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CHEN XIAOWANG - KEEPER OF THE TAIJI SECRETS

The following article first appeared in Inside Kung Fu Magazine October 1991:

hen !iaowang" grandson of the fa#ous hen Fa$e" is recognized as the present%da& $eeper of hen st&le tai'i(uan) In this rare inter*iew" #aster hen re*eals the true histor& of his fa#il&+s st&le) It is not *er& often one co#es across a genuine $ung%fu #aster) In #& ,- &ears of searching the world o*er .especiall& in hina/ for a true teacher" I can honestl& sa& I ha*e not #et #ore than si0 #artial artists who# I can consider a #aster in the true sense of the word) 1o it was with great fortune that I ha*e #anaged so#ehow to ha*e #aster hen !iaowang sta& with #e for a while in #& ho#e" and to stud& with hi# dail&) Master hen is the son of hen 2hao0u" the eldest son of the hen fa#il& tai'i #aster" hen Fa$e) 3s such" he is recognised as the present% da& .19th generation/ $eeper of the hen st&le tai'i(uan) Master hen was born in 1945 in hen'iagou 6illage" 7enan pro*ince) 7e began the stud& of his fa#il& art of tai'i at the age of 8 b& his father and his uncles 2hao$ui and especiall& 2haopi) Master hen was awarded the tai'i(uan gold #edal at three consecuti*e 9ational :ushu Tourna#ents fro# 19;- < 19;, and was again crowned the tai'i(uan ha#pion at the First International :ushu o#petition held in !ian in 19;5) =efore he left hina" #aster hen was chairperson of the 7enan pro*ince hen >ush 7and Tai'i(uan 3ssociation" deput& head of the :ushu 3cade#& of 7enan pro*ince" and technical ad*isor and official assessor for the standardised co#petition routines for the hen" ?ang" :u and 1oon st&les of tai'i(uan) 1ince 19;;" he has been a senior wushu instructor .e(ui*alent to a uni*ersit& associate professor/ in hina) 3part fro# his #artial prowess Master hen is also a $een calligrapher and a noted author) 7e has written three boo$s on tai'i(uan and is the co##ittee #e#ber of the 1ociet& of hinese alligraph& and @iterature) 1ince 19;5" hen has tra*elled to teach in Aapan" 1ingapore" Mala&sia and the B)1) 3t present he is *isiting 3ustralia and is conducting se#inars in #a'or cities) Our inter*iew was conducted in Mandarin) I ha*e translated and edited #aster hen+s con*ersation with the help of his written notes in hinese and his boo$s) 7 : Master hen can &ou start b& telling us the origin of hen st&le tai'i(uanC !:: :e can start with #& ancestor" hen =u" the first generation) 7e was originall& fro# 1han0i pro*ince) 9earing the end of the Ming D&nast&" o*er 5-- &ears ago hen =u #igrated to 7enan pro*ince and #o*ed his fa#il& to present da& hen'iagou 6illage in the ount& of :en0ian) 3t that ti#e the *illage was called hang&ang *illage .#ainl& consisting of people with the surna#es hang and ?ang/) :hen the hen clan prospered and its population increased" the *illage na#e was changed to hen'iagou .E hen+ % surna#e" EAia+ % the fa#il& of" EFou+ % gull& or ra*ine" because the *illage lies in a gull& not far fro# the ?ellow Gi*er/) hen =u was an acco#plished #artial artist" so e*er&one in #& *illage has been practising $ung%fu since then) 9othing *er& #uch happened until the ninth generation" the ti#e of hen :anting" who was an outstanding scholar and #artial artist) 7 : I ha*e heard hen :anting was a fearso#e fighter) :as there an&thing written about hi# in the fa#il& recordC !:: ?es" in our Fenealog& of the hen Fa#il&" it was recorded: :anting" alias 2houting" was a $night at the end of the Ming d&nast& and a scholar in the earl& &ears of the Hing d&nast&) 7e was $nown in 1hangdong pro*ince as a #aster of #artial arts" once defeating #ore than 1"--- bandits) 7e was the originator of the bare%handed and ar#ed%co#bat bo0ing of the hen school) 7e was a born warrior" as can be pro*ed b& the broadswords he used in co#batI

7 : Is the sword still thereC !:: .1#iling/ 9o) It was a long ti#e agoIbesides" the ultural Ge*olution has destro&ed #ost of the relics) :e are luc$& to ha*e $ept so#e of the written records of the fa#il&) 7 : 1o hen :anting in*ented tai'i(uanC

