Tag Archives: Tai Chi

The Tai Chi Training Camp in Toyohashi 2014: Congratulations, Satchan!

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1926730_599608880160996_25541487563107799_n-a     “Satchan!” I called out my friend’s name when I found her in the hotel’s lobby. She was sitting with her teacher. Where was I? I was in a hotel in Toyohashi to attend a Tai Chi training camp, which was held on October 4 and 5. Satchan was there to take a test for becoming a shihan( Tai Chi master.)

     The Tai Chi training camp is held every October. I’ve joined it since I was a beginner and this was probably the seventh time for me. The participants practice Tai Chi together and learn theory with some actual movements. In addition, there is an examination for becoming a Tai Chi master. Actually, not everyone can take the test. Test-takers have to fulfill all the conditions: having already the pre-master certification and five years further after taking it, a membership of Tokyo head office and a recommendation letter from their teachers. It takes at least ten years to qualify for taking the test after starting to do Tai Chi. DSCF0741-a

     Satchan met all the conditions. That was great! Actually, there were more than 80 people who were going to take the test this time! Wow! Mr. Kawamura was also included. He and I are learning from the same teacher. So, I came to the place not only to practice Tai Chi and meet my friends but also to cheer him at the test this time. DSCF0746

     Actually, I did not know that Satchan was going to take the test there until I found her at the hotel. I had thought she would take it at another opportunity in Tokyo because she had not mentioned anything about her participation. It might be because she and I are not “Tai Chi” friends. We are “English” friends. I mean, we got to know each other through English classes. I did not even know she was also doing Tai Chi when I started. That is why, we seldom talk about Tai Chi when we meet. Interestingly it was the first time for us to see each other in uniform, which is originally for karate but is our school’s (Yang Ming-Shi Simplified 24-Form Tai Chi) official costume. DSCF0771

     The test-takers were divided into two groups. Satchan and Mr. Kawamura were in the  latter group. Besides they were standing next to each other. So It was lucky for me because I was able to take photos of them once. All the examinees looked nervous before their names were called, but once the test started, interestingly the audience seemed to be more nervous than the performers. Fortunately, all of the candidates passed the test. Congratulations!

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The Tai Chi Workshop: These 88-year-old ladies would be able to deflate their age to 70!

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20140816_104129     Now Japan is the one of the top countries for long life expectancy. The average life span of Japanese people is about 84 and of Japanese women reaches over 87. But I’m wondering how many people over the age of 70 are healthy and live satisfying lives in this country…20140816_112514

     I attended a big meeting of Tai Chi during the Obon holidays. It was held at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on August 16. About 600 people gathered at the event and most of them were over the age of 65. The participants were divided into 10 groups and studied some actions of Tai Chi. I was able to study many things through the workshop.米

     At the beginning of the event, there was a ceremony in which two 88-year-old ladies received the kotobuki prize. Kotobuki means offering congratulations or longevity in Japanese. The ceremony was to celebrate their 88th birthday. The age of 88 is special in Japan. The Chinese character representing rice looks like the number 88 written in Chinese. You know, rice is the diet and the symbol of life in Japan. 20140816_134624

      The recipients looked much younger than their real age of 88. Their posture and expressions were beautiful. They would be able to deflate their age to 70. As you know, Tai Chi is effective for improving the functions of your heart and lungs and muscular strength. If I keep on doing Tai Chi, I might turn 88 healthily like them.

     By the way, I used the word Obon above, but do you know it? Many people take a kind of summer vacation in mid-August in Japan. It is called Obon holidays. Obon is August 15 and most companies give their employees some holidays including the day. Obon is not a national holiday, but interestingly is dealt with as a holiday. That is why the public transportation schedule is Sunday’s one around the day and most public offices and hospitals are closed. 20140816_150452

     This Obon day is believed by Japanese Buddhists to be the day that the spirits of the dead return to their family. So, basically Japanese people go back to their hometown and spend the holidays with their family including the ones who have already passed away. But young people have tended to spend the holidays for themselves not to meet their family recently. That is why many elderly people were able to attend the meeting…But they did not look sad at all. They looked energetic and were enjoying doing Tai Chi!

The Tai Chi Camp in 2013: I ate too much again!

