Silkreeling Training

A perspective on silk-reeling training by Zhang Xuexin, a student of Feng Zhiqiang, 18-generation. Chen style Taijiquan and founder of Chen Style Xinyi Hun Yuan Taijiquan.

Feng Zhiqiang, a leading student of Chen Fake is one of the most famous exponents of Taijiquan in the world. He is also well-known for promoting a complete set of silk-reeling exercises (Chansigong or also occasionally romanized as Chan Ssu Gong) in thirty five postures which form one of the fundamental training exercises for the mastery of Chen-style Taijiquan.

Feng Zhiqiang’s senior indoor student, Zhang Xuexin, was the first to introduce this system of exercises to the west. The following introduction to Taijiquan silk-reeling exercises is from Zhang’s video tape on silk-reeling and dantian rotation exercises.

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Master Zhang will demonstrate the complete set of silk-reeling (known as Chan Si Gong in Pinyin) and dantian rotation exercises arranged by Master Feng based on his studies of Chen style Taijiquan. One major objective of this set of spiral exercises is to open up and exercise the 18 major joint areas of the body (in sequence from the head to the ankles). The 18 major joints consist of: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, abdomen, waist, kuas, hips, knees, and ankles. 

These 18 major joints are also referred to as 18 “balls” of the human body. By harmonizing the internal turning and external twisting with the Qi and Yi via the silk-reeling exercises, one can reach a state where the entire body will become an integrated “Taiji sphere.” 

In practicing Chen-style Taijiquan, the human body may be seen as a tree with three sections: branch, trunk and roots. In reference to the entire body: the arm is the branch, the torso is the trunk and the legs are the root. The entire body may be further subdivided. For the torso, the head is the branch, the waist is the trunk and the abdomen is the root. For the arm, the hand is the branch, the elbow is the trunk, and the shoulder is the root. For the lower body, the ankle is the branch, the knee is the trunk and the kua is the root. All total there are 9 sections of the human body. The dantian is the center from which the jing and energy are propogated to each branch like a wave. 

These exercises also train the famous eight energies of Taijiquan – Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Cai, Lie, Jou, and Kao along with qinna (joint locking and grappling) and counter-qinna movements. Master Zhang and his students will also demonstrate applications of the silk-reeling exercises and the fundamental dantian rotation exercises.

All of the exercises presented are useful foundation training not only for students of Chen style Taijiquan but for students of any style of Taijiquan. They are also a good foundation for students of related internal martial arts such as Baguazhang and Xingyiquan. 

Reference:
An Introduction to Chen-style Taijiquan Silk-reeling Training nardis.com

Fang Ning On Tai Chi Chuan Kung-Fu

Translated by Vincent Chu

 

It is common among martial artists to discuss their skills. The same is true of Tai Chi Chuan practitioners. We have seen a competition match where an older man defeated a younger man; we heard from our teachers and read from books how the Yang Family members’ kung-fu was so good that they defeated hard style practitioners without any difficulty. When a young man is defeated by an older man, we say that the young man’s kung-fu is not as good as an older man’s. You may wonder how to measure kung-fu skills in Tai Chi Chuan. The following is my understanding and interpretation of how to measure different levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu with my sixty years of practical knowledge.

Tai Chi chuan kung-fu is divided into ten levels. The first three levels are called lower level or what some people call the level of “entering the door” for this is the beginning of a journey of Tai Chi Chuan training. If a student has achieved the third level, he is considered to have entered the door of training. Fourth to sixth levels are called the middle level or what some people call “enter the door and go into the room”. It is so-called because the student is no longer a beginner and all his instructions are taught in a closed space. Seventh level is the level for a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner to master. Eight to tenth levels are the higher levels and are commonly referred to as “reaching the peak and summit.” Eighth level means one has reached the peak but not the summit. Throughout the history of Tai Chi Chuan, the number of people who achieve this level is very few, so few that we can count them without fingers. People who have achieved this level must have spent decades of diligent practice. For now, anyone who has achieved eighth level will be very famous not just in China but throughout the world if he wanted to show his skill to the public.