!:: ?es) =etween 19J- and 19J, Tang 7oa" a well $nown and respected #artial arts historian" was co##issioned b& the then go*ern#ent to find out the truth) 7e ca#e to our *illage three ti#es" went through our fa#il& records and did a lot of research) 7e was sure that tai'i(uan was originated fro# hen :anting of hen'igou in the #iddle of the 18th centur&) 7 : Do &ou agree with hi#C !:: ?es I do) 3fter the downfall of the Ming d&nast&" the political scene was *olatile and the societ& was in tur#oil) hen :anting withdrew fro# public life and retired to li*e in the *illage) 7e wrote not long before his death: Gecalling past &ears" how bra*el& I fought to wipe out ene#& troops and what ris$ I went through) 3ll the fa*ours bestowed on #e are now in *ainK 9ow old and feeble" I a# acco#panied onl& b& the boo$ of 7uang Ting .a classic on (igong/) @ife consists in creating actions of bo0ing when feeling depressed" doing field wor$ when the season co#es and spending leisure ti#e teaching disciples and children so the& can be worth& #e#bers of societ&) =ecause hen :anting had fought in #an& battles and tra*elled and read widel&" he was able to co#bine #an& good points fro# other schools and fro# his past e0perience" and build upon what was passed down b& hen =u to create a uni(ue s&ste# of #artial arts) 7 : :hat was so special about hen :anting+s tai'i(uanC !:: One" he s&nthesized #an& for#s of bo0ing into one s&ste#) 7e was especiall& influenced b& the writing of Feneral Hi Aiguang .The J, for#s of the anons of =o0ing/ < a collection of for#s fro# 1L schools) Two" he utilized the theor& of &in and &ang as the theoretical basis of his #artial arts) Three" he co#bined traditional hinese #edical theories .e)g) 'ingluo and acupuncture/ and techni(ues of dao&in .the concentrated e0ertion of inner force/ and tuna .deep breathing e0ercises/ into his s&ste#) Four" he in*ented the chan0i .Ereeling sil$+/ techni(ues and the push hands e0ercises) 7 : :hat was the content of hen :anting+s tai'i(uanC !:: It had fi*e sets of tai'i(uan" one set of paocui" one set of chang(uanM consisting of 1-; #o*e#ents" all t&pes of weapons" fi*e #ethods of push hands and two%person stic$& spear and other t&pes of practice routines with weapons) 7 : Is there an&one still practising these routinesC !:: 9o" not the fist for#s an&wa&) During the 14th generation" hen hang0ing .1881 <1;5J/ condensed all the fist for#s into two sets) :e now call the# Elao'i+ .the Eold fa#il&+ sets/ to distinguish the# fro# the E0in'ia+ .the Enew fa#il&+ set/ created b& #& grandfather hen Fa$e .1;;8 < 1958/) The first set of lao'i is (uite slow" it can be used to train the student to awa$en and to get a feel of the (i) The second set" also called paocui" is fast and powerful" where the student is taught to Efa 'ing+ .e0plosi*e power/) The two sets of 0in'ia are si#ilar to the lao'i e0cept the& re(uire #ore subtle use of energ& and d&na#ic force and are generall& #ore difficult to perfor# well than the lao'ia) The push hands and the weapons routine re#ain #uch the sa#e to this da&)

7 : I understand &ou ha*e now further condensed the lao'i and 0in'ia for#s into one Ethirt& eight+ for#) an &ou tell us so#ething about this new creationC !:: In the Ethirt& eight+ for#" I ha*e tried to do awa& with all the repetitions and to si#plif& the too%difficult #o*es" without destro&ing the characteristics of hen st&le tai'i(uan" especiall& the attac$%defence content and the chan0i techni(ues) The whole set is di*ided into four sections each with nine #o*e#ents) It ta$es three to four #inutes to perfor#) ?ou can practice it either in a slow gentle wa& or in a fast and *igorous fashion with 'u#ps and Efa 'ing+" it all depends on &our age or inclination) It+s (uic$ and easier to learn and I thin$ it is a good wa& to popularise the hen st&le tai'i(uan) 7 : :e all $now the ?ang" the :u and the 1oon st&les e*ol*ed fro# the the #ain difference between hen and the other st&lesC hen" an &ou tell us

!:: :ell" the& all ha*e uni(ue characteristics) Fenerall& spea$ing" the na#es of the #o*e#ents are different and so#eti#es the intentions are different) hen'iagou tai chi has #ore weapon for#s < apart fro# the sword and the sabre there is the spear" the staff" the $wan do and the two%person weapons for#s) In hen st&le tai'i(uan all the sets ha*e Efa 'ing+ #o*e#ents that other st&les tend to neglect or not show at all) hen st&le tai'i(uan is for fighting as well as for health) 7 : :hat about chan0i 'ing .Ereeling sil$ energ&+/C !:: han0i 'ing is a uni(ue characteristic of hen st&le tai'i) The other st&les don+t ha*e #uch of these spiral%li$e spinning and twisting #o*e#ents) 7 : 3nd push handsC !:: hen st&le push hands tended to be done in a #o*ing fashion) One attac$s forward while the other retreats bac$ward" front on or side on and so forth) The other st&les li$e to do it in a #ore or less stationar& #anner" with less Efa 'ing+ and less aggressi*e #o*es) :e also tend to use chin na and ta$e%downs a lot) :e treat push hands as a #oc$fight rather than an e0ercise) ?ou ha*e to be thrown around a lot to $now what &our E(i+ or &our E'ing+ is doing) 7 : 1pea$ing as one who has onl& done ?ang st&le" can one achie*e #aster& of tai'i b& doing an& one of these st&lesC !:: Of course) The& all co#e fro# the one source) The principles are the sa#e) :hat st&le &ou do is i##aterial) :ith a good teacher" hard wor$ and perse*erance" e*er&thing is possible)

