Workshop with Sam Tam – September 2013

Just came home after a 3 day workshop with Sam Tam at “The danish center for taiji and qigong“. It was my fourth experience of the taiji master and as always i was amazed by his level of skill. Sam can like no other demonstrate yielding and issuing in an understandable and very practical way. Sam willingly demonstrates every exercise or application and generously deals with every practical question that his students might have. The workshop consisted of five sections of three hours each, where we worked with different elements of Sams system.

Friday we had a standing meditation lesson. Sam corrected my very crooked posture and made me understand that what i conceive as balanced is not necessarily what IS balanced. Apart from that I think I have finally understood two simple instructions, that i have heard again and again, but not actually practiced. Firstly, how I should try to keep my head in the same place (like hanging from a string) while dropping my tailbone to get an even back. Secondly how I should try to make my feet feel light (as just before a jump) in stead of having a heavy feeling of digging into the ground.

We spent saturday working with the qigong form “the bear” and Sams “sword form” both of which I have practiced for around a year. As always it was amazing to see Sam execute the movements. The first time I see Sam doing the forms that I practice every day, I have the feeling that he is doing something completely different…and then after a while i dawns for me, that he is actually doing the same thing – just as it is supposed to be done, but that what I am doing is the same thing.

Sunday was a full day of pushhands practice. We worked with different single and double-hand pushhands exercises (or as Sam said “the basic of the basic”), to put them all together in the end. For me this was very helpfull as “free” pushhands has a tendency of going into a struggle very fast, where we with the 6 different exercises were able to practice yielding in all directions while keeeping soft. And then of course Sam always ends up with working a little bit with “bouncing” which is basically about demonstrating how to push people far away without using force. Sam can demonstrate issuing and “the sinking of qi” like no one else I have met. Feeling the difference between the issuing in “taiji”, “xingyi” og “i chuan” was amazing.