Category Archives: taichi quan

Infinite Dao – 偶识太极 Taiji by Chance

Extracts from Patrick Kelly’s book ‘Infinite Dao’ Chapter 1. (Part 1)

偶识太极 Taiji by Chance

我按师傅的建议研读了中华武术类书籍后逐渐意识到,禅宗的基础是折合佛教与道教于一身的禅(中国佛教),而某些更深层次的东西更有可能在中华武术(日本武术的基础)中找到答案。那个年代并没什么教授中华武术的课,但碰巧当时有名中国学生要在校园开个小型武学班,我听说后就起来转学的念头。对此,我的空手道老师鲍勃·麦克鲁姆毫不反对,这为我的修行之路开了一个好头,对他的支持,我也毕生感激。就在那一年,没什么练习经验的我,带着从神学图书馆书本里领悟出来对内修的那点理解,坚定地踏上了灵修之路。With that information in mind and after investigating the martial arts of China as advised, it became apparent that some deeper inner content would more likely be found in these Chinese arts (which were of course the basis for the Japanese Arts). I understood also from my reading that Zen was based on Chan (Chinese Buddhism) which was itself an eclectic mix of Buddhism and Daoism. Though classes in the Chinese arts were rare, seemingly by chance I heard that a Chinese student was about to begin teaching a small class of some such art at the university. I informed my Karate teacher, Bob McCullum, of my decision to change. He was fully understanding about it and I was forever thankful for the start he had given me. That year, with its inefficient practices and minimal inner-understanding gleaned from the books in the Theosphical Library, had nevertheless set my feet firmly on the Way.

Beginning Taiji

1973年我开始学习太极。虽然我当时并不明白太极是什么,但我相信它能助我在灵修上取得进步。我的太极师傅姓周,他的父亲是马来西亚古晋人。我后来才知晓师傅的父亲曾是黄大师训下的一名资深弟子,其实黄大师当时就住在古晋。只上了一节太极课,我就知道这是门更有深度的学问。最初课堂上只有三名学员,上课以普通话进行,学习的内容包括:松身五法,短式太极和长式太极,以及基础对练(太极推手)。So in 1973 I began Taiji, not knowing what it was. I only trusted that through it I could travel a little further on the path of inner evolution. It transpired that the teacher, Mr Choo, was the son of one of Master Huang’s senior students from Kuching, Malaysia, where Master Huang, unknown to myself at the time, was then living. From the first class I sensed that this was a teaching with more depth than I had met up until that point. Initially there were just 3 students in the class. We were taught in Mandarin, learning the 5 Loosening Exercises, the Short Taiji-form and Long Taiji-form and the basic two person exercises (Taiji Pushing-hands).

Mr Choo

19731974年,我都在跟周先生学太极,1974年我也终于完成了数学学位的学习。只可惜周先生自己也不过是个只有六七年太极经验的年轻人,所以一段时间之后,他对我就已经教无可教。我急需一个有长时间深度修行经历、经验丰富之人,一个能为我答疑解惑的指路人。为了更高层次的学习,我开始做长期计划安排,准备拜访生活在马来西亚的黄性贤大师。I continued to learn from Mr Choo throughout 1973 and 1974, while finally completing my degree in pure mathematics. Although the art of Taiji gave me a beginning, still Mr Choo was only a young man with 6 or 7 years’ Taiji experience. It became apparent after a time that the art was not enough in itself. I needed someone with long and deep experience on the path of inner development whom I could trust to answer my questions and guide me on the path. I began to formulate some long range plans to visit Master Huang Xingxian in Malaysia in order to continue my training towards the deeper levels.

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught beween Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang untill his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

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Infinite Dao – 尝试空手道 Trying Karate

Extracts from Patrick Kelly’s book ‘Infinite Dao’ Chapter 1. (Part 1)

尝试空手道 Trying Karate

之后的一年,我大部分时间都呆在神学图书馆,翻阅着每本能找到的内修书籍,因为我甚至知识是实践的铺路石。只是,虽然那时的我对简明的禅宗佛理有着浓厚兴趣,但让我数年如一日地天天打坐冥想几个小时却很难。早年的我热衷于日本剑道、空手道、合气道、弓道(射箭术)等武术,也读过有关武术与禅宗关系的书籍。综合考虑后,我决定一边继续探索各类灵修,一边做其中一种武术的学习,同时从情感方面培养并平衡好日常生活中的人际互动。For the next year I spent most of my days in the Theosophical library, reading every interesting book on the subject of inner development that could be found. Simultaneously, I saw that knowledge was only a preparation for practise. I was attracted by the apparent simplicity of the Zen Buddhist philosophy but the thought of sitting with a blank mind for hours each day, for many years, did not exactly appeal at that time. Because of my previous interest in the martial arts and having read of their connection with Zen – eg Kendo, Karate, Aikido and Kyudo (Archery) – I decided to take up one of these martial arts while continuing my investigation of the different spiritual traditions. All this of course while not forgetting the emotionally nurturing and balancing interpersonal interactions of normal daily life.