DISCUSSIONS WITH CHEN XIAOWANG


Q: How do you use t e d!"t#!" #" !$$%y#"& 'o()e*

!:: The dantian is the energ& center of the bod& and re(uires coordination of the entire bod&) The force generated originates fro# the dantian and coordinates with the rest of the bod&" gaining force) Q: W !t !(e t e +e) !"#)s o' !$$%y#"& d!"t#!" 'o()e*

!:: 1piral force coordinated through the #o*e#ent of the bod&) :hen the dantian turns" the bod& turns and pushes the hands) The dantian area is li$e the center of a circle) Q: How !(e t e ,!)- !"d %e&s )oo(d#"!ted w#t t e d!"t#!"*

!:: :hen the dantian begins #o*ing" &ou connect the #uscles of the legs and bac$ to follow the dantian) N*er& part #o*es together" all connected) The hand does not #o*e b& itself" the dantian pushes the hand) ItOs a three di#ensional #o*e#ent" using the whole bod&) The dantian" hip" $nee" leg all coordinate" initiating in the spiraling through the bod&) Q: Does t e d!"t#!" !.e 'o()e*

!:: 3 s#all a#ount) The s#all force pushes the rest of the bod& .#uscle and bone/) Q: W !t #s t e )o""e)t#o" ,etwee" /# !"d t e d!"t#!"*

!:: Hi b& itself is wea$" soft) The dantian Pco##unicatesP to the #uscle and bone) The dantian is the storage of all the (i) The 'ingluo directs the (i through the bod&) :hen (i is generated" it is co##unicated .wired li$e a bo#b/ through the bod&) It is *er& i#portant to understand the relationship of dantian to (i" (i and #uscle" and #uscle and bone) The #ain co##unication is between the dantian and #uscle %% this is the essence of hen Tai'i(uan) Q: T e(e #s ! %ot o' e+$ !s#s o" t e d!"t#!" (ot!t#o" #" t e C e" Sty%e0 )o((e)t*

!:: ?es" in ter#s of connection to the whole bod& and the dantian leading the #o*e#ent) 3lso" when e#pt&" the (i goes fro# the dantian out to the hand it is &ang) :hen it returns to the dantian" it is &in) Q: W !t #s t e #+$o(t!")e o' y#*

!:: The application of &i to the #o*e#ent is i#portant) There are three stages: earl&" #iddle" and ad*anced) 7alf the #ind concentrates on the #o*e#ent itself" the other half of the #ind is e#pt& or open) In the earl& stage &ou pa& attention to the #o*e#ent or the (i itself) 3t the ad*anced stage &ou donOt ha*e to pa& attention to it" all the channels are open and the (i is flowing naturall& with concentrating on it) This is because the energ& #o*es easil& through the bod&) 9o #atter what stage" it is i#portant to $eep one half of the concentration on the bod&Os #o*e#ent and one half of the #ind open) Q: A(e t e(e !)u$u")tu(e $o#"ts st#+u%!ted ,y +o.e+e"ts #" T!#1#*

!:: Different postures re(uire different coordination of the #uscles" resulting in different e#phasis) Hi is co##unicated through the channels" so there are different results with different #o*e#ents) Q: A(e t e(e !"y d#''e(e")es #" ,(e!t #"& $!tte("s ,etwee" t e 2!o1#! 3# %u !"d E( %u 'o(+s*

!:: Man& people as$ this) There are sa#e and different principles associated with each for#" but one should not tr& to control the breathing) Keep it natural) :hen doing fa'in" it is natural to e0hale) In the beginning &ou need to focus on correcting the #o*e#ents" donOt tr& to force the breathing) 3s s$ill increases the bod&Os re(uire#ents for o0&gen will ad'ust naturall&) =e honest with the needs of &our bod&) If &ou run or 'u#p" the bod& will respond b& ad'usting &our breathing naturall&) ?ou donOt need to thin$ about it) Tai'i is the sa#e) Q: Wou%d you d#s)uss /#*

!:: 1o#e things can onl& be felt and cannot be described) ?ou should be feeling Phot waterP" pouring through &our ar# and to &our hand) N*en at low le*els" people can feel this) :hen the ar# is circling the little finger #o*es" energ& goes to the dantian) :hen the thu#b #o*es" the (i goes fro# the dantian out to the hand) Q: W !t #s t e d#''e(e")e ,etwee" /# !"d 1#"&*

