My genuine mission in Beijing was to have my personal experience with local Chinese training Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Therefore I have decided to go to Beihai Park, located behind the Forbidden City. Another beautifully created park with artificial lakes, islands and hills where you find peace and harmony.
I entered through the north gate and headed to the Temple of Five Dragons where I was following a middle aged man who looked he would probably train tai chi as he was wearing the typical loose pants. I saw him entering the temple for a short prayer then I followed him further to the site of the Nine Dragon Screen (wall) where I noticed other people training with weapons, playing badminton and ???
The person who caught my attention was a pretty old woman who was performing a form with the sword teaching another matured lady. When she finished, she moved to a place where three other people (two men and a woman) were performing some Tai Chi forms.
I moved closer, installed myself on a stone with good view and observed the three and made some photos.
‚My‘ man who brought me there appeared to be a doctor. He was giving an acupuncture treatment to one of the Tai chi practitioners. He was sitting for a moment, made his treatment and left.
I spent about one hour to observe my group, led by the master-woman – and when I say master, I mean it.
Her smooth, precise, elegant performance was a pure pleasure for the eyes. To me she was the most beautiful woman I have met on my trip. Elegance, grace, harmony, peace, confidence and power became more and more impressive while I was watching her. Then she started to perform a whole form, similar to kata in karate. I noticed it and started do film her. It took her a few minutes to finish it and I was focused on keeping the camera steady to avoid blurred pictures. Unfortunately I didn’t do a perfect job.
I was observing them for more than an hour and I was sure they were noticing me. I’m also sure that they made some comments. When my master finished her kata, all the group looked at me, including the master-teacher. I was welcomed with a smile in a warm and friendly way. I went to them, greeting them with a bow and introduced myself and expressed my admiration to their training. Of course they didn’t understand me verbally as they didn’t speak English.
Like every tourist on some adventure trip, I asked my master to take a picture with her. What she did. Then something unexpected happened...
She took her position just in front of me and she started to teach me some basic hand movement, practiced parallel one-on-one. At the same time she corrected my body positioning, balance and hand movement. It was a just great experience to me to train with her. A great experience and lesson I will remember for a long time and I will study in the future.
The difference between Chinese and Japanese martial arts culture is, that Japanese women can’t teach on an expert level as masters or be on top of a master class as a head teacher. The Japanese Martial arts culture is more masculine and reserved to men, however they let women train martial arts. In China a woman’s position in society is different and I think more open.
To view Beihai Park Tai Chi training picture gallery go to: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1512309115671519&id=1472062136362884