Grandmaster Michael Tse Seminar Nov 2012
Grandmaster Tse paid another visit to the Northwest and was greeted by a large group of excited students eager to benefit from his vast knowledge of Ip Man Wing Chun plus the other skills of Qigong, Shaolin Chun Yuen Quan and Chen Tajiiquan.
Because of the his history in Manchester and also because of the length of time people have been studying, Master Tse has ny city centres at this time of year, Manchester has already started its run up to Christmas. Undeterred by the crowds and scarcity of car park spaces, almost 50 students converged on Friends Meeting House ins Central Manchester for Master Tse’s seminar. Manchester is where Master Tse originally began teaching in the west and so it is always exciting when he returns.
Over the years he got to know many of the students. As well as many familiar faces, it was very nice for Master Tse to meet many newer students for the first time. It is always a little daunting meeting someone who is so highly regarded, never mind when it is your Sigong or Tai Sigong, and more “junior” students can often feel nervous and shy. However Sifu is also a master at putting people at ease with his informal manner and also his sense of humour. The Centre has always strived to create a “family” atmosphere and so everyone quickly began to feel at ease.
Following a warm up Master Tse invited any questions and these lead to some very interesting gems of knowledge.
When he was asked about inner movement and outer movement and how you can tell the difference. Sifu explained things from the first principles of Qigong. First we should relax, second we need good posture, third how we move from the waist, fourth how we then relate acupuncture points and channels and finally moving from the internal body. He explained that you can only know the difference when you can move from the internal body so the most important thing is that we relax. Even our breathing should be natural, and even though we are taught to breathe in and out at certain times in for example Balancing Gong, this is not fixed and we later need to let go of this and breathe naturally. This comes about when we are completely relaxed.
One senior Wing Chun student asked when the body should be as one and when it should be separate. Master Tse replied that the body should always be as one no matter if you are attacking or defending. The body should coordinate together so that it moves as one whole. This he went on to explain later on is to do with the strength and mobility of the stance as this also relates to your Gong Lik or internal strength. He said we should be clear about what is Gong Lik and what is stiffness. Gong Lik is flexible and although your opponent will feel you are strong, you can still change easily, whereas if you are stiff then you cannot let go and change and in fact you can easily be moved.
Sifu also said that he had seen a documentary on martial arts recently where some Master showed their power by sending them students flying away. He said maybe 15 years ago he would have found this impressive, today he did not. He went on to explain that though this showed how powerful the teacher was it was not a true picture of ones skill as no one in real life will just stand there and let you push them away. He said the more impressive demonstrations are when the teacher invites the other person to do anything they like and then deals with it skilfully.
Sifu then went on to demonstrate some of the core skills from Qigong – Balancing Gong, Chun Yuen – Xing Shou, Wing Chun – Siu Lim Tao and Chen Taijiquan – 19 Movements. The group then divided up and so the students could practise whichever skill they liked. Sifu went from group to group highlighting different aspects of movements to work on and fielding even more questions.
The evening went very quickly and there was an constant exciting buzz in the air. The evening drew to a close with Master Tse inviting any of the gathered Wing Chun students to Chi Sau with him. At first seniors jumped for the chance and then some more junior students plucked up the nerve. Each was greeted with a smile, toyed with and then dispatched with a grin. When someone smile or laughs when they have been beaten then they really know they have been outclassed.
All to quickly the evening came to and end and finished with a final family photo.
I would like to thank Sifu for coming over to inspire an encourage all of us in his unique and enlightening way. He will be back in April 2013!