!:: The (i co##unicates" b& itself is different) :hen co##unicated to the #uscles" the (i beco#es 'ing) Aing is the e0pression of (i"as it beco#es e0plosi*e force) :hene*er (i co##unicates e0plosi*e force to the #uscles" it beco#es 'ing) Q: W !t #s t e d#''e(e")e ,etwee" 1#"& !"d s e"*

!:: Aing and shen are nearl& the sa#e) 1hen is a higher le*el" 'ing is the first le*el of shen) Aing is the foundation of the building" shen is the top of the building) The relationship between &i and (i is the $ing" the (i is the ar#& .bones and #uscle/) The &i is the $ing" #uscle and bone the general) ?i effects (i) Q: W !t !(e t e +ost #+$o(t!"t $(#")#$%es #" C e" Sty%e T!#1#/u!"*

!:: >osture" position %% standing post e0ercise is the first for#) This gets the bod& read& for Tai'i(uan practice) =efore &ou can dri*e a car" &ou ha*e to ad'ust the #irrors" seats" buc$le in" etc) This is si#ilar) Thin$ of the dantian as the center) The bod& #ust be in balance" the #ind (uiet and peaceful" energ& flowing e*er&where through the bod&) The $e& point is that the bod& is connected" (i is flowing and co##unicating with the rest of the bod&) ?ou ha*e the one posture" two #o*e#ent principle:The first principle the dantian #o*es side to side" turning" spiraling"and changing) onnection as abo*e .standing post/" #aintained in #o*ing" dantian #o*es the bod& responds) The second principle the dantian #o*es forward and bac$ward) The #o*e#ent corresponds to the dantian #o*e#ent to another %% transition fro# one #o*e#ent to another %% funda#ental) 9ot spiraling) Once &ou understand the posture and the #o*e#ent principles &ou understand all for#s" applications" or an& weapon) If &ou donOt understand these principles" &ou are li$e a tree without roots and &ou canOt grow)The two #o*e#ent principles can co#bine into one because of the si#ilarit&)The chestQwaist change the #o*e" opening and closing)

Q: W !t !(e )o++o" +#st!-es $eo$%e +!-e %e!("#"& T!#1#/u!"*

!:: One of the #ost co##on #ista$es is that the& donOt understand the two #o*e#ent principles) The& tr& to 'ust cop& their teacherOs #o*e#ents" without understanding) The student #ust $now what to do and what not to do" not 'ust follow their teacher blindl&) Nach #o*e#ent has a standard" and principles to be followed" so the teacher #ust understand this in order to teach the student" and the student #ust loo$ for this and willQshould be able to ad'ust other students and the#sel*es) I want to see both the teacher and the student #o*e forward together" toward the sa#e goal of higher standard in Tai'i(uan) Q: W !t #s t e #+$o(t!")e o' st!"d#"& $ost*

!:: It is the posture which increases the co##unication between the dantian and the rest of the bod&) One posture two #o*e#ent principle) 1tanding post is the wa& to practice one posture) Q: W e" s ou%d ! stude"t ,e&#" $us !"ds*

!:: =efore push hands" &ou #ust understand the #o*e#ent principles" coordination of the entire bod&) If &ou donOt" &ou end up with too #uch ar# #o*e#ent) Q: Is )e"t(!% e/u#%#,(#u+ de.e%o$ed t (ou& $us !"ds*

!:: This is done through the #o*e#ent principles and the standing posture) Man& ti#es people fail in push hands because the& lose the balance of the dantian) Maintain the beginning posture then when &ou #o*e" #aintain the two #o*e#ent principles) Q: How )!" $eo$%e #+$(o.e t e#( $us !"ds*

!:: >eople should practice the entire @ao'ia ?i lu for#) >ractice all the postures and the for# #ore often" thin$ about application of each #o*e#ent) ?ou #ust practice often" $eep the principles in #ind during practice" until the& beco#e part of &ourself) Q: Is t e(e ! "eed to d#st#"&u#s ,etwee" y#" !"d y!"&*

!:: I use solid and e#pt&" not &in and &ang) It is difficult to e0plain" use double weighted" which #eans both sides ha*e the sa#e weight) In Tai'i(uan" &ou need to #a$e one side lighter than the other" but that is too eas&) If it were that eas&" e*er&one would be a Tai'i #aster) The real #eaning is in the static posture) :hen the bod& isnOt #o*ing" the energ& canOt #o*e" stagnation) Q: W !t #s t e .!%ue o' Q#&o"& 'o( T!#1# $(!)t#)e*

!:: Higong principles are si#ilar to Tai'i) 1a#e channels" dantian" bod&" etc) Tai'i(uan is a co#plete set of Higong" &ou reall& need no other) Tai'i(uan is #ore s&ste#atic and se(uential) I teach Higong to those that desire to learn Higong)

