Knowledge : Quotations

Chen Xin (1849-1929)The 16th generation of Chen Style Taijiquan, author of “Illustration of Chen Style Taijiquan”

Pure yin without yang is soft hand, pure yang without yin is hard hand;
One yin and nine yang is a stick, two yin and eight yang is Sanshou;
Three yin and seven yang still feels hard, four yin and six yang shows a good hand; Read more

In taijiquan, there is a phrase that causes a lot of confusion. It is “Don’t use force”.

What this really says is that in taijiquan movements, we do not use direct power, instead, we use indirect power. Or in other words, the point of contact cannot issue power. Power comes from another place that reaches the point of contact. This means the point of contact only has passive power.

In Practical Method, horizontal moves must be seen. Feeling and thinking you have horizontal size is not enough. It must be real!

Verical moves, however, are the opposite. By nature, vertical moves don’t create horizontal size and therefore no visible to the human eye. Whenever vertical moves are seen, it indicates there is horizontal movement involved and therefore it is an error.

In both cases, a point of reference with a physical object is the best way.

Taiji is a “scientific” way of moving your body that the ancient Chinese believed was good for the body and good for fighting. Taiji is the art of yin and yang. Chinese culture was founded on this fundamental understanding of opposites. It’s not about right and wrong. It is about adapting to nature. Taiji is an exercise designed to make the body last longer. Read more

Power comes from restriction.
—Chen Zhonghua at the Sept. 2019 Toronto Workshop. Read more

Master Chen Zhonghua said, “Don’t power up the top, attack from the bottom.”

11334152_10204293465207270_6980898690182303046_oMany fake things originated as high level mastery. It is the people who don’t have the skill but want to present themselves as highly skilled masters that make people think that the original act was also fake.

Very often, when this happens, the average person tend to believe the fake act and refuse to believe the original real act.

All form of life on earth came about in a process that is from simple to complex, with human beings the most complex of all creatures. Learning of taiji, and learning in general is a process that goes from complex to simple. When complex systems/issues are understood in simple terms, it is called “enlightenment”.

To truly learn, we have to force ourselves to practice according to the principles; especially when we cannot comprehend, verify or believe.
Most people practice according to what and how they like to practice. That’s not learning.
Read more

“Principles are the overall guidelines” “whenever I ran into difficulties I must rely on the principles” Read more

Rotation is the result of linear movements. There are no rotational moves in taijiquan. Read more

It is considered a good thing to hurt the muscles. Muscles are not afraid of pain. In the Practical Method system, we do not train the muscles. Train muscles means to bulk up the muscles to make them strong. We elongate muscles. This requires a different method of training.

It is a bad thing to hurt ligaments and bones. Ligaments and bones are afraid of being shortened, not elongated. Postures should be large and low so as to allow the elongation of ligaments and the skeletal structure.

In order to reach the level of taiji practice that integrates body and mind connection, you need to declare war against your own body. A dialogue between the mind and your own body must be initiated. After that, most of the work must be done by the body, not the mind.

—Master Chen Zhonghua at the New Hampshire workshop in Sept. 2013.

Do not believe your body does what you think it is doing! Your body has a mind of its own and is quite independent of you. It does what it wants and what it is used to.

Real Learning 9

by 胡歌 on 2013/09/24

Master Chen Zhonghua—“The most important learning that will occur in all your taiji learning is the move that you believe cannot be done and the move you believe does not make sense”

CZH in 美国西东那

“Don’t Move Your Hands” and “Your Hands are not Moving” are not related concepts.

” … the problem is not speed, but timing. Rather than moving too slowly, most students of taijiquan will in fact move too soon. This point stresses the importance of push-hands training which develops the kind movement and timing necessary to be able to receive the energy of your opponent and then to send it back out like a spinning tire.”   A quote from Master Chen 

The outsider see the fanfare. The insider see the secrets.

The fist of xingyi, feet of bagua and waist of taiji.

The punches of xingyi, the footwork of bagua and the yaodang (waist and crotch) of taiji.

Xingyi looks at the hands; bagua looks at the walk; and taiji is the gong of waist and crotch.

5 Levels of comprehension:
Personal experience

This is a saying from GM Hong Junsheng

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

Guidance of a teacher is meaningless without a common experience between the teacher and the students

Any time you have a large surface of contact you are double heavy – no surface – only use a dot. The exception is when you intentionally create a large surface to counter your opponent’s particular action.

