Master Chen Zhonghua Online Lesson on Dec. 3, 2020 – Kelvin Ho

by Practical Method on 2020/12/03

Chinese Class

Open the knee

A student asks about how to open the knee.  Master Chen Zhonghua said the idea of opening was very simple. However being to able to do it requires many other simple things to be put together. There are so many that we are unable to do them, and we simply give up.

How does Master Chen practice at his stage now in a regular basis?

He focuses on foundation these days. He has done 15 years of yilus every day. After we are so familiar with yilu, what allows us to continue to improve is foundation.  When Grandmaster Hong was at 70+ years of age, he practiced cannon fist once a month just so he would not forget it. Grandmaster Hong would still be able to teach the details of that form.

We don’t necessarily think straight or clearly. We only need to know the requirement. There are many ways to do it, because the method is situational.

English Class

Drill bit only goes forward. We often move our hand.  The hand is off the line of the drilling action.
Pour substance into the form.

Knee – Vertical

Shoulder – Horizontal

Elbow – Circular

Two bricks are laid on top of each other because gravity pulls them together. No space in between.

Opening is to put space in between. Now comes the idea of suspended head. We are putting space in between the pile of bricks (bones in the human body).

We are working at the interaction of the horizontal and vertical openings.

We maintain peng, which is to put the space in between in different directions.

3 ways of stretching. A and C are two endpoints, and B is in the middle.

  • Lock A, move C (or Lock C, move A)
  • Lock B, move A and C.
  • Lock, A and C, move B.

We need 3 hands. Something has to come out. We need the 3rd point, we only have 2.

A thief is referred as someone with a 3rd hand.

Taiji is the power of the wedge.

Anything that goes down is fundamentally strong.

Lock specific body parts into strategic postition, so a movement of some other body part becomes meaningful.

Ground Dragon – Do the move inside a set of fixed parameters.

We need to train something that we are not used to doing or simply cannot do, e.g.

  • If you are too stiff, soften yourself.
  • If you are too soft, stiffen up yourself.
  • If your movements are too small, make them bigger.
  • If your movements are too big, make sure that there is some part that is not moving, or put in a restriction that must be maintained.

When you have peng, every part becomes a hand, e.g. After stretching a rubber cord, every part of it can bounce something back.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos Hanson December 3, 2020 at 10:38 am

One more stretch: Lock A and C, move B. B is the third hand. It is “something from your body has to come out”.


Kelvin Ho December 3, 2020 at 11:20 am

They all can be reduced to just something moving and something else not-moving.

1) X not moving and Y moving
2) X moving and Y not moving

We can then split X or Y, e.g.
a) X1, X2 not moving and Y moving -> This is equivalent to Lock A and C, move B above.
b) X not moving and Y1 and Y2 moving -> This is equivalent to Lock B, move A and C above.

n) X1…Xm not moving and Y1…Yn moving

X and Y can simply be exchanged with each other, so 1) and 2) are the same.


Carlos Hanson December 3, 2020 at 3:43 pm

True. For me, fix both ends and stretch the middle was a direct tie to the idea of three hands, so it is important to point out. However, I can see the same tie with fix the middle and stretch both ends. One hand anchors while two hands stretch.


Carlotta Viviani December 4, 2020 at 3:39 am

I think the main difference Master Chen was pointing out is between a stretch we can do with two hands (lock A, move C and reversed) and a stretch which needs three hands to be applied (lock B/middle, move A and C or lock A and C, move B/middle).


James Tam November 11, 2021 at 10:37 pm

Good overview notes. Thank you for sharing, Kelvin.


Paddy Hanratty November 12, 2021 at 4:21 am

Thanks Kelvin


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