Q: W !t #s t e .!%ue o' t e He!%#"& Sou"ds Q#&o"&*

!:: It is si#ple) There are sounds associated with #o*e#ents of the bod&) Aust li$e a #usical scale the& all co#e fro# the #outh" but ha*e different reactions on the bod&) Depending on &our particular ail#ent or proble# &ou create a specific sound) Q: T e $us !"ds tou("!+e"t t!$e '(o+ t e C e" .#%%!&e %oo-s $(etty $ ys#)!%4

!:: 1o#e enter the tourna#ent without proper practice) There are two aspects to push hands: 1) acti*el& attac$" ,) passi*el& protect &ourself) If &ou are being pushed &ou #ust protect &ourself) ?ou should learn and understand both aspects of the co#petition) The proble# with the tourna#ent is that #an& tr& to be nu#ber one .win/" so both partners are acti*el& attac$ing each other at the sa#e ti#e) This is the proble#) 1o#eti#es the co#petitors are not well #atched either) Q: How do you use $e"& e"e(&y #" '!1#"*

!:: The basic idea behind peng 'ing is energ& flow" no stagnation) If energ& is bro$en there is no peng 'ing) If thereOs too #uch energ&" also no peng 'ing) This is a big proble# here in the B1) Man& people ha*e the wrong idea about peng 'ing) The #ind #ust be clear and peaceful) >eng 'ing cannot be forced) 3llow energ& to flow naturall& is the onl& wa&) Q: Is #t "e)ess!(y to !.e &(ou"d $!t #" o(de( to !.e $e"& 1#"&*

!:: 9o) It is li$e a car on a lift) The carOs engine can still run and the wheels will turn) Once &ou place the car on the ground the car will #o*e) >eng 'ing is si#ilar) Q: How )!" "eut(!%#5!t#o" s-#%%s ,e de.e%o$ed*

!:: The posture #ust be rela0ed" the #ind rela0ed" then #ini#al a#ount of #o*e#ent is re(uired to neutralize) This is peng 'ing) If the dantian is in co##unication with the bod&" it creates an Penerg& shieldP around the bod&) If &ou lose co##unication with part of the bod& &ou lose peng 'ing) If doing properl&" the ar# will co##unicate how the rest of the bod& needs to respond) The soldier send signals to the general and the bod& responds as needed) Q: How does o$e" !"d )%ose wo(- w e" !tt!)-#"&* !:: :hen &ou are going to attac$" the bod& collapses .closes/ then opens" when attac$ing it opens in front and closes in bac$) 3nother wa& to sa& it is outside open and inside closed) :hen gathering the outside is closed and the inside is open) Q: 3ou )(e!ted ! 67 +o.e+e"t 'o(+* !:: The 19 for# is fro# the re(uest of #an& students fro# around the world) There are four sections in the for#) It goes fro# right to left four ti#es) The principles are based on the hen 1t&le @ao'ia .Old Fra#e/" !in'ia .9ew Fra#e/" and !iao'ia .1#all Fra#e/) The principles #ust be clear and then applied to all the 19 for# postures) It is eas& for beginners to learn) It was designed for the #odern hu#an" who has little ti#e to practice a longer for#)

This is an article Copyrighted 1995 by Kungfu Magazine on Secrets of

Se)(ets o' C e" 8#%%!&e w#t 9!ste( C e" Q#"&5 ou


,y 9!(#!" K4 C!st#"!do

3s a child in hen 6illage" hina in the 19J-s" life for hi# was hard) 1ic$l&" with so#e lung and sto#ach disease" he was li*ing in a ti#e and place where there was little food" and li$e a scene fro# The Food Narth" the people of the area so#eti#es ate dirt to sur*i*e) =ut in spite of such ab'ect po*ert&" treasured as sacred within their culture was a 'ewel be&ond worth % too *aluable to sell" too precious to ignore: the hen Fa#il& Tai'i) This nine%&ear%old hen Hingzhou" hoping to i#pro*e his health" began training in tai'i postures" wor$ing first with his father" hen :ufang) The elder #an was not of a high s$ill" but he could pla& well" and the lessons progressed in difficult&) N*en under the #ost stressful of circu#stances" when hen Hingzhou and his father had to lea*e their ho#e during the Aapanese in*asions and thousands of people were being $illed" the& left their ho#e town" but the& continued to train) The bo&Os lo*e for tai'i beca#e *er& strong" and his father encouraged the search for a better teacher" the one who could bestow the ne0t le*el of difficult&) In 19L," at age 19" hen Hingzhou stood before Master hen 2haopi" a fa#ous instructor of the ti#e" and as$ed for indoor status as a student) :h& did he choose this st&leC PM& last na#e is hen"P Master hen Hingzhou states with a laugh that transcends language) PIn that area we didnOt e*en see an& other $ind of #artial art) M& father" e*er&one" practiced it)P It was 'ust before the cultural re*olution of the #id%19L-s" when onl& echoes would re#ain fro# these da&s when e*er&one trained % or were the PechoesP the distant sound of practitioners underground in little roo#s" $eeping the sacred art ali*e li$e sorcerers con'uring a ti#e thought deadC Ironic then" that hen HingzhouOs training hall was a gra*e&ard % @iberation e#eter& in :en0ian % the onl& (uiet spot where he could practice when not with his teacher) >erhaps inspired b& the spirits of his ancestors" hen HingzhouOs power grew so great that hen 2haopi granted hi# per#ission to teach in 19LJ" after onl& one &ear of tutelage) In those da&s" the hinese people were poor and didnOt tra*el #uch" but hen Hingzhou went to teach in outl&ing pro*inces" and first encountered 7sing I"

