1. Jijizhuang (Combat skill pile-stance):
Feet assume a Dingbabu shaped step,
Arms form a circle like holding a child.
Stand upright, feeling light and nimble,
Mind is intense
but posture easy and comfortable.
2. Trial of Strength:
Strike out the hand is like a steel file,
Pull back, the hand is like an iron hook.
The intent aims at the surroundings of the body
Yet never goes away from it.
3. Mocabu (friction steps):
With the body erect and head upright,
He walks like a chicken but with the torso a bit inclined.
Advance or retreat at will as the hip and shoulder move,
Waves rise and fall as the leaps and the foot circles.
4. Fali (excerting force):
The whole body as soft as cotton,
The intend reaches finger tips.
Explosive force is discharged continuously,
Like a catapult shooting out pellets.
5. The trial of Breath:
Sound is produced from “Dantian” ( a spot 1,968 inches beneath the umbilicus.),
But comes out the mouth,
While the cheast is free and relaxed,
The sound is like that of a ringing bell is a quiet valley.
6. Tuishou (push-hands): Single Hand
Attaching forearms they act as in trial of strength,
Touching, slicking, connecting, following,
all are guided by intention.
Rolling and turning the perform with “point of force” as the axis;
Jerking and discharging, an elastic force is produced and threatening. Double Hand
With four arms closely attached,
The two turn and shift following steps.
Try to control the other side as if to bind him with a robe,
Be natural in all moves,
whether it be wrestling, shriving, striking or releasing.
7. Actual Manoeuvring:
When actual confrontation begins,
See that you have an easy posture.
With space appropriately set,
You hit out surely, accurately, relentlessly and severely.
Meeting attacks from all directions,
You must respond with alert and flexibility.
Advance, retreat or intercept,
All depends on circumstances and opportunity.
What’s the use of fixed postures and methods?
As under such circumstances everyone acts on his instinct.
by Wang Xuanjie
Local parts of body request:
Sole stepping onto the ground,
heel slightly lifted,
sole like a spring,
avoid ankle from shaking otherwise body will quiver.
Both knees expanding,
buttock tight and leg twisted,
anus and belly (retracted as in) inspiration,
hip twisting and crotch wrapping.
Back and waist keep vertical,
chest slightly withdrawn,
shoulder expanding and elbow horizontal,
wrist hooking and finger pointing.
Head and neck all erecting,
mouth open and jaws withdrawn,
hair like pointing up,
teeth like chewing.
Whole body request:
Whole body swelling,
force rushing to a distant place,
linking with all-around,
each hair pointing as a halberd.
Form is bending then force is straight,
Form relaxing then mental should keep contracting,
Relaxing but not slacking off,
Contracting but not stiffening.
Spirit of raging tiger,
Mental of evasive snake.
As a rooster in combat, spreading wings.
As a fish fighting meeting it opponent, turning its gill and erecting.
As a winning cricket relaxing wings, grasping claws and shaking
As a wild horse galloping, its body burnt by a raging fire.
As a cyclone blowing off trees, raising them from ground and then
them spreading out.
Under the slightest touch, bursting immediately, explosive power
undisrupted from combat posture.
Zhan zhuang and the Search of Wu
by Yu Yong Nian
“Mindful awareness is the supreme tool in training, and is the essential energy of taiji. This energy is classically known in taiji circles as ting jing or listening energy. So what is it that we listen to? Through mindfulness we direct our awareness to the knowing or listening to form, feelings, mind and phenomena. First is form or the material body. Starting with our own body in our taiji forms practice and moving on to the bodies of others in our taiji push hands practice. One directs their awareness to the knowing of the aspects of the body. Structural alignment (alignment of the 9 pearls) weight distribution, relaxation, the stretching and unstretching of the tendons and the presence and placement of the physical centre of gravity. This knowing of ones body when nurtured can be projected to knowing the bodies of others in push hands and martial practice. The mind controls and directs the physical body so there is a mind body connection. Most so called internal arts stop at this level of refined awareness of the body led by mental intent.
