I'm training this weekend with Chen Huixian in Madison, Wisconsin. I'm looking forward to seeing how she teaches and performs the Chen straight sword form. That is the primary focus of the workshop, especially on Saturday and then Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon she will review and make corrections on Laojia Erlu, which she taught a year ago at her Madison workshop.
Preparing for workshops like this has reminded me how important it is to set goals. I have pushed myself a little harder as the workshop has drawn closer. These workshops are NOT easy. They are physically demanding, and at age 66, trying to cope with one lung and a heart issue, actually going through a 15-hour workshop in a weekend pushes me to the very limit of my capacity.
I usually come home and have to take a couple of days to recover.
Because I don't want to look weak in front of a workshop group, I push myself in the weeks leading up to the workshop to do a little more and try to strengthen my body a bit more.
Back when I competed in several tournaments each year, I always had a goal, and I had to push myself toward excellence because the fear of not being good in front of a jury of black belts simply was not acceptable.
The photo attached to this shows me with my student Chris Miller after we competed in a large regional tournament in 2006. I won a sword for winning first place in a black belt division.
This is one of the reasons I loved tournaments. I had to be at the top of my game. I videotaped a lot of performances (we used tape back then) and watching my performances taught me a lot about what I needed to improve. I was rarely ever satisfied with a performance.
Do you have a goal? Perhaps it is just writing a note on a calendar that you will learn a form by a certain date, and then put reminders along the way. Perhaps it is an upcoming workshop, or an upcoming tournament.
Or maybe you schedule a live coaching session with me. Members of my website get to schedule live sessions with me via Skype or FaceTime as part of their membership fee. It is truly the next best thing to being in the same room. We develop friendships, too.
And if just might inspire you to practice so you will look better when we do the session. :)
If you would like to learn the internal arts -- Taiji, Xingyi or Bagua -- but you don't have a teacher nearby, or you can't afford the cost of classes, this just might be your opportunity. But remember that no matter how you learn, you must set goals, decide when you will achieve the goal, and then work to make it happen.
If I can do it, you can do it.
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