An Unique Experience with SCIC Beijing in China

1 week Intensive Course at Chen Tai Chi Village

Program Title: Chinese Language & Tai Chi Course
Host School: Wenxian Taiji and Wushu School
Teachers: Chen Erhu
Course Date: 25th June - 2nd July 16

Written by Elizabeth (SCIC Tai Chi Student)

After 3 month Chinese language study in Beijing Language and Culture University with SCIC Beijing, as part od my study program I flew to Zhengzhou to spend a week training in Chen taijiquan with Master Chen Erhu in Chen Village Tai Chi School. 

Chen taijiquan is the oldest and parent form of taiji. Many Westerners are familiar with the long, slow movements of Yang-style taiji (Yang Luchan studied Chen-style originally), so they are surprised when they see the twisting and spiralling movements of Chen-style, and the explosive force that can be generated by moving like this. Chen taiji originates from Chen Village, and Master Chen Erhu (the 'Second Tiger' of Chen Village) has his school there.

Training at the school starts at roughly 8-8:15 in the morning. Firstly I warmed up by running round the training hall (a large building resembling a school gymnasium) with the other students there, then stretching, before I began work on the Chen basics of silk reeling and other exercises. I trained for roughly two to two-and-a-half hours in the morning, until 11:15, then I had a three hour break for lunch and rest before training again in the afternoon. In the evenings I either rested or went out with Master Chen and some of his students for dinner.

There are about thirty to forty students there, ranging from maybe four or five to late teens, and some students who were quite a bit older. Some of the students spoke some English, Master Chen spoke a little, and I practised what Chinese I knew. 

I learned many useful basics during my time in Chen Village, as well as most of the 71-movement Chen spear form. The training was difficult, as some days it was extremely hot, and I was the only foreigner there (Chen taiji, done properly, also requires a considerable amount of leg strength), but it was worth it.