Second is mindfulness of feelings, it is at this stage that we work with the chi or fine material energy. The chi is most easily perceived through feelings and this path of practice helps one to bypass the common pitfall of relying on imagination and visualization of the internal energy as this can quickly become a fabricated fantasy rather than a direct knowing of reality in the present.
The student trains in mindfulness of the feeling of the chi as it moves up and down the body or is projected from the body through intent. It is from this relationship between mindful awareness, feelings and body that the saying “mind leads chi, chi leads body” finds its meaning. Moving waves of relaxation through the body with the intent moves the chi through the body, the relaxation acts as a pump to move the chi and makes the body more sensitive to the feeling of the chi, the deeper ones ability to relax the higher the potential for the movement and cultivation of the internal energy. Once again this process starts within oneself and progresses to encompass ones training partner as well.
Third is the training of mindfulness of mind, once again both of oneself and of our training partners. Mindfulness of the mind starts from the courser aspects of mind and moves to the refined. The thought formations in the mind are observed and trained to act in a skilful way, perceptions are observed and purified. This help the martial artist in many ways as our perceptions govern our subconscious reactions. Unskilful mental states such as aggression and fear can be known directly in the mind and let go of and replaces with clear awareness. In this stage of training we a working heavily with the mental intent and how it leads the internal energies and the body. Finally we have mindfulness of phenomena. This stage refers in general to the awareness of the workings of cause and effect in relation to the training of the first three foundations of mindfulness and specifically to the realization of emptiness through direct experience. One trains in mindfulness of body, feeling (chi) and mind. Through direct experience we begin to realize that body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and sense consciousness are all inherently empty and thus release attachment to them. This is the goal of the training, in this emptiness the duality of yin and yang, yield and issue, self and opponent, taiji and non taiji cease to remain. Everything becomes an aspect of your own mind which in itself is empty. This is the realization we aspire towards.”
Master Master Cheuk Fung talks about Hun Yuan strength, space & time in Yichuan
“Hunyuan strength refers to oneness, whole body strength or six surfaces strength. It is different from regular strength. The easiest way would be to show you, but, since you’re writing this down the best we can do is compare it with regular strength. In contrast to Hunyuan strength, regular strength would be called sectional, broken or one-sided strength. It is not to say that regular strength can’t be strong and forceful, only that the entire body is not contributing to whatever function the strength is required for. With regular strength the majority of the load is born by the local muscle groups in the limbs. With Hunyuan strength, the majority of the load is carried by the legs, waist and back. Regular strength is delivered directly, like a ram where the force is the inertia of the weight moving forward. Hunyuan strength is delivered indirectly… the inertia of the weight moving away from the target is more than that moving into it. Regular strength dissipates with movement. Hunyuan strength is stored within movement. This stored strength results in torque or martial velocity in each movement. That’s why it’s called oneness or whole body strength because the entire frame supplies torque to the limbs within each gesture.”
“Sensing Strength is an aspect of Yi Chuan training where practitioners take the linkages and feeling states cultivated through standing and learn to maintain and use them in movement. This begins with “searching for strength” within a new orbit or route by using imagery to align the body with space and gravity. When done properly a sensation that feels like magnetic force or pressure appears within the movement. Overtime practitioners will elongate the range of motion within which this feeling can be maintained before condensing it back down into an orbit that subtle enough to be hidden yet actually involves the entire frame.”
“Explosive Strength training teaches the Yi Chuan practitioner to condense his or her expression of Hunyuan strength into a single explosive and spontaneous gesture. In a split second the body preparation learned in standing must combine with the orbits forged in sensing strength, the control of distance gained through footwork practice and the intuitive timing cultivated in push hands. Explosive strength training helps make the strength and skill developed in the other chapters available even under duress or surprise.”
“Sensing Sound practice use tones and sounds to vibrate the body and helps to bring relaxation and awareness to a deeper level. Eventually these tones can also be used as triggers to help link the body and activate Hunyuan strength.”
An Interview with Grandmaster Gin Soon Chu
by Tai Chi & Alternative Health Magazine*
TCAH: Master Chu, when did you first begin to study Tai Chi Chuan?