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Why are they changing the light volume so frequently? I was wondering while doing a qigong exercise. I was doing that with other 400 participants. All of us were taking breath slowly as moving our arms at the same pace. No one uttered a word. The room became brighter and then darker repeatedly. Then I noticed that the room became brighter when we inhaled and became darker when we exhaled. I thought it was strange a hotel staffer changed the light volume in time with our movements…54220081000925697

     Then I came to a sudden realization that no one was controlling the intensity but I just felt like that way! Probably I perceived “qi” radiated from 400 people as light. When I inhaled slowly, the room got brighter and brighter, and when I exhaled slowly, it started darker and darker…How interesting! I’d never perceived “qi” that way. This strange thing happened while I was joining a big Tai Chi meeting in Toyohasi last October.

     The Tai Chi camp was held at Loisir Hotel Toyohashi on October 5th and 6th. I took part in it with two of my friends. When we got on a train, there were many ladies in it. And I glanced at them, wondering if all of us might be heading to the same destination. Sure enough, some of them who were sitting opposite to us smiled and gave us some candies! Suddenly our car became a kind of reserved train, and I was already able to have a wonderful time before the camp began.

     My friends and I had a lunch at a Japanese restaurant named Musashi nearby after we arrived at the hotel. They had many lunch specials, and I chose “hime-kgo-zen”, or a lunch set in a basket of a princess. Yes, the photo was that meal. It cost 1,000 yen. Hmm, reasonable. After lunch, the Tai Chi camp stared. But I was sleepy…you know, I ate too much…

     Around six o’clock, there was a feast. I met many people and made new friends over the wonderful dinner there. A teacher came to our table and told us an interesting episode: He has bought a new house recently in a countryside, where there are still many wildernesses. One night, he noticed a shadow of someone was getting closer to the frosted glass door. He wondered who came at that time of night. Then, the glass door slid open quietly without a knock, and a raccoon peered into his house. He was very surprised because he had not expected that non-human appeared. They stared at each other for a while. Then the raccoon seemed to give up something and left without closing door…

     Actually there was a workshop after the dinner. But I was sleepy…you know, I ate too much again…Around 8:30, it finished. I went to my room with my roommate. Not only me but also she ate too much at the banquet, but we went to a convenience store outside to buy some snacks… No wonder I can’t become thin…

    The morning training started at 6:30. I was almost a zombie. But I revived by breakfast! All of the participants practiced Tai Chi around 9:30. And as you’ve already expected, I was sleepy because I ate too much! After the session, there was an examination for becoming a master of Tai Chi. More than 60 people took the test and wonderfully all of them passed. I might be more nerves than the test-takers…During the test, there were a great deal of tension in the room… Relaxing after the event, I had lunch together with other participants. Ha ha, I ate too much again! Well, I had a great time at the Tai Chi meeting!

The Tai Chi Training Camp in Hakone 2012: "Are you coming?!"

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     “Actually, we’re coming to Hakone, too. See you later.” Soon after Michipon texted Kiku-chan that, she got its return message of surprise: “Are you coming?!” That was on the train heading for Odawara. Michipon, Fusa-fusa and I were going to Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture on the morning of May 6th. TS3N0098

     There is a Tai Chi training camp in Hakone on May 6th and 7th every year. An examination for promotion to grand master of Tai Chi is also held during the camp. Kiku-chan and his husband were going to take the test this year, and Michipon, Fusa-fusa and I were going there to encourage them. But we had not told them about that until Michipon texted Kiku-chan in the train that morning. We wanted to surprise them. But we became afraid that they might cancel the plan after getting on the train….That is why Michipon confirmed that by texting, and then revealed that we were also coming. TS3N0078

     At Odawara Station, Michipon, Fusa-fusa and I got on a bus. It was a usual city bus, but the inside of the car was probably unusual because it was jammed with people who were taking part in the Tai Chi training camp like us. Of course, the passenger sitting next to me was also a participant. Surprisingly, she came from Hokkaido! She was also taking the examination for being grand master of Tai Chi. Although it took nearly an hour to arrive at our destination from the station in the overcrowded cattle car, I had a great time talking to her about Hokkaido’s grand nature and Tai Chi.  TS3N0080

     The training was held at a gymnasium named Lake Arena Hakone. About 350 people from all over Japan participated in the meeting this year. Kiku-chan cried out gratefully, “I’ve never heard someone take part in the training camp to encourage examinees!” when Michipon, Fusa-fusa and I met her at the gym. TS3N0082

     As you can see, all the participants are wearing the same martial arts uniform. It is because that is our formal wear in Yang Ming-Shi Tai Chi. We usually do Tai Chi in casual clothing such as T-shirt and stretch pants. But all the participants at the meeting had to wear the uniform. That is why, Kiku-chan bought the uniform to take the examination, and Michipon, Fusa-fusa and I bought ours to see her and her husband this time.  TS3N0091