@ong Fist and 1haolin at tourna#ents) PI saw a lot of the chi gong where the& were brea$ing bric$s on their foreheads"P recalls Master hen" spea$ing through his student Kris Nc$ert) PTheir bodies were hard" and I said" O:eOre not li$e that" weOre 'ust the opposite" our bod& is soft and the inside is hard as a roc$)P 3t first the& were all so#ewhat afraid of us" and at the co#petitions all the di*isions were separated" so the& reall& didnOt ha*e an opportunit& to Otouch handsO % to do an& fighting) =ut then later the& did pla& push hands" or free fighting" and it was *er& eas& for the high%s$illed hen pla&ers to ta$e all this hard energ& and dissipate it" lead the# into e#ptiness and then at that point e0ert force and finish the# off) POur opponentOs first reaction was ad#iration) The& said" O:e used so #uch chi force" and &ou 'ust put us down so easil&)O The& were in awe) Their outer strength was reall& strong) That energ& was still there" but the hen pla&ers utilized that hard energ& against the people) PI saw the *er& traditional aspects and wanted to dig deeper" to research this"P sa&s Master hen) P hen Tai'i is esotericM &ou canOt touch it with the hand" &ou ha*e to feel it" see it" watch itM itOs got to be e0perienced b& e*er& sense of the bod&) I wanted to get the answers to so#e of these #&steries) I had a good relationship with #& #aster and reall& li$ed traditional hinese culture) M& teacher lo*ed #e as well because I had a lo*e for the gung fu and trained reall& hard) I was with #& teacher for nine &ears" and went on #& bic&cle an hour fro# the cit& where I wor$ed" to train)P 7e would stud& under his teacher until hen 2haopiOs death) The place where he trained still stands" little #ore than a s#all #ud hut" &et sacred as the place where a treasure was passed on to its 19th generation) Toda&" Master hen is one of the #ost respected practitioners in hina" where in 1994 he was na#ed one of 1, people in the fi*e recognized tai'i st&les as da shi" or grand#aster) Feneral instructor and head coach at the hen Fa#il& Tai'i(uan Gesearch and Training enters in :en0ian and hen'iagou" he was also *ice%secretar& general of the :en0ian International Meeting of Tai'i(uan) 3 noted author" he has been in*ited to act as head coach in ten hinese pro*inces" and has taught #ore than ten thousand students" #an& of who# % including hen HingzhouOs sons % ha*e achie*ed great co#petiti*e honors) 7a*ing re'ected the so%called 9ew Fra#e hen st&le as taught b& hen 2hao$ui" &oungest son of hen Fa$e" hen Hingzhou decided to preser*e the Old Fra#e that he learned fro# hen 2haopi" a decision that drew pre'udice he will onl& hint at" then (uic$l& change the sub'ect) =ut the ancient s&ste# was strong enough to sur*i*e this attac$ as well) It had to be" for in generations before" its tenets $ept its practitioners ali*e against their ene#ies) 1trengthened through centuries of fa#il& lineage" it had see#ed that the st&le would re#ain secret fore*er" passed down onl& to the #ales of the fa#il&" so that no girls could carr& the s&ste# to a new husbandOs ho#e) =ut as with an& treasure" legend #agnifies its glea#" and the word of its glories spread until so#eti#e after 1L44 during the hing d&nast&" in the 14th generation" when a &oung #an na#ed ?ang @uchan pretended that he was #ute and *er&

