I attended two Tai Chi camps this year, each a week long. Very different settings and subjects.

Grand Master Sam Tam’s Summer Camp

Grand Master Sam Tam’s camp was held in a junior college outside of Vancouver, BC We stayed in dorms, worked out in the gym, and ate in the dormitory cafeteria. Sam’s camp is by invitation only and is attended by senior students and Tai Chi teachers. Sam doesn’t allow cameras and he discouraged taking notes during sessions, so what I brought back was notes I made during the evenings and during breaks.

We covered Standing Meditation, Soaring Crane Qigong, Push Hands, The Tai Chi form, and lots and lots of hands on exercises with each other.

Note the three inflatable air mattresses against the far wall. Those are for bouncing. A line forms and when you get to the head of the line, you get to bounce someone for ten times on each side. Then it’s your turn to get bounced. Then you go to the end of the line and do it all over again. “Please Sir! May I have another?”

Early every morning we gathered around the big rock in the middle of a large circle and practiced standing meditation under Sifu Sam’s tutelage. This is how we earned breakfast.

Master Jesse Tsao’s Summer Camp

Master Jesse Tsao’s camp was very different. Jesse is very informal, and there were lots of first time beginners in the camp, along with many advanced students. Master Jesse has created a new partnered Qi Gong exercise where you share your Qi with a partner as part of the exercise. There are eight parts to this Qi Gong practice. He has promised a video of the exercises “Real soon now,” and when that’s available, I will begin teaching the form here in Longmont.

In addition to Qi Gong, we practiced the Chen Tai Chi Form, Push Hands, the Yang 108 form, and had instructions on the healing aspects of the moves within each Tai Chi Form. The end of the day was always Story Time. Everyone gathered around and Master Jesse told stories and answered questions.