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Workshops with Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei

 June 19th - 21st 2015 Workshop Weekend

 During the third weekend of June 2015, Asian Arts hosted a series of workshops with Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. These workshops provided a unique opportunity to study with one of the world's most renowned tai chi masters.

In addition, Masters Chen Juan and Chen Bin accompanied their father on his visit. Both are top masters in their own right. This allowed us to learn from two generations of the family that originated tai chi centuries ago and continue it in a unbroken line to the present day.

Friday evening’s workshop on the fundamental practices of Chen’s style tai chi (taiji) was open to the public, a rare opportunity for people with little tai chi experience to learn directly from the highest caliber of teacher and practitioner. Grandmaster Chen and Masters Chen Juan and Chen Bin helped people understand and feel what tai chi is. Attendance was high and participants came away with a clear sense of what goes into beginning, developing and maintaining a complete and effective tai chi practice.

Saturday morning Grandmaster Chen reviewed Lao Jia Yi Lu  with particular attention to the standards of the style. In addition to a focus on the details of the early sections of the routine, newer practitioners found it helpful to see later sections that they will soon be studying performed by the masters, and then go through the form with their help and corrections.

Push-hands was the topic of the afternoon. This workshop covered a number of the one and two person practices that make up the Chen family push hands system. Grandmaster Chen, Master Chen Juan and Master Chen Bin corrected postures and the push hand movements. The eight basic techniques ( Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Cai, Lie, Zhou and Kao) were also covered. Grandmaster Chen’s clear information helped demystify the practice and dispel some commonly-held misconceptions about what push-hands is and how it should be done.

Both sessions on Sunday were devoted to learning Laojia Erlu (Old Frame Second Routine), also known as Cannon Fist. This is the second of the two Old Frame routines. It, along with Laojia Yilu, was developed by Chen Changxing of the Chen family's 14th generation. Old Frame Second Routine is a concise form that incorporates gentle, smooth and elegant slower motions with displays of fajin (explosive power).

This was the first time Grandmaster Chen has taught the Laojia Erlu in the Albany workshops, so it was a perfect opportunity for first-timers to gain the foundation to start practicing it. Those who had already learned the routine were able pick up more details to help them deepen their practice.

We would like to thank Grandmaster Zhenglei, and Masters Chen Juan and Chen Bin for their kind and caring attention to everyone who attended the workshops this weekend. “One word from a master is worth years of practice.”

Thank you to San Zhang, our longtime friend , who translated for Grandmaster Chen during the workshops.

We would also like to thank the people who helped out in various ways during the weekend so that everything could run smoothly

Last, but not least, thank you to all who had participated in these workshops. As Grandmaster Chen himself noted, your enthusiasm and hard work helped make these workshops a success.

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