GSC: I began to practice Yang style under Master Lai Hok Soon in 1956 with a very close friend, Mr. Chan Ping Tim. Before this time I had learned the Wu style. I knew Mr. Wu Tai Ki, the 4th generation head of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan. He referred me to his father’s disciple (I don’t remember his name now). I spent many months with this disciple learning Wu style. One day Mr Chan practiced push hands with the teacher–the teacher could not push Mr. Chan & actually fell down! So we realized the teacher was maybe not that good and left.
TCAH: Why did you choose Tai Chi Chuan as opposed to other styles?
GSC: My health was very poor & everyone I knew at the time told me that Tai Chi Chuan is a very good exercise to improve one’s health–as I wrote in Yang Sau Chung’s book “Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan”.
TCAH: You mentioned studying under Master Lai Hok Soon–who did he study Tai Chi Chuan with?
GSC: Master Lai was working in the local Canton government at the time when Yang Cheng Fu came to Canton. At the time Master Lai was studying Pa Kua Chang under the famous Fu Gin Sung. With Yang Cheng Fu’s arrival, Master Lai began studying Tai Chi Chuan with Master Yang Sau Chung–Yang Cheng Fu was not actually teaching any more at that time, he would sit & instruct his son what to teach. Master Fu Gin Sung knew that Master Lai studied Tai Chi Chuan and would often come to the training hall to observe his practice.
TCAH: After Master Lai’s death you went on to study under Master Yang Sau Chung. How did you first meet him?
GSC: Master Lai and Master Yang often communicated between each other. When Master Yang first taught in Hong Kong, at a sports club called Kung Ming in Kowloon, Master Lai was his only assistant instructor. Later, when Master Lai was very sick in hospital, Master Yang came and visited him. That was the first time I met Master Yang. After Master Lai’s death, around 15 of us went to learn from Master Yang. Within one year I was the only member of the group left! Training from Master Yang was very hard–he demanded a very high standard from his students. He often said “This is how my father taught me, that is why I teach you this way”.
TCAH: What memories do you have of training under Master Yang?
GSC: There are a lot of memories I have of this time–there is not enough room here to recount them all! The main one is of his standard of teaching. He maintained the same quality for all students, nothing was adapted as is often the case today. He would say “If you can do this, then I will teach you. If you cannot do it, best find someone else”. The other thing that comes to mind is the relationship between us. When he knew I was coming for a lesson that day, he would always sit and wait for me. He would cancel any appointments, even cancel going out with his wife somewhere.
TCAH: Are there any stories you can relate to us of this time?
GSC: Okay, my very first lesson with Master Yang, I showed him what I had learned from Master Lai. A woman student standing next to Master Yang commented that I was sinking much lower into my postures than my friend Chan Ping Tim. Master Yang nodded, which made me very pleased. I was then asked to show Master Yang my pushing hands exercises: ward off, roll back, press, push (as a senior student with Master Lai I used to practice push hands with him a lot). Master Yang again nodded, so I thought I had done a very nice job. However, Master Yang then said I lacked the most important ingredient, ward-off power (peng jing). I then pushed hands with him, and he showed me how this worked–when he applied this power I was shocked and unable to move my arms! Then I knew how much more I had to learn! Since that day I have spent a lot of time developing Peng jing through dynamic pushing hands. I emphasize this a lot in my teaching–it is the essence in all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan.
TCAH: Did Master Lai and Master Yang’s teaching methods differ?
GSC: They had very different styles of teaching. Master Lai taught in the parks. He had many teaching locations. Often he could not cover them all, so I would teach at some of them. Classes were always conducted as a group in early morning, then after classes everyone would go to work. Master Yang taught individually in his own home. Generally, he divided his time to allow each student a lesson at different times throughout the day. No two students had the lesson at the same time. All lessons were taught privately–Master Yang was adamant that his students should not practice in public. He wished many aspects of the art to remain known only to a few. In this way he could be sure of maintaining high standards.
TCAH: How did you feel upon being accepted as Second Disciple of Master Yang?