The following is a more detailed discussion on the ten levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. We all know that Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art and it is based on the philosophy of yin-yang(that is soft interacting with hard). The whole process of Tai Chi Chuan training is to break down the stiff and rigid body into a soft and relaxed body and then assemble this soft and hard body into a hard and solid body like steel. The Classics say that one should first seek the familiar and then try to understand the jing (internal power). From beginning to understand the jing, with practice the practitioner develops enlightenment. With the term “familiar” the Classics refers to the concept of transforming the hard and rigid body into soft and relaxed body through push hands and the knowledge of these concepts is also called “entering the door” kung-fu. Therefore, it is taught orally. Of course, if one practices Tai Chi Chuan just for health, one does not need to practice push hands. However, if one practices Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, one must practice push hands. Otherwise one is never considered to have entered the door. From push hands exercise, one slowly understands the jing. These are the first three levels of Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu.

From push hands exercise standpoint, the first three levels of kung-fu are the yielding or neutralizing of the opponent’s energy. The Classic of Tai Chi Chuan Circle says that the retreat circle is easer to do than the advance circle. The first three levels are also called the retreat circle. In level one, most of the movements are composed of stiff and rigid energy, very little of yielding energy. In the second level, yielding energy increases and rigid energy decreases in all movements. This is the result of understanding the concepts of push hands exercises and getting familiar with the opponent’s energy and movements. In the third level, all the movements are controlled mainly by the yielding energy and one begins to understand the jing. At this time, one does not just understand and know the jing but is able to maneuver in a circular motion to neutralize the coming energy.

The first three levels is for a student not familiar with the concept of circle to become very familiar with the concept of circle and can use this circle principle to adhere and follow the coming energy. When one understands how and when to use this circle to retreat, one is beginning to understand jing.

Fourth to sixth level kung-fu is working with the advance circle. Therefore, it is also called the advance circle training. When I speak of advance circle, it is not simply a response after retreat. It is in the process of retreating that your yielding energy adheres to the opponent’s energy at all times and under this condition you are forced to advance. For in this situation, your advance maneuver threatens and can cause your opponent to lose balance and get defeated. Your offensive maneuver can be a strike or just fa jing(release energy) and can send the opponent flying. At this time, the student begins to develop fa jing or one inch fa jing techniques. Therefore, if a practitioner does not possess these fa jing or one inch jing techniques, one is considered not to have achieved the fourth level and has not entered the door.

In this fourth to sixth level kung-fu, training involves collecting all the limber body parts and beginning to form firm body parts and from one inch fa jing into even smaller unit of fa jing techniques. Common people generally withdraw their arms one or two feet to reserve power and then punch forward. This is called one foot fa jing technique. At the fourth level, one does not need to withdraw the arms and hands. At this level, a simple fa jing technique cause the opponent to fly. This is the sign that he has entered the door and begins to go into the room. At this time the practitioner should feel the legs and feet are much stronger and are rooted. After one has achieved the fourth level and higher, one is at a very delicate time. The classic calls this as one day’s worth of practice and one day’s worth of skill. This is also the time when the practitioner has entered the door and has gone into the room. The classic also calls this the time of “no rest and keep practicing.” The classic says that in order to learn correctly, one must begin by oral transmission. When a student has achieved level four, he has completed the oral transmission period. Although the student does not practice push hands exercises this time, practice of the solo form can improve Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. Of course, with a teacher’s guidance, the student’s progress is much greater.

When a student has achieved level six, he has entered the room and understands the knowledge. Now he is beginning to understand how to let oneself go and follow the opponent’s energy and apply energy any way he likes. From my sixty years of practical experience, level seven is the key level in which one is going from middle kung-fu into higher kung-fu transition. It is the level of using the mind to control all movements any way one likes. When a student completes this level, the student has also completed the advance circle. The next step is no circle. It is also for the student to practice one inch fa jing technique to small units of fa jing techniques. At this time, one should find that part of the body is soft and every part of the body is solid. Every part of the body can yield and every part can fa jing. Therefore, depending on which part of the body is in contact with the opponent, that part of the body will strike the opponent.

