I began my studies in the art of Tai Chi Chuan under the instruction of Larry Banks, who was one of the original students of Jou Tsung Hwa in Piscataway, New Jersey. It was through Larry that I met and associated with Mr. Jou as we addressed him during those times and some of his other students as well.
After 1984, Master Jou as he was later addressed, shifted most of his teaching to my knowledge to the Tai Chi Farm in Warwick, New York. Most of the students from the New Brunswick area didn’t visit the farm too much, and a new group of students emerged.
One day while at the Tai Chi Farm, Master Jou walked over to me and started talking. The scene itself was kind of strange, as no one else seemed to be around as he started talking about old people and the fact that most of them had no root. As root is sometimes confused with balance, he was not talking about balance. He then showed me some movements wherein he pulled his toes together gripping the ground or the dirt beneath his feet, while simultaneously also opening his hands with the palms facing down as the toes were then expanded and flattened on the surface. In conjunction the abdomen was expanded as the palms were facing down and then contracted as the palms were slightly raised and turned upwards with the toes pulling together.
This would have been enough for me as I pretty much got the point, but then he did something that really caught my attention.
He began to jump up and down repeatedly, each time leaving the surface as quickly as he landed on it. To add emphasis to what he was doing, he was talking while jumping up and down, all the time saying “I’m not old, I’m not old.”
I do remember him telling me earlier, that what he was showing me [ the exercise itself ] was “very important”. I remember also that shortly after this, the pulling in and alternate relaxing or expanding of the toes was incorporated into the Tai Chi-Chi Kung breathing form that we practiced from his book “The Dao Of Tai Chi Chuan”.
I would like to go into greater detail in the future although I’m not interested in posing for photos, but as I only use the explanations that I have, I feel that they should suffice for now.
Although I feel that Jou Tsung Hwa was more than a master and more of a genius, so were my feelings regarding Larry Banks who I considered to be a martial arts genius. I hope that this will serve as an introduction worthy of the two.