I have no idea

by Richard van Berkum on 2011/05/10

Hello everybody,

Let me introduce my self. I’m Richard and I’m from Holland. I came across videos of master chen on the internet because I was looking for some taiji terms and explanations. I’m practicing aikido at the moment and I was looking for some information which could help me futher in my practice regarding center and grounding. The movement of master Chen looks very powerful. I see a lot what I don’t see in other taiji clips. I’ve watched all video’s which I could find of master Chen to look for the quality I’m interested in. But the best way in my opinion to learn is to do. But I have no idea where to start. At first my idea was trying to integrate the principles of what master Chen shows into my training of aikido. So I started doing only the positive and negative circle in three steps which master Chen shows in a video. Although I’m probably way of as in doing it right I could feel the benefits in doing these exercises. I’ve become very enthusiastic about doing this and would like to start learning Chen taijiquan. Next to the positive and negative circle I’m also practicing fetch water en twisting the towel. These exercises looked to me the essentials to begin with.

So regarding to my subject above I have no idea where to start as a beginner. There is no Chen taiji school near by if there is one in Holland anyway. I did see master Chen visits the Netherlands and when he is planning to come again I will be there for sure. But for now what is best didactic to start this on my own? Any pointers are welcome since I would love to learn this style of taijiquan.



About Richard van Berkum

Aikido student interested in taiji principles and trying to learn from them.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Allan Belsheim May 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

The best way to start is to visit this http://www.practicalmethod.com site and view all the material that is available. Next decide what material you need to work without an instructor. The basics would be Foundations and Advanced Foundation DVD’s that are downloadable from the store site. Next the Yilu Basic instructions and Detailed instructions until you have the form. After that the Energy alignment series as well as the Application Series of Videos would be extremely beneficial. These work to a certain extent, but must be viewed as the best alternative without an actual live instructor.

Master Chen does a workshop in Holland once a year (as well as other places in Europe) so watch for that. If you are able and want to learn faster and more completely, then the Full Time program we offer in Edmonton (September 5 to December 5, 2011- check the information on this site) or the Daqingshan Full Time (in China during spring or summer) are incredible opportunities and you also qualify for a teaching certificate at the successful completion of these programs. Can’t do a full 3 months? Then we allow anywhere from a week to whatever you can allow time for.

As you learn, you can also post videos on our website for us to critique. Continue to ask questions as needed and best wishes on your Taiji journey.


zanshin May 11, 2011 at 5:52 am

Hello Allan,

Thanks for your reply. I’ve seen a lot of links and can’t find the proper links or I’m in doubt if it is the right one.I have found the detaild instructions about the yilu. Could you put the links from the videos mentioned above in this post?


Ernest May 11, 2011 at 7:19 am


Where are you from? There are a lot of Chen teachers in different forms in The Netherlands. You can send me an e-mail on eamr.jacobs@gmail.com to continue (But then we’ll continue in Dutch Language).

Kind Regards, (Vriendelijke groet)


Allan Belsheim May 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hello Richard, the videos I mentioned are listed under the heading “Shop”, then “Videos Instructional”. If you keep scrolling down and go to previous entries you will find all the videos for sale with trailer previews. In Holland, Master Chen works with Master Chen Liangshen in Da Glint (if I have the spelling correct). Master Chen Liangshen is a Hunyuan Taiji Practitioner, but Master Chen Zhonghua is teaching Practical method when he does his Seminars there.
There is only Master Chen Zhonghua and his senior instructors with the ability and knowledge to properly teach Chen Taiji Practical Method.
Best wishes.


Alex May 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Yes, the circle is a foundational exercise for sure. Allan outlined the video progression you should look at already – foundations, learn the basic moves of the form, then learn more detail of the form through energy alignment videos, then applications to know outcome what you are trying to accomplish while doing the form. Allan is the main instructor in Edmonton, so his advice trumps mine, but I would say that your goal before attending a seminar is to learn the basic movements of the foundations, and also of the form. Your goal is to make the form *look* as much like Master Chen’s as possible (take videos of yourself and compare). As far as the circle, learn about the rules and start applying them to the circle (ie, elbow leads in, hand leads out, knees do not wobble, etc). As you incorporate them into the circle, these will gradually work their way into the form too.

But, yes, getting to see Master Chen’s taiji in person is very important. He will correct your form (very important), you’ll learn more about the taiji structure and principles, provide corrections while trying to put some principles into practice, and you’ll also be able to feel the taiji structure/principles in action when they are applied to you. Feeling the moves is very important in my opinion as it gives your body kinetic memory of what went on. In other words, start with the videos as that’s the only thing you can do now, but definitely get to a seminar.

ps If you are still not finding those videos, make sure to click ‘see previous entries’ or something like that on the bottom left corner of this page

Here are the links to this page….
basic foundations
advanced foundations


zanshin May 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thanks for your input Alex. I’m working on the basic foundations and started to learn the Yilu with the “Detailed Yilu Instructions” video.


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