Back in 1996, Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang visited San Francisco to teach a workshop. Bill and I went - he was well known, and Bill met him in the late 80s during a Taste of China event, so we were pretty excited to train with him. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Bill had to return to San Diego without doing the seminar, so it was just me and my first experience with this level of a taiji teacher. It was an amazing workshop, but the thing I remember most is the way he opened the bathroom door with a fajing! I tried to mimic it and the door didn't even move. I learned a lot about taiji at that workshop (besides how to open a bathroom door). That workshop created some amazing opportunities for us. The following year we went to Denver to attend his seminar, then at our invitation, Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang came the San Diego the following year, and he, his brother Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing, and their family have been traveling to San Diego and the US to teach us every year since then. When Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang stopped coming to the US, Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing became our primary teacher, and he has been incredibly generous with us, advancing our form and our practice to a degree that it has carried over into how we conduct ourselves as we go through life.
This year is the final year of Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing's travels outside of China. He has been coming to teach us for over a decade, and his style of teaching has remained clear, concise, and true to the art that his family created. We've supplemented his visits here with our visits to China, taking groups of students with us almost every year over the last 13 years. Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing's final seminar in San Diego earlier this month was no different than all of the others - he offers amazing corrections and insights into the internal aspects of the form, and is so generous with his teachings to students of all levels. Our last flow together of the laojia yilu was very poignant, as the realization that he wouldn't be back set in. The Chen family has contributed much to my own evolution as a human being over these many years, and I am so grateful for all they have shared with us. The lessons in the alley, the standing corrections for over an hour at a time, the discussions on the history of their art, teaching us how to make noodles and squash soup, and most importantly, the teachings of how to behave - all of it has been so dear. Bill and I will continue to go to China to study with them as often as we can, and we will continue to take our students so that they can see and feel the roots of our art in the place it was created.
The 20th generation is their gift to all of us. We will continue to benefit from this group of amazing teachers for many years to come, and hopefully we will all do our part to teach the 21st generation the valuable lessons that taijiquan brings, not just about martial arts, but about life and how to live it.
Zaijian for now, Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing! See you in China in July 2019!