“Space and Time” Online Video Trailer

by Shopmaster on 2012/06/20

Master Chen Zhonghua lectures on one of the higher level concepts of Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method during his one week seminar in Edmonton in June 2012.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 37 min.   In: English   Year: 2012  Difficulty:5/5  At:Edmonton

Space and Time
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

bruce.schaub June 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm

It’s truly fascinating and incredibly helpful to see the inner workings of pure taiji at an advanced level. Thank you for gradually bringing us along to where we might be able to begin to comprehend what you are talking about in this video…


Gene Hess June 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Very good video.

Master Chen explains higher level theory and then shows how it is manifested on the body for the positive & negative circle and for the Twisting the Towel Foundation.


Calvin Chow June 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Great video. I keep thinking how we can create the space inside our bodies as that between the two cards. I think if we can open up some space at the joints of the bones, we can get some room to make the structure stable.


bruce.schaub June 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

Based on what Master Chen talks about in the recent series of Toronto video’s and Allan Haddad’s notes “Toronto 9”, and also “Zhuan Guan” video, “Two lines of Energy” video, and of course this video….it sounds like what may be happening is that the prolonged conditioning of the body from Jibengong, and Yilu has a “muscle-tendon changing” effect on the body, and as we shift focus after being properly conditioned and can move our bodies appropriately to where we can begin to be able to actually achieve the split, the energy that’s in the body is multiplied as it passes through Dantien (see “Two Lines of Energy”) video. This has a restorative function on the body’s Water function (kidney/adrenal gland) causing all the body’s water related functions to be improved, increasing quantity and quality (viscosity) of things like synovial fluid in the joints to cause this separation. At least I think this is what he may be referring to when he talks about oil in the ballbearings?? If you take the healthy child to which Master Chen sometimes refers and compare the long sticky streaming mucus to that of a very old or sick person who’s mucus will be thin and watery, you can see these bodily fluids tend to break down in those who practice the way of “go along with” nature vs. the restorative procedures of “reversal”. By adhering to Practical Methods strict rules and principles our youthfulness and longevity can be improved as a natural byproduct of the precise physical training….and hopefully if we are fortunate and train properly for a long long time some real Gongfu will manifest itself as well. The precision required not only leads to physical changes but greatly improved ability to focus and concentrate mentally. This ability to single-mindedly apply our awareness may lead to the real ability to open up true “empty space” in the body. The shear repetition combined with the grueling exhaustive quality of the training has an overall effect of stilling the mind while practicing…. “Kill the Mind” and follows the martial theory of “extreme yang leads to Yin”….


Niko June 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for the comment, Bruce !


bruce.schaub June 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm

no problem… i wouldn’t put too much stock in it…. 🙂


bruce.schaub June 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

By that I mean it’s a sincere effort to understand, but I don’t really know whether I’ve actually understood anything…except I’m pretty sure about the train hard and be precise part….


Albert June 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Recording the lecture is brilliant. Having reviewed this twice now I am still picking up details that I missed while there. This is the next best thing short of studying under Master Chen everyday. Thank you, Master.


pingwei June 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm

THE guideline for advanced training!


Richard Johnson June 29, 2012 at 2:47 am

“Space and time” is about how to move an opponent’s force through the body over time. This is a very theoretical explanation for a very hands-on, physical activity, but in understanding the theory the need and demands of certain practices become clear. Chen Zhonghua establishes the need for a fixed point in order to create rotation. Many systems teach tossing and wonder why their Taijiquan doesn’t work. The theoretical explanation shows why the nine gates of the each circle follow their own unique order. Difficulty is 5/5. This is definitely not a beginner’s lecture.


bruce.schaub July 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

Master Chen, do we create that space in the wuji point in the center of Dantien by focusing on it while practicing and emptying the mind of all else? and does that lead to bringing the spine line out and ultimateley create space in all the joints? I know this is probobly a very difficult question to answer and I fully understand if you don’t have time….the only threshhold I’m aware of in taoist philosophy that includes space and time( that is sometimes referred to as the “mysterious pass”) is the threshhold between the primordial undifferentiated state of wuji, which gives way to the truly empty state of wuji (the producer of the primordial). This paradigm shift in perspective sounds as if we are trying to actualize something that is truly non-physical. Your other Zhuan Guan video looks like it could be a model for the process of connecting the Du and Ren meridians which initiates the continuous “turning of the Waterwheel” which is known to “open the joints” is this where the expression “turning the Joint” comes from a “martial name” for a hidden alchemical process? sorry….that’s a lot of questions, I generally try to avoid asking you questions, because I can clearly see how busy you are….but I’m afraid you are the only one who could answer !!!?? Please forgive me if I am blindly stabbing in the dark…


wilkin July 10, 2012 at 5:55 am

Master Chen has said many times that it is best not to bring outside abstract knowledge into practical method training. There is some truth to these concepts, but they only serve as a validation when the body has evolve through physical training. Using them as training aid however, will just lead one astray.


