chen_Instr_2016-081Dear Sigong,
While the process of learning is individually filled with obstacles and frustrations, putting one foot in front of another with a clear and inspirational guide always leads to another country, verdant uplands and scenic outlooks. Be the climb steep of shallow, the terrain rough or smooth, the time you dedicate to our benefit always results in both appreciation and progress. Today you clarity of vision for both of the Centre and for us really shone through. Thank you for you dedication to us and your constant pursuit of our better selves. John

I have been looking forward to this instructors course for a very long time. It is always good to get the time to work on the details. Chen Taijiquan is very challenging and it takes a lot of work to get it right, but it is very rewarding when you improve. Time went by so quickly and I wish I could absorb all the details that you shared with us. It has been a really good course. Thank you Sifu for this fantastic weekend. Tor Arne

Chen Style Taijiquan has always been the most difficult skill for me to learn. However, after last year’s trip to Chen Village I have had a lot of incentive to put in the necessary work to being this skill up to standard. The subtleties of this skill are enormous and the instructors course has been a good opportunity to cover all aspects normally not covered in class. Peter D

RTEmagicC_Chen_Instr_2016-066I always look forward to the Chen Instructors course as I always walk away with a wealth of information, and understanding of what I do and so an improvement in skill. Good skill never stops and it is continuous in its development. Thank you for helping me to become who I am.  Earl

Great Instructors Course! There are so many levels to Chen Taijiquan. Each time I find the skill gets deeper and deeper, and more fascinating. Thank you for sharing these treasures with us. Happy Birthday. Peter A

Thank you for another great course. As always, it has been a fantastic opportunity to learn and improve our understanding. It is very nice having all the support from the seniors and the benefit of your knowledge. Peter D

Every time I attend these courses I feel as if my head will burst with the wealth of knowledge available to us. I am always immensely grateful to be part of this wonderful family and for the opportunity to continue to develop myself in so many interesting and exciting ways. Thank you for everything. Oliver

Thank you for your clear instruction and for sharing you experience with us and giving us good advice. Also thank you to all my Taijiquan brothers and sisters for all their support. Hopefully we can keep improving and achieve higher standards in our Chen Taijiquan practice and become better instructors. Michalis

Thank you for such an enjoyable and useful Taiji Instructors course. I always value the polishing we do on the course and also the opportunity to push hands with my brothers and sisters. You are an inspiration and I hope I can practice enough to do your teaching justice. Thank you and Happy Birthday. Alan

A really varied and useful time. Lots of great polishing and some really challenging and thought provoking exam questions. Chen Taijiquan remains my favourite skill and it so good to have the opportunity to look into it a little deeper. Thank you for the opportunity to join in with everyone and to learn. All the best for your Birthday! Lee

Thank you for a truly informative Chen Instructors Course! Especially than you for your helpful hints whilst polishing! I am truly lucky and grateful to further enlarge my Taijiquan knowledge and most importantly I am grateful to be part of the Tse Qigong Centre family. Happy Birthday and Kung Hei Faat Choi! Deborah

I realise how much I have learnt when I come to the Chen Instructors Course. It also then makes me realise how much more I have to learn. I love the challenge – even though I will need a lot of time and patience from you and the seniors. Thank you for everything. Sue

Another great Instructors Course. Much needed polishing and it gets a little clearer each time. Thank you. Nina

It is always a great pleasure and privilege being allowed to participate in these courses. Lots of knowledge, many new details and of course, seeing the rest of the family. Thank you. Peter H

Very enjoyable and such a good opportunity to be able to polish and get the chance to further understand the skill. There is so much to learn and its good to see so many people as we move into another year. Many thanks. Martin M.

To be able to polish forms and discuss the intricacies is a great experience. Hopefully I will retain the majority of this valuable knowledge. Thank you. Ann

The explanations and the applications for the movements in the forms are fascinating. Chen is a very intricate skill and every time I gain some understanding it reveals there is something deeper to discover. A great course and a time to learn with friends that have become like family. Thank you. Christine

This year’s Chen Instructors Course was great. Focusing on the right way to teach this skill and how to improve your class in a professional way. Richard

With the Instructor course every two years it becomes more and more important to attend. Everything from the polishing to the written test all add something to making us all better Sifu. Without wanting to wish time away, I look forward to the next one. Mike


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