Below are Martin Johnson’s comments and pictures about the final full day in Taiwan.
After two full days of martial arts competition and demonstrations, the Cheng Ming family made a pilgrimage to Great Grandmaster’s grave to pay our respects. Wang Shu-Jin is the man to whom we owe the teachings that have drawn us all to the practice of the Cheng Ming system of internal martial arts, and it was time to give our thanks.
We all boarded a bus and started the one-hour journey to the city of Caotung. Downtown Taichung turned into more suburban scenery, where every square meter of unoccupied land seem to be under cultivation. Banana trees, rice paddies, plots of taro were tucked in between the buildings and more developed plots of land. Finally, our bus turned off the main road to climb the hill where the Grand Master reposes.
Our bus couldn’t make the climb to the top, so we got off and walked together up to the top of the hill where Wang Shu-Jin enjoys a royal view of the city below and the mountains beyond. The path was lined with exotic tropical trees and plants. We gathered in front of the Great Grandmaster’s grave and observed in silence as incense was burned and baskets of fruit were offered. Three ceremonies marked the occasion, one to induct an “in room” student and two to induct “indoor students”. The wonderful scent of incense filled the air as birds and singing insects in the surrounding trees sang to mark the solemn occasion.
The newly promoted students smiled and bowed as fellow students from Taiwan, the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan lined up to congratulate them. Numerous photographs were taken to commemorate the occasion. Everyone felt a deep connection to the history and tradition of the Cheng Ming school of martial arts.
Our bus then carried us to a restaurant where we were fed a veritable feast of delicious dishes. Course after course until we could barely stand when it was time to take our leave. Farewells to new-found friends and T’ai Chi brothers and sisters followed, the pleasure of establishing kinship with an international community of Cheng Ming students mixed with the sadness of taking our leave. We’ll be back in four years!