poor" and the hen fa#il& ga*e hi# a 'ob) :ee$ after wee$ he watched the fa#il& practicing hen Tai'i until one da&" so e0cited about what he saw" he shouted out" P6er& FoodKP aught in his deception" ?ang had no choice but to confess that he wanted to learn" and to as$ for indoor student status fro# hen hang !in" who agreed to teach hi#) ?ang @uchan also had a nic$na#e" 1iao 7u" #eaning @ittle Tiger) 7e was also called ?ang the In*incible) 9o one could beat his gung fu s$ill" which did not de*iate fro# the hen Fa#il& Tai'i bo0ing s&ste#) =ut when he passed that art on to ?ang @uchanOs sons and grandchildren" the& too$ out so#e of the bao fa 'ing" or hard ele#ents" changing the st&le) The reasoning was that the& were teaching the e#perorOs fa#il&" who because of a life of ease werenOt hard wor$ers" and didnOt want to sweat" to nurse bu#ps and bruisesM the s&ste# beca#e ?ang st&le tai'i" which is the soft side of tai'i) Once ?ang @uchan was taught" it opened the doors" and people with different last na#es ca#e in) The& learned hen Fa#il& Tai'i" but #an& went out of the *illage" did their own bo0ing" and put their na#e to it" resulting in different Pfra#esP being studied within the hen Fa#il& Tai'i) Most of the# changed the na#es to their own na#es) P hen Fa#il& Tai'i bo0ing has gone through #an& changes" and itOs constantl& e*ol*ing"P sa&s hen Hingzhou diplo#aticall&) 9onetheless" he is deter#ined that the true treasure will re#ain intact) 9ode(" New)o+e(s Outsiders are still being welco#ed to hold the tai'i treasure $nown as hen" and hen Hingzhou is no less generous with his wisdo# than the generations of #asters before) 3 pri#e e0a#ple is the acceptance of indoor student Nc$ert" $nown in hina as Ain Tai&ang" a 4J%&ear%old 3#erican who Pwent into hina" through the underground gung fu networ$ tr&ing to find so#eone li$e hi#) Most of the foreigners donOt get taught all that #uch" and I can sa& that because IO*e been in hinaM IO*e paid #one&" gotten tric$ed and run through the ga#ut"P she sa&s) 3fter two &ears she found hen Hingzhou) P7eOs called hi#self a recluseM his picture isnOt in all the #agazines in hina) ItOs reall& 'ust the gung fu people who $now of hi#"P she sa&s) On Dece#ber ,1" 199J" PI went and told #& stor& to his wife in #& then *er& bro$en hinese"P Nc$ert recalls) PI carried with #e the *er& traditional bag of apples and oranges that &ou ta$e before a gung fu #aster) The ne0t da& he actuall& $noc$ed on #& door)P P1he has the abilit& to chi $uP % to eat bitter" #eaning to endure the hardships of training % P7er ti#e in hina and how she ca#e to find #e pro*ed that"P recalls hen Hingzhou) P3lso" on that RfirstS da& I as$ed her to zhan zhuang .perfor# the rooting posture/) 1he was able to endure a low posture a *er& long ti#e) I was i#pressed with her abilit& to perse*ere) P7is generosit& in teaching #e has been o*erwhel#ing" and this is not characteristic"P sa&s Nc$ert" who li*es in the hen *illage) P7e was so willing to

gi*e #e these secrets" and a lot of people said" OdonOt gi*e it upM &ouOre gi*ing too #uch"O but he wants to gi*e it) >rotecting the gung fu cost hi# a lot) 7e wanted to preser*e the original) 7e actuall& too$ offense when I said to hi#" O3re &ou teaching #e as #uch as &ou teach &our sonsCO 7e got *er& angr& and said" O@oo$" IO# teaching &ou better" because &ouOre here ,4 hours a da& and &ou wor$ hard)O That shows his character and his heart) 7e has the s$ill and he wants to spread it)P Co+$%ete A(t >art of spreading this $nowledge was a se#inar tour of the Bnited 1tates earlier this &ear) 3#ong the differences between the countriesO tai'i" Master hen notes that Phere there is a ti#e pressure) In hina" traditionall& and e*en to this da&" things are *er& rela0ed) In the beginning" a student #ight practice zhan zhuang or the stationar& rooting posture for at least a #onth) The funda#ental training would ta$e as long as one &ear" but here" because these se#inars are for a short ti#e % two hours" three hours" four hours % &ou ha*e to tr& to cra# a lot of infor#ation into a short ti#e) During the four%hour sessions" people are getting a full spectru#: the zhan zhuang" the basic e0ercises" the& also want a lot of push hands and applications) ?ou canOt get a co#plete" co#prehensi*e understanding about what is going on in the tai'i or the push hands Rin that ti#eS) PI donOt pla& wing chun and tae $won do and all the other things" so I do not want to #a$e a co##ent on their training #ethods) I donOt want to criticize) =ut I ha*e seen so#e people in the par$ and watched their basic funda#ental training"P sa&s Master hen) PThe #ost i#portant ele#ent in hen tai'i (uan is that one side is the hard" and one side is the soft side"P he sa&s) P?ou ha*e to ha*e the# both at the sa#e ti#eM &ou canOt disregard the other one) I ha*e seen a lot of ?ang st&le here in 3#erica and in hina % it is the sa#e % the par$s are full of ?ang st&le tai'i) The& practice with al#ost entirel& soft energ&) This is not a criticis#) I a# onl& noting that the hen st&le tai'i has both hardness and softness) ?ou canOt 'ust practice soft energ&" &ou #ust also e0press the de*elop#ent of that soft energ& which co#es out in hard energ&) =ut it is not e0ternal hard energ&" it co#es fro# the internal" fro# the dantien"P or center of the being) PThe whole characteristic" the principle of &inQ&ang" is called gang rou 0iang chi: This is hen st&le tai'iOs special ele#ent) Fang is &ang" rou is &in)P :ithin that dualit& is the hard side" bao fa 'ing" notes Nc$ert) This translates as an e0ertion of force" but again" that force is not e0ternal" but an e0ertion that proceeds out of the dantien" using the internal energ& of hen Tai'i) :ithin the co#ple#entar& ele#ent of softness is zou hua) Though the energ& is ta$en awa& fro# the partner" the energ& is still present and is used" a s&nergistic effect between the #aster and the attac$er) PIn the hen Tai'i which was handed down" there are e(ual ele#ents of hardness and softness"P sa&s Master hen) P9ow in tai'i and all o*er hina" e*en in the wing chun training center" #ostl& what &ou are seeing is the soft