From push hands application standpoint, the first three level are outer circle yielding while fourth to fifth levels are inner circle yielding. The sixth level is yielding with the body. That means one leads the opponent’s energy close to the body and then maneuver the body for yielding. This technique is called “separation of the flesh.” Level seven is no circle strike. Besides the three ways of yielding as described above, one can lead the opponent’s energy to come close to the body and counter strike without yielding. This technique is called “point strike.” At this time, you cannot see the hands move because when the hands touch, it is a strike. When the hands stick, it is also a strike. In this point of contact, it is composed of strike and fa jing and it can be either soft or solid, it can be yield or fa jing. You can say that it is soft and you can say that is is solid.

Levels eight to ten are advanced Tai Chi Chuan kung-fu. Because I have not achieved this yet, I cannot define what it is. From what I heard from my teacher and sixty years of practical experience, anyone who has achieved this level can do wonderful things. This is what the classics commonly refer to when it says, “the opponent does not know me but I know the opponent.” The body is so sensitive and light that one cannot add one feather, fly and mosquito cannot land on the body. When an opponent punches the body, the opponent is already injured and is flying backward but you did not see my improvement. Any movement can cause the opponent injury and bleeding. Of course, in martial arts taining, There is no such thing as the end state. The more your practice, the better the skill. Skill is infinite. Tai Chi Chuan practitioners past and present have achieved skill that most people do not believe was humanly possible.

Reference:
Fang Ning On Tai Chi Chuan Kung-Fu

Fang Ning Push Hands

Fang Ning Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan

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.