University life

在大学的我并不重视专业的学习,但却会一周两三次跑去参加校园里一家极真会空手道的培训。大山倍达大师是这种空手道的创始人,他年轻时曾以赤手空拳对博并杀死了数只大公牛。但他的力量也是他的弱点。此外,个人认为,这项武术对精神层面的修炼并不够重视,虽然练习这一武术的人认为,大量体格训练的同时精神面也得到了训练。At the University – where I continued to neglect my academic studies – there was a Kyokushinkai Karate school and I began training 2 to 3 times per week. The creator of this style, Master Masutatsu Oyama, was known for his physical prowess having fought and killed large bulls with his bare hands in his younger days. But his strength was also his weakness and the spiritual side of the art, which they felt they trained due to the tremendous physical efforts made in their training, was for my own inclination, not emphasised sufficiently.

Growing regard for health

由于日本武术会刻意无视身体的健康,我和其他学员就不断遭受着各种外伤的困扰。学习日本武术,练习者必须压制肉体对舒适和健康的渴求以增强意志,并最终以某种神秘之法打开灵修通道。该理念虽有事实依据,但它施行起来技巧生硬。我为了进一步了解其训练方式,坚持了下来。Besides that, the intentionally careless disregard for the health of the body, typical of the Japanese Martial Arts, generated injuries in myself and all those others with whom I trained. The idea was that by deliberately pitting the will against the body’s desires for comfort and health, the will would grow in power, thereby, hopefully, in some unexplained manner giving access to the spiritual dimension. The idea had a basis in truth but the execution was not skilful. Still, I continued to practise, in the process understanding something of how to train and something of how not to train.

Sanchin

首年学习快结束时,空手道师傅让我去翻阅图书馆里的中国武术书籍,但并没告诉我缘由。空手道师傅曾向我提及一位非华人不教的中国师傅,说他亲眼见识过那位师傅的非凡能力并向他请教过内力(中文称为“气”,日文为“ki”)的练习法,得到的答复是:学习空手道最好重点练三战。三战的招式动作适用于绝大多数的空手道,它们缓慢但伸缩有力,要求有极大的意志力。Towards the end of my first year of training, for no apparent reason, my Karate teacher instructed me to go to the library and read about the Chinese Martial Arts. He also told me about a Chinese teacher he knew who had shown him some remarkable abilities but refused to teach non-Chinese students. My Karate teacher had asked this man how to train the internal force (Qi – Chinese, or Ki – Japanese). The Chinese teacher replied that, if utilising Karate, the best chance was to concentrate on practising the Sanchin Kata. This set sequence of movements is universal to most styles of Karate and is executed slowly with strong contraction together with an extreme, irresistible, effort of will.

Continued….

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught beween Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang untill his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

Infinite Dao – 灵修启蒙 Spiritual Initiation

Extracts from Patrick Kelly’s book ‘Infinite Dao’ Chapter 1. (Part 1)

灵修启蒙 Spiritual Initiation

大量的内心自我反省下,我虽未通过大部分的学科考试,但我找到了心理平衡发展之路,思维也转向了对生命终极意义的探索。我发现现代艺术圈的创作都很感性且以自我为中心,而我早年为探索灵修所读的道家和禅宗等传统类书籍所追求的,是更高深的东西。At the end of that period of intense self examination – which incidentally resulted in failures in most of my university
exams – having found a path forward in terms of psychological balance, my thoughts turned to the ultimate meaning of life. My spiritual enquiry had been activated in that previous year by the reading of books on artistic creativity within the Daoist and Zen traditions. There it was clear that they aspired to something more subtle than the highly emotional, self-obsessed creativity, obviously apparent in the modern artistic world.

