Herman doesn’t care much about selling himself or his offerings. He is in his late eighties, has spent his life in the Martial Arts. He lived (and taught) in the Orient for years. His push hands is formidable, his insights are worth the price of admission; but if the response is along the lines of “Well maybe I could make one day…” then he would say don’t bother. This is the real stuff, the Good Stuff. The following are responses to some previous years’ offerings, and a humorous read at the bottom.
_________________________________________* * 2009 * *__________________________________________
My Friends- Every year after seminar I ask for feedback from participants in Herman’s seminars on push-hands; herewith are my own. I find my time with Herman transformative. At seminar he was the teacher who brought me up in this stuff, still saying what needed to be said. The technical details are always fine tuning, making the art more of an art. There were cautions for the alignment of forearm during the initial choreography, being sure to roll the ulnar edge up just that much that the wrist makes contact with partner’s palm. The increased awareness that comes from the move makes me keener of partner’s moves. Where is that palm that I’m listening through? My wrist is there to tell me. Of course not going further forward than square, 70/30. Get caught often enough with that and I watch for it coming, stop when it’s time to stop. One of the technicals has to do with the transition when meeting resistance; the bump to elbow is the same, whether going back another notch to reacquire balance point, or changing to the other arm for the elbow/arm chi na. It’s the same little disruption to balance, no matter where you go with it. “With your stature, work to the inside” was the admonition, and although I’d known that, to have it pointed out to me reinforced my realization. Work to the inside, keep it light & easy, over it goes. My favorite line from the technical instructions was, Herman would be explaining how best to deal with an attack on my balance but would end with “But it’s no use; I’m on your center.” and of course it is no use, he knows your center from across the room.
The non-technical was really where the money was. Herman does not meander in telling folks what he sees. There was some pointed instruction from him to several individuals along the lines of: Stop this flighty behavior! Pick a direction and go that way. You have what you need (in terms of grounding and foundation) and now put your time in.
So… still chopping wood and carrying water. It’s good.
_________________________________________* * 2008 * *__________________________________________
…No enormous revelatory experiences so much as the little realizations, start earlier (as soon as you see it, you’re moving,) and that lovely memory of a taste of the simultaneous nature of the yield/response. Enough to keep me looking for it again. And the thought that if “softer” might be defined as “more responsive,” then “Too Hard!” might be redefined as not responsive enough. Same old lessons over the decades, the words are not it, talking about it is not it, the “doing” is what it’s about. And there is no “it” of course, only more refined practice. Some responses:
…The seminar: was exhausting in many dimensions. I haven’t paid attention so intently in a long time and this had to do with Herman’s teaching as well as the situation, because he himself is so attentive. And so witty. I liked being reminded how fruitful repetition can be. Working with one partner over those many hours was beneficial and I liked that we were discouraged from chatting, so the knowing which occurred was at a nonverbal level. Herman is a wonderful teacher, a great fit for me…. Interesting insight re: softness/hardness = more/less responsive….and of course meeting Herman Krauz was remarkable…I am always so thankful when a “master” has a sense of humor and the ironic…
_________________________________________* * 2007 * *__________________________________________
Well, and what a fine time. I know for myself that the years’ lessons add up, started to gel this year. I went to NYC in June for workshop, had the seminar here Oct 20/21, and then went to Baltimore following weekend. That was what really seemed to put it together, and I think I understand the lessons. Of course, being able to have push hands many times a week is an important big deal. Was practice the secret? Following are some responses from the Roxboro workshop:
“The seminar was GREAT. I really learned so much, and I will definitely make good use of the lessons … Thanks for a wonderful learning experience and I really appreciate your patience… Thank you, Peter, for hosting this excellent event … puts me way ahead of my previous understanding… It was a pleasure to work with someone who was so interested, committed and had such a good attitude. Actually, the whole tone of the workshop, as set by you and Herman Kauz, was conducive to learning … we’re kicking ourselves for not attending your workshops years ago… Thank YOU for hosting Mr. Kauz! It was a GREAT weekend! Please convey to him my thanks and sincere gratitude for his teaching!… You are indeed a ‘Lucky Person” to have such a wonderful and giving teacher!!!… I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Being relatively new at push hands, I was nearly overwhelmed with all the things needed to digest. I am grateful for the patience I encountered from you and Herman and my fellow students. It was indeed an unbelievable experience. I look forward to my next opportunity to work with you…”
_________________________________________* * 2006 * *__________________________________________
We take the training home with us, the lucky persons having someone of like mind to practise with. Difficult, of course, to take a weekend’s experience and attempt to change a lifetime’s habitual approach, but we all know the reputation tai chi has, for benefits as well as for length of time it takes to “get it right.” (Hah!) It is difficult for martial artists, perhaps used to accomplishing an end with exerting more power or force, to abandon these approaches which may have served them well for years. This is a matter of balance; of the self, of the other, of the situation, and does not yield to force. Strength is in plenty when we are young, but gets in the way of learning this method, and ultimately is a declining quantity as we age. It is better to take the Classics’ admonitions as real and relevant, use the four ounces to find and move with.
