Impressions of Grandmaster Hong Junsheng
by Soga Tadahiro 曾我忠弘 Translated by Yasuko Inoue
The first time I met Master Hong was in the summer of 1983 in the courtyard of a mansion (Jinan Hotel) in Jinan. He was 75 or 76 years old at that time. (**Notes in brackets are by Chen Zhonghua.)
My first impression of him was that he was very light on his feet and I did not hear his approaching footsteps. He arrived without me noticing his presence.
When he shook my hand, his hand had a very soft touch somewhat like a cat’s paw. After that I had many chances to spar with him. His hand did not appear like “steel wrapped in cotton” often mentioned by Taiji people. His hand had a quality more like a cat or an animal paw, not the same as a regular human’s.
His movement was beyond my imaginative scope and when I touched his hand, I felt that my centre of gravity started to float and my whole body seemed to be crumbling.
Also, I thought that Taiji meant that during partner sparring one does not attack. But when I asked him: “Do I attack now?” during Push Hands with him, he told me that “Yes,” I could… as soon as he said that, I was immediately thrown. We were inside a room that time and Master Hong had meant to throw me on the bed, but his power was too strong and I was thrown over and across to the other side of the bed.
Afterwards Master Hong explained that when one is “reading” (listening skill) the opponent, you momentarily need to heighten the opponent’s tension, then throw him.
Note by Chen Zhonghua: In 2005 I went to Tokyo and met with most of Hong Junsheng’s disciples in Japan. We trained, pushed hands and exchanged ideas and stories about Hong. This is a transcript of Soga Tadahiro’s video comment on GM Hong Junsheng. Soga Tadahiro is one of GM Hong’s top disciples in Japan.