     It was a terrible weather that day. We had a thunder storm during the training at the gym. There was even a tornado in Ibaraki Prefecture and it killed a boy. But we went out the gymnasium after the meeting, the sky was getting clear up and we were able to see Mt. Fuji’s beautiful silhouette. I couldn’t take its marvelous figure with my phone camera, but the mountain was shinning silvery at night with a full moon. That was amazing.  TS3N0088

     Next day, it was a beautiful day that it was hard to believe that we had a terrible storm on the previous day. We practiced Tai Chi at 6:30 in the morning under the blue sky hearing birds singing. We could see Mt. Fuji’s elegant and beautiful shape. Someone exclaimed with pleasure, “Nevertheless I’ve come here for more than 15 years, it’s the first time for me to see such a beautiful Mt. Fuji!” That is, I was very lucky.  TS3N0109

     After breakfast, the examination for promotion to grand master of Tai Chi was held at the gymnasium. There were about 100 examinees this time and they were separated into three groups. The lady from Hokkaido was in group A, and Kiku-chan and her husband were in C. The room was filled with a feeling of tension. Only sound I heard was rustles of the performers’ costumes. And sometimes cameras’ shutter sounds…When the examination was over, it seemed that not only test-takers but also observers got relieved. Actually, people who did not take the test might be more nervous than the performers. I was very glad all of them passed the examination. Congratulations!  IMG1

     Kiku-chan and her husband took Michipon, Fusa-fusa, and me to a museum called Narukawa Art Museum in Hakone after the training camp. The museum is on the top of a hill, and you can enjoy not only its exhibits but also the view from the place. We appreciated wonderful modern Japanese paintings, and chattered over coffee and cake seeing a beautiful view from the café. I had a really great time with my friends. The trip to Hakone is going to be a cherished memory for me. TS3N0120 FH000019

 

The Taichi Training Camp 2011: Let’s Do Taichi for Health, Friendship and Peace!

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g-2-a      Have you ever done or seen Taichi? Actually, I do Taichi. There was a Taichi training camp for Aichi Prefecture Branch of Yang Min Shi Taiji Quan in Toyohashi on October 8th and 9th, and I took part in it with a friend of mine, Fusa-fusa. She and I enjoyed doing Taichi and meeting some of our friends there.

     After she and I arrived at the hotel and changed clothes for doing Taichi, we went to a big room, which seemed to be usually used for banquets, when we met Miyuki there. “How have you been?! ” All of us exclaimed each other joyfully. We were roommates last year. And then, Yama-P joined there, who is also my friend. She came to the training camp for taking a test for certification of master. We four sat on the floor with other participants and had a lecture together. g-3-a

     The lecture was held by Master Kay, the daughter of Yang Min Shi who is the founder of our style of Taichi. She claimed “Mind” was the most important for doing Taichi. “Mind, Breath, and Movement” are identified as the three important things for Taichi, but most doers learn how to breathe during Taichi and practice its movements. It is, however, very important to be free from all distracting thoughts when you do Taichi. That’s why, some people call Taichi as “Moving Zen”. As for me, it’s really hard to clear my mind when I do…TS3N1244

     Fusa-fusa and I were in the same room, which was on the 22nd floor (!), and had a great view from our window. After the lecture when we entered the room, there was a beautiful sunset out of the window. It’s difficult to find on this photo, but there are many windmills for power generation along the coast. Wind power generation will become more important and popular in Japan after the nuclear accident in Fukushima. I couldn’t stop praying for peace in this world when I was seeing those windmills and the sun setting over the sea.

     Fusa-fusa, Yama-P, and I were sitting at a table with some of the other participants. One of them was nearly 90 years old! He looked much younger than his real age and energetic! Another one came to the camp for taking a test for certification of master like Yama-P. Both of them were too nerves to eat much dinner. Poor thing. Actually, all of us at the table couldn’t eat so much because the food was not good, honestly…We poor thing!TS3N1247

     After the dinner, all of the participants listened to a talk between Master Nagamote and Master Kay. I didn’t know that Master Yang Min Shi had named himself “Min Shi” after he came to Japan from China, and the meaning of his new name is to become a history maker. So, he did!

