I have learned nothing…new.

by Nicholas Fung馮嘉傑(香港) on 2010/09/09

The road to Taiji has not been a straight path, and now that I am on my way, I find it difficult to relate to people of my experience. Nonetheless, here is another attempt.  I had arrived this year on Daqingshan the third of August.  I was especially excited this year because my discipleship ceremony took place this year.  On top of that, really, I was glad to see old and new faces; not only has our bond had strengthen, our kung fu had also improved.  How would we know? I will expand on that later.

30 A Day

Master was still picking up people in Beijing and would not return until the 8th.  He did leave us with the homework of 20 Yilus a day.  I got to work right the next day.  For the next four days, I had achieved 30 yilus a day.  There was one day that I did 20 due to the Rizhao outing.  Improvement one: doing something repetitively breaks you.  I am not sure if my skill had increased that much more during these repetitions, but I did feel that my movements were of greater ease; and I got even leaner, not to mention that I was able to get a pretty nice tan.  It was up at 5 30am everyday 10 Yilus (break after 5…water, water, water); breakfast – and by that time you are really looking forward to food; shower, then nap time, and repeat at 10 30am, and at 4 30pm.  Before you go on gasping about how gruelling the schedule was, hear me out!  The fact is that the mountain is rather beautifully remote, and that is a perfect setting for concentrating on one thing and one thing only.

See If These Ring A Bell

Shifu returned, on with the lessons.  See if these are familiar to you:

– the power never goes out of the kua especially when power is issued

– manipulate timing, energy and distance

– fit

– add the third point

– take space away

– be smaller than your opponent

– extend through a directional change

– chest in, head up

– there are no smooth moves

– connect hand directly with the back foot

– every move is an inward move

– don’t theorize what works

– there are no movements only circles

– 8 lines : 9 joints

– give 1/3, keep 2/3

This is the first year that I took a lot of notes.  Prior to this year, I really didn’t have much of a grip of the techniques to base my notes on.  If you look at the list above, they are all mentioned before.  In fact, over and over again.  Still better yet, they are differnt ways of explaining the same principle.  If you think about it, all learning should be like that: it is learning how to exercise one principle in different ways.  I can site some examples.  During my trip to Japan with my cousin, I asked him what was his training all about when he was studying to be a lawyer.  Before I could finished asking the question, he had already jumped to the answer. He said that he was trained how to apply a formula.  When you are in court, the idea is to be able to argue according to that formula; whoever is able to apply that formula better wins!  Sounds familiar?  Just a little blurb on my cousin.  He no longer practices law after nearly 2 decades as one of the most successful barristers in HK.  He studied at Kings college in England, and when he came back, he was the youngest barristers around.  And if you can imagine that sort of credentials, especially back in the early 80s, it was a big deal.  I went to Japan with him for the second year, where I was his roadie.  You see, when he was in England, he discovered the Blues, and he tours Japan annually to perform.  He is much better as a musician!

I teach Salsa dancing, and have been dancing for over 13 years.  I often joke about how I like to like to have Taiji skills as high as my dance skills.  My experience is that my dance principles is based on a primarily rhythm, proportion, and how to lead well. Unlike most other teachers, my classes are exploration of these themes over and over again.  When I see other people dance, where they lack the understanding of these themes, and hence, they look very awkward, and non rhythmical.  This is very much like how some martial arts lack the understanding of the proper mechanics, and hence are inferior.

Zibo Competition

What are more evidence that our skills got better?  For one, the fear of pushing with bigger guys reduces as time goes by.  It is not hard to find larger guys for me.  Not only was I able to rough it up with them a bit, sometimes I am able to apply the principles correctly, and by that time, size really doesn’t matter.

Secondly, the Zibo competition.  I wasn’t able to stay around for the whole thing.  Our school took home a lot of awards, and frankly, we haven’t been learning for more than 5 years.  I know for a fact that there are students from other schools who have practiced for over a decade, and would have trouble against our guys.  Again, right principles, right results.


So, through being the interpreter for other masters, the only new thing I learned was what the local dialects sound like.  Which brings to mind another point.  Daqingshan is getting more popular, and our school will undoubtably become more popular. Starting next year, for example, there will be full time classes assisted by Master Hong; the grandson of Hong Junsheng.  These other masters were there to offer us classes, well, as a supplement, I would say.  Nonetheless, I really treasure meeting Master Sun Zhonghua.  As Shifu said, he is the smartest man he even known, and that Master Sun sure is!  Really, when was the last time you met a rocket scientist?  How about a national volleyball coach?  Or how about an accomplished calligrapher, painter,writer, poet, or a martial artist?  Master Sun is all that in one plus more.  I was too busy talking to him about his stories and learning about life from him than to go through the rest of his resume.  To say the least, Master Chen has a lot of pull and is able to get things accomplished (often in the background).  When I was at the Zibo competition with the gang for example, I needed a ride the next day to the airport in Qingdao.  Through Master Qi, the organizer of the competition, he was able to arrange to have someone pick me up perfectly ahead of time at 9 30 in the morning, drove me 4 hours, fighting traffic, detouring the road constructions to get me on time to the airport.  Of course, the plane was delayed by four hours.  How much face must you have in order to pull that off smoothly?  I really don’t know how to thank these folks enough, and most of all, thank Shifu enough.

Strange Happenings

Once I got back to the HK. it was quite late.  I live an hour away from the airport in Taipo, the country side of Hong Kong.  I walked rather swiftly once off the bus.  While I was scrambling for the keys, there were 3 cops with flash light on me and asking about who I am.  Apparently, they had trouble catching up to me during my walk, and thought I might be up to no good; plus there had been break ins in the village during my absence.  I thank the cops (and by the way, kudos the the HK police force, I am impressed for the second time), and pondered about why they had trouble catching up to me with a suitcase.

I have been luckily enough to find a real good Chinese doctor and had started, prior to leaving, a program to bring up my “qi and blood”.  Despite being away for nearly a month, the doctor said that my health was better than before.  What made me even more delighted today was this stroke patient.  I saw him seeking doctor Choi’s help about a month and a half ago.  He was wheeled in and I helped them pull the chair up that one step.  He was like a sack of potatoes sitting motionlessly, humped over, in the wheelchair.  Today, I saw him grinning, sitting on the bench with a cane on the side.  His wife confirmed that he is now walking by himself.  That was a good birthday present.

About Nicholas Fung馮嘉傑(香港)

I have studied under Master Chen Zhonghua since 2005. The majority of these classes are private classes. Right from the first trial class, I recognized the importance of spending quality one to one with this true Master. I am proud to be his disciple and have some results in my skills to show.

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