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
Today was the first day of the competition and included a series of individual forms. (The group forms are tomorrow.) We met at 6am on one of the racquetball courts in the hotel to run through the forms we had prepared and then enjoyed another amazing breakfast buffet. We climbed on a bus about 8am and were driven to the competition site, a large elementary school gym about 45 minutes from the hotel.
After the welcoming ceremony, empty hand Hsing-I forms were performed first. It was exciting and helpful to see the other schools perform so many of the familiar Cheng Ming forms. 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
Many thanks to Qian Cai for sharing how T’ai Chi has helped her on and off the tennis court.
“Relax the body,” “bend the knees,” “turn the center,” Sensei Hiromi’s soft voice spoke to me in my head, as I tried to remind myself of a few fundamentals. No, I was not practicing T’ai Chi. I was on the tennis court, body lowered, eyes on the ball in my opponent’s tossing hand, and getting ready for the next point.
An enthusiastic tennis player, I tore my ACL a few years ago on the tennis court. The surgeon told me firmly that without an ACL replacement surgery, I would not be able to play tennis anymore. My physical therapist, on the other hand, suggested that I might be a “coper”– someone who could bypass the surgery by improving the leg muscle strength and balance to compensate for the lost function of a critical knee ligament.
I thought of trying T’ai Chi – a series of slow movements I deemed an “old person’s pastime.” As a young child growing up in China, I watched my grandpa do it every morning at the community park with many other seniors. But at that moment, T’ai Chi’s gentleness, or old-people-friendliness, beckoned to me and seemed to be exactly what I needed.
From the 14 steps, to 33, 66, and 100 steps, four long years passed. What a learning and enriching experience! Despite several internal struggles to give up at the beginning, I stuck with it and gradually noticed the mental and physical benefits, including the keen recognition that it was having an amazing, unexpected positive effect on my tennis game. I considered myself, in hindsight, truly fortunate to have stayed on long enough to experience first-hand the beauty and wisdom of T’ai Chi.
Because of T’ai Chi’s slow and highly deliberate movements and the emphasis on correct posture and stance, my quadriceps become stronger, which has helped to significantly control my knee movements and reduce knee stress. My posture is more aligned with the energy flows, known as “qi”, which, when the paths are cleared, nourish and soften the joints. My mind has become more relaxed, calm, and clear and less reactive.
In addition to these great health benefits, T’ai Chi taught me valuable tennis lessons I would never have imagined. As a direct result, not only am I able to continue to play tennis contrary to my surgeon’s prediction, I play better, rising from 3.5 to 4.0 last year in the United States Tennis Association ranking. I was thrilled to realize the similarity and connection between the two seemly opposite forms of exercise.
- With an ACL rupture I may not run as fast or pivot/cut as sharp, but I learned to be more strategic and purposeful with every shot, or “move” as in T’ai Chi. I also learned to be more relaxed, focused, and not hurried on the court.
- I learned that “bending the knees” and “sinking the body low” are good preparation and make it easier to move around on the court more quickly.
- I learned in order to generate power and speed, “center turn” is much more effective and critical than swinging an arm or shoulder.
- I applied the rule of “70-30” often. Instead of going all out and playing aggressively, I remembered to save 30 percent of the energy/effort for the situations when more is needed.
- Through T’ai Chi, I came to appreciate my tennis coach, Jim Labinski’s motto of “zen tennis”, which is also his email address. For a fast-moving sport like tennis, “zen” is, surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the key, not “faster” or “stronger.” Often before a match, I do a quick T’ai Chi warm up and when I anticipate a highly competitive match, I make myself mentally ready with a standing meditation. It is amazing how effective these techniques are.
I love tennis, and I love T’ai Chi. I couldn’t be more grateful that through a knee injury, I discovered and developed a new passion, which in turn, quietly helped me to further another.
World T’ai Chi Day is an annual free event where participants around the globe practice T’ai Chi at 10 a.m. (local time) on the last Saturday of April.
We will gather in front of the McIntire Park Brooks Family YMCA 9:30 a.m. to warm up and then start the 100-Step T’ai Chi form at 10 a.m., followed by 10-15 minutes of Ch’i Kung.
Note: If it rains, we will meet at the CTCC Dojo.
If you are interested in trying T’ai Chi, please join us for this free chance to experience the relaxing flow of chi through your body!