Yang Style Tai Chi Ball

By Yang Fukui, as told to Bob Feldman

The Taiji ball or “qiu” is an integral part of intermediate and advanced training in Yang Taijiquan. While there was some interest in the ball among Taiji practitioners in the 1920’x and 1930’s, interest subsequently diminished and few people, even in China today, are familiar with its extensive practice methods.
In English there have only been several short written accounts by Lee Ying Arng and Yang Jwing-Ming, in particular, that described certain aspects of this training. Ball practice, however, is still taught to Yang family members and some close “indoor” students. The purpose of this article is to shed some light upon the purposes and methods of the taiji ball to the many students of Yang style Taijiquan that practice around the world.
The goals of ball practice are to develop one’s root and refine one’s qi and internal strength. It is usually not taught in the family until the student has practiced for a minimum of four to five years and is somewhat familiar with the forms of Yang Taijiquan and the basic principles of push hands.
If one has not attained a certain level of practice, it is counter-productive to learn the ball, as the student will rely more upon muscular effort than upon utilizing the unified strength of the whole body.
Yang style ball practice probably has its origins in the Chen style, although the ball was also utilized in Wudang and Omei training for many hundreds of years. Yang style Taijiquan, while it evolved from the Chen style, in practice focuses more upon internalization of force and rarely emits it externally, except in fighting.
To my understanding, among the major styles of Taijiquan, only the Yang and Chen styles have developed extensive practice methods utilizing the ball.
The Yang style Taiji form is designed to develop physical conditioning, like most internal systems, by increasing the circulation of blood and qi as an integral method of self-healing, spiritual cultivation and fighting. The ball practice greatly helps to achieve this.
The ball is practiced in relatively lower stances than the open hand form, in which the practitioner must be comfortable and relaxed, and which must not rely on muscle tension. In practicing in low postures, one develops strong ligaments and connective tissue to support the weight of the body, thereby improving one’s “root.”
Like the open hand set, one essentially develops “passive” internal strength, but one finds that when using it “actively” for fali, or explosive force, it greatly improves one’s power in push hands and fighting.
As beginners do not usually possess the ability to eliminate tension in low postures, their energy and their blood circulation become blocked in lower stances and their root remains weak. The more relaxed one is within the stance, the deeper one’s root.
One then can move easily to handling the heaviness of the ball because one’s strength emanates from qi, not from muscular tension, with practice.
Over the years, one can start to utilize heavier and heavier balls, progressing, for example, from 8 pounds to 18 pounds. My grandfather used to say that if one changes the weight of the ball four times in one’s life and can handle the ball easily, one is sure to develop good gongfu. This is obviously not a short-term process.
One must also learn, as in the practice of weapons, to allow one’s body and intention to “follow” the ball, not “lead” it. If one attempts to “lead” the ball, one has the tendency to use muscular force, so that the body “fights itself.” If one “follows” the ball, the qi and blood circulation in the absence of muscular tension can open and become more free-flowing.
There is an old saying that if one’s qi and blood circulate well, one’s life can be long. In more advanced drills, the Taiji ball also contains a lot of coiling movements, which are used to improve Taiji ball push hands and fighting skills.
The Taiji ball exercises were developed for these purposes by the first and second generation of our family; Yang Banhou, for example, was particularly adept with the ball. As one’s root and coiling ability improve, one can emit explosive fali, or spring power, even in low stances. At higher levels of practice, one does not focus on qi, but rather upon the cultivation of spirit, or shen.
Little physical strength is utilized at this level and the movements appear to be executed almost effortlessly. At the intermediate and beginner levels, however, it is more important to learn how to develop spring power rather than brute strength. This is done by developing one’s qi and blood circulation. Therefore, the goals of ball practice are to lower the root, increase coiling ability and to develop spring power. This will in turn improve one’s gongfu.
“Gong” may be translated as ability and it must start with basic exercise training. In ball practice, one first begins with a heavy cube-shaped weight placed on a table, making the body to move it is multiple directions and in circles. The weighted cube is utilized first because it moves in a flat plane only.
The ball comes later, as it allows movement in multiple planes at the same time, including up and down in the vertical plane and in multiple planes simultaneously. Balls can be made of iron, wood or leather filled with sand, and must be perfectly round. The diameter of the ball depends upon the size of the practitioner and the type of practice in which he is engaged. The standard ball, however, has approximately a two foot diameter.
In the United States, a medicine ball is a reasonable substitute. On the table, the wooden or iron ball is more commonly used and there are four basic table exercises with many variations. In these exercises, the ball is moved in multiple planes, and one can use a round or square platform on the table to further refine exact spirals or distances using both one-handed and two-handed methods. Here predominantly spiralic or coiling exercises are practiced.
The next level of training focuses upon the practice of the hanging ball, which may also be made of wood or iron, but is usually made of leather and filled with sand. It is suspended from above by a singular line. Again, spiralic movements are practiced, as well as fali and spinning movements. The hardness within the softness of the ball allows one to better emit fali, or explosive force, and to receive force while neutralizing or changing the direction of the ball’s path.
Multiple balls may be hung together to allow one to practice these methods in multiple direction, simulating attacks by multiple opponents or multiple forces directed as you by one opponent simultaneously. At home, however, we never utilized more than two hanging balls at once. There are 18 exercises in this practice.
Later, one goes on to two or even three person practice with hanging balls in which one person throws or thrusts the ball at another practicing fali, who must receive the force and change its direction or spiralic revolution (practicing fa-jin). Fa-jin here entails a change of direction or transmutation of force from one qualitative state to another. For example, a straight force can be changed into a circular force.
In some exercises, one sends the ball back to the first person or to a third person who is in another direction, further refining and quickening one’s reaction. There are 28 exercises in this particular aspect of ball practice, although one can improvise numerous variations.
The student will also learn a variety of basic exercises in which the ball is held in one or two hands. These postures are practiced in lower stances than one will actually practice the standard Yang style open-hand set, in order to deepen one’s root, develop one’s coiling power and fali, to improve martial skills.
Many of the exercises are similar to actual postures in the open-hand form, such as “Lan Chao Wei” or “Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail” and “Ye Ma Fun Zhong” or “Parting the Horse’s Mane.” Other postures are quite different from the open-hand form.
It is essential that, like the open-hand form, the movements be executed without muscular tension, have smooth transitions, show internal strength, clear intention, coiling ability, and utilize the whole body in unison, not just the arms. Although each of the individual exercises should be repetitively practiced on both the left and right sides, they can also be linked into a set.
The number of different exercises practiced while holding the ball is 28. Therefore, the set contains 28 exercises. In addition, when performing he combination set, there are slight variations in some of the movements, to allow them to better flow into the next exercise.
While the practice of Taiji ball can be grueling, depending on the weight of the ball, this set allows one to build endurance, allowing one to practice a variety of movements. Examples of these exercises are shown in the photos.
The final component of Yang style Taiji ball practice applies push hands methods. The stances are also particularly low to cultivate ones root, and the methods may be divided into two types: two persons pushing the ball itself and two persons utilizing pushing of the ball to push the opponent. Peng, Lu, Ji, An, as well as other aspects of push hands practice, include “banshi,” or “adhering jin,” in which the ball is cupped and held with one hand. There are also 28 exercises in this aspect of ball training.
The Taiji ball is a very good ancillary practice for Taijiquan about which little today is known or understood. It is the author’s wish that this article will help spread awareness among Yang style practitioners of this useful method, as well as its goals and precautions.

