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 Alice's Taiji history

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alice p

Posts : 2
Join date : 2009-09-06
Age : 81
Location : Hamilton New Jersey

PostSubject: Alice's Taiji history   Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:25 pm

Back in the 1990s I was looking for something mentally & phisically heallthy as wlell as spiritual. Unable to do Yoga, I discovered Taiji which has covered all those areas and has influenced my life outside of the classes.
I studied Taiji with Sijo Leon Trescott at Mercer Kung Fu Academy from August 1994 to 1997 when the school closed. Then in 1998-1999 I studied Taiji Philosopy for several months with Sifu John Walker. Then at Phoenix Acadamy I continued to study with Sijo Leon from Spring 1998 to early 2001. During thoose times I learned Paragraph I & II and was introduced to Paragraph III. At RWJ I took a few classes when the gym opened, but did not begin to get serious and attend consistantly until 2007. I now try to make as many classes a week as I am able. Ihave learned a lot from Sifu Donna and Lee, and I have a lot of fun also. Exclamation cheers
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Join date : 2009-09-04
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PostSubject: reply to alice   Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:06 am

So glad that you are in our class.

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Join date : 2009-09-11
Age : 61
Location : Hamilton Square

PostSubject: Re: Alice's Taiji history   Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:49 pm

Alice - you are a great addition to our classes. You have a lot of knowledge to offer and you aren't afraid to speak up with comments and to help those newer people. It's great to have you!
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Join date : 2009-09-02
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PostSubject: Alice's Board Breaking EVENT!   Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:18 pm

Alice shared this wonderful letter that she wrote to her grandchildren about her experience breaking a board for the first time.

It is also sub-titled, "The Lesson"

She asked me to post the text in the forum to share with everyone - ENJOY!

Don't miss out at the very end of this post - you will see an ACTION shot of the EXACT moment the board was broken!


I began Taiji lessons 9 months ago because I thought it would be a good exercise for body, mind and spirit. It seemed rather late in life to begin such an endeavor, especially when I watched the young students that are so flexible, eager to learn and full of energy, but somehow I knew there was much here for me to learn. I didn’t dream how much. I learned that in using the disciplines that Mercer Kung Fu endorses, my neglected non- athletic body can respond and stretch and flex. I’ve learned to appreciate my small successes even while striving to learn the “form” (Yang style 108) which at times seems overwhelming.

Then on that cold and drizzling Sunday in May, 1995 at the retreat in Wildwood, NJ, Teacher Greg began his “surprise seminar, Alexandra, Sean, Sharon and I were 20 minutes late and did not hear any briefing or instructions that he began the class with. We arrived while boards were being or attempted to be broken with a horizontal strike. A classmate who was braced from behind held a pine board that would be struck with a horizontal punch. I was more concerned with the person holding the board then the one attempting to break it as that seemed like the more difficult task.

The next phase was a “heel kick”, a board was supported by/and between cinder blocks and the student would center and take aim with his foot to strike the board with his heel in the center. I was very impressed, especially by the success of the younger students including my grandson Sean, age 14, a recent student at the school. The women were then given an opportunity to try. After my friend Alexandra’s success I decided to give it a shot. Not knowing exactly what to do, I attempted to use the same technique I observed the others doing. WHA LA! The board broke cleanly in half and my heel didn’t even hurt. Alex and I were quite jubilant. The next challenge was a “downward’ fist. As I observed the students and listened to the instructions and coaching I realized the technique was the one we were taught the day before in Teacher Lou’s seminar. This would be a real challenge that I was prompted to accept. After the other women had their turn I stepped up while Teacher Greg was picking up and he asked if anyone else wanted a go at it. He looked up and was surprised to see me there. “You want to try this?” he said. Yes that’s why I am standing here. He told me to remove my jewelry, but one of my rings was difficult to remove, and he said he couldn’t allow me to try and thought that was the end of me. But I said a quick prayer and my “Jesus” ring came off after several twists. I was then sure I was supposed to try this.

Teacher Greg instructed me on how to stand and how to bring my arm up and then down through the board. I made a couple of passes to center myself and to aim, then taking a breath I wound up my arm, brought it down and expelled by breath with a “Ha”. My fist went right trough the board without even feeling it. . I cannot describe my feelings of surprise, amazement, satisfaction and joy that I felt when I saw the board in two almost perfect halves lying on the ground. I had such a sense of power and accomplishment. My form had felt perfect and the board broke without my feeling it. Magic? No! Concentration, confidence, and application of a newly learned skill, and the secret ingredient was to not see the board as an obstacle or a barrier to be overcome, but merely something I needed to go through. In effect it was to focus and aim beyond the board and not at the board. This lesson is the most powerful one I have learned. It is a lesson to be used in all phases of life. When confronted with an obstacle or problem, do not focus on it but look past it and to what is beyond and aim for that.

So in addition to learning that Taiji and Kung Fu are wonderful exercises for the body, mind and spirit, I discovered a psychological benefit as well.

Alice Papiez
Mercer Kung Fu Academy
May 1995

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PostSubject: Re: Alice's Taiji history   Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:14 pm

What a wonderful experience and photo !!!!! I like the lesson given about life--there is a lot we have to go through--but keep your eye on the reward !!!!!! Judy
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grace witting

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Join date : 2009-09-09

PostSubject: Re: Alice's Taiji history   Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:03 pm


Thank you so much for sharing your board breaking story. Your tenacity in your studies is an inspiration; the successful board break was surely the culmination of years of study and work. Loved your lesson for life, looking past obstacles and focusing on what lies beyond. Thanks for the tip. Grace
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