A Day of Cultural and Arts Workshops
The Cultural and Arts workshops were an important aspect of our Martial Arts Immersion trip. They provided a unique opportunity for all visitors to learn about and experience some of China's traditional skills and crafts. All workshops were taught and demonstrated by professionals, and lasted from one to two hours in our hotel.
Introduction to Chinese Medicine
This workshop was designed to help our visitors learn about basic Chinese Medicine ideas, and was taught by a professor from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Students had the chance to discover some ancient Chinese beliefs about illness and treatments, and some diagnostic methods and treatments including herbal medicine and massage.
At the end of the workshop the doctor asked for a volunteer for demonstrating acupuncture, cupping and scratching. Everyone was then put into pairs and guided through 8 different Tuina (Chinese Medical Massage) techniques. Doctor Wang also gave a brief talk on the relationship between Martial Arts and Chinese medicine.
Introduction to Chinese Musical Instruments
This class was taught by three Chinese music students from the Central Academy of Chinese Music. We started with the introduction of three major instruments, the 'Guzheng', 'Erhu' and 'Pipa'. The artists played two pieces of lovely music for the introduction and demonstration.
After the demonstration our visitors had chance to try the instruments for themselves. Two members of our group played the guitar and piano, so this was a great opportunity to exchange and compare Western and Chinese instruments. It was great fun, and our visitors really enjoyed the gentle and elegant sounds produced by the traditional Chinese instruments.
Learning Chinese Calligraphy
After a short break everyone came back for the calligraphy workshop. This was one everyone had been looking forward too, as Chinese calligraphy is very distinctive and beautiful.
It was taught by Mr. Li Xinghua from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He began the class by introducing a few major styles and features, as well as explaining the evolution of Chinese characters and techniques.
As most of our visitors are studying Chinese Kung Fu and Tai Chi, after practicing a few simple words such as 'Sun', 'Moon', Water and Fire, we also drew some martial arts words and terms including 'Kung Fu' and 'Taijiquan'.
Learning Brush Painting
Participants were given a short class by an experienced and renowned artist from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Mr. Li. This workshop introduced traditional Chinese brush painting, with Mr. Li demonstrating how to draw to start with. Everyone then had a try at making their own painting, which resulted in some beautiful pieces of art done in individual styles. At the end Mr. Li chose one piece of work done by our students as the best, and also gave his painting to that person as a special gift.
Learning Seal- and Chop-making
In this workshop we were taught by Mr. Feng and Mr. Li. Mr. Feng first demonstrated how to engrave a seal, after which he asked one of our students to write his name in English, and made a seal with that name in both Chinese and English. After a short demonstration and explanation on making chops, everyone was given a set of practicing seals with simple Chinese characters like as Fire, Water and Wood.
There was a contest to see who was best, and Mr. Feng gave that person a seal with their name on. We also presented an official school stamp to the group leader that can be used for the school grading and certificates.
All in all it was a wonderful day and a fantastic opportunity to learn about some traditional Chinese crafts.