Saturday, June 8, 2013

ILC Workshop - Steve Arboleda (3/23-3/24)

A few months ago, I took a 2-day I Liq Chuan workshop with Steve Arboleda from Chinatown Internal Arts in New York City. Steve is both highly skilled - he has studied with Sifu Sam for many years - and entertaining.

On the first day of the workshop, we spent time working on the 15 Basics Exercises, with emphasis on certain key points. One point Steve stressed was that, while it's difficult to keep all 13 points of alignment in mind, it's important is to focus on the center of the feet and the top of the head first - do this and the other points fall roughly into place and can be refined over time. I've been keeping this point in mind for the last couple of months and it has had a positive impact on both my ILC and my Taiji training. We also spent time doing 2-person drills based on the 8 circles - the main idea was to have one partner hold the wrists of the other and for the other partner to use one of the circles to break the hold (which explains why Steve calls them 'wrist-breaks'). We went through the circles one at a time - the wrist-breaks give a nice insight into where the energy should be focused for the circle and whether you're using your waist or your arms to drive the movement.

One the second day, we worked primarily on the 5 Elements by starting with Earth and incrementally adding the subsequent elements. While doing this exercise, we focused on how the different elements move you from heel to toe (or vice-versa) and how the transitions from yang to yin (or vice-versa) neutralize the energy. I've done 5 Elements before but this was the first time I was able to make the connection from the exercise to the ILC principles. We have subsequently practiced the 5 Elements in class and it's a great overall exercise - you can use it to focus on most any of the aspect of ILC training.

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