Memories from 2009

BRUNO REPETTO,
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

“I found it very valuable to be able to gain insight into the common aspects between the major Tai Chi Chuan styles. Each Grandmaster had different ways to focus on those aspects, and this allowed me to value the teachings and to understand the depth of my own chosen Tai Chi Chuan style.

There was a very high level of open-mindedness in the various Symposium presentations, and the seminars taught by the Grandmasters. There was a pervasive sense of belonging to the Tai Chi Chuan family. I will always remember the camaraderie and friendliness of everybody, whether they were experienced Tai Chi Chuan practitioners, or new ones. I made many new friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with today.”

 

ANGELA SOCI,
Sao Paulo, Brazil

“My memories from the 2009 Symposium are very special to me. Being in front of each one of the Grandmasters and receiving teachings directly from them was amazing! Seeing their performances, hearing their talks with such great wisdom, understanding their histories, and also witnessing their humbleness made me understand more and more that Tai Chi Chuan is a special art which belongs to humanity and benefits peoples’ health and transforms their lives for the better. People all over the world can benefit from this art.

I also had the opportunity to share research related to cognitive impairment and offering this contribution for the great purpose of bringing together tradition and science was also very exciting.

I believe the 2014 Symposium will bring new ideas and surprises, and be an event which will be remembered forever!”

 

HELENE DOBROWOLSKY,
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

“Attending the 2009 International Tai Chi Symposium as a participant and volunteer was a wonderful affirmation of why I love to practice and teach Tai Chi Chuan. The Grand Showcase and Masters Demonstration was particularly uplifting. Watching the world’s best Tai Chi practitioners demonstrate their skills to an enthusiastic audience felt like I was attending a world-class rock concert. Repeated standing ovations greeted the many excellent performances.

For me personally, it was particularly moving to once again study under Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo and witness the passing of the torch to his grandson Master Yang Jun. I was also inspired by the women Masters, particularly the workshops led by Helen Wu and Zifang Su.

I met people from all over the world, as hundreds of people of different ages, nationalities, professions, and political orientations all came together to share their common passion, the practice and study of Tai Chi. I left with many new and valuable tools, techniques and ideas for my own practice and teaching. For anyone with the least interest in furthering their Tai Chi journey, I highly recommend attending the 2014 International Symposium.”

LORRAINE NOVAL, PHD
Asian Arts Group Tai Chi Center, Albany, NY, USA.

“The 2009 Symposium was a fantastic opportunity to study with the world’s greatest Tai Chi masters. The lectures and the research meetings provided many hours of thought-provoking ideas. No one serious about their Tai Chi studies should pass up this year’s opportunity to learn directly from the lineage grandmasters representing all the major Tai Chi styles.”

 

VIOLET LI,
Tai Chi Examiner and a 12th Generation Chen Tai Chi Inheritor.

As a journalist of Tai Chi, I found the International Tai Chi Symposium was the most newsworthy event of all time. As a Tai Chi practitioner, I was totally overwhelmed by the profound knowledge shared by Grandmasters and experts. It was like a dream come true that I learned directly from not just one but several lineage holders, who are treasures of our time.

 

DALE NAPIER
Author, Tai Chi in Your Life: 8 Principles That Can Change Your Life While Learning and Growing with Tai Chi.

The 2009 Tai Chi Chuan Symposium transformed and expanded my vision of teaching tai chi chuan. Instead of one teacher in one community, I now saw myself as part of a huge group of talented people who were dedicated to transforming people’s lives and by extension, the world. The experience inspired me to publish my book the following year. I am looking forward to attending the Symposium again in 2014.

Pre-Symposium Workshops A and B

With Master Han Hoong Wang

By PAT RICE, Director,
Program Department

A special part of the Symposium is the addition of two two-hour workshops scheduled Saturday, July 5. The Pre-Symposium workshops A and B are intended to provide those new to Tai Chi the foundation necessary for continued development and to deepen the understanding for experienced practitioners.

The Pre-Symposium workshops are scheduled to take place in the Spalding University Center gymnasium from 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time on Saturday.

Master Han Hoong Wang will present two 2-hour Pre-Symposium workshops. Both sessions have as their theme “Key Elements of Tai Chi Chuan” and both are designed to appeal to two audiences. The material introduces fundamental concepts and movements to beginner students who have little or no experience in the art, and identifies for experienced students at all levels the basic practices that are essential to making progress. Instructors also will find these workshops to be an excellent source of great teaching tips.

Workshop A , on Saturday morning, “Key Elements of Tai Chi Chuan: Warm-ups and Single Tai Chi Chuan Movements” includes a number of warm-ups and stretches that can be used not only to accomplish the usual purpose of preparing the body for movement, but also to initiate awareness of the important connections between mind and body. It presents the purpose and method of the ubiquitous martial arts and qigong practice known as “standing meditation” or “post standing.” Prior to learning Tai Chi movements, one learns basics for stances and footwork and basics for hand shapes and patterns. After this, selected single movements are learned and provide a means of learning the process of how to move.

