At least 17 people showed up for my workshop yesterday at John Morrow's Academy in downtown Moline, Illinois. Martial artists from all styles were there -- TKD, karate, another tai chi instructor (Yang style), Shaolin students -- it was a great group of very nice people.
Two members of the online school drove in from Dixon, Illinois and another member, Wally, drove in from Chicago.
We went over fighting applications from the Chen 38 form. Each of the participants will receive a DVD -- Nancy videotaped it for the Chen 38 DVD that's due out in the next two weeks.
I knew I was going to enjoy showing internal body mechanics to a variety of martial artists. It was a blast showing them fighting applications from tai chi, and the relaxed power you can generate from the proper body mechanics.
One of the hallmarks of "external" styles is the twisting of the hips. Many martial artists twist their hips too much when they move, and they kink their posture and put themselves into vulnerable positions. In tai chi, the waist (dan t'ien) turns more than the hips. That was one of the most common things I pointed out to people yesterday.
Also, most martial artists use arm and shoulder muscle and really don't use whole-body movement. They'll pull with the arms while the waist doesn't do much, or they'll turn the hips but the arms lag behind. I showed many of the participants how to connect it through the body, and how relaxed you can be when you knock someone down just because you're connecting the power from the ground through the body. All of this will be demonstrated on the DVD.
In the end, I was glad to educate people about tai chi. So many believe it's a "soft" art that is primarily moving meditation -- it was gratifying to show that there's nothing really soft about tai chi, especially when you put the "iron" in the cotton by using proper body mechanics.
In a 3-hour workshop, you can't show nearly enough, so I look forward to more workshops in the future.