Notes from Master Chen online forms class 12 October 2020 – Paul Carlson

by Paul Carlson on 2020/10/12

The subject of the lesson was foundations/positive circle.

Master Chen provided some history of China and the development of taijiquan. He also related a story about how the Practical Method foundations were developed.

When Grandmaster Hong was studying with Grandmaster Chen Fake, he noticed that during the time when students were training the form, GM Chen was standing watching and doing some movements not the same as his students. GM Hong was not only observant but curious so he asked GM Chen what he was doing. Traditionally, masters didn’t tell everything but when asked they would explain when they viewed the question as relevant. GM Chen said that since he was old he couldn’t do the form so many times a day and that he was picking out various moves from the form to practice. This interested GM Hong and he continued to observe and remember what his teacher was doing. Later when he was in Jinan Hong continued to develop the idea of foundation exercises to help his beginning students learn. However, GM Hong didn’t develop a “lesson plan” regarding foundations, he just would have his students do various exercises as he saw fit. When Master Chen started teaching in Canada he saw a need to have a standard plan of foundations for his students which he then developed. In 1994, Master Chen took a group of Canadian students to Jinan to experience training there with his taijiquan brother, Master Li Enjiu. Master Chen had to leave to visit another place for a week and asked one of the students to video everything they did. When he returned after a week he asked about the video but was informed that no video was recorded because there was no need and that everything that Master Li taught was the same as Master Chen taught. He asked Master Li about his teaching and found out that it was, in fact, the same. As it turned out, since Master Li was a teacher at a government school, he had to develop a lesson plan for his teaching. What a surprise! They both developed the same set of foundations which were based on the teachings of GM Hong.

Previously in our Zoom classes we did the first version of the positive circle. Today we worked on version 2. These versions break down the positive circle into parts which we practice in order to develop the complete movements of the exercise, the positive circle exercise. The first version was a shoulder based circle. This is a simplified version. The second version taught us that we need to create a very big movement with our kuas. The kua has to be big!

The exercise we did required us to not use our arm, only our kua, to make circles with our kua. For training purposes this circle needs to be very exaggerated. Don’t lean forward. Don’t allow the shoulder to bend over. Make a big circle with the kua and don’t do anything with the arm. If we have trouble with this, we should place both hands on the kua to keep from having attention on the hand. In this exercise we move the kua, not rotate the kua.

Starting from the beginning position, we go down, then back, then forward, and then poke up. That is, poke the kua up. At this point we should be leaning backward and feel that we may fall backward.

Do lots of this exercise!

Leave a Comment
Leave a comment on the content only. For admin issues, please click the "contact" button on the top left.

Previous post:

Next post: