I have attended Dietmar Stubenbaums workshop in Nurnberg last weekend. For me the workshops always bring new directions for the next weeks training. Dietmar is very skillful in making the workshops interesting for students with different levels of experiences. In our approach to practice of Taijiquan we focus in details on the basics – the stance, basic stepping, elementary movements of Chan Si Gong – „silk reeling exercise“ with stress on extension and roundness. The roundness of the hand movement and correct hand rotation along the axis are important step in developing the Nei Jing and internal connection. Without this it makes no sense to try to develop the Dan Tian, or play with Fa Jin.
I have to work much on my upper body relaxation and on the correct position of the pelvis, correct sitting in the standing positions. Sitting most of my days in front of computer screens with hands on the keyboard and mouse has great impact on my spine and body muscle stereotypes. Dietmar explained how to use abdominal breathing to relax the upper body. The upper body must be soft and relaxed, but this requires firm stance.
Dietmar explained the Xiao Jia approach to basic stance, Ma Bu – roundness in pelvis – Yuan Dang – hanging the lower back, closing of the front circle in legs and keeping feet parallel. I liked Dietmars simile where he said that the leg position is like the arc in the architecture; its strong, can keep a lot of pressure and gives a lot of flexibility and softness to upper part of the body. The contrast of stance firmness and upper body relaxation, softness, Dietmar accompanied by explanations about the yin-yang theory in the Taijiquan context. He also used the images from the Chen Xin’s book, using the newly published German translation.
We also did a lot of stepping with different focus, trying to get the knee high, keeping the position close, soaking and pushing the foots, like in a cat walk, as is said in Xiao Jia. And we tried to develop stronger muscles in the thighs. To the surprise of the beginners, people sweat in Taijiquan training, especially if we fight with ourselves in the lower stances.