Real Learning

by 胡歌 on 2013/09/24

Master Chen Zhonghua—“The most important learning that will occur in all your taiji learning is the move that you believe cannot be done and the move you believe does not make sense”

CZH in 美国西东那

About 胡歌

Practicing Yilu, over and over. Sometimes Erlu.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Schaub September 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

(qq group discussion)…related to where people stop. Meaning most people will only peresist in learning things they can put in some kind of context, but the person who is willing to pursue something even though it makes absoulutely no sense in any accepted mode of thinking will have “special ability” that others do not. Of course these things are not random ideas ( or things we make up ) but there is a place where logic leaves off, and principles continue deeper…. maybe related to “Ling” …. Master Chens spiritual stomping grounds …. Like the story you told me about Master Chen’s stomp Hugo……… the one that was not a hard stomp but made the building ring…. and no matter how you went and stomped that place , you could not reproduce the ringing sound….


Wilkin Ng September 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Vancouver – Wilkin: 10:39:45
So Hugo, you are saying “don’t trust yourself”??


Hugo Ramiro September 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hey Wilkin – I am just repeating Master Chen’s words, and they do sound like “don’t trust yourself.” From what I understand, our resistance to the truth causes us to deviate. We make excuses in order to justify that something is unattainable. Even though we might know someone who does it.


Andre September 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

In my view master Chen’s words says ‘trust yourself utterly’ even when it doesnt make sense inside your head.
If you persist, one way or another, your body, life, always finds a way.

If we choose to do something, why stop before its finished? Truth be told, is it ever finished?

But maybe thats just me. 🙂


Nathan September 24, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Trust yourself least of all. Trust the principles and your dan tian. Trust gravity. Trust relaxation. Trust Master Chen completely, and then test everything he says with utter skepticism.

That’s how I roll. But don’t take my word for it either.


Jeffrey Chua September 25, 2013 at 12:08 am

What I feel Master Chen is saying is that when we remain locked into our current paradigm and beliefs of what is possible or logical in Taiji, no learning takes place. All we tried to do is to frame Chen-style Practical Method (PM) into what we have previously learn and understand.

Chen style PM requires a counter-intuitive (“senseless”) mindset and a way of doing things and this I believe secret (effectiveness) of Taiji. For example “Every pull is a push” puzzled me a long time before I met Master Chen as nobody can explain to me in a non-mysterious way. This is also exactly why your opponent is going have a hard time to dealing with it. Only when we are different, then do we have an edge. For example many players in martial art competitions or a sport like tennis have difficulty dealing with a left-hander, as he often trained with right-handers while the right-hander seldom train with left handers. So when we execute “senseless” moves they are very hard to counter.

So true learning comes once we break out of our current mindset and master these principles. Then we can do things that was once deemed “impossible” or “illogical”.

One example was when Master Chen demonstrated “Buddha’s Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar”.
In the move going forward, he fully extended out his left leg, keeping his knee completely straight.

My previous martial art training (mindset) was screaming “That is so wrong! He is going get his knee cap broken in a real fight” and it is easy at this point not to believe and we can’t get pass this point.

However Master Chen later explained that, it doesn’t really matter if your knee is straight or bent. If you come across a strong opponent, he will break the knee cap. However the trick is to to rotate the whole leg at the kua joint to neutralise it!

Bottom-line: Trust the system that have been refined through the ages by battle-tested Grand masters such as the legendary GM Chen Fake and GM Hong Junsheng and brought to us faithfully by Master Chen.

Master Chen always says… when you are executing the moves correctly, you will exert a huge force on your opponent but you will feel very little feedback. My body is still have a hard time accepting that and wants to ‘work’ for it. Sigh!


charlie wishon September 25, 2013 at 5:22 am

Same as to learn is to let go. to hold onto an idea is to push away the ideal truth. no mind, practice ,
perservere . trust . acheive. its already there.
our perception of truth is always changing like a river. if we fight the river we have trouble. hardship.
but the truth is always there . like Yin and yang it never departs from itself. only we have trouble accepting it. to withdraw is to issue. withdraw from concepts, and they will follow like a shadow.
for me i just practice. in reality i dont know anything. again “It is an honor to practice this art”. Trust the energy. it is more intelligent than we can fathom. so why try to move it. follow the priciples. and let the energy move us/ take care of us.


pingwei September 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

When Master Chen first showed me “not on not off” in push hand, I thought it could not be done. When he said there was a pull in every push or a push in every pull, I thought it didn’t make sense. I asked him how I could learn and achieve that, he laughed about my question. He simply pointed out that the “secret” was in yilu and foundation. That was, I believe, about 8 years ago. I think I have been doing much better now.
There’s really no meaning to interpret Master Chen’s words. Just take what he says. When you first hear what he says, you might not be able to make sense of it, you simply don’t understand. Then, don’t try to compare what you had learned before, because it will confuse you more and mislead you. Leave it aside, after a few years of practice, the truth will reveal to you. Only then, you tell yourself, “Ah, that is what Master Chen told me n years ago.”


Kim Allbritain September 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

Just like the famous ‘don’t move your hand’! He has been saying that for years and yet I for one never ‘heard’ it. When I was in Vancouver, Maple Ridge about a year and a half ago, we worked for hours doing the in-stroke on the PS without moving the hand. It was agonizing. But I finally got the point to ‘not move’ my hand. The result against an opponent is significant. So if I had just listened better and did what I was told to do, I could have assimilated this point years ago. In order to understand a new idea we tend to look for similar patterns in our experience and that’s great, except that those patterns are only similar not exact. When we make the mistake of equating the two, we miss the real meaning of the new one.


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