Im back from Beijing and sleeping a lot the last two days. I might post some pics when I lay hands on other peoples. I take less and less myself each visit because I guess this just feels more and more like my life to me and less and less picture worthy.
The trip has refocused me though. Li Bing Ci was in much better health this year. I can't tell you how happy this makes me because I have a real affection for him. Its kind of funny to me to watch year after year people seduced by Liu Jing Ru's force of personality and overlook that the deepest most enlightening training is always provided by Li Bing Ci. Li is exactly what I would hope a real internal master to be. He focuses our training on refining our structure and our movement and energy and is emotionally invested enough in us understanding what he is teaching that he actually gets frustrated when we don't understand. A lot of people read that as him being cantankerous. I appreciate that he wants us to preserve his art and actually considers us an outlet to doing that.
Which is why this year was so special. On the sixth of January Frank, Tina, myself, Doctor Earl, Doctor Jon, and Old Robert had the honor of becoming Li Bing Ci's first western disciples. I can't really articulate what an honor this is. Most Taiji in the west is Yang style and Chen style. There are 3 other recognized systems of Taiji in China that are largely unknown elsewhere (and butt loads of unqualified guys creating their own illegitimate styles). Northern Wu style is recognized by many within China as the most refined and internal Taiji of them all. Li Bing Ci is famous within China for his skill. He is a fourth generation linage holder of the art and considered the greatest living master of the system. That is very high on the Taiji tree in general. Most people teaching in the west aren't even linage holders and those that are are significantly farther down the tree.
What does this all mean? Well, it doesn't make me a superhero unfortunately. What it does do is put me on record in China. Li is treating me as a diplomat to the west. And that is enough for me. I am honored. The fact that Li showed improved health makes me think that I need to move to China as soon as I am able to study with him. At the very least I need to start traveling with frequency to China to study. I need to drink whatever water I can get because well, when Li is gone the next best teacher is not even close.
Incidently, getting blitzed on bijou toasting raids with a bunch of martial brothers and sisters and 80 year old who's who of Beijing internal arts masters was awesome, maybe even one of those great moments in life.
I am honored to be part of this family and I will make the most of what opportunities it offers me to grow and to grow the art.