Tian Qiu Xin used to recite the following verses:
Since the beginning movement the spiral rises, and the force comes from the feet.

One after the other it passes through all joints, therefore all the body being a unity.
The belly is like the sea, and the form like the tide. When changing the movement, folding comes from the waist.

Although forwards and backwards the level changes, you must keep stability. Upwards and downwards go through each other, and then the force reaches the extremes.

Thanks to John Vanko for submitting this quotation.

At the 2008 Hunyuan World Seminiars in GA, USA, I spent several hours one night after the evening class to work with several disciples on taiji fighting.

I will not go into details of what we did, as there is no way to explain it with simple words. We didn’t make any videos of the session either. What I want to discuss here is some of the comments from students. These comments or questions are as a result of the fact that what we did did not APPEAR to be taiji.

  1. It’s almost the same as praying mantis.
  2. It’s the same as karate.
  3. Is taiji this fast?
  4. Master Chen, you kick is so fast we cannot even respond to it.

As a matter of fact, real taiji IS a martial art. It does not resemble that taiji that we see practiced and taught today. What we normally see is the training set or method of taijiquan. Here is a video clip of a simple teaching session with some applications.

Here is another youtube video that has some elementary fighting techniques.


Chen Cake i

by webmaster2 on 2008/03/14

Originally written by: Tim Duehring

Chen Cake

Chen Cake is a variation on the children’s game of Patty Cake. Here is how we play it.
The participants will stand facing each other with their arms outstretched in front of them. The wrists will be bent and the fingers pointed at the ceiling. They will adjust the distance between them until the backs of their hands are in line. From this position they will proceed to slap their palms together trying to upset the balance of their opponent.
They are not allowed to move their feet except to avoid falling over.
This exercise will result in a better sense of timing, balance, recognition of the opponent’s structure, and a good flow of blood to the hands.

This is a detailed list of the classification of moves of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method forms of Yilu and Cannon Fist. Hong Junsheng’s Taijiquan Practical Method Movement Classifications: Read more

Elbow to the Ribs i

by webmaster2 on 2008/03/03

Elbow Sticks to the Ribs

“Elbow Sticks to the Ribs” is a principle that is shared by all martial arts, not only Taijiquan. It’s a pity that most martial artists only pay lip service to this age-old aphorism. This is indeed a secret training method to higher levels of martial attainment.

Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method regards this aphorism as a major principle to follow.

Wuwei i

by webmaster2 on 2008/03/03


Wuwei is “none doing”. It is a concept that sometimes in life the action required is “not to do anything”. This is very different from don’t do anything in a normal sense. This concept is stressed very heavily in the Daoist philosophy because the Daoists perceive a reality that has both action and non action together.
This is not a Chinese concept alone. For example, in English we say “No news is good news”. We also say that if the opponent does not say no, that can be construed as acquiescence.
Daoists believe that Wuwei should be at least half of our actions. This is a very difficult task to achieve.

So the objective is to “lengthen”, to expand (not collapse) from our central balance point. We create a line, which intersects our center, from two longer points. For example, a line might be drawn from a shoulder point near the neck, to connect with a point on the bicep above the elbow. This opens the shoulder, while letting it rotate into the center of our structure, instead of “popping” up or out (which would collapse the point).

The famed Zheng Banqiao (one of the Seven Poets of the Bamboo Forest) wrote:

It’s difficult to have a clear mind
It’s not easy to be confused
It’s even harder to transform from clarity to the state of confusion.

He wrote this at an era of no hope for the people. Indeed in his time, the learned would be able to live in peace if only they could voluntarily go into a state of drunkenness or confusion. The relevancy of this point in terms of our pursuit of Taijiquan is that there is a time for clarity and there is a time for confusion.

This reminds me of what Hong told me and many of his students:

Those who are smart cannot learn this art
Because they think they can understand it
Those who are mentally retarded cannot learn it
Because they CANNOT understand it
Only those who have the mental capacity to understand
But fail to see the point
Will one day get it
Through persistant



One of the terms we hear often in the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system is “Rotation”. This term relates to silk reeling, spiral, circles, turning, etc. It is an inseparable part of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system.

In dealing with this concept, one must keep in mind the following:

  1. There are no complete rotations with any part of the body.
  2. Every part of the body should have partial rotational movements.
  3. According to the number of parts of the body, the rotation is composed of mini rotational movement of each part. The total of all involved parts must add up to 360 degrees, a full circle.
  4. Rotation must involve a central axis.  

Hong’s form of taiji has no ‘rehearsal movements’ or pre-movements, its just the useful stuff. Don’t load your taiji with rehearsal movements and unimportant movements.

Read more

  1. Hair is the tip of blood;
  2. Tongue is the tip of flesh;
  3. Teeth are the tips of bones;
  4. Nails are the tips of ligaments.

Internal harmonies:
Heart and Intent; Intent and qi: qi and force.

External harmonies:
Hand and foot; elbow and knee; shoulder and kua.

The Dao has no shape. Everybody lives it without knowing it.


strong will beat weak

Big will beat small

Technique will beat force

Gong will beat technique

Qi will beat gong

Intent will beat Qi

Longer will in the end beat the shorter. Length can be equated to strength.

Mind-intent is one of the most important ideas in Chen Style Taijiquan learning and practice. It is also one of the most confusing concepts. Let’s take a look at this concept from a simple point of view to facilitate learning.