Toward a spiritual dimension

就这样,年方21岁的我重新踏入了灵修的探索领域。虽然我并不确定以能量和神灵为载体的内在世界是否真实存在,但凭着当时有限的探索智慧,我就已经认识到:如果一切的一切仅仅是肉体(包括大脑),那我以怎样的方式修行都无所谓,因为死亡会带走一切;但假如肉体之外确有这么一个世界,那么漠视它的存在而虚度人世就是彻头彻尾的愚蠢。我坚信自己的灵魂终能听到内心所愿,至今我都还清楚记得自己从觉悟最深处发出有人能将自己带上灵修之路衷心祈求的那天。回顾过去,我的灵修之路其实正始于197112月的那个时刻。So at the age of 21 my efforts were re-directed towards the spiritual dimension. It was not certain to my superficially enquiring intellect that the inner-worlds of energies, spirits and gods really did exist, however it was bright enough to realise that if all there was, was the body (including the brain), then it didn’t matter much how I proceeded as all would be gone when I died, but if there was this world beyond the body then to spend a lifetime on the surface of existence, as if that inner world did not exist, was pure stupidity. Reasoning that my Spirit could hear my inner wishes, one day, still now fresh in my memory, from the deepest state of consciousness I could generate, I sent a heartfelt plea for help to be led on the inner path. Looking back now to that moment in December 1971, I realise it was the moment I began.

Continued…..

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught beween Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang untill his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

Infinite Dao – 前半生 Previous Life

Extracts from Patrick Kelly’s book ‘Infinite Dao’ Chapter 1. (Part 1)

前半生 Previous Life

时间回到距离此次初访四年前的1973年。当时的我在即将结束新西兰惠灵顿大学学业之前,就已经开始学习黄大师太极。我从小练习格斗术,而太极就是我的巅峰格斗术。随太极而来的,还有后来令我兴趣倍增的深奥灵修术。自十岁起,住在父母农场里的我便开始学习西方拳击和摔跤;12岁,全家搬到一个小镇,我还在学拳击和摔跤。到了16至18岁,面对高中期末考试以及大学入学准备的压力,我暂时将格斗学习放置。19岁时,我离开父母搬到了惠灵顿继续数学学位的学习。Exactly 4 years before this first meeting, while approaching the end of my university studies in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1973, I had begun training Master Huang’s system of Taiji. That in itself was the culmination of many childhood years training the fighting arts, together with a more recent interest in esoteric spiritual arts. From the age of 10, while still living on my parents’ farm, I trained in western boxing and wrestling. At the age of 12 we moved into a small town where I continued that training. From 16 to 18 my training lapsed as I completed my final exams at high school and began University. At the age of 19 I left home and moved to Wellington, where I continued with my mathematics degree.

Intrinsic motivation

打心眼里我就对个体的内修很感兴趣。生活中的人们往往会避开自身不足,偏重自身优势,这让个人的平衡承压。狭隘的大学环境令很多教授迷失自我,可我并不想成为其中的一份子。于是我去学心理学,却又发现那些肤浅的学术研究对我没有任何帮助。长时间以来,我一直苦苦思索着自己今后的人生道路。With an intrinsic interest in the inner-workings of the individual and having noticed how people oriented their lives towards their strengths while avoiding their deficiencies, thereby increasing their personal imbalance, I recognised a danger of losing myself in the narrow university atmosphere – as so many of the professors obviously had. In vain I included some courses in psychology, but the superficial academic approach negated any benefit. I thought deeply over that time on how to direct the rest of my life.

Developing emotions

很明显,我的情感部分在标准化教育体系下并没有得到良好发挥。为了解决这一困境,我阅读了大量创意类和艺术类书籍,思忖着它们能助我增强情绪状态。但坚持了近两年后,我发现它们的帮助并不大而且也过于以己为中心。再往下走的最好办法,就是要在日常生活中与周边人做更深入的情感互动。据此,我决定将方向重新确定。原来的我在大学环境下,走是纯学术化、知识型的方向;现在的我,要视一切以人类互动为前提的生活为目标,自觉激发平衡生活追寻之路上的不足。It was clear that the emotional part of myself, due to the standardised school system, had been under-exercised. As a possible remedy to this I read many books on creativity and the arts and seriously considered the potential of these fields to enhance my emotional state. But after pursuing the arts for almost 2 years, I decided that the emotional development resulting from the fine arts was in general too limited in scope and too egocentric. The best way forward, it appeared, was to involve myself more deeply in the daily emotional interactions with people about me in normal life. I decided from that point on to re-orient myself from the purely academic, intellectual direction, towards which my university experience had been pushing me, to a life where human interactions came first and all other things second, consciously invoking my weaknesses in pursuit of a balanced life.

Continued…….