Reference:
Yang Style Tai Chi Ball T’AI CHI – Vol. 25, No. 3

Books:
Tai Chi Ball Qigong: For Health and Martial Arts by Yang Jwing-Ming and David Grantham

The key points to observe in T’ai Chi Practice

1. Relax the neck and suspend the head from the crown point.
2. The eyes should focus and concentrate on the direction in which the ch’i flows.
3. Relax the chest and the back.
4. Drop and relax the shoulders; drop and relax the elbows.
5. The wrist should be set comfortably while the fingers stretch outward.
6. The entire body must be vertical and balanced.
7. The coccyx must be pulled forward and upward with the mind.
8. Relax the waist and the juncture of the thighs and pelvis.
9. The knees should stay between relaxed and not-relaxed.
10. The sole of the foot should sink and attach comfortably to the ground.
11. Clearly separate the substantial and the insubstantial.
12. Each part of the body should be connected to every other part.
13. The internal and external should combine together; breathing should be natural.
14. Use the mind, not physical strength.
15. The ch’i attaches to the spinal column and sinks into the tan t’ien
16. Mind and internal power should connect together.
17. Each form should be smooth and connected with no unevenness or interruption, and the entire body should be comfortable.
18. The form should not be too fast, and it should not be too slow.
19. Your posture should always be proportionate.
20. The real application of the form should be hidden, not obvious.
21. Discover calm within action and action within calm.
22. First the body should be light; then it will become limber. When limber it should move freely. Whoever moves freely will be able to change the situation as needed.

Reference:
Waysun Liao Tai Chi Classics
ISBN 1570627495
p. 126-127

The Five Virtues of T’ai Chi Ch’uan

1. Your study should be broad, diversified. Do not limit yourself. This principle can be compared to your stance, which moves easily in many different directions.

2. Examine and question. Ask yourself how and why T’ai Chi works. This principle can be compared to your sensitivity, which is receptive to that comparison which others ignore.

3. Be deliberate and careful in your thinking. Use your mind to discover the proper understanding power.

4. Clearly examine. Separate concepts distinctly then decide upon the proper course. This principle can be compared to the continuous motion of T’ai Chi.

5. Practice sincerely. This principle can be compared to heaven and earth, the eternal.

Reference:
Translations of early Unknown Tai Chi Masters

Waysun Liao Tai Chi Classics
ISBN 1570627495
p. 125-126

The Eight Truths of T’ai Chi

1. Do not be concerned with form. Do not be concerned with the ways in which form manifests. It is best to forget your own existence.

