I recently attended a 3-hour seminar at Zhen Ren Chuan, martial and healing arts systems. I am not a regular student at the school, but came from Maine specifically for this seminar, with my own instructor and fellow students. This is the second seminar I have attended taught by Ian Factor. My instructor, a long-time student of Instructor Ian, enthusiastically recommended attending this seminar. I was very pleased with the experience. It was positive, fun, and a great introduction to the martial art of Baguazhang. Instructors Ian and Charles bring a different but complementary approach to teaching. They were very attentive, energetic, and knowledgeable. The quality of the instruction was excellent. The lesson plan flowed well, and enough details were given, without overwhelming the student. The exercises were explained and demonstrated well.
I learned new stretching, warm-up, balancing, and strengthening exercises. There was emphasis on correct body alignment, not only to avoid joint injuries, but how to loosen up, relax, and rotate areas that are not normally addressed in other exercises. They introduced how to wave the spine in order to generate power. We learned another uniquely challenging exercise that engaged every part of the body to move in a circular, fluid motion. Part of the challenge involved isolating body movements but synchronizing the timing and flow.
We were also introduced to Baguazhang circle walking with single palm change, which is apparently typically reserved for more advanced students. Although seemingly simple, the effects of learning and practicing the circle walking was profound. The circle walking seemed to elicit deep feelings, an awareness of a primal nature. As we walked, breathing silently, walking stealthily, focusing intently on the center ball, I could not help but feel I was circling prey, in a relaxed and controlled manner. The mind was quiet, focused, unified with the body. The closing meditation allowed us to reemerge and transition from the circle walking in a peaceful, powerful way. I was awash in feelings of stillness and quiet awareness. Along with the physical benefits of the circle walking, it seemed to be a good way to clear the head and focus when one has trouble focusing during a sitting meditation.
There were several people at the seminar who have never done any martial arts before, and I think they at least came away with new methods for increasing flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation. But I think they came away with more. I’ve participated in yoga, and various athletic and dance endeavors, but martial arts is certainly unique.
The instructors have an uncommon depth and breath of knowledge, and seem to offer their knowledge generously to the willing student. The instructors have strong backgrounds in both the fighting aspects of martial arts and its healing potential. I think the dedicated student can learn much from these instructors, and be inspired to reach for one’s higher potential.
~ Kim Gillis, Maine
As parents of a five-year-old boy enrolled at Zhen Ren Chuan Martial Arts Center, we can say without qualification that this experience is the sort of thing that would benefit any child in a positive and fulfilling way. At first we were unsure if this would appeal to our son. Sam is out-going, eager to amuse, and exceptionally strong-willed. The demands of discipline and seriousness associated with martial arts were, we knew, quite substantial. And we were not convinced at the outset that it would be something that Sam would stick with and dedicate himself to.
What we discovered was that our concerns were unfounded. At Zhen Ren Chuan, Sam has found a wonderful place to connect, to learn, to mature and to be personally challenged. Like most things of this nature, the process of learning what is ahead and mastering it is of great worth. But what makes this particular experience unique is the way in which the instructors communicate simple things specifically to each student that key in on their personal challenges which would otherwise limit their ability to succeed.
Unlike most group activities, Zhen Ren Chuan manages to teach each child in a way that gives them a sense that they have been listened to carefully as individuals. The sense of accomplishment that is evinced after each test is palpable and the advance of maturity affects much more in their lives than activities within the Center. Sam now uses techniques he learned at Zhen Ren Chuan to harness his energy to the task at hand not only in martial arts, but also at school and at home.
There are many things a child can do to develop a stronger sense of self respect, and respect for others within the context of structured activity. But, from our experience, there are few things that exceed what Instructors Charles and Lindsay have accomplished with Sam at Zhen Ren Chuan.
~Joe & Lisa, parents of Sam
I love going to class at Zhen Ren Chuan Martial Arts Center. The instructors are passionate about teaching and sharing their great knowledge, I feel wonderful after each class, I learn something new in each class, and each class is challenging enough were I feel like I’ve accomplished something wonderful each day I attend. I’ve been going for six months now, and physically my body has changed so much for the better. I’ve lost weight, my muscle tone is becoming nicely defined, my flexibility is better and my physical strength has improved. Mentally, I’m more patient, focused, and have a far more positive outlook on many things. As an added bonus, as each week goes by, I feel more confident that I would be able to defend myself and my loved ones if, God forbid, I had to. You can’t get all this out of going to the gym. Because of the mental & physical benefits, I believe that practicing martial arts will be something I will continue to do for the rest of my life.
If you are already a martial artist and looking for a new school or someone who is interested in trying martial arts, I very highly recommend coming in and speaking to Instructor Charles.
If you have never done martial arts, this would be a great school for you to start. The instructors are patient and especially helpful to new students. The students in the class are very friendly. When I started everyone was so welcoming. We also love to introduce ourselves and help new people feel comfortable. After no time, you will feel like you are one of the gang as we all have a great deal of respect for one another and everyone is so friendly. This school is great and it’s something that you simply must try. You will get so much out of it!
~Cindy M., Arlington, MA
My 7 y.o. son has been attending this place for several months now, and he absolutely loves it. The place offers physical activities so needed for the little ones, plus it teaches kids to concentrate and to listen. The lessons are fun for kids, but they are structured at the same time, which is a good combination taking the little ones one step further in their life adventures. The instuctors are very very good with the kids, they make it a lot of fun. I recommend everyone to try this out with your little ones, and you won’t feel sorry. My son is very proud of what he has learned in Zhen Ren Chuan, and his physical abilities as well as his self-confidence have improved significantly since he started attending.
~Katia S., Arlington, MA
Our 8 year old daughter has been at Zhen Ren for a year now and really enjoys the environment. Instructor Charles is great with the kids. The addition of Instructor Lindsey as a role model for girls is awesome too. Benefits include building self confidence, learning to be respectful, patience, focus, strength and balance. Many of these attributes help her tremendously in other sports as well.
~L. Klosterman, Arlington, MA
I have been attending this training center for over three years. I love it. The instructors are well versed in what they teach and are adept at explaining/demonstrating. They push their students to expand their physical and mental horizons. At first, the lessons may seem like the instructors are unnecessarily hard as the beginners struggle against their bodies (whether it’s a lack of coordination, prior injuries, general weaknesses, etc). However, if the student is truly pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone (both physically and mentally), they will see results.
That is not to say the instructors are not attentive to students with difficulty with the lessons. If the student brings up an issue they are having, the instructors will tailor the lesson to that particular issue. (For example: at one point in time I threw my back out. During that time, it was difficult to move.
The instructor gave me alternate versions of the warm-ups as well as additional movements specifically to loosen and align my spine. So, going to the class actually helped my back heal faster than if I stayed home). As a woman who trains there, I feel comfortable and I am treated fairly. I would recommend this training center to anyone and everyone.The only negative I see is scheduling. But as ‘nine to fivers’, most would not have a problem. Personally, I would like to see a morning class added to the noon and evening adult classes.
~ Julie R., Lowell, MA