any similarities between Taijiquan and other martial arts are superficial

by charlie gordon on 2010/08/28

Master Chen has stated that any similarities between Taijiquan and other martial arts are  superficial. To be unaware of this point is to risk wandering off-course on the Taiji path.

About charlie gordon

I started studying Chen Style Practical Method with Gordon Muir in Victoria in 2007. After attending a few workshops with Master Chen Zhonghua, in 2009 I decided to go to Daqingshan for 3 month full time training. After the summer I stayed in China another 6 months studying Mandarin and training with Master Sun Zhonghua in Beijing.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

CantonCannon October 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

I just finished an episode of that RTHK’s documentary on various Kung Fu. There was a posting of it, I believe, from Kevin. This episode was on the Wudang mountain.

Theoretically, everything sounds the same: from “form to formlessness”, to Qinna techniques, these masters on the mountain, at times sound like what Master Chen would talk about. At the end of the program, where these folks sparred, is where everything falls apart. It still looks likes two kids scrapping around the sandbox. What is the least impressive is that the so called master didn’t spar with the students. Yes, he has a couple of good moves with the sword; was able to flick the sword so that it made a cool “shwing” sound; was able to dash up a 8 foot wall like Jacky Chan; but during the sparring, he only refereed, and added in his two bit at the end of the fight.

I remember Master Chen said that a lot of these so called Kung Fu places are really theme parks. This program made that clear. In fact, a lot of foreigners were there to take in this romance of getting up real early in the morning to workout; and living in decrepit conditions. Sort of like and extension of going camping and be away from mom for the summer.

Not only does Shifu practice with us “with both hands and feet in”, as we would say in Cantonese, he has also built, not one, but two hotels for our comfort. I think we should really take advantage of it, especially when it is ramping up to full time. Oh, and not to mention that we have this website to, and this website is in English. The guys on Wudang could only count and say the word “stronger”.


Tim Duehring October 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm

You always see the video or go to a workshop of a master who will only play with his students. Quite often the claim is made that this is due to insurance, but I think it goes a lot deeper than that. I have had the pleasure to touch hands with some of the senior students of several different nationally / internationally acclaimed masters and wasn’t very impressed.


CantonCannon October 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Yes. If I may use another example from the dance world. No matter where I go, strangers would start calling me “teacher” in China. While I understand that it is a form of respect, it is also an abusive usage of the term, because they would include those who don’t have the skill, better yet, who are not remotely close skill wise. That would account for 80 to 90% of the “teachers” out there. It would be the equivalent of a grade 1 calling another grade 1 a teacher because the first grade 1 only started attending class the middle of the year. Yet that the second grade 1 has the audacity to start a school.

When it comes to skills, most people throws out logic and reason, and would live in the romance. They establish in their heads certain ideals, and once they don’t see it, or not allowed exposure to it, they would become delusional, and pretend that it is there, and would go back to class for more and more. And this delusion becomes confusion when they meet a true master. More things are made up. How many times have you seen people say that what we do isn’t Taiji? Perhaps that ability to trick people in itself is a sort of Kung Fu.


Tim Duehring October 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I agree with you Nick, It seems that the charlatans end up with the most followers and they are dedicated to their notions. So the question becomes, “Do you want to learn to dance or do you want to learn Taijiquan?”


Wilkin October 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Please check this post . I think Master Chen explained it clearly how taiji is different than other martial art.


CantonCannon October 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

At the end of the interview, he deferred answering what external’s way of achieving a Taiji technique. In any case, I wrote above because I am tired of people who allow themselves to be tricked, or in Shifu’s term, focusing on the intangibles.


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