Grandmaster’s dojo is about 45 minutes outside of Taichung in a township called Caotun and on Monday we had the wonderful opportunity to train with him here. There are several training spaces, some indoor and one larger outdoor space connected to the building. The outdoor space is where we practiced after having tea together. The sides are open but it is covered by a metal awning which provides a very nice soundtrack when it rains, which it did several times while we were practicing. (Grandmaster said that this is his favorite training music.) Grandmaster seemed very happy to host us at his dojo and it was a special treat to get to see him in his element. Continue reading
This morning we had the final awards ceremony and participants also had the opportunity to speak about their experiences during the weekend. The Cheng Ming family stretches across numerous continents and countries and Master Eric from Texas and Master Hiromi were both called upon to do a lot of translating. It was great to see the international reach of our organization. Master Huang gave the following speech about the tournament. Continue reading
We were up early and on the racquetball courts again at 6 a.m. to go over our group demonstration forms, Tai Chi, Hsing I five elements and Hsing-I animals. We had a good run through and then all went up to the breakfast buffet.
We got on the bus and left at 8 once again for the competition location. Several Cheng Ming organization administrators and local politicians had arrived for today’s opening ceremony, and we all listened to several speeches. There was also a performance by a local high school symphony with Chinese instruments which was extremely impressive. There were both solo and orchestra selections. Continue reading
The adventure begins! Most of us arrived on Tuesday, and there was time for some sightseeing before dinner, including the famous Lung-Shan Temple. By 7pm we had all checked into the Sunrise Business Hotel in downtown Taipei, which is only a short walk from the main train station. It’s the same hotel that several of us stayed at back in 2012 before the last celebration. Several bags took alternative routes to Taiwan, but eventually everyone was reunited with their luggage. There was talk of heading to the Night Market, but by 8:30 dinner was done and everyone was ready to head towards bed. Continue reading
The following are Megan Sharp’s reflections about the Taiwan trip.
I don’t think that I have ever been more nervous about a trip in my life. For days before we left I could hardly think about anything else. I couldn’t believe that I was going to a country where I would only know how to say “yes” and “thank you” and could not read anything. What I had not factored in is that Hiromi can speak and read some Chinese, and she would help us even when we were not with her.
She sent an email before John Graysar and I headed out to tell us exactly how to catch the bus to the See You Hotel in Taipei once we arrived in Taiwan. Before that email we had all but decided to take a cab. The bus ride went without a hitch. Despite the driver not speaking any English, we managed to find our hotel. A very nice man who had grown up in Taipei walked us to the hotel. He met his mother who was waiting to pick him up, and explained that he was walking us to the See You Hotel and would be right back. This was one of many very kind and generous Taiwanese people we would encounter on our journey. Continue reading
The following are John Graysar’s reflections on the Taiwan trip.
I am so glad that I was able to be part of the group T’ai Chi team. It really was a very group oriented project, from beginning to end. I started to feel a more group challenge than an individual one right from the start. I would like to do my best to convey that feeling in my recap of the competition.
Back in June, after we established some of the basic things – position, timing, etc., the next big hurdle was getting 5 people together so we could do a group practice (just like what we would do in the competition). Well, here goes the first thread of my individual thinking, and I was not quite right in my assuming it would be easy. More times than not we would get together in an incomplete set. So, we would do the best in the circumstances and practice one or two or three people short.
Another item we had to address was establishing how we were going to do different moves and practicing these together, gently critiquing ourselves Continue reading
The following comments are Joe Sebastian’s reflections on the Taiwan trip.
Our trip to Taiwan was very enjoyable as well as enlightening. Taiwan is a surprisingly contemporary country with modern cities and lush green countryside. When we first arrived we were greeted by friendly people and an abundance of wonderful bakeries and enough coffee shops to make me feel quite comfortable. Motor Scooters seemed to be a major mode of transportation. They were everywhere, weaving in and out of cars on the roads and people on the sidewalks.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was practicing with our team in the mornings before the tournament. We met at a local park at 6AM each morning, and also again in the afternoon on the Hotels Ping Pong or Squash Court. It was nice to meet the other teams from around the world as they arrived at the hotel. It was interesting to watch the other teams as they practiced on their own and competed in the tournament. Each school’s forms are slightly different. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the breakfast buffet at the Evergreen Hotel which has been pretty spectacular. They offer basic American breakfasty things like ham, eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fruit, breads, pastries, but there are also lots of fresh salad and vegetable options which I assume suits more eastern sensibilities. It’s all very good and is a really nice start to the day.
We met for breakfast and then again gathered in the lobby with all the other out of town competition participants to board the bus to be taken to the venue. Things got down to business pretty quickly today and the events started earlier than yesterday because there were no opening ceremonies or demonstrations. Continue reading
Quite a day of martial arts. There was a lot of poetry in motion out on the competition floor all day long and it was fascinating to see the little variations in the forms from the different schools. There were many people from Taiwan, quite a few from Japan, as well as competitors from Italy, Australia, Northern Virginia and Texas.
The day started with several wonderful demonstrations, including a traditional Chinese dragon dance. James Lee from Fairfax demonstrated a BaGua Double Sword form, and Hiromi demonstrated a Hsing-I Saber form. Then all the participants lined up and paraded out on to the competition floor in their respective schools. Continue reading