Last night was the first Hsing-I workshop with Luo DeXiu. As per usual, and still following form, he turned up looking younger and more powerful as he always seems to do.
I too follow a yearly pattern. I see the schedule of what he will be teaching, and sometimes think 'Oh, he's teaching that again, maybe I'll miss that one'. Then remember that ever year I think this, I go to the first seminar, learn loads, and can't believe I had even contemplated not going.
So it was this year. The 5 Elements. How many times have I practiced this? How many workshops have I gone to on this material? Sigh. Just go.
So I go, and of course have a fabulous time, find new things to work on, get corrections, and notice a bunch of new stuff I had never noticed before. Now, I won't say it was not there .. only that this is the first time I actually heard or saw it.
This got me to thinking. Has he always said these things but I just did not notice? Has he changed his method? Or is it me?
I reckon it's a mixture of all of them. He teaches, sees what people don't understand, and modifies his approach, he also sees people are getting things on one level, and adds some subtleties to play with, and, probably, what I notice about how he moves and plays has become more sophisticated, so I now notices more stuff. Ah! look at that, he totally accelerated and stopped dead to accentuate the draw. Or - He sheared the line, and his foot is on the outside. Never saw that before .. Of course that's why it works!
They say the old masters practice the basics over and over. They don't stand in San Ti for an hour and do complex forms, they do maybe 20 reps of a basic half step drill and move on.
When you are fully engaged in your practice, improving and reaching for better performance, you can stay with the simplest of movements and still find new ways to build skill and understanding. Thing is, it's alot easier with a teacher who is doing the same.