The Dao 9

by webmaster2 on 2012/12/06

It’s easier to know the Dao than to believe in the Dao;
It’s easier to believe in the Dao than to act on the Dao.
It’s easier to act on the Dao than to gain the Dao.
It’s easier to gain the Dao than to keep the Dao. Read more

“You can never do physical activity without physical activity. Taiji skill cannot be attained by reading books or talking about it. Thinking about it is only 5% of the practice.”

From complexity to simplicity Practicing taiji is to train to make all the complex moves and routines simple for execution. In order to do so one must be able to “See” the simplicity in the complexity.  

Learning Taiji is to solve a set of contradictions.
Neither over-extended, nor deficient.

Anything that exists is the resolution of a contradiction. Therefore, when you see a contradiction in a matter, you have not resolved the issue. When you have, you will not see the contradiction any more.

In taiji, you must reach a stage when you create movements without moving; you don’t push but your opponent is pushed out; etc. When you still cannot do this, you are still not at the level yet.

originally published on 2008/03/03

”if the move up and down are equal, the center becomes truly empty”—— “In ancient times the master would never let you feel it…..if you don’t feel it, you will never get it….once you feel it, it’s only a matter of time….”——–”they MUST equalize….”

Thanks to Bruce Schaub who typed in the quote from Ireland workshop video. Please check out Ireland 4 video (now on new video server) for demonstration on turning of the joint and other topics

“So when you feel you are doing it right, you are absolutely wrong; when you do it right, you don’t know it. There is 0 biofeedback, so the only thing left is to watch your own video and listen to the teacher’s instructions.” Master Zhonghua Chen

“People work very hard for a long time to acheive the wrong things.” -Chen Zhonghua

The only difference between the master and student is that the student learns publicly and the master learns privately.

The original verse is “That with shape and odor is an illusion; that without is the real thing.” I intentionally changed it to: “That with shape and odor is an illusion; that without could be real.” to:

  1. To see if people notice the change.
  2. To see if people notice the difference between the logic of the two different verses.

In our daily taiji life, we are often told, “It is not this, it is THAT!” This has been used to cover up for many of the problems in taijiquan such as in the case when the form is very bad the person will say “It is the internal aspect, not the form that matters,” “Taiji has no forms, if there is, it is empty.”

In serious taiji learning, one must first of all make sure that the form is present and is done according to the rules. Only after that one can talk about the internal aspect of the form.

This is very important in our taiji learning. When we are told to do something, it does not automatically mean something else that is similar and vice versa.

This is one of Grandmaster Hong Junsheng’s favorite sayings. It is a technical principle of his Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system. By following this principle, many other important theoretical principles will start to manifest themselves eventually. This is the foundation of foundations in this system.

A spiral in the taiji sense is not a physical spiral object, or a shape you draw with your body when doing taiji. A spiral requires two actions simultaneously. A rotation on the body while another part of the body stretches it.

There are two activities that are identical to the gaining of gongfu in Taiji. One is swimming and the other riding a bicycle. These features about them are relevant to Taiji learning and gaining of real gongfu or skill.

  • You follow the instructions but they might not necessarily help you.
  • Once you know how, you will realize that it is just like what the instructions described to you.
  • Once you know how, you cannot undo it. It stays with you forever.


In taijiquan movements, there is one correct way of doing a move but endless incorrect ways of trying to do the same move.

Read more

Most people talk about the difference between internal and external and in recent years, people have been proud to call their style “internal”. In reality, there is no such a thing as internal martial art or external martial art.

The real taiji is invisible to the naked eye; wrong things are the easiest to learn. From a traditional point of view, taijiquan is not about comfort, flow and natural. It is an art that requires the student to practice according to certain rules. In doing so, the student will not be used to the practice at the beginning and will not feel comfortable. Through long time repeat training, the student will start to feel natural. This NATURALNESS is not the normal naturalness. This kind of training is not within the realm of normal human sport training.

  1. Read more

“Nobody has the patience to wait and spin. If I am reacting and someone is pushing, and I wait until he has enough friction, I spin and it works. But if I’m too impatient, he pushes and I move forward or backward instead of spin; it becomes a toss, because I go too early. That’s why you have to be patient, and you have to follow the rules. Following the rules is very difficult because when we see an opportunity we want to fight. And in taiji, the rules say you can’t. Even if he’s not blocking […] you have to wait until he comes in and then you can spin him.”

Original article:

I like this paragraph very much.