Herman paraphrased: “I am moving even further away from ‘winning/losing’ in the training… look at it as an exchange, pay attention to ‘the way there.’ It’s noticing where the pressure changes, from moment to moment…. being at the moment it looses itself. If you get caught up in the ending, if you contend and strive to overcome the other… you will never get this. It’s really in the process.”
(I might add at this point that it would be a grave error to assume that the foregoing implies Herman is a happy go-along with it pushover. I can’t stay standing in front of him, nor have I seen anyone else. He is a loving generous teacher, with a very clear vision of who and where you are at the moment.)
I am reminded of my early days in martial arts. I was studying Aikido, and Uyeshiba-Sensei was still alive. I remember reading, with incredulity, a martial arts magazine article on O-Sensei, disparaging his move from external martial prowess to the spiritual. Really, I think, that’s where we’re going with this. Herman said recently, “I’m tired of trying to convince. If people want to fight, they should go where there’s fighting. You have to let that other stuff go. As you relax, as you empty your mind, it opens you up to what’s out there.”
_________________________________________* * 2005 * *__________________________________________
Hexagram #55: Feng / Abundance [Fullness]. Clarity within, movement without. ” . . . like the sun at midday, illuminating and gladdening everything under heaven.” However, ” . . . such a time of abundance is usually brief . . . .”
“It’s not about fighting….”
_________________________________________* * * * *__________________________________________
“A Humorous Read”
I came across this on website KeepersoftheCage.com, a post from an anonymous guest. I laughed when I read it, I could see it so clearly; that’s still my reaction after training with the man for forty-three years….Posts reproduced as written.
Posted: May 3 2006, 03:10 PM
“… the point of the insubstancial becoming substancial. see you in the cage when were 85 years old….”
I thought the same thing…that can’t be real! One master I met was Herman Kauz…. Judo, Jujitsu, karate expert and champion and a westerner,…I instantly stereotyped his Tai Chi……man, old white guys tai chi for senior citizens, Saturday morning Tai Chi Club. I was ready to leave with dissapointment when I saw him, he’s a master? Just then he singled me out being the new face at the gathering saturday morning in the parking lot behind the Kung fu school in Escondido, CA Master Kauz bounces around San Diego county teaching at informal meeting places requesting a small fee for that session……Back to our first meeting in the parking lot, he spotted me flicking his finger, motioning me to come over. As we moved twords each other, I noticed he had a real bad limp,…I’m now thinking what the heck, dude…, this is pathetic! Then he puts his arms up as a challenge, let’s see what you got. I thought I would be all praises from the Master of how good my tai chi was.( I’d been training diligiently for years under Ferng Rong Hui, My friend and Teacher. Was involved in learning free style wrestling at Palomar college from the advice of my tai chi teacher)Begining of my MMA before the UFC. THIS IS IT, EVERY TIME I MADE CONTACT WITH HERMAN KAUZ I WAS TOSSED TO AND FRO, LIKE A CAT PLAYING WITH A MOUSE. I WAS HUMILIATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111, ALL MY TRAINING CONCLUDED. THAT I WAS WALKING AROUND IN A DISSALUSIONED STATE. AND MY TRAING WAS JUST ABOUT BEGIN ALL OVER AGAIN!