Clarity and energy

by Vincent Den Hengst on 2020/11/26

Three examples of  Master Chen`s clarity of hands on explanation of certain types of dealing with energy taught me invaluable lessons. If the students follow instructions then all will be able to do things that will be amazing to themselves. By practice you build up not only martial skill but also health. From the beginning when we start to learn Practical Method we are trying to apply the most fundamental principle of taiji  in partner exercises and push hands: the separation of yin and yang. Taijiquan is in my words in this context an effect on the opponent or partner by using taiji principles that spring from our understanding of the exact teachings of Master Chen Zhonghua and is defined by the stage of our practice.

Three workshops taught by Master Chen that I attended in the Netherlands were organised by taiji master Chen Liansheng. At the second one in 2014, Master Chen explained us  some applications from `Buddha’s Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar`, the first move of yilu. He demonstrated the importance of stretching during perfomance of yilu. He took me also as example and stepped in with his shoulder against mine after the bending of the knee (step four after straight out with the leg). He asked me to not move at all and stretch my right arm to the right side very strongly, not having rotated the torso yet (step five). I remember that Master Chen bounced back when coming in with his full body and even`flew out` when he came in with some more speed and distance. Master Chen went back and upwards at the same time and it looked like he was jumping out. I had never in my life experienced an application like this before, because I felt nothing, no feedback. I would have expected a hit or collision of two bodies. I immediatly expressed myself being very astonished, actually in disbelief. I knew he was not faking by jumping backwards and same time going up in the air.  I was just not capable of this, that was what my mind told me.

Another time at a workshop in Prague in 2017, organised by disciple Pavl Codl, Master Chen explained the group a particular application in the form of a duo exercise. We had to learn energy alignment in order to create clear energy transmissions and as example he took `Six Sealing, Four Closing` from the foundations. At the last part of the exercise, when the hand is out and connects with the foot, he asked us to make a fist and he would come along to push us directly into the opposite direction of the line we had to create. He asked us to stretch the arm shortly the same time he pushed straight into our fist to check the line in the body. This short stretch involved turning the elbow inwards and directly after that outwards into the fist. After some attempts I experienced a relief of the power Master Chen created and saw him going backwards and upwards at the same time. He said: `Yes, that`s it`. I was very amazed because there was no feedback from me doing something right that caused the transmission of energy.

One time in 2015 at International Training Centre Daqingshan in the province of Shandong, China, Master Chen was teaching about the splitting of energy. He said that after lots of training, emphasizing on foundations
and yilu, the body would start to change. The fascia, muscles, tendons and skin start to get different relations resulting in transformation of the body. He let me touch him with a finger and push a little on his chest. He told me he could stretch two ways and demonstrated it. That was incredible, and true. As if I touched a surface of rubber that he pulled from two opposite places on his chest so that his tissue on the surface of his body pulled away in those two directions. This created a stickyness on the touching tip of my finger, very strange feeling. And he showed it afterwards immediatly on another place on his chest and different directions. On sevaral other occasions Master Chen let us feel he could separate the skin of his small arm not able to get a grip of him. Also very strange. But clearly of an extreme high level of yin yang separation and dealing with incoming energy.

About Vincent Den Hengst

My name is Vincent den Hengst. I am from the Netherlands, Utrecht, where I started practicing Hunyuan taiji under James Fletcher in 2007. From the beginning, I kept exercising daily. In 2013 I stepped over to Practical Method. In 2014 and 2015 I went to Daqinshan for two months in total and observed several workshops since 2013. I regard Practical Method taiji as taught by Grandmaster Chen as the highest possible region of martial art, so I feel lucky and happy I finalized my life's queeste to find the one martial art.

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