Spencer Jones Application for Discipleship
Statement of Purpose:
I would like to formally request discipleship with Master Chen Zhonghua. I have known him now for 6 years and have studied with him on numerous occasions, including many months of full-time training at the facility on Daqingshan. In my experience his teachings are clear, concise and the most accurate representation of traditional Taijiquan. His manner is calm, consistent and magnanimous, and even when a firm hand is needed, always treats his students with respect. He continues to refine his teaching methods while staying true to the original designs. I seldom pledge allegiance to groups or ideas, but Practical Method and in particular Master Chen Zhonghua have given and taught me so much it would be an honor to be considered as part of the family.
I think on our way to knowledge with any particular thing, we learn to trim the fat and get down to the real, true, authentic experience. My experience of Taiji has been like that. Starting with Yang style, then learning Chen style here in Chicago, I sought out a truer and more authentic experience, based on what I was missing: Application and understanding of basic mechanics. Finding Master Chen was somewhat of a realization. The Practical Method lends itself to a beautiful economy of movement. No wasted moves, no extra movements. And the more I study it, the more I can see its influence in other parts of my life as well. Most importantly, it has affected the way that I think. I ask fewer questions now than I ever have. I realize that most of the things that appear relevant at first are just mental gymnastics, and not necessarily a direct experience or understanding of a thing. Learning Taiji has taught me that to really listen and learn I need to be an open book. I do not always succeed at either one, but like my Yilu, I would like to continually refine the practice.
I never felt as though I was worthy of discipleship. Not only that, I don’t think I really understood its significance. But the Practical Method family, and in particular the Midwest contingent, has been so welcoming and helpful, I look forward to considering them family. I also look forward to having that relationship with Master Chen. Master Chen once talked to me about Taoism, and in particular the need for a teacher. His lesson was on recognizing oneself, and I took it to heart. He used the analogy that a tree does not necessarily know it’s a tree until someone recognizes it as such. It meant a lot, but took me years to really understand its significance. I think what it means to me now is that I need to orient myself in relation to this thing that so much bigger than me. I would like to call myself a formal representative for this art. Not for others, but for myself and my education. I don’t want any illusions any more. Nothing in the way. I am committed and passionate about Chen Style Practical Method Taijiquan and hope that this application expresses my earnestness.