The whirlwind of Chenjiagou is over. We are blurring along on the bullet train from Luoyang to Xi’an, where we will grab a quick dinner then catch another bus to Louguantai for the rest of our trip. We will transition from amoeba-like hoards of taiji players milling about into 5 days of Taoist study and reflective taiji practice based on the Tao Te Ching.
The time in Chenjiagou was amazing. We saw so many representatives of Chen style taijiquan practicing, competing, demonstrating, culminating with jaw dropping demonstrations by the Chen family – Chen Bing, Chen Ziqiang, Chen Xiaoxing and Chen Xiaowang. We visited the ancestors’ temple, walked the ditch, shopped the weekly market, and said hello to friends we’ve met through our practice. Some we will see later in the states, others we won’t see until we return to the village on another trip.
We visited with Pengfei, Chen Xiaowang’s son, who is working hard to preserve the heritage of which he is so proud. Hopefully in the near future, we will visit a special taiji village restored by Pengfei, in the mountains, where taiji is not only a martial arts practice, but a complete way of life that guides diet, exercise, and contemplation.
This next phase will be quiet. We will study twice daily, and visit nearby historical sites daily, including a local Catholic Church, one of the earliest in China. It will take a few days to settle down, but I look forward to the opportunity to meditate in the place where Lao Tzu is thought to have created the Tao Te Ching.
Eight nights of sleep remain until our flight home. In the beginning it seemed so long, now the departure time is slipping closer. Even with all of the challenges so far, I value this time in China. I love returning here to visit the birthplace of taiji, my beloved art, to see my teachers in their home, and to practice with my friends and family.
Postcript: Xi’an train station. Broken escalator. Stairs and a 50 lb bag. Not missing my kettlebell class so much right now.