Foundation Class Notes – Master Chen Zhonghua Online Zoom Lesson Mon 12 Oct 2020 – Brian Chung

by Brian Chung on 2020/10/12

Today’s class on Foundations was held on Canadian Thanksgiving.

-The learning ratio is strange. The time required to achieve to rotation is 5-7 years. The adjustment required takes 3 months.

– Master Chen Zhonghua told a story about the history of Chen Style Taijiquan as it relates to the history of China. Taijiquan was created in the late 1600s to 1700 by Chen Wangting. Before this, it was a family martial art in the Chen village. Before the emperor Qin united China, there was a period called the Spring and Autumn period (春秋时代). At the time there were over 800 states. Historians believes this was the best time in Chinese history for culture. In China today there is a jurisdictional term called County. There have been unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the County level government. It was found that each County maps back to a historical state. When Chen Wangting defeated the Japanese bandits and retired from the army in the late 1600s, he was provided with a pension and did not have to work. He read the Inner Vision of the Yellow Courtyard (Huang Ting Jing 黄庭经 by Wei Huacun 魏华存). After reading it, the family martial art evolved. This guides our thinking. Taiji was a martial art. It is not a part of Daoist alchemy.

– We like to believe that Taiji has never changed. The distinction is between evolve and change. To evolve means the same principles, the same ideas, with different physical characteristics. For example, when an identical principle is applied to a different physical object, the result that is produced will have different charactericstics.

– Our objective is to find a scientific way of learning Taiji. The philosophy and principles have never changed. Only the teaching method.

– Master told a story about student in Xinjiao about a tree that takes 60 years to take roots.

– Once our Foundations are there, things will start to make sense.

– Foundations have been resequenced.

– Master Chen Zhonghua told a story about the origin of Foundations (Jibengong 基本功). Hong Junsheng said that until Chen Fake passed away, there were no Foundations. They would only train by performing the form. Once, when all the students were training, Hong noticed Chen Fake was doing something different. He asked, we are all doing the Yilu here. What is this action are you doing? He said, I am too old to do Yilu, I’m only doing the simple thing. What is it? The circle. The form is made up of circles.Note that in traditional times, the Master would often not answer you directly. This was the first time Hong realised there was a second training method. Chen Fake further explained you can also do it the reverse way. That is called is the Negative circle. From then, Hong always watched Chen Fake and realised that he took out single moves from the form to practice. Later on, Hong experimented with creating a set of exercises that was easier to do for beginners.

– Master Chen Zhonghua related a story of himself and his Taiji brother Master Li Enjiu. In 1994, Master Chen took a group of Canadian students to China to attend the Third Jinan Martial Arts Festival. Master Chen had to leave and entrusted the group to Master Li Enjiu. He instructed Susan Holland from Edmonton to record the lessons. After returning a week later, Susan did not tape anything. When asked what was taught, she said it was exactly the same. Yet Hong never taught as a curriculum. It turned out that as a teacher at a government school Master Li Enjiu developed a teaching plan. They had both produced the same thing from Hong’s teachings.

– If you follow the principle, the result is inevitably the same. This is called synchronicity. The evolution of humans must follow the principle called the Dao. Certain things were created by humans in different parts of the world at the same time.

– Positive Circle. Version 1.0 is shoulder based, on the plane of the shoulder level. Version 2.0 is kua based.

– Exercise: Explore the kua to feel the range of movements. Then we can talk about restrictions and what is allowed.

– Master showed an example of the increase in size by holding holding a stick pointing out from the kua.

– The arms are extentions. The movements come from the kua.

– Use a point of reference for kua to determine the distance the kua travels. Do not wiggle. The distance must be real.

– Taiji is not about fixing yourself. It is about doing something. This is not about not moving. It is about using a pivot so you can move better.

– Fighting is from the feet. The hands are used to control so he must comply with the move.

– To shuttle. This refers to the back and forth of the two feet.

– Do not bend backwards with your buttocks. Do not lean forwards with your shoulder.

– If the power does not come from the kua, you lose your connection to the ground. Power has to be from the kua.

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