Workshop B, on Saturday afternoon, “Key Elements of Tai Chi Chuan: Techniques to Loosen the Mind and Body” has similar purposes but contains slightly different material. You’ll learn that all styles of Tai Chi Chuan are guided by classic principles, which are instructions about correct and efficient use of the body structure. Primarily, practice is done slowly, with deliberation and concentration, for specific purposes. Techniques may vary from one style to another or from one teacher to another, but there are training methods that are common to all of them.

Comments from the Grandmasters

following the 2009 Tai Chi Chuan Symposium

Master Chen Zhenglei

I feel this event was very comprehensive, systematic and cooperative. First, it was comprehensive because first, the Grandmasters from all five styles were here, also with their families, disciples and students. It gave the Tai Chi Chuan enthusiasts from all around world an opportunity to learn the unique characteristics and features of each style. Second, lots of researchers, scholars and scientists were also invited to attend this symposium. Together, we discussed the intention and core value of Tai Chi Chuan and how/why Tai Chi Chuan benefits our health. This symposium covered all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan.

Second it was systematic because we had speeches talking about the Tai Chi Chuan theory, principle and concepts, classes to learn and practice the Tai Chi Chuan techniques, seminars to report the research status, results and directions. There were demonstrations and social parties. It provided not only the opportunities to learn the Tai Chi Chuan theory and practice Tai Chi Chuan techniques, but also the opportunities to exchange ideas, understandings and experiences. So it was very systematic.

Third, the schedules and arrangements of our daily activities were very detailed and thoughtful. We had enough time to move from one activity to next. That was very thoughtful, especially for the elderly. It was very important for us to have time to adjust the jet leg. There also were very good example that all Tai Chi Chuan styles are one big family. This is my overall feeling of this symposium.

I also like to talk a little bit about the difference between this symposium and other events. In China, many events I attended invited the researchers, scholars and scientists and gave everyone twenty to thirty minutes to present their research paper. At the end, the masters did some demonstration. The event was over. This time we not only had keynote speeches, seminars and demonstrations, but also discussions. The attendees had opportunity to exchange their ideas with researchers, scholars and scientists, even masters. That was first time, it did not happen before. I hope, in the future, we can keep this format going. The masters and researchers, scholars and scientist would have broader and deeper discussion about physical and mental benefit of Tai Chi Chuan. More importantly, we need to help each other to push Tai Chi Chuan research to a new height.

Finally, I want to thank the symposium staff and volunteers. Their dedication and hard work made the symposium a big success. We had time to tour, sight-seeing and shopping. That was also very thoughtful. In my experience of many similar events, this time was much more detailed and thoughtful. Some small details, such as wakeup calls and schedule reminders, were well taken care of. I was very satisfied.

Fourth, it was very cooperative and unified. This is very important. From start to end, we all stayed in a cooperative and unified atmosphere and environment. The masters were very respectful to each other. The attendants were very cooperative. They learned all five styles, also from each other.

Master Ma Hailong

I felt this symposium was a very successful one. I say it was successful first because of the united and cooperative atmosphere. There was a similar event held in South China Normal University several years ago. That event was not as same as this time. This symposium was primary organized by the International Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association. That was very impressive. Second there was the deep and strong academic and research involvement. The open conversation between the masters and researchers and scientists we had in the symposium was the first time in my experience. Third the attendants were from many different countries. They all paid very close attention and worked very hard throughout the whole event. For example, in one of my class, I asked if you only studied Tai Chi Chuan for 6 month please raise your hands. No one raised hand. I asked again for five years. No one raised hand. Most attendants had 10 or more years of Tai Chi Chuan experience. They had very good understanding and strong foundation of Tai Chi Chuan. Although they need to learn the sixteen-movement forms form of five different styles in a short period of time, they all did very well. It was very impressive. This symposium was very well organized. The staff and volunteers worked very hard. I was very moved by this. They are the heroes. Finally, I want to congratulate the success of this symposium.

Master Sun Yongtian

I feel this symposium was very well organized. Everything was ready for us at the time we arrived. The classes were well schedule and arranged. For example, all five styles had classes scheduled for the attendances taking turn to learn each style. The 16- movement form gives people an opportunity to feel and understand the unique characters and features of each style. I could tell the attendances were very enthused. Although they worked very hard and were tired at the end of each class, my observation told me they were very pleased and happy. So, this symposium gives all the attendants who love or are interested in Chinese culture and Tai Chi a worthy event.

Tai Chi Chuan will not only give them direct physical and mental health benefit, but also add fun to their life. I hope by practicing Tai Chi Chuan, it will improve people’s physical and mental health, and help their work, advance their career and expand their business.

One more important thing that occurred during this symposium, Grandmaster Yang Zhenduo made an important decision. He accepted Yang Jun and Yang Bing as his inner disciples. They were grandfather and grandsons. Now they are also master and disciples. This is a big event well worth to congratulate. Yang Jun was also named the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan fifth generation lineage holder (in Chinese, it is called Zhang Men Ren, the person holds the organization). The acceptance and announcement ceremony was presided by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei and witnessed by the grandmasters of all five Tai Chi Chuan styles. From the success of this symposium, I believe grandmaster Yang Zhenduo made a correct decision. Yang Jun is well qualified for this position. We, representatives of other styles, were honored to witness the ceremony and very happy to congratulate Yang Jun for his achievement.

