Grandmaster Tse Manchester June 2014
I always feel a little nervous when Sifu comes up to Manchester. Manchester is where Sifu originally began teaching, when he moved to the UK from Hong Kong. It is where he started the Tse Qigong Centre and also where I began studying with him. Over 25 years have passed since then and things have moved on greatly. Many years ago Sifu made the decision to move away from Manchester and now the Centre is has spread out all over the world. Though he has since returned the UK he is, as you will know, based in London.
When he left Manchester he left me in charge and now the classes are mine and the students call me their Sifu. This has been a big responsibility and so each time Sifu returns to visit I want to show him that I have done OK. I speak to my Sifu a lot (virtually every day) so he knows what has been going on and how the classes and students are doing, but talking about it and seeing for yourself are two different things. So each time he comes I still feel a little nervous.
The seminar was very well attended. 30 odd students came along with some coming from a long way to see their Sigong/Tai Sigong. For some it was the first time they had seen him. It was nice to see such a wide range of students, from complete beginners, to students who have been studying almost 20 years. There was also mix in terms of the students’ studies. Some were Wing Chun students, some were Qigong students and some were Taijiquan students. There was also a good number who do more than one skill or even all of them. So faced with such a broad range of students both in terms of experience and skills being studied, I wondered what Sifu would teach.
After a warm up and taking a few questions, Sifu said he did not want to follow the exact same format as previous seminars, but instead wanted to talk about Ma Bo (Horse Stance) training. He explained that Ma Bo is one of the best exercises as it helps you release negative Qi and gather fresh Qi very quickly. It also settles the mind and strengthens to body, and also helps us to recover from illness and injury. As such it is a useful and important part of training, whether you do Qigong, Wing Chun, Taijiquan and Chun Yuen Quan.
Sifu then went on to explain and teach some of the different postures in Ma Bo; particularly interesting were the two variations of the middle postures and changing from middle to high positions. With each new posture Sifu let everyone try together and then work in partners to correct the positions before trying as a group once more. There is no doubt, that Ma Bo requires effort – Gong. I imagine everyone remember the first time they do Ma Bo (I certainly do). The majority of the Wing Chun students had never done this before and I was interested to see how enthusiastic they were to do more, even though some of them found it demanding. However Sifu, as always, taught gently and precisely and made sure everyone could manage. By the end everyone could start to feel the benefit of doing it.
After a short break Sifu then returned to the more traditional format of splitting into groups of Wing Chun, Taijiquan and Qigong students to go through various forms and for the Wing Chun and Chen Taijiquan learn some new applications.
Then with time running out it was time for Chi Sau. As always Sifu invited anyone to come and Chi Sau with him. Most who came up were seniors and it was good for the newer students to see how their Sigong handled them with skill, sensitivity, ease and a sense of humour.
All too soon it was time to end, but there was time for a group photo and a very good meal in China Town.
It was a very good evening. Everyone was happy. Sifu was happy, all the students were happy and so I was happy. Will I be nervous next time? Yes, most likely. Why you might ask? Because I need to show my Sifu that I’ve improved and done better than last time.