Morality of Deed: Loyalty (Zhong Cheng)

Loyalty is the root of trust. You should be loyal to your teacher and to your friends, and they should also be loyal to you. Loyalty lets mutual trust grow. In the Chinese martial arts, it is especially crucial that there be loyalty between you and your master. This loyalty is build upon a foundation of obedience to your master. Obedience is the prerequisite for learning. If you sincerely desire to learn, you should rid yourself of false dignity. You must bow to your teacher both mentally and spiritually. Only this will open the gates of trust. A teacher will not teach someone who is always concerned about his own dignity. Continue reading

Springy Jin (彈勁)

The attacking movements of the Fen Jiao and Deng Jiao kicks in Yang Style Taijiquan without exception require standing straight on one leg, with a stable lower frame. To achieve a stable lower frame you must pay attention to the following: the straight standing leg must not be stiff, the torso must not draw up, and the qi should not float up; the lower form should possess a downward-sinking strength (下沉的力量). The classical taijiquan requirements, “an intangible and lively energy lifts the crown of the head,” “loosen the waist and qua,” “contain the chest and pull up the back,” “sink the qi to the dantian,” and “sink the shoulders and drop the elbows,” should all be implemented in these movements.

The movement of the foot in both Fen Jiao and Deng Jiao is to lift the knee and employ the springy jin (彈勁) to kick out in an instant. It is not a use of the waist/kua jin (腰跨的勁), nor a use of strength from the thigh (大腿根也不用力). If you were to employ strength (用力) from the waist/kua, then it would change into a thrusting kick (chuai 踹 ), which is the foot method of other boxing styles. In contrast, according to the kicking method of Yang Style taijiquan, the use of strength from the waist/kua will cause your body to be uncentered, and the strength to dissipate and disintegrate. The characteristics of Yang Style taijiquan’s kicking method is completely in harmony with the idea expressed in the classics: “it is rooted in the feet, issued by the legs, governed by the waist, and expressed in the fingers. From the feet, to the legs, then to the waist, always there must be complete integration into one qi.” The foot that is kicking out is rooted in the other [standing] foot. The foot, waist, and kua link together to create a stable base. This is foundation for the other, kicking foot. Carefully ponder this method of using jin, and you will come to intuitively understand it in your mind.

—Yang Zhenji, 杨澄甫式太极拳 Yang Chengfu Shi Taijiquan, page 88.

(2)杨式太极拳的分脚、蹬脚等用脚攻击的动作均要单腿直立,下盘稳固。做到下盘稳固要注意:单腿直立不挺,身不上拔,气不上浮,下盘有下沉的力量。太极拳的要点虚灵顶劲、松腰胯、含胸拔背、气觉丹田、沉肩垂肘等要贯彻到动作中去。

(3)分、蹬脚等脚的动作是提膝用脚的弹劲一瞬间踢出,不是用腰胯的劲,大腿也不用力。如果腰胯用力,就会变成踹,是其他拳派的的脚法。按杨式太极拳的 踢法用腰胯的力量反而使身不中正,力量分散不整。杨式太极拳踢法的特点与古典“其根在脚、发于腿、主宰于腰,形于手指,由腿而腿而腰,总须完整一气”的说 法是相融的。踢出的脚的根在另一脚,脚、腰、胯相连坐稳,是踢出的另一脚的基础。细心揣摩这种用劲的方法,自然能体会于心。

Translation: Louis Swaim

Morality of Deed: Trust (Xin Yong

Trust includes being trustworthy, and also trusting yourself. You must develop a personality which other people can trust. For example, you should not make promises lightly, but if you have made a promise, you should fulfill it. Trust is the key to friendship, and the best way of earning respect. The trust of a friend is hard to gain, but easy to lose. Self-trust is the root of confidence. You must learn to build up your confidence and demonstrate it externally. Only then can you earn the trust and respect of others. Continue reading

Tradition and Etiquette in Martial Arts

Etiquette:

Tradition and etiquette in martial arts is a sometimes vague and complicated area, perhaps especially in Chinese martial arts and to a cultural outsider it may be more so. Modern relationships between teachers and students on China have most likely changed with normal modernization of culture, yet still retain strong links to the past. Continue reading

Morality of Deed: Righteousness (Zheng Yi)

Righteousness is a way of life. Righteousness means that if there is something you should do, you don’t hesitateto take care of it, and if there is something that you should not do, you don’t get involved with it. Your wisdom mind should be the leader, not your emotional mind. If you can do this, then you will feel clear spiritually, and avoid being plagued by feelings of guilt. If you can demonstrate this kind of personality, you will be able to avoid evil influences, and you will earn the trust of others. Continue reading

Zhan, Nian, Lian, Sui: Four Key Skills for Pushing Hands and Fighting

By Zhang Yun

PART I of II

There are four basic Taiji Quan push hands and fighting skills – Zhan, Nian, Lian, and Sui. They are also called four basic Nei Jin – internal trained force. Without use these skills, one is not doing Taiji Quan. So that people usually say that these four skills are the foundation of all Taiji Quan techniques. They should be included in everywhere. They are the most important characteristics of Taiji Quan. They show the biggest difference between Taiji Quan and other martial arts style. It is why people always use them to express Taiji Quan. They are used as the brief definition of Taiji Quan. Continue reading