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September 2019

Chen Style Taijiquan Collected Masterworks - The Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Interview with Mark Chen

Chen Style TaijiquanThe newest edition of the Internal Fighting Arts podcast features an interview with Mark Chen about his new book, "Chen Style Taijiquan Collected Masterworks: The History of a Martial Art."

In this valuable book, Mark, who was a formal rumen disciple of the late Grandmaster Chen Qingzhou, translates key sections of Chen Zhaopi's book, published in 1935.

We talk about many issues during an hour and 37 minutes, including the challenges of translating Chinese to English, the origin of Taijiquan, the life of Chen Zhaopi, and how he helped boost the reputation of Chen Taiji during 17 days in Beijing, when he stood on a platform and took on all challengers.

That would be a great kung-fu film -- "17 Days in Beijing" -- the story of the rise of Chen Taijiquan, based on Chen Zhaopi on the platform.

Zhaopi was born three years before my own grandfather, and in China, Taiji fighters like Zhaopi were still battling revolutionaries with swords. That is part of my interview with Mark.

We also explore the idea that in an age when we no longer fight revolutionaries with swords, martial arts take on a more academic, theoretical nature.

This is the 45th edition of my podcast. You can listen online or download the file through this link. It will also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podbean and anywhere you find podcasts.

The book is available on Amazon. Here is a link to the U.S. page for the book.

 


Join Me in Madison This Weekend for Chen Huixian Workshop Nov. 1-3

Huixian Form 7I will be in Madison, Wisconsin starting this Friday, Nov. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 3 to study with Chen Huixian. If you live within driving distance, I hope you'll join me and train with one of the best.

Chen Huixian is an in-door disciple of her uncle, Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Other uncles include Chen Xiaowang and Chen Xiaoxing.

She grew up in the Chen Village and is highly skilled. Each time I train with her, I come away with deeper insights because of the personal corrections and coaching that she gives me.

She is teaching a workshop that will include the following:

Friday Night 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

** Zhan Zhuang (Standing Stake)

** Silk-Reeling

Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (with a 2-hour lunch break)

** Chen Straight Sword Form (1st half)

Sunday 9:00 a.m. to Noon

** Chen Straight Sword Form (1st half)

Sunday 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Laojia Erlu ("Cannon Fist") Review and Corrections

Chen Huixian's workshops are punctuated with laughter. It is very refreshing to have an instructor of her caliber -- a Chen family member -- who brings a healthy sense of humor to classes, and an interest in the people who attend. She gives a lot of personal feedback to each person. She speaks English, so you get the information directly from her, not through an interpreter.

If you live within driving distance of Madison, I hope you'll join me this next weekend. Here is a link for more information and to sign up. Click the "SAVE ME A SPACE" button on the page to get the fees, etc.

And check out this video to see Chen Huixian in action.

 

 

 


Loading the Rear Leg - An Important Skill in Xingyiquan

An important concept in Xingyiquan is to take your opponent's ground.
 
Xingyi is not really a defensive art. The goal is not to take an opponent's energy and neutralize it. The purpose of Xingyi is to drive through your opponent like a bowling ball through bowling pins.
 
Loaded Stance 1Xingyi is aggressive. It takes no prisoners.
 
But to take ground, you need to build leg strength by practicing taking ground. Step one in that process is to "load" the rear leg.
 
Take a look at the three images in this post.
 
In the first image, I am standing tall. If I had to spring forward, it would be difficult.
 
In the second image, I am loaded into a Xingyi fighting stance. My energy is "sunk" and I am ready. Notice how I am compressed into the rear leg. It is like a spring, ready to release. And my energy is forward, not backward.
 
In the third image, I am springing forward to strike with Beng Chuan.
 
As soon as I land, I will load the rear leg again.
 
Loaded Stance 2Taking ground is not just for Xingyi. Lively footwork and taking ground is important in Taiji and, of course, in Bagua. There are always movements that take ground. When you are fighting multiple opponents, and you become the wire ball that they punch into, you must be close to them.
 
You can practice taking ground like this:
 
** Mark your distance. Start from the same spot.
 
** Load the leg and spring out as far as you can. Mark the spot.
 
** Maintain your balance. Do not land with your energy over-committed forward, or leaning forward or to the side. Keep working on it until you can spring out and finish in a solid, balanced San Ti stance.
 
** Go back to where you started and try again. Try to get a little farther this time. Keep repeating to build strength and to increase your distance. It will build your leg strength and your explosive ability to take ground.
 
Loaded Stance 3In the Xingyi section on the website, there is a video that shows this and another good exercise for building leg strength and "taking ground."
 
Psychologically, it is damaging to your attacker when you knock him off the spot where he is standing. That is one of the key goals of a Xingyi fighter.
 
And just as important -- if you are ever in a self-defense situation, you can really surprise someone if you can cover a lot of ground quickly.
 
One of my students was a police officer in Bettendorf, Iowa. He found himself in a living room, with a violent offender across the room threatening him. Before the offender knew it, my student lunged across the room with the "taking ground" principles we had practiced, and he put the criminal down with Pi Chuan (Splitting Palm).
 
When the criminal was cuffed, he looked at my student and said, "How did you get to me so FAST!"
 
My student the cop called to tell me how proud he was that he used Xingyi in a real situation. It would not be the last time.
 
These arts work. 
 
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