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  • AutorenbildJos Reichenbach

Tai Chi Retreat - one month training in Japan - with HME senior Paul mc Intyre - english

Aktualisiert: 31. Mai

Training with Paul is fun, challenging and structured. Receiving direct corrections and instructions on a daily basis is enormously helpful. His years of experience and his ability to put processes into words in an understandable way are enormous. In addition, Paul has the ability to recognise where people are in their Tai Chi process and to take them further. And he does this with specific corrections, exercises that are not necessarily new, but have a new nuance, in order to start exactly where imbalances and deficits are. And then to integrate, align, develop and shape these in training with high quality. Quality always comes before quantity, so that too many processes are not addressed at the same time and result in being overwhelmed. If we are already talking about being overwhelmed, then it is probably clear to anyone with personal experience that this is an inevitable part of the Tai Chi learning process. In my experience, I have never felt as overwhelmed in any other learning process as I did with Tai Chi. But no other has been nearly as valuable, interesting and positively influential. The quality of the training is very high and can be seen in the fact that one exercise is practised for a long time and the focus is not on the variety of exercises and qualities. Paul's presence and openness are worth mentioning and really help you to be more present during training, to give more effort and to open up and release more.


Daily training in a small group

Training in a small group for a month is great. It is a great privilege and opportunity to train so closely with a Tai Chi teacher of Paul's calibre. It feels like it must have been possible years ago with Sifu Adam Mizner in Thailand. I'm not sure how long this opportunity will last, so I can only recommend everyone to take advantage of it. Here you can find Paul`s website

Advantage of retreats - distance from everyday life

We often move at our own pace and within our usual structures, paths, thoughts and feelings. Simply being away from home can, if used correctly, be a great help in developing yourself further. The new surroundings, the culture, the people around you, etc. can make it easier to develop new perspectives or reveal deeper inner structures. Simply getting away from everyday life is unlikely to bring as much development, but if you bring an intention to do so, the chances are much bigger. And if you then practise Tai Chi for hours every day during your time away, the starting point is wonderful.



I have learnt things that I would never have thought of myself. One small example: drop your shoulder blades and relax your shoulders is an instruction that everyone who practises Tai Chi knows only too well. But how do you do that? What does it mean when the shoulders are correctly aligned or, in Tai Chi terms, when the shoulders are correctly set? It was in this process that I gained so many new insights. And in my experience so far, it is precisely these details that make the difference. As well as the physical alignment, it was also about Qi and how the mind is saturated into the shoulder.

I learnt and deepened a lot more, the further you get, the more new things you learn. It is essential to have integrated the basic qualities in order to successfully learn other aspects.

It is a fine line and having a teacher who can show you the way and provide feedback and tips for such processes is enormously valuable.

Going into details and processes would go beyond the scope here. I can only say that during this retreat I once again experienced how much potential there is in the HeavenManEarth Tai Chi system, how it is fully embodied and lived by senior students like Paul. To still be a complete beginner after 6 years of daily practice shows the depth that exists in the HME system.



In addition to Tai Chi training, the individual meditation practise is central aspect of a Tai Chi retreat, at least for me.



There are also massages and bonesetting. On the one hand, standard massages are often very affordable in Asian countries and help very well in combination with Tai Chi training. And even more so bonesetting, which in addition to training can make a difference in opening up certain joints or structures. Paul is not only a Tai Chi teacher, but also an excellent bonesetter and bodyworker.

About Japan

From my experience, I cannot compare Japan with any other country. It has its own beauty, flavours and rules. Everything is very stylish, clear, organised, calm and clean. From the temples, shrines, gardens and food to the interiors, the style is consistent.

The people I came into contact with were all very friendly and courteous. On the street and in everyday life, however, the Japanese seemed rather distant, were very careful not to make physical contact and seemed to have a lot of rules. So it wasn't a particularly free feeling to move around outside, but you have your peace and space, which is a good starting point for inner cultivation.


Integration into everyday life

The big challenge always comes after the retreat. How can I integrate the development I have made into my life and how can I stick with it, despite the work and commitments that are now coming up again, and without the presence of the teacher and/or the group. For me, the difficulty is not to have a daily practice routine, as this has been integrated in a stable way for a long time, but rather the challenge of maintaining the qualities and not twisting or changing what I have learnt and thus falling back into old habits. So please wish me success with this 😊.


I look forward to your questions or experiences about retreats in the comments and will see you in the next blog post.

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