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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:24 am
by Bamenwubu
Hey everyone,
Only have a very brief few moments online, I'm borrowing my mother in laws laptop and AOL connection.
I just got back from the Internal Arts Institute and my visit with Sifu Dimitri Mougdis.
He was extremely cordial and his students were first rate. They made me feel right at ease and I was very happy with the visit. Dimitri even gracefully offered me some floor space in his school to warm up and practice my forms. I was and am very greatful, as I have no place in the condo that is large enough to do anything but the 13 posture form. It felt good to step out and do sections 1 and 2. I didn't go all the way through 3 because I mangle the end up with another form I used to study and I didn't want to emberass myself by doing so.
Their form is very similar to the forms of Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo, very similar.
The biggest difference I noted was that beginners and advanced students practice different frame sizes, and that Left and Right Strike Tiger were VERY different forms from the ones taught by GM YZD.
Very different.
I don't have time to go into much detail, except that the footwork is very different and the upper body does much more.
I asked Dimitri to show me thier Left and Right ST after I watched some of his advanced student do their forms, and he did, I was amazed. I gave hime a very beginner level demo of the YZD form first. He didn't comment too much on it, except to say that it was probably done to make the form a bit easier for elderly people as L and R ST are very difficult forms to perform in YCF's original version.

Well, that's about all the time I'm gonna get for now. I'll be home on Monday, back to work Tuesday, so I'll have more to say around then.
In the meantime I would like to wish you all a very happy new year.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:00 pm
by yangchengfu04
Hi Bamenwubu, good to hear back from you! It sounds like you possess the right attitude and spirit in your TCC studies. There should be more students like you around with such an open mind and heart. You set a good example for others to emulate!

It sounds like you had a fun and interesting visit with them. Dimitri's quite a strong man isn't he? He has a nice little school happening down there in Florida. I do know that one of his students is a 4th or 5th dan in some form of Karate or Judo, and after training with Dimitri he gave that all up to study TCC full-time with him. In my mind, that says a lot.

[This message has been edited by yangchengfu04 (edited 01-01-2005).]

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:42 pm
by Bamenwubu
Thank you for the compliments. I simply strive to keep an open mind and learn as much as possible at all times.
I truly enjoyed the visit with Dimitri and his students and hope he did as well.
Just got in the door to work and am beginning to catch up, cruised through in my first coffee break to see what was new on the boards. After I get a chance to catch up on things I'll post a tad more about my visit.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:58 pm
by Bamenwubu
OK, another work break, another chance to further elaborate...
While I was visiting Dimitri I asked about the existance of a video of the forms his school practices that I might purchase (both Bill W. and my push hands partner had asked for one as well). He told me that there were no videos or even photographs available, and that Gin Soon Chu has prohibited any from being made or sold. He did say there was a video of Vincent Chu available for thier beginner/senior form, a very abbreviated version of their long form, but that he had no copies available and I would have to find one online.
I found this to be slightly confusing, especially considering that a poster of Yang Cheng Fu doing his form was prominently displayed on the wall of the studio, however I can certainly appreciate that this is not his rule but one from his Master that he has to follow. Disapointing, as I would really have liked to have been able to study their form more closely at leisure, as it fascinated me with it's similarities and differences, however as the family I previously studied under had the same prohibition for the entire time I studied with them (since dropped and now many videos are available), I certainly can understand how it comes to be that way.

While I was at the studio, Dimitri frequently made use of a long bamboo pole to gently touch his students from a distance in order to correct their forms. At first I was a bit put off by this, as no instructor I have ever trained with has used such a method, however after observing this method in use for a while I was struck with how obvious and effective this is for form correction.
With the pole, Dimitri was able to very quickly guide his students through any form corrections he desired, such as keeping the knees in line with the toes (a point he made frequently, admonishing his students that by moving them out of line they were destroying their knees) and to keep the shoulders down, the headtop raised, the elbows lowered, all the ten essentials were covered in each posture and by using the bamboo pole he was able to go directly to the area he wished to correct and immediately identify it to the student.
Also, there was no way anyone could feel "uncomfortable" by being touched by the instructor in this fashion, even one of an opposite sex (which was the case the first time I saw him use the rod), as he was a good five feet away from them and using only the bamboo rod with the lightest possible touch and his spoken words to make his corrections.
An extremely effective method, more productive than spoken words alone and leaving the student in no doubt as to exactly where he was going wrong with the form in question. This method consistenly returned an immediate and effective form correction by the student.

