Alan Sims on Jou Tsung Hua

Hao Shao Ru has said in his book on Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan: ” To achieve a basic profeciency in Tai Chi, not to mention achieving high expertise, requires a phenomenal amount of hard work.” It is on that note that I continue with this series on the Tai Chi Farm exercises.

Although I am not finished writing about some of my experiences in Piscataway, New Jersey, and the wonderful people I met, there is no guarantee that what I write in the future will necessarily be published. I have already written about some of the original students recently.       

I wish to thank Loretta Wollering for recently presenting on you tube, the six part interview of master Jou Tsung Hwa at the Tai Chi Farm in 1994. I”m sure that I’m not thanking her only for myself. That was the inspiration for these articles.

Despite the fact that I haven”t really jumped ahead in my writings to the period after master Jou’s transition from this earthly plane, I must thank a Tai Chi Farm student of master Jou’s, Bob Arietta, for his generous instruction in the Tai Chi Farm exercises as well as the updated versions of both Chen forms and a little Yang form that I also reviewed. I also want to thank his Tai Chi partner in crime, Mike Goldstein. Mike paid careful attention to the doings of master Jou and was also deeply into the exercises. They also conducted joint workshops at the Tai Chi Farm.

Bob’s form wasn’t good or very good or excellent. It was downright superb. He embodied all of his forms with the essence of the principles expressed in the exercises themselves.

As I was a big fan of his form, so was he a big fan of my formlessness, which I demonstated to him on occasion. He didn”t ask me how much I was willing to pay and taught a group of us after the transition of master Jou.

During the present time when fellow classmates don’t want your skills to be known, people are threatened when trying to publish manuscripts, and autographed items put in for repair are stolen, it was nice to enjoy the Tai Chi Farm experience.

Master Jou had a heroic spirit. He said what he felt whether people liked it or not. He wasn”t greedy and he had skill. On top of that, he provided a place where people of all levels could demonstrate their skills and share what knowledge they had with others. In addition, there are the valuable Tai Chi Farm Newsletters. All the things that many practitioners fall short of today.

Exercise

Place the left foot on the ground with the foot facing approximately 10:00, with the body facing  front, the right hand gently placed on the lower abdomen, the left hand, fingers together thumb up,  at shoulder level  over the left foot.

The right foot is extended about shoulder width, toes pointing to approximately 2:00. Both feet are basically on the same line with the right heel raised, and the left leg carrying most of your weight. The body remains erect. The abdomen is relaxed between contraction and expansion. The right hand will remain on the abdomen throughout the exercise.

The abdomen begins contracting as the body starts turning to the right. It ends up facing at least 2:00 while the right foot rotates with the heel turning in an arc towards the front. The abdomen is now fully contracted. The body, the right foot and leg all point to the direction. The left palm, originally facing diagonally forward, turns upwards and ends facing the sky as it reaches its maximum degree of rotation. This coincides with the abdomen fully contracted and the body turned furthest to the right. The left hand remains at shoulder level, above the left foot. As the body faces rightward, the right hand remains attached to the abdomen.

Reverse the motions and return to the original position. Relax the abdomen, turn the body back to the front, rotate the right heel to the rear, and turn the left palm from pointing upwards to facing diagonally forward, the pinky nearest to the ground. The abdomen begins to expand as the body starts turning leftward, toward the left hand, its position still over the left foot.

The abdomen continues to expand, the body turning leftward until it faces facing the hand which is still over the left foot. The palm has now rotated from facing diagonally forward to diagonally downward. The abdomen is now fully expanded. The heel of the left foot is lifted from the ground rotated to the rear right. Most of the weight is now on the right leg. Again, reverse al motions and return to the original position. On each repetition you alternate feet and hands.\
I would like to thank my Tai Chi instructor and martial arts genius, Larry Banks, for not only teaching me Tai Chi Chuan, but also for introducing me to master Jou Tsung Hwa and his dedicated students.
Alan Sims
alan.sims35@yahoo.com

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