The Tai Chi Training Camp in Toyohashi, 2012 #1: Let’s enjoy Tai Chi!

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     “I won’t start the bus until it’s full,” the bus driver said. I couldn’t believe my ears. “What?!”

     There was an annual Tai Chi training camp in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, on October 6 and 7. I took part in the event with some of my friends. We met Nagoya Station at 10:00 in the morning and came to Toyohashi together because we were going to catch the shuttle bus which would depart at 11:15 to Hotel Nikko Toyohashi. And we made it in time. But we couldn’t get in the bus because of limited seating. The bus driver called his co-worker to pick us up. So, we gave up the bus and decided to wait for the next bus.

     The next bus arrived at the bus station 15 minutes later. We got on the bus and were waiting for the departure. But the driver didn’t start soon. He might notice my stare, he said, “I won’t start the bus until it’s full,” with a microphone. I had thought the bus would start soon because we had not been able to get on the former one. In the end, the bus could not be full and departed after noon. Nearly one hour passed after we arrived at the bus station. If we had known this would happen, we could have had lunch while waiting or would have left home one hour late…

     But something gave us a lift soon. It was lunch! There are many restaurants around the hotel. So after we arrived at the hotel, we went to one of them, Musashi, the Japanese restaurant. They had a limited offering of 20 lunch specials for 1000 yen: kushi-katsu, or skewered pork cutlets with shredded cabbages, sashimi, nimono, or boiled and seasoned vegetables, chawan-mushi, or a cup of steamed egg custard with vegetables and seafood, tofu, Japanese pickles, rice with green and miso soup. That was wonderful.

     After lunch we went back to the hotel and changed into our martial arts uniforms. Master Kay Yang came to the training camp from Tokyo and had a lecture. The participants learned six of 24 lesson points there:
1) Qi Chen Dan Tian: to focus on the abdomen
2) Xin Jing Yong Yi: to calm your nerve and concentrate
3) Chen Jian Chuizhou: to relax your shoulders and lower your elbows
4) Shenzheng Ti Song: to have good posture and relax
5) Nei Wai Xiang He: to harmonize the inside (mind, conscious, and breath) with the outside (body and movement)
6) You Song Ru Rou: to ease up and soften your movement

     Actually I was very sleepy during the lecture. You know, I had big lunch…So, I was very relieved when we stood up to practice Tai Chi. The participants checked those points and the relevant actions: “Qi Shi (Commencing form)”, “Ye Ma Fen Zong (Part the wild horse’s mane)”, “Bai He Liang Chi (The white crane spreads its wing)”, “Lou Xi Ao Bu (Brush knee and twist step on both sides)”, “Shou Hui Pi Pa (Hand strums the lute)” and “Dao Juangong (Step back and whirl arms on both sides)”

     At night we had a big dinner. We enjoyed the feast and a scissors-paper-stone competition. There were more than 360 people and only 5 people could get prizes. I was eliminated in the first round, but Miyuki, one of my friends, was able to advance the third or the fourth round. Wow! After the feast, we had a lecture again. We saw an old video, in which the late Master Yang Ming-Shi was doing Tai Chi. It was a short clip of a NHK TV program aired 28 years ago. According to Ms. Kay Yang, that was the first Tai Chi movement introduced to Japan through a medium. Most Japanese people had never heard of or seen Tai Chi before that. But nowadays not only most people know about Tai Chi but also many of us enjoy it. I think that is wonderful. (To be continued…)

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