bruce.schaub July 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

Ok, thanks Wilkin. I’ll try to stick to things I can physically validate.


Niko July 9, 2012 at 3:28 am

Thanks that you are coming up with such interesting issues, Bruce.
Knowledge is politically very dangerous. No matter what happens, never have any fear !


bruce.schaub July 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

I’m certainly not trying to bring things up that cause anyone any difficulty of any kind. It’s easy not to have any fear from the comfort of my own home with nothing at stake, but I wouldn’t have brought it up if I thought it would be problematic. The types of things I asked about are more potentially dangerous to the induvidual who tries to make use of them when they’re progress is not monitered by a Master and they don’t really follow procedure. Perhaps from that standpoint it was foolish of me to bring it up. I’m only trying to get a better sense of how to practically understand so as to apply the tools Master Chen gives us to work with. My curiosity stems mainly from the fact that I had always assumed taiji was originally founded with these types of practices as their root (probobly due to manufactured histories perpetuated by later taiji stylists, which Master Chen makes some reference to in the recent Berlin Introduction to PM and in articles he has written in the past) It’s very important to me to understand histories and development because the last thing I want to be is inauthentic. The fact that GM Feng was sent to train under Chen Fake by his Xin Yi teacher who was so highly accomplished in what is currently termed generally as “qigong” (although I don’t believe that word was not used at the time), speaks volumes about the “internalness” of this pure form of Chen Taiji. My curiosity stems mainly from the fact that Master Chen has now set me straight on these issues, so now I’m just very curious as to how the higher levels might take you in those directions? or if it is not really like that at all? whether it is more of a “living midnight” or “living Tao” method by simply adhereing to and constantly being aware of and practicing these bigger principles. The concept of “Wu Zhong Sheng You” (everything comes out of nothing) is one of the oldest principles and certainly some physicists today believe the universe was created spontaneously out of nothingness, so we don’t necesarrily have to attatch religious connotation to it though many people do. Anyway, If I was more accomplished I would not have so much curiosity, and as we say in the U.S. sometimes, “curiosity killed the cat” , but we also say “satisfaction brought it back to life!”


Niko July 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

Fear of loosing the comfort of a house is not real fear.
That you brought it up is not problematic at all. At least, that´s my opinion.


Ymarsakar June 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm


You’re going to have to do a lot of research and work to build your knowledge of Chinese science and ancient knowledge from the base up.

“Alchemical” processes become clear when you see it based on the historical context, the way they thought back then.


alhkc June 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm

woah nice link! Thanks for posting that.


methodman June 10, 2013 at 3:09 am

What is your opinion on Taiji and alchemy ?


TaijiEnthusiast June 10, 2013 at 3:48 am

The chinese have a lot of historical texts and teachings on alchemy compared to the west. Where can one find those traditions in europe or US ? If you look for circles, you will probably find yourself in front of a masons lodge 🙂


Niko June 10, 2013 at 4:13 am

A few months ago while passing by the local lodge, i saw the car of the chair master parking in front and decided to ask him about the connection of the circles of Taiji and masonry. He couldn´t say something significant on Taiji, but nevertheless it was a interesting talk and i got the chance to walk in and look around …


Niko July 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

The video is a short summary of the principles of Taijiquan. Positive and negative circles are used
for demonstration. Special emphasis is put on the switching of the point of reference. As far as i understood, the internal switch of connecting the back food to the line before arm out, creates the “space” on the body. Also a diagramme is used to show the splitting and the connection between time and space. I believe, that the switching gives the two halves of the circle a different quality as Master Chen has explained in another video.
Dimensions and Rotation are also briefly discussed.
The fact, that it is apparently almost impossible to apply, should not fear dedicated students. That this knowledge can be dangerous was a quote from another video.


taibarb7 August 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

Wow – I just watched this for the first time and I am totally surprised how many things that have accumulated over the years are suddenly falling into place. Thank you VERY much for explaining in such detail and with such clarity!