sideM in so#e cases &ou are seeing the soft side which does not ha*e an& internal energ&" so it is e#pt&) If &ou are pla&ing good tai'i with good internal energ& but are not practicing the bao fa 'ing" then in push hands training &ou #ight still be able to achie*e &in 'ing lou $ongP % which Nc$ert roughl& translates to Pleading the partner into e#ptinessP % P=ut &ou cannot do an&thing with it because &ou ha*e no e0plosi*e force) PThe partner attac$s and his energ& is co#ing toward &our bod&"P Master hen e0plains) PIf &ou do not do so#ething" &ou will fall down and his attac$ will be successful) Other st&lesO theories are *er& different)P In the hen Fa#il& tai'i" the theor& is called &ing 'ang &ong tan in which the practitioner uses the techni(ues of hen Tai'i" twisting or turning on the dantien in a spiraling action that is constantl& circling) Bsing these s$ills &ou understand the partnerOs energ&M then &ou lead the partner into an Pe#pt& place)P P6isualize what it #ight be to 'u#p out of an airplane with no parachute % that weightless" helpless feeling"P e0plains Nc$ert) PThe point of traditional handed down gong fu originall& was for self%defense"P sa&s Master hen) PTo ta$e the gu& down to the ground where he could barel& #o*e is the ulti#ate goal of the original gung fu % what &ou could reall& use) =ut if &ou are pla&ing in a co#petition or at ho#e 'ust to learn the theories" then &ou add 'ust enough bao fa 'ing to control the opponent without $illing hi# or hurting hi#) Our push hands is peacefulM we are friends" not hooligans) P:e ha*e all the funda#ental training" the push hands that we practice" the for#s and the hand #ethods) :h& do we do itC :e do it for th purpose of practicing push hands training) That is the ulti#ate goal) Th point is that there are a lot of energies that we practiceM the first four are peng" lu" 'i and an) Those energies need to co#e together to the le*el where &ou blend and har#onize all these $inds of energies) That is understanding and hearing and feeling the partnerOs energ&) :e practice push hands to ha*e that connection)P The ninth generation of the hen Fa#il& Tai'i" #ore than J-- &ears ago" de*eloped free step push hands" which is also referred to as 'in &i tui &i" #eaning Pforward one step" bac$ one step"P notes Nc$ert) The other #ain t&pes of push hands ste# fro# this first #ethod) Included are ding bu" which #eans fi0ed step push handsM he bu" which is closed stepM 'in sin tui san" which is three steps forward" three steps bac$M and da teng da lu" which is the sa#e as free step" but the posture is lower" with the buttoc$s al#ost touching the ground) It is a dedication to the traditional #ethods which differentiates hen Fa#il& tai'i % and the benefits it can produce) 3ccording to Master hen" the hen Fa#il& tai'iOs ad*antage is that Pe*er&one can do it) If &ouOre old" &oung" in good health or bad) Two i#portant concepts within the hen Fa#il& tai'i bo0ing are chan si 'ing"P which translates into sil$% reeling energ&" Pand lou 0uanP which #eans a spiraling #otion) PBsing these energies" it is possible for a s#aller%fra#ed person" such as a wo#an" to defeat a larger opponent using these internal energies rather than e0ternal force) ?ou donOt ha*e to build up our bod& to be successful at this)P

S !(#"& t e T(e!su(e P:hen hina opened to the world in the 19;-s" that was *er& i#portant for the de*elop#ent of hen Tai'i" because people ca#e in an researched this) Man& people went to hina and were loo$ing for #artial arts) hen Fa#il& tai'i is a treasure of hina" and now itOs a gift to the world" not 'ust harbored in hen *illage"P sa&s Master hen) PI want people to learn fro# it and benefit) 3lso" throwing it out to the world will create contro*ers& and pro#ote #ore research" which is essential to the health and long%ter# well%being of hen Tai'i) I donOt ha*e all the answers" or clai# to be the fore#ost world authorit&) I offer this to &ou in hopes of further research" to #a$e it go further)P :ritten b& Marian K) astinado for KB9FFBM3F32I9N) OM Chen Village

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