1.4 The Chen-style Taiji methods


By Hong Jun-Sheng (1906-1996)

It is well worth summarizing the articles of the great master Hong for their resolution and study. That is why I believe and consider it very useful for practitioners of taiji quan for the Chen style to be able to read them and think about their writing and their reflections.

Although Chen Style Taijiquan has been passed down for a long time, from generation to generation, it was not until Chen Xin (1849-1929) of the sixteenth generation, that the scientific principles and methods of this style of boxing were summarized and put forth by Chen Xin wrote that “Taijiquan is the twinned method …” and emphasized this by saying, “If you don’t understand this, you don’t understand boxing.” The twinned method (chan fa) referred to by Chen Xin is a style of spiral movements; Through the spiral the whole body gradually achieves, with practice, a “twinned silk energy” (chan si jin). This type of energy is a mixture of hardness and softness, and is the “Yin inseparable from Yang, the Yang inseparable from Yin, a mixture of Yin and Yang”, the energy of which the Treaty of Taijiquan (Taijiquan Lun) speaks of Wang Zong-Yue. This energy is the product of training using scientific methods. In terms of physiology, this type of energy can cause the movement of joints, muscles and every cell of the body, so when there is movement, everything kicks in, even to the point that then a self-massage function takes place. the internal organs while the spine rotates to the left and right. Over time, due to the unhindered circulation of internal energy (qi) and blood, good health is naturally achieved.

From a combat perspective, since the rotation can be easily changed, no matter which part of the body the attacker’s energy is approaching, it can be rotated slightly in the same direction as the attacker’s force – making it easy to neutralize and ward off the attack. This is “pushing the attacker away without causing harm” (yin jin luo kong) which is a requirement of Taijiquan. When it is turned, because it is moving in a circle, although half of the circle is for neutralization, the other half circle appears while the rotation continues – (naturally forming a circle that is half soft neutralization and half strong energy emitted. Suppose the movement (of the attacker) is smooth, one can turn a quarter of a circle and easily achieve the result (the neutralization of the attack). When the dexterity is greater and the speed of movements faster, you can make a very slight rotation and achieve the effect of neutralizing and hitting at the same time. Therefore, Taijiquan requires that you go from large to small circles and from these to none (apparently). The large and small circles are the rotation of the vertical axis (column) coordinated with the rotation (of the lower limbs) to the left and right, forward and backward (called “gong zhuan” or common rotation); no circle refers to the rotation of the vertical axis (called “zi zhuan” or auto rotation).

According to the principlesof mechanics, the lower the center of gravity, the more stability is achieved. Therefore, Taijiquan has always placed special emphasis on “lowering the internal energy to the lower abdomen” (qi chen dantian) – lowering the qi is not making the lower abdomen stand out, although it uses a method scientific. The method in Chen Style Taijiquan is to slightly rotate the rump (wei gu) and the Changqiang acupoint in a backward direction. This posture results, and naturally, inward tightening the lower abdomen in an oblique line, thus causing the internal energy to drop naturally, and the body’s center of gravity to also drop naturally. This is one of the basic requirements of Chen Style Taijiquan, and it is also a fundamental difference between Chen Style and other styles of Taijiquan.