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On the 5th of October in 2014, Master Bosco Baek accomplished a remarkable feat by becoming the first individual to receive the honor of being granted permission by his teacher, Master Chen Bing, to have disciples. This signified that Master Baek had reached a level of expertise and understanding in Chen Family Taijiquan that was worthy of being shared and passed down to other devoted practitioners. The distinction was a significant achievement that demonstrated Master Baek's mastery and proficiency in the art, as well as the complete trust and confidence that Master Chen Bing had in his ability to uphold and disseminate the teachings of Chen Family Taijiquan.
It is important to note that becoming a disciple in a conventional martial arts lineage is a privilege and a responsibility of great magnitude. Disciples are obligated not only to deepen their personal practice and comprehension of the art but also to conserve and convey the teachings to future generations. Each of Master Baek's disciples had to undergo an arduous and strenuous training process that likely included both physical and mental challenges. As successors in Master Baek's lineage, they are entrusted with perpetuating the customs and principles of Chen Family Taijiquan and may even have their own disciples in the future.
In the context of Chinese classical education, the term "Xuesheng (学生)" refers to a conventional student who may attend classroom training at their discretion. Such a student is under no obligation or responsibility to commit to any further training or development.
On the other hand, a "Tudi (徒弟)" denotes a disciple who has been specifically selected and accepted by a "Shifu (师父)". Once selected, the Tudi assumes the profound responsibility of upholding the traditions and principles of Chen Family Taijiquan as a lifelong commitment.
To be clear, a disciple is a privileged indoor apprentice who has undergone a formal discipleship ceremony and has been accepted as a family member. Consequently, the disciple is entrusted with the great honor of representing the Chen family as a successor.
The Chen family's traditional approach to selecting disciples involves a lengthy process whereby a Shifu carefully observes and evaluates a xuesheng's potential to commit to a lifetime of preserving the art of Chen Taijiquan.
This process is tailored to each disciple's individual development plan and may take a shorter or longer period of time, depending on the Shifu's discretion.
In the case of Master Bosco Baek, his journey to becoming a disciple of Master Chen Bing spanned nearly six years (from May 2000-December 2005), highlighting the depth of evaluation that was required.
However, in contemporary times, some teachers may be less discerning in their acceptance of disciples, neglecting to consider the student's personal characteristics and level of study. Such discipleship has been shown to lack the durability and longevity of the traditional approach.
Individuals aspiring to become disciples (Tudi) should embody the following motivations;
If these motivations are present, the first step is to directly communicate their intention to the master-teacher they wish to study under. The prospective disciple should express clearly how they respect the master-teacher and this tradition, their wish to propagate Chen Family Taijiquan, among other reasons for wanting discipleship.
Following this, the traditional approach involves the master-teacher and prospective disciple spending time together, building a relationship and trust. Discipleship is a lifelong commitment and is only offered after a thorough evaluation of the student's personal characteristics and level of proficiency. The selection process involves a long-term relationship and observation, with only a few deserving students being asked to submit a formal handwritten letter of application to Master Bosco Baek, detailing their personal circumstances, understanding of Taijiquan, and reasons for seeking discipleship.
Only then is an invitation to discipleship given. The specifics of this process may vary based on the individual and circumstances. However, traditional successors of Chen Family Taijiquan are expected to demonstrate a high level of proficiency, commitment, and contribution to the community of the Chen Bing Taiji Academy. This strict selection process ensures that the art of Chen Family Taijiquan is carried forward with integrity, skill, and dedication with a great heart.
First disciples of Master Bosco Baek in 2014
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