  1. The learning of Taijiquan requires that the student have correct mind-intent because Taiji is an internal martial art.
  2. Mind-intent is to know what you are doing.
  3. There are many levels of “to know what you are doing”.
    • The first level is to simply copy the choreography correctly. In this sense, to know the choreography is to know the meaning. Nothing else should be involved. At this stage avoid this question: What is this move for? Instead ask, “How did you do that?” “Show me how?”
    • The second level is to know what you are doing in terms of energy circulation in your own body.
    • The third level is to know what you are doing in terms of how your body interacts with your opponent’s body.
    • The fourth level is to know what you are doing in terms of how to always make your body the lever and your opponent’s body the load (as in a leverage).
    • The fifth level is to accomplish the above naturally. This means that the above scenario will be the case no matter what.
  4. Mind-intent is not what you think that it should be. It is what the situation requires.
  5. Mind-intent is not a skill. It is not something you can learn. It is a result. It is like saying that when you walk, your mind is directing it. Therefore, the real mind-intent in walking cannot be felt or known. In most cases, when someone is conscious of an action, it usually mean there is a problem with that action.  In this sense, we say, “The real intent is when there is no intent.”
  6. It is nice to know about this concept but if you focus on it, you are guaranteed to be lost.

Taiji Lineage Poem i

by webmaster2 on 2008/01/04

Originally written by: Ha Lezhi
By Ha Lezhi
On the occasion of Brother Chen Zhonghua honored as Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method International Standard Bearer
Summer 2004 Read more

The Foot is Faster Than the Hand.
—Hong Junsheng

Many people regard Taijiquan as a slow, gentle and soft art. The orginal principle, however, points to a different and more reasonable direction.

“The two hands are just two doors. The fight is done by the feet”—martial adage.

“The hand is there but not the foot. The fajin is not clever. When the hand is there, the foot is there also, the fajin is clever. When the foot is there before the hand, the fajin is beyond wonder.”—martial adage.

“The hands will take 3 years to train. The feet ten years”—Xiaowushou adage.

5 Learning Stages 2

by webmaster2 on 2007/12/11

  • 1. Choreography.
  • 2. Coordination.
  • 3. Clarity and Energy.
  • 4. Application.
  • 5. Flow.

Notice that most people follow this:

  • 1. Choreography.
  • 2. Flow.
  • 3. Clarity and Energy.
  • 4. Coordination.
  • 5. Application.

Slight change in order but big difference in the end.

Read more

Read more

Chen Pu i

by webmaster2 on 2007/12/06

Chen Pu

In the year of 1374, Chen Pu moved to a place in today’s Henan province from Hong Tong of today’s Shanxi[1]. Later, this place was named Chen Pu village in memory of his contribution. From this village, the Chen clan moved on to another more suitable habitat a few miles away. It was a place called Chao Yang Village. Today, this village is called Chen Jiagou, in Henan province (see the Map of China in Appendix).

Theirf family oral transmission believed that Chen Jiagou founder, Chen Pu, was a famous martial artist. However, there were no details as to what kind of martial art he did, or what rank he received.

[1] There is a place commonly known as the “Big Locust Tree”. It is a famous place in ancient Chinese history. It was the site of the biggest migration. Till today in China there are still many clans that claim to have origins in the “Big Locust Tree” in Hong Tong, Shanxi Province.

Know thyself i

by webmaster2 on 2007/11/30

Those who know others are intelligent. Those who know themselves are wise.

Those who win over others are forceful. Those who conquers themselves are strong. Those who are content are rich. Those who force their way ahead have strong will. Those who do not lose what they have will last. Those who die without losing themselves have longevity.
—Chapter 33, Laoze

You need to be smart to know others. But only those who know themselves are the wise ones. In human life, most people like to know about the affairs of others while few have the inclination to know themselves. Therefore it is a rare ability to know oneself.

Chest of Steel i

by webmaster2 on 2007/11/26

It was a hot summer day in the practice hall of the Wah Lum Temple in Orlando. A young Danny Abrahms was trying to learn Chen Style Taijiquan from master Li Enjiu. Danny had been a student of the Wah Lum system for many years. He was quite eager to learn this new system but he was finding it difficult.

There were only a few students studying Taiji. They were surrounded by people practicing other forms and weapons. (Wah Lum is famous for its weapons repertoire. At that time, Danny had experience training with more than thirty weapons.) Suddenly, Danny heard a whip sound; he saw a white flash darting towards Master Li’s chest! Just as the white flash touched Master Li’s chest, Li turned sideways.

There was a loud crash, as a window was shattered! The spear dart at the end of a 9-section chain whip had separated from its chain, as the student was whipping it. The dart was traveling at lightening speed— it certainly could have killed Master Li had it struck his chest directly.

Everyone rushed to see if anything had happened to master Li. He was calm, quite normal and untouched, as though nothing had happened. Experience and quick reflexes had saved his life. When he heard the sound of the traveling dart, by instinct, he spontaneously reacted with the perfect response. He raised his head, and seeing the incoming object, turned his chest precisely 40 degrees. The dart touched his chest but was redirected to the window. What an incredible demonstration of martial skill, effortlessly averting the life threatening danger!

As a martial artist, you will recognize that this was by no means blind luck. One cannot dodge “bullets” with luck. The dozens of years of diligent taijiquan training had endowed him with the ability to act instinctively and appropriately in a dangerous situation.

Danny was duly impressed. With this remarkable inspiration, he was ever more motivated to pursue the path, to learn Taijiquan from master Li. Today he is an accomplished master of both Praying Mantis and Chen Style Taijiquan.

2005-12-3 Winnipeg i

by webmaster2 on 2005/12/03

Roy Dawson
Date: 12/3/2005 0:00
Title: Nov. 3 and 4 Winnipeg Chen Style Taiji Workshop
Organizer: Roy Dawson
Location: Winnipeg
Comments: Master Chen finally came back to Winnipeg after more than two years. At this workshop we went back to the basics. We reviewed the positive and negative circles and did a stepping exercise.