World T’ai Chi Day
Place: McIntire Park Brooks Family YMCA
Date: Saturday, April 27
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00
The workshop will be held from Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16. All events will be held at the CTCC dojo, except for the two Saturday sessions at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
To register online, please see instructions below.
|Friday, December 14 (evening)|
|6:00 – 9:00pm||Ba Gua (note – there are prerequisites for this workshop) (at CTCC dojo)||$90|
|Saturday, December 15|
|10:00am – 12:30pm||Hsing I – Empty Hands (at Westminster Presbyterian Church)||$80|
|Lunch Break at Westminster Church – download order form above
|2:30 – 5:00pm||Hsing I – Weapons (at Westminster Presbyterian Church)||$85|
|Both Saturday Sessions||$160|
|6:00 – 8:00pm||Demonstrations and Pot Luck Dinner (at CTCC dojo)||Free|
|Sunday, December 16|
|10:00 – 11:30am||1 – 14 Steps (at CTCC dojo)||$65|
|11:45am – 12:30pm||15 – 33 Steps (at CTCC dojo)||$40|
|Lunch Break at Dojo — download order form above|
|2:30 – 3:30pm||34 – 65 Steps (at CTCC dojo)||$50|
|3:45 – 4:45pm||66 – 100 Steps (at CTCC dojo)||$50|
|5:00 – 6:00pm||Entire Form (at CTCC dojo)||Free|
|All Sunday Sessions||$200|
Online Payment for Workshop
You can register for Grandmaster Wang’s upcoming workshop using your PayPal account or a major credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover).
Please fill in the total amount for the sessions you wish to take and click the Pay Now button. You can either log into PayPal or click the “Pay with Debit or Credit Card” option.
Please bring a completed registration form to the first session you attend.
The Mildred W. Spicer Arts Fund was created in 2013 in honor of Spicer’s retirement from Charlottesville’s Department of Parks and Recreation after 33 years as therapeutic recreation supervisor.
On November 5, 2018, Hiromi Johnson, Director of the Charlottesville T’ai Chi Center, was awarded the fifth annual Arts Award from the Mildred W. Spicer Arts fund for her efforts in promoting the art form of T’ai Chi.
“Hiromi represents the spirit of the Mildred W. Spicer Arts Award through her dedicated support of individuals with disabilities and seniors in a variety of settings and through her commitment to positive awareness of artistic expression, improving the lives of others, and fostering inner growth and creative development,” Spicer fund officials said in a prepared statement.
Additional details found in an article at the Daily Progress.
Hiromi’s Thoughts on the Award:
14 years ago, when T’ai Chi and Qi Gong were not well known, Mildred was interested in having classes at Carver Rec Center. I felt a sense of destiny coming full circle, starting a class with Mildred then, and receiving the Mildred Spicer Arts Fund Award on Monday at City Space as a representative of CTCC.
I am grateful for the recognition we have received for our work. However, I didn’t make this journey alone. I was accompanied by all the dedicated teachers and staff who believed in us and gave us inspiration to work with the community. Instructors and students at CTCC have supported my vision and passion, too.
Why am I so interested in sharing T’ai Chi with the community? It is because you can see each person has something special inside. We introduce T’ai Chi as a means of help people express themselves. In return, we receive beautiful smile, voice (which we couldn’t hear in the beginning of semester), and movement that make you smile back.
Serving the community has been a joy and privilege and we will continue working with them and keep improving our skills so more people will benefit from T’ai Chi and Qi Gong practice.
Come join us for two workshops with Master Hiromi!
The first workshop will be a deep dive into Grasp the Peacock’s Tail – a fundamental movement in T’ai Chi. Come deepen your understanding of this movement.
The second workshop will focus on refinement of the T’ai Chi Sword form. Master Hiromi received updates to this form in Taiwan and will provide details and refinement during this workshop.
To register online, please see instructions below.
>> View the flyer here
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2018
Place: Charlottesville Tai Chi Center Dojo
206 East Water Street — Google Map
2-hour parking validation available for the Water Street Parking Garage next door
Mini T’ai Chi Grasp the Peacock’s Tail
Time: 10:15am – 12:15pm
T’ai Chi Sword Refinement
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Cost for both workshops: $100
Online Payment for Workshop
You can register using your PayPal account or a major credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover).
Please select your option and then click the Pay Now button.