Master Chen Zhonghua’s Online Lesson on Oct 12, 2020 – Kelvin Ho

by Kelvin Ho on 2020/10/12

Master Chen Zhonghua started with a story about the history of China and Chen Style Taijiquan. Before the first Qin emperor defeated 6 other kings and united China, there was the period of Spring and Autumn 春秋 (which has nothing to do with the two seasons). Back then, there were 800 states, each had their own cultures, and they all flourished. Today, there are different levels of governments in China: Federal, Provincial, and County. The Chinese government wanted to get rid of the county level government, but they couldn’t done. Each county turned out to map back to the old states. The Chinese government had full election for village officials, but there are large families at the county levels, with full election, these large families will gain control at the county level goverments. These families managed to get around the one-child policy themselves.

At around late 1600s and early 1700s, Chen Wangting worked in the army, he defeated the Japanese Wandering Bandits. He was awarded a retirement fund, and went to back to Chen Village, and didn’t need to work like others. Before him, the martial art in the Chen Village was just a family art, neither internal nor external. During his retirement, Chen Wangting read the book Huang Di Jing 《黄庭经》又名《老子黄庭经》,是道教养生修仙专著;内容包括《黄庭外景玉经》和《黄庭内景玉经》。作者为老子,由天师道魏华存自创门户而普传于世。He modified the family art into taijiquan. This is direct information. As we know it, Chen Style Taijiquan didn’t come from alchemy.

Master Chen brought a group of students from Ottawa and Edmonton to China. Susan Holland was left in charge of the group to learn from Li Enjiu for a week while Master Chen went off to complete other business. Master Chen left a videocorder (Sony Handycam) to Susan with the instruction to record everything the group would learn from Master Li Enjiu. Upon his return, there was no recording and Master Chen asked for the reason. Susan said that every foundation that Master Li Enjiu taught was exactly the same as what Master Chen previously taught the group and there wasn’t anything to record. Master Chen was puzzled as to how that was possible. Master Chen came up with a series of exercises which he called foundations. The particular set of exercises were not taught as a set by Grandmaster Hong originally. Master Chen then asked Master Li to show his teaching, and it turned out to be exactly the same. Unfortunately, there was no recording of it, and only Master Chen, Master Li and Susan Holland could verify the story.

Speaking of the history of the positive and negative circles, it was Grandmaster Hong who originally suggested to Grandmaster Chen Fake the positive circle that since Grandmaster Chen was old, and he couldn’t do yilu all day, but he still wanted to train throughout the day. Grandmaster Chen further asked if there was anything else, Grandmatser Hong’re reply was the negative circle. Therefore, only Practical Method had the positive and negative circles.

We were using the shoulder to draw the positive circle before. Today, we advanced into Positive Circle Version 2.0. The emphasis is on the movement of the kua. We need to create a huge range of motion at the front kua. It has to be so big that your part of your sole may be off the floor, and you may even fall backwards. When going backward, the kua goes down, keep your back straight, and don’t bend forward and cause the butt to protrude. When going forward, it must be led by the kua, and don’t lean forward. The biggest action must be at the kua, and our attention must be at the kua. Don’t move the top, keep it locked. Use the kua to draw a three-dimensional circle at the front finger tip.

Taijiquan is about movement, but we use the non-movement dot to create real movement.

In moving-step positive circle, also use the feet to create the size of the circle. The action must be led by the kua, and the connection to the ground can be maintained.

About Kelvin Ho

Kelvin Ho, Master Chen Zhonghua's disciple, is the instructor for Practical Method Toronto. He has been teaching and promoting the Practical Method system in Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Canada since 2011. He has received numerous medals in various Taiji competitions in Greater Toronto Area. He is also a vice-president of MartialArts Association Canada. Like his teacher, he feels an obligation to pass this great art onto others. Contact: kelvin.ho@practicalmethod.ca.

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