Let's see... what else comes to mind?

Ah, in my first report above I mentioned that Dimitri was very gracious about allowing me some floor space to stretch out and do some form work. In Dimitri's studio this is more gracious perhaps than you can imagine if you have not seen it.
The Internal Arts Institute is not very large, in fact it is smaller than any studio I have ever been in before. He has a storefront in a strip mall that I would say is slightly smaller than your average store front space. Longer than it is wide, the office and rest room are partitioned off by a wall and the rest is open studio floor.
The floor space is divided by red lines drawn on the floor in the shape of rectangles, each student takes a rectangle and that is the alloted space to practice in for them. Each space is approx three feet wide by five feet long, and there are not a lot of them. Fortunately there were very few students there when I was allowed space to practice, so I was able to use two sections to do my formwork.
Again, it was very much appreciated, as I had no space to do any type of form work other than the 13 posture form of GM YZD, and it's a good thing I practice the version of the 13 posture form with only two Cloud Hands at the beginnning, or I wouldn't have had space enough even to do that! So when I say that I was greatful, I truly mean it.

All in all a very good visit. As I will be travelling to Florida as often as vacation time and finances allow, and will be within driving distance of The Internal Arts Institute for most of those trips, I feel I will be visiting Dimitri again. He did say to me that I would be welcome anytime, and I felt that was sincere.
My thanks to Dimitri and the Internal Arts Institute students who made me feel welcome.

Only one other thing springs to mind.
Dimitri had many photos on his walls, and among them he pointed a gentleman who he tells me was responsible for Grand Master Yang Zhen Duo's education after his father passed away. He told me the name, several times, but my oft stated inability to retain chinese words or names unless I have them pounded into my head with a mallet has once again surfaced and I can not recall even a small part of it.
It made me realise that I have very little information on the Grand Masters background. If anyone has any further information regarding this individual, who apperently ensured that the Grand Master completed a college education as well as his training in TCC, I would greatly appreciate hearing about him.

I guess that's it for now. Hopefully I will remember more things as I contemplate the visit. There was so much to do and see, and very little time as it took me a lot longer to get to the studio than it would normally due to major construction on I-95 in the West Palm Beach area. What was billed as a 67
minute drive on AAA's travel instructions turned into slightly more than two hours, and because of that I also had to leave earlier than I wished as I had to make the return trip in time to meet my family for dinner reservations at a very swanky restaurant my father in law wanted to take us to.
So I was only able to visit for two hours, when I was planning on closer to four.
Now I know how to travel the Florida Turnpike, though, so it won't be a problem for my next visit.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:16 am
by Gu Rou Chen

The person you heard of may be Cui Yishi whose grandson is quite well known in China. He has a Taiji association, a website (I think?) and VCDs available for purchase.

Didn't Yang Zhenduo learn his Taiji primarily from Cui Yishi?

Cui and Wang Yongquan lived in Beijing and were quite close.


PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:55 pm
by Bamenwubu
Dunno. That's why I asked. If anyone else knows, I would appreciate finding out.
Simple curiosity, no real earth shattering reason that I know except for that.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:47 pm
by bamboo leaf
Why not just email him or the grandson though this site?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:48 pm
by yangchengfu04
Actually, I plan on going down to Florida in February. I will definitely pay the Internal Arts Institute a visit. Good folks down there and much love for the Yang TCC too!!

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:11 pm
by Bamenwubu
If you visit in February, give Dimitri my regards and thank him for me again.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:00 pm
by yangchengfu04
will do.