Essay Training at the Poza House

Essay Training at the Poza House

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When I signed up for the Shen Long retreat in February, I was excited to be heading to the legendary Poza house to work out there for the first time. I had heard many stories of the brutal work outs that occurred there told with a nostalgic twinkle in the eye of my instructors. For years, I saw fellow members go there to train. Each time they came back stronger and tougher with new applications, new material, and new approaches to the arts. After years of trips, their growth was obvious. Seeing all this, the Poza house garnered an almost mystical reputation for improvement in my mind. Now it was finally going to be my turn to visit.

If training at the Poza house was anything like previous Tang Shou Tao events, I knew I would be challenged physically and mentally. That weekend, mornings started with 6am qi gong and had full schedules running until about 9pm at night. The first day, so many members showed up that there was not enough room to train in the school. We had to all go down to the wash, where we ended up doing lines of the five elements in the sand. The rest of the weekend kept a demanding schedule. Splitting up into groups we covered the two-person five elements, the linking form, the two-person linking form, the animals, the animal two-persons and ai zhen pao. I was excited to be working out but even on Friday afternoon I was beginning to worry that I would not be able to remember so much material.

Outside in the yard, I joined the group who previously did not know the animals. Starting with dragon we worked quickly through large chunks of material. For each animal, our instructor Jason would demonstrate the form to us, explain key principles of the moves, do the form with us and answer questions. Under the sun,...


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...al Guan, I pictured all of us repeating pi chuans the same way we had practiced together earlier that weekend. When my mind wondered to the ancestors, I imagined them working out in their respective schools surrounded by their instructors, school brothers and sisters. As I thought more, the hours of pi chuan became countless and I realized how fortunate I am to be able to learn from a long line of martial artists who had trained as we do. They had put in lifetimes of work, shared with students and ultimately formed the tradition that creates the selfless environment prevalent in our association. Laying there in front of their pictures hanging on the walls at the Poza house, I found a new scared respect for all they have given to us. For the opportunity to be a part of this I will always be indebted to the ancestors, Vince Black, our instructors and my fellow members.

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