2. Your entire body should be transparent and empty. Let inside and outside fuse together and become one..

3. Learn to ignore external objects. Allow your mind to guide you and act spontaneously, in accordance with the moment.

4. The sun sets on the western mountain. The cliff thrusts forward, suspended in space. See the ocean in its vastness and the sky in its immensity.

5. The tiger’s roar is deep and mighty. The monkey’s cry is high and shrill.
So should you refine your spirit, cultivating the positive and the negative.

6. The water of spring is clear, like fine crystal. The water of the pond lies still and placid. Your mind should be as the water and your spirit like the spring.

7. The river roars. The stormy ocean boils. Make your ch’i like these natural wonders.

8. Seek perfection sincerely. Establish life. When you have settled the spirit, you may cultivate the ch’i.

Reference:
Translations of early Unknown Tai Chi Masters

Waysun Liao Tai Chi Classics
ISBN 1570627495
p. 126

Li Yi Yu’s Five Character Formula

When the heart is not quiet, one may not concentrate. Lifting the hands, moving forward, backward, left, and right, will lack focused direction. Therefore, the heart must be quiet. From the moment one initiates motion, its not determined by the self. You must quiet the heart and understand with your body. Your movements follow those of your opponent. Follow bending with extending. Do not let go nor resist. Bending and extending are not determined by you. When the opponent is strong I am also strong. When the opponent is weak I am still strong. My intent always arrives first. You must pay attention at all times. Wherever there is contact, there is a focus of concentration. In the midst of not letting go nor resisting you must gather information and proceed from there. After a long period of practice, you will be able to use this information physically. This is completely dependent upon the use of intent and not on force (jing). Eventually, the opponent is controlled by me, I am not controlled by others.

The Body is Agile
If the body is sluggish, one cannot advance and retreat as desired. Therefore, the body should be agile. When moving the hands, one most not be dull. If I feel the opponents power has touched my skin, my intent has already penetrated his bones. The hands support and all is unified in a single qi. If the left is heavy it becomes empty and my right hand has already struck. If the right is heavy the it becomes empty and my left has already struck. The is like a wheel. The entire body most coordinate its individual movements. If there is any part that does not move in concert with all others, the body will be in chaos and powerless. The root of the problem is found in waist and legs. First, the heart follows the body. Follow the opponent and not the self. Later, the body follows the heart while still following the opponent. If one move without following the opponent, movement will be sluggish. If movement follows the opponent, it will be alive. If one follows the opponent, one’s hands will be sensitive and the opponent’s power may be judged exactly. The distance of the opponent’s attack will not be miscalculated even by a hairs breath. Moving forward and backward, advancing and retreating will be appropriate. The longer you practice, the more refined you technique will become.

The Qi is Stored
If the qi is dispersed and not stored within, the body will easily lapse into chaos. The qi should be held in the spine. The breath should be smooth and fill the entire body. Inhalation is closing and storing, and exhalation is opening and releasing. During inhalation one naturally rises and holds the opponent up. During exhalation one naturally sinks and knocks the opponent away. This involves the intent leading the qi and not the strength leading the qi.

The Force (Jing) is Complete
The force of the entire body is trained into a unified whole. Substantial and insubstantial are clearly differentiated. When issuing force, there must be a root. The force rises from the heel, is controlled by the waist, and manifests in the fingers. It issues from the spine. One must also raise all of one’s spirit. Just as the opponent is about to issue force but has not, my force has already intercepted the opponent’s. I must not issue my force earlier or later. Even if you feel as if you skin is on fire or you are struck by a flood, you most not become the least bit perturbed. Seek the straight in the curved; first store the release; only then can you achieve consistent results. This is called borrowing the opponent’s force to use against him, or using four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.