I once trained with another teacher who might or might not really know what he is doing … he told tids and bits of what you are telling us here but he left out the single most important concept, what it really means to “sink” and he didn’t mention any center either. What he showed was (if memory serves) not that wrong but without explanations given, it’s more like traditional teaching. It’s a very time-intensive process and not really necessary in modern times, I feel (nor possible for most of us).

I am also amazed how well this clip ties in to your teachings in the Ireland 2010 #3 video, especially since I didn’t expect it. You definitely have the best concept for teaching I’ve come across yet. Thanks for sharing so generously!

And thanks for the new server – that’s making life a lot more fun! 🙂



RICKY GLADDEN October 26, 2012 at 12:35 am

I love the knowledge that’s explained and demonstrated. I practice Yang Tai Chi Chaun and Wing Chun and was wondering if the principles explained here is universal or exclusively of Chen Tai Chi Chaun. Aslo is there a qualified Chen Tai Chi Chaun Sifu you recommend in the Baltimore MD. I will be ordering your dvds

Thank you for your time


Ymarsakar June 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

It’s more or less universal. Wing chun, however, hybridizes external and internal concepts, sort of like Xing Yin’s techiques. Wing chun has “single leg root” power transfer, but doesn’t use double leg root power transfer.


pingwei October 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Long time ago, I tried to apply Chen style Tai Chi principles into Yang style. I was happy about that. But other people thought it was no longer Yang style. Well, why bother? Since then (about 10 years ago), I only focus on Chen style Tai Chi Practical Method. The Practical Method works for me, and I have the best teacher/master.


Paul Janssens October 29, 2014 at 6:28 am

This video was given to a group of people who reached a certain basic physical level of movement. For example, they remembered the choreography, their body started to become coordinated, their movements had certain ways that looked Taiji like, and they had some push hands abilities. But most of all, they were at the stage where movements were no longer jerky or shaky all the time. And when they practice their form, they experimented with movement in relation to items such speed, power, efficiency and angles to name a few.

Even if you feel like you have not reached this level, you will gain a lot from this video because the content touches upon some fundamental concepts in the Practical Method. And the more you can hear them and develop and understand of them, the more it will help you in your study of Taiji.

The lecture touches upon the following terms:

‘Space and Time’ – well yes, that is the title of the video.

‘Dimension’ – More specifically in relation to your own body (and not so much in relation to the outer space, away from your body)

‘Point of reference’ – this is your ‘numero uno’ that you need to improve the quality of your movement. Is related to the ‘Threshold’, ‘Demarcation line’, ‘Yin and Yang’. ‘dot or line’. If you are able to manipulate the ‘Point of Reference, you will be working on totally different things, and your will be more efficient. If you have no fixed ‘Point of reference’, you are not rotating.

‘Turning over of the joint’ – Aka ‘Zhuan Guan’. This is a central and important concept! There is another video discussing ‘Zhuan Guan’ (http://practicalmethod.com/2010/12/zhuan-guan-online-video-trailer/) , but this video looks at it from another point of view. If you have seen that video, then this lecture will enhance your understanding. ‘Zhuan Guan’ is a true rotation.

‘Three way split’ – in relation to the ‘Point of reference’.

‘Wobbling and tossing’ – Again, a nice explanation of a movement that everyone needs to get away from.

I suggest you view the video a few times to get the most out of it. You may find that you suddenly feel the need to stop ‘Tossing’ or ‘Wobbling’ once you have seen this video. Worth watching.


Vincent Den Hengst December 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Learning Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method comes with stages you cannot skip.
After the `physical` comes the `space` and after that the `time` -level. When you are learning how to deal with `space` is about structure. Structure is about the learning of manipulation of space. When you understand that you can go into time.
`At this level in the developmental stages of taijiquan, the most important thing is that you cannot go from a physical level to a time and space level, or a space and time level.`
The training to get to this stage you cannot know. It has to be learned. It requires specialised training about negative and positive space and therefore dimensional thinking.
In this video you will learn important information on level one turning of the joint. If you can adhere to the required (and eloquently explained) point of reference on your body, you can learn to ad dimensions to your taijiquan. Not so easy, that why you can use this video over and over again!


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