Master Yang Zhenduo

There was a similar event in Sichuan in 1982. I attended that event as the representatives of Yang style. There were many grandmasters, such as Chen Xiaowang, Fen Zhiqiang, Hong Junshen, Gu Liuxin from Chen style), Fu Zhongwen, myself and Wu Tunan from Yang style, Yao Jizhu from Wu-Hao style, Sun Jianyun from Sun style, Ma Yueliang and Wu Yinghua from Wu style, attended that events. This is the first thing in my memory. That event was the first time ever in China’s modern history. It was the first international Tai Chi Chuan event since 1949. All the participants were very excited and also were very encouraged by that event. Mr. Chen Xianglin, the head coach of the Wuhan city Martial Arts Team, was the primary organizer of that event. Unfortunately, Mr. Chen Xiangling is no longer with us.

Many of the grandmasters I mentioned before were no longer with us as well. Only Fen Zhiqiang, Chen Xiaowang and I are still alive. That was sad. It is very hard for me to look back. I am 84 years old now. A few of the masters in my generation are still alive. Although the old generation is moving away, Tai Chi Chuan has passed on to the new generation. These newcomers are carrying on Tai Chi Chuan and move it to a new height.

Looking back and forth, Tai Chi Chuan has been recognized by more and more people. Tai Chi Chuan is getting more and more popular in China, as well as internationally. This trend is very exciting and encouraging. I am over 80 years old. As Grandmaster Sun said, I took Yang Jun as my student and disciple, and appointed him as the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan fifth generation lineage holder and leader. Although Yang Jun is quite young, from his past activities, I am very confident in his ability to develop and promote Yang style Tai Chi Chuan.

All the achievements Yang Jun made are also from the big help given by the friends all over the world. I hope the Tai Chi Chuan will be more and more popular in the future. From the conversation with the researchers and scientists, I think that the 16- movement or 13-movement form we developed, the goal is to promote Tai Chi Chuan. Many people are in their best time of their career but passed away suddenly. That is very sad. For the busy people, if you don’t have time for 16 movements or 13 movements, you can do one movement such as cloud hands and still get benefit from Tai Chi Chuan.

The last thing I want to say is this. This symposium was very successful. During the symposium, there were some interviews by reporters. I hope the symposium organizer can make those interviews, as well as the symposium news, available for Chinese media such as CCTV.

Spalding University

In demonstrating its rich heritage of student learning and public service, Spalding University has earned certification by the Compassionate University Initiative (CUI), a student-faculty driven program striving to awaken compassion in the community as a “Compassionate University.”

Spalding is pleased to offer International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium attendees low cost lodging and dining. The facilities are within walking distance to Symposium venues and downtown Louisville.

Spalding Suites

Located at 901 South 2nd St., the Suites are the newest addition to Spalding’s residence halls. Opened in August 2011, the Suites were designed for true community living as all residents share a common living room, kitchen and bathroom within their suite.

Residents can choose to live in a private bedroom within an 8 person suite, a double bedroom within an 8 person suite or a double bedroom within a 4 person suite. Bedrooms come equipped with a standard twin size bed, desk and chair, cable box, and wardrobe. All bedrooms have windows and blinds and a private lock.

Suites come furnished with a couch/loveseat and chairs, floor lamp, dining room table and chairs, fullsize refrigerator, stove top, oven, microwave and cabinets. Each Suite has 2 bathrooms to keep the morning congestion to a minimum. Suites also feature a 42” wall-mounted flat-screen TV with cable and multiple inputs and wireless internet.

The specially designed ‘First Year Pods’ are intended to maximize the social experience of First Year Students and acclimate them to the Spalding community of learners. The living, dining and kitchenette (no stove/oven) areas are open access and are often used for first-year programs and social activities. Step outside your room and meet your neighbor!

Spalding Suites features two laundry facilities, a study lounge with computers and a recreational lounge with vending machines.

Morrison Hall

Located at 947 South 4th St., Morrison Hall is Spalding’s first residence hall. Originally opened in 1961, the residence formerly known as Our Lady of Louisville Hall only housed 116 students. An addition was constructed and opened in 1968 bumping the total occupancy to 350 residents. In 1970 the hall was renamed in honor of Sister Charles Mary Morrison who served as registrar and Dean from 1925 – 1950.

Newly renovated, Morrison Hall is a traditional residential community. Each floor features hall bathrooms as well as a study lounge. All the rooms in Morrison are doubles, where residents share a room with a roommate. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know your fellow classmates. Rooms feature two twin beds, two desks, two standard sized closets, and built in shelves.

Morrison Hall features a 24 hour front desk attendant, full game room with billiards, ping pong and big screen TV as well as a full kitchen for communal use. Just past the game room you’ll find an exercise room, study lounges and a large laundry facility.