The Spirit is Concentrated
After allowing the first four requirements, it all comes down to concentrating the spirit. When the spirit is concentrated, then the one qi is stimulated and forged. The essence and qi are returned to the spirit and the qi is active and expansive. The essence and spirit are concentrated. Opening and closing regulated. Insubstantial and substantial are clearly defined. When the left is empty the right is full. When the right is full the left is empty. Insubstantial (empty) does not mean completely without power. Substantial (full) does not mean completely tight. The value of the spirit is concentration. The critical locations are the center of the chest and the waist. Its movements and use is not external. Borrow force from others. The qi issues from the spine. The qi sinks downward; it is pulled in from the shoulders into the spine and concentrated in the waist. When the qi moves downward from above, it is called closing. From the waist the qi moves up the spine and enters the arms. It is issued in the fingers. When the qi moves upward from below it is called opening. Closing is withdrawing. Opening is releasing. To understand opening and closing is to know yin and yang. At this level, power and skill improve daily. Slowly, you will come to the state where you can act at will.

Reference:
A Study of Taijiquan
by Sun Lutang, Translated by Tim Cartmell
ISBN 1556434626

p. 216-18

The Legend of Li Ching-Yuen

In the province of Szechwan in China lived until last week Li Ching-yun. In China where Age means something he was a great man. By his own story he was born in 1736, had lived 197 years. By the time he was ten years old he had traveled in Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria gathering herbs. He continued to gather herbs for the rest of his first 100 years. He lived on herbs and plenty of rice wine. When asked for his secret of long life. Li Ching-yun gave it readily: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” The “Scholar War Lord” Wu Pei-fu. not satisfied with this formula, took Li into his home and was lectured on “how to get the most out of each century” by maintaining “inward calm.” Some said he had buried 23 wives, was living with his 24th. a woman of 60, had descendants of eleven generations. The fingernails of his venerable right hand were six inches long. Yet to skeptical Western eyes he looked much like any Chinese 60-year-old. In 1930 Professor Wu Chung-chieh, dean of the department of education at Chengtu University, found records that the Imperial Chinese Government had congratulated one Li Ching-yun in 1827 on his birthday. The birthday was his 150th, making the man who died last week—if it was the same Li Ching-yun, and respectful Chinese preferred to think so—a 256-year-old.

Reference:
Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog time.com

Links:
Li Ching-Yuen wikipedia.org

Books:
Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-Yun
by Stuart Alve Olson
ISBN 0892819456

Li Tianji Taijiquan

Yang style long form performed by Li Tianji (1913-1996), son of Li Yulin, who was student of Li Jinglin, Sun Lutang and Yang Chengfu.

Li Tianji studied wushu from his father, Li Yulin, as well as from his father’s masters, Sun Lutang and Li Jinglin. He graduated from the Shandong Wushu Institute, became a college professor, the executive of the Harbin Wushu Federation, and the first chief coach of the China Wushu Team. Li Tianji has been memorialized as one of the “Ten Best Wushu Masters of China (Zhongguo Shi Da Wushu Mingshi).”

In 1956 Li Tianji created the first standardized simplified taijiquan: 24-Form Simplified Taijiquan and 32-Form Simplified Taiji Sword.

What is Peng Jin?

What is Peng Jin and is it better to maintain a little in the arms for example to prevent people from coming in?

People misunderstand Peng. There is another word with the same sound and only one stroke different that means something like structure or framework and people often think this is what is meant by Peng. If you base your Taiji on this incorrect meaning of Peng then the whole of your Taiji will be incorrect. Peng Jin is over the whole body and it is used to measure the strength and direction of the partners force. But it is incorrect to offer any resistance. It should be so light that the weight of a feather will make it move. It can be described like water which will, with no intention of its own, support equally the weight of a floating leaf or the weight of a floating ship. Then he added in English: “Peng Jin is sensitivity”.

Reference:
Q & A’s with Master Ma Yueliang. Interview by Patrick A Kelly patrickkellytaiji.com