GSC: Becoming a “closed-door” or “inner circle” disciple carries a lot of responsibility. It is only at this stage that the higher levels of the art are taught. One can be sure that one is receiving the true transmission. It also becomes a responsibility to ensure the continuance of this transmission, maintain the high standards set by my master and to continue the propagation of classical Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. Only in this way can the true art continue to flourish and grow.
TCAH: How have you gone about carrying such a task?
GSC: In the past 25 years, Tai Chi Chuan has come a long way in the United States. I formed the Gin Soon Tai Chi Club in Boston in 1969–not many people knew what Tai Chi Chuan was! Since then I have done a lot of educational work. Now, when you mention the name Tai Chi Chuan, people know what you are talking about. The next step is to improve the quality of Tai Chi Chuan. Although I keep my school small and private, many practitioners seek me out and invite me to conduct seminars at their schools. In this way I can continue to improve the standard of Yang style, both in this country and abroad.
TCAH: Talking of seminars, on your recent course in London, you often stressed the need to sink the chi to the Dan Tien. How is this achieved?
GSC: Many people think that as long as you keep relaxed and think about it, it will happen. This is not so. You have to make it happen physically as well as mentally, over a long period of time. There is no such thing as overnight success. This is why a beginner must seek out a knowledgeable teacher, not simply a famous teacher. When you can sink the chi, the legs become stronger, the body is stronger–you become stronger as a person.
TCAH: Many people are confused by the term chi, or internal energy. What is its meaning for you?
GSC: Chi to me is something inside our body that keeps us alive. It is the energy originating from the blood. In Tai Chi Chuan, the power is often called chi, but more properly it is jing. This is the combination of power from the tendons and ligaments with chi. This power can only be gained through persistent practice. My classmate, Master Ip Tai Tak always says: “Power training is very boring. It is like saving a penny every day”. We do not look for the immediate result, we are looking long term.
TCAH: As a leading authority on Yang style Tai Chi Chuan what advice would you give to practitioners at different levels?
GSC: For beginners–be patient. Learn a few movements at a time, do not try to take in too much information at once, it just becomes confusing. Spend time practicing what you have learned already. To build a tall building begins with a strong foundation. What you have already have learned is the most important thing. At an intermediate stage–do not hurry, spend time doing it right. It is very important at this stage to have correct posture. This will lead to correct energy circulation and set the way for future growth. For advanced practitioner–people are into number games these days. They think, the more Tai Chi routines they know, the better it is. A practitioner should fully understand the how and why for each posture. One should spend more time to understand Yang Cheng Fu’s Ten Points.
TCAH: Often there are people who practice Tai Chi Chuan for 10, 15 years and achieve no power. What advice would you give to these people?
GSC: Obviously this individual did not have a good teacher. Stop and find someone else. As I said before. you should find a knowledgeable teacher, not just a famous one. Generally a knowledgeable teacher will be someone whom very few people know of and is difficult to find.
TCAH: There are many interpretations of how Yang style should be practiced. How important is it to practice the right way? Does it matter as long as the principles are applied?
GSC: It is very important to practice Tai Chi Chuan the right way–otherwise one is wasting time and money. If you practice according to the principles, you are practicing correctly. However, there are many ways to interpret the principles. Yang style interprets them in one specific way and one way only; so if you do not follow that interpretation, you cannot truly be said to be practicing Yang style.
Professor Fang Ning, 83 years old, speaks fluent English and Japanese, graduated from an Amercian Mission School, St. John University in Shanghai, China, in 1947 with degrees in Political Science and Economic. He has been practicing and researching qigong for more than 50 years. He is the 5th generation successor to Wudan Yang-Style Tai-Chi Chuen. Prof. Fang’s name carved on the tombstone of Wuden Yang-Style Tai-Chi Chuan, 4th generation successor, Grand Master Cui Yishi’s Grave. Prof. Fang is also the direct disciple of Grand Master Chen Yen Ning, a famous orthodox Taoist and the first president of the Taoist Society of China in 1958. Since then, Professor Fang has been studying, researching and collecting information on various qigong techniques available.
Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Reference: Sun Tzu Chapter 3: Attach by Stratagem Translated by Lionel Giles