     I went back to my room with Fusa-fusa, Yama-P, and Miyuki after the talk, and chatted for a while there. Yama-P went to her room because she wanted to rest earlier for the test next day, and Fusa-fusa, who is a color therapist, went to another room to consult some people. Miyuki and I went to a Starbuck’s near the hotel to have coffee.TS3N1255

     Actually, it was a quite unbelievable thing as compared to the previous hotel, in which the Taichi training camp had been held for past three years. Because the former one is located on top of the mountain near the sea and there’s no shops or restaurants nearby, people can’t go anywhere once they enter there… So, Miyuki and I enjoyed the night town a little. 

     Next morning, all of the participants got together and did Taichi at 6:30! Early! After the practice, there was a little topsy-turvydom in the hotel. They hadn’t expected 400 people came to have breakfast all at once. They had to prepare for a room for us to avoid any confusion with other guests and we had to wait for the meal nearly 30 minutes, standing at the narrow alley…TS3N1262

     From 9:30 in the morning, we had a practice all together. And then, there was a test for certification of master. Yama-P said she was really nerves and I was sure she was, but she looked dignified and very elegant while doing Taichi before judges. Of course, she passed the test! Congratulations, Yama-P! After the test, teachers showed others doing Taichi. Their performance was great and really beautiful. When will I be like them? Yama-P , after the test, had a good appetite. We enjoyed having lunch together. TS3N1269

     The training camp was the fifth time for me, and I was able to have a happy reunion with some friends there. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to be roommates with someone I don’t know at the hotel unlike at the former one, whose rooms are usually for four people or five. That is, it’s difficult to make new friends at the Taichi camp anymore…The new place was nice for practicing all together, though, I felt a little sad…But it’s really wonderful to meet many people and do Taichi together! So, I’m looking forward to the Taichi training camp next year!

 

The Tai Chi Class Party with Gorgeous Lunch

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練習風景1      I’m lazy…I learn Tai Chi in the extension center of a university, but the autumn-winter semester was over the other day…It seems that some diligent people do Tai Chi by themselves at home every day, but I don’t……TS3N0987

     After the Tai Chi course, the participants and our teachers had a party at a classroom of the university. It’s difficult to find a good place for having lunch together with all of the participants because there are more than 25 people in my class. So, we usually ask the university to use a room for the party and have catered lunch there. TS3N0985

     We enjoyed having the gorgeous catered lunch and talking to each other and then watching a few DVDs on Tai Chi together. That was a wonderful time. Spring course starts next month. I’m looking forward to seeing my classmates and doing Tai Chi together with them soon! You know, I don’t practice Tai Chi by myself!

 

 

Chinese Martial Art and Tai Chi Chuan 2010

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愛知大学ポスター      How generous Aichi University is! They held an event called “Chinese Martial Art and Tai Chi Chuan” on Nagoya Miyoshi campus for free on November 3rd. It was the 22nd annual event this year.

     There were four events: The 42-Form (Competition Form) Tai Chi Chuan, the 32-form Tai Chi Sword, Tai Chi Push Hands, and the 24-Form Tai Chi Chuan. I took the 24-form Tai Chi with two of my friends. Actually Tai Chi I usually do is different from that one. TS3N0921

     What I do is Yang Ming-Shi style, which was made from the 24-form Tai Chi by Mr. Yang Ming-Shi 50 years ago and has spread here in Japan. Actually it was not only me who took part in the event, but also many people who belong to Yang Ming-Shi style was there. TS3N0916

     The reason why I took the class at Aichi University because I thought I was able to learn many things through the original style and seeing other events. Amazingly, there were 150 participants in the class of the 24-form Tai Chi that day. I was very happy to know such many people love and enjoy doing Tai Chi. TS3N0912

     Not only the teacher but also many people around me taught me. I enjoyed not only doing Tai Chi but also chattering with many people there. That was wonderful. But I was really tired because I was at the gymnasium from before 9:30 in the morning to after 5:00 in the afternoon. TS3N0926

     There were performances of kung-fu by students of the university, of the 32-form Tai Chi Sword, of Tai Chi Push Hands, and the 42-form Tai Chi. Students’ movements were strenuous and energetic. It was my first time to see Tai Chi with swords. It looked really difficult, but interested me. Tai Chi Push Hands is Tai Chi played in pairs. They looked like dancing, but I know you can’t do that unless you’re an expert. I’d like to try it someday. The teacher of the 42-form Tai Chi is very beautiful. I’m a fan of her. Her movement is powerful, energetic but elegant and smooth. TS3N0927

     I’ve heard that Aichi University is going to move to the developing area of Nagoya Station soon. What will happen to the old campus including the gym? I hope they keep having the wonderful event.