Tenerife is a beautiful Spanish island off the coast of Morocco and home to my kungfu brother, Alex Mieza's (Zi Xiao) school, Escuela Laoshan. I traveled to Tenerife on January 25 to visit and work with Zi Xiao as well as teach a workshop at Escuela Laoshan. This was my third trip to Tenerife and my third time teaching at my kung fu brother's school. Escuela Laoshan is a school with integrity that teaches much more than just physical practice.
Zi Xiao uses traditional methods of teaching and maintains high expectations and rigorous training to ensure that his students progress smoothly and build the right foundations for furthering their practice. Teaching at his school is always a pleasure for me because he teaches his students in a way that creates and maintains an inspired attitude which supports their drive for improvement. His students enjoy training, a joy that continues to push them. You can see it in how they move and how they interact with the training atmosphere.
Over the course of 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday, I taught Xuanwuquan to 14 of Zi Xiao's students. In previous workshops with his students we focused on Fuhuquan and Longhuaquan. In this workshop, it was our goal to introduce Zi Xiao's students to a more dynamic way of training and expression of the physical movement through the engagement and coordination of the intention and internal sensitivity.
There were students of varying ability levels, experience, and interests. This made the seminar dynamic in that each students' expression and understanding of the form was different than the next person's as they worked at their own levels and with their own experience. Each student was encouraged to explore the movement on their own and play with different ways of expressing it: changing the rhythm and speed, changing the positioning of the body, etc.
Xuanwuquan is a unique form to the San Feng Lineage. It is a higher level practice that requires a standard in basics in order to be able to explore the form deeper. Laying the right foundations in external strength, coordination, flexibility, etc. is paramount. Without the cultivation of internal awareness, sensitivity, awareness of bodily engagement, and being able to use the physical coordination as a conduit for expression of the jin 劲, it becomes just like any other form.