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught beween Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang untill his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

Infinite Dao – The Way Opens

Extracts from Patrick Kelly’s book ‘Infinite Dao’ Chapter 1. (Part 1)

第一章启路1 The Way Opens

初遇大师Meeting the Master

30度的高温下,满怀期望的我在吉隆坡墓园见到了黄性贤大师。选择在这样的地方建立大型培训学校,着实令大师门下的诸多弟子哑然,虽然学校的楼下还开有一间传统的马来中式咖啡屋。黄大师年约67岁,有着普通亚洲人的身高。他胸膛宽阔,犀利的眼神似乎能洞穿一切。一个外国人的突然到访虽令其有些诧异,但他并不动声色。他若一直如此,我也许还有胜算的机会。但此前大师与外国人的接触仅限于几个上了他几堂课的旅行过客的经历,给我的机会蒙上了阴影。出于尊敬,大师还是将我这个访客请进了屋并询问了我的意图。得知我拜师的想法后,一直不动声色的大师这时说:“我不喜欢你的模样,我不会教你。”这一言就道出了大师对我的真实感受,也令在场惶恐的翻译煞是为难。I greeted Master Huang Xingxian with high expectations in the 30 degree heat of the Kuala Lumpur graveyard. That was where, to the consternation of many of his students, he had chosen to establish the large training studio above a typical Malaysian-Chinese coffee house. He was average height for an Asian, barrel chested, around 67 years old with his piercing look giving nothing away. The unexpected appearance of a Westerner on his doorstep almost certainly surprised him, but he did not show it. If he had remained impassive it would perhaps have been more fortunate, but the fact that his previous experience of Westerners was limited to a few transient travellers who had passed casually through his classes before me, precluded that. Ever polite to a guest he invited me inside and inquired what I wished of him, the first indication of his real feelings not appearing until he understood that I hoped to become his student. The nervous translator struggled with Master Huang’s response, “I don’t like the look of you. I don’t intend to teach you.”

The Journey

来此之前,我仔细考虑过此次拜师之行的各种不确定性,比如自己能否在吉隆坡找到住所,资金是否足够,自己是否能找到黄大师,即便找到了,凭那点基础的汉语,自己是否又能听懂并理解大师的所授等等,但我终究还是来了。可我偏偏就没想到,在我卖了房、安顿好生活然后千里迢迢跑到东南亚找到大师时,大师就这么一句话就将我拒于门外。There had been many uncertainties in the planning of this journey, such as whether I could find accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, whether my funds would be sufficient, whether I could even find Master Huang and whether I could understand and appreciate his teaching if I did find him – especially given my rather basic knowledge of the Chinese language. All these practical difficulties had been carefully considered before the journey and I had decided to take my chances with them. However, that he would simply refuse to teach me had not even been vaguely considered when I sold my house, put my outer life in order and set out to South-east Asia to find him.

Genuine Displays

此前我曾跟一位太极导师学了四年。期间,我常听他谈起他和他父亲的师傅黄性贤大师强大的力量及大师对力量的非凡运用。其中令我记忆犹新的,是几年前黄大师与国际著名摔跤手较量的事迹。那名摔跤手比黄大师年轻20岁,体重也重过大师15公斤,他曾多次公开指责太极和黄大师的能力。作为回应,黄大师接受了他的挑战。结果在公开赛上,黄大师将他连摔在地26次,而大师自己一直都站得稳稳当当。如此轻描淡写的胜利,既让人们亲眼目睹了大师的非凡能力,却也让一些后来目睹者心生疑窦,而这样两极分化式的影响在大师今后的生活中还在不断出现。对此,大师的看法是:“太极越是本真和玄妙,理解和相信它的人就会越少。光太极向外界展示出的速度及其戏剧化的动作,都会令人心动。”而我自己后来也有了类似的经历。凭着自身练习与教学的深入,我发现有些人一开始就会努力去了解并最终体验到了太极的价值所在,可也有些人从一开始就对太极抱有一定的抵触态度,之后却在自己的偏差练习和错误理解下,想当然地对太极进行指责。My previous Taiji instructor, in the four years I had known him, had often talked of the remarkable powers and exploits of his and his father’s teacher, Master Huang Xingxian. One memorable example was the story of the Master’s fight with an internationally famous wrestler a few years earlier. The wrestler was 20 years younger and 15 kg heavier. Master Huang – accepting the challenge in response to repeated public denunciations by the wrestler of both Taiji and Master Huang’s abilities – threw the wrestler 26 times over the course of the public bout, never once going down himself. The ease with which Master Huang won, both convinced everybody present of his remarkable abilities, and ironically, aroused doubt within those who only later saw the incredible result. This polarising effect on those around him was to be a recurring story in his life. As he explained later, “The more genuine and subtle the Taiji, the less people understand and believe, but on seeing external, fast, dramatic moves, they are naively impressed.” Later I was to experience this same effect for myself. As my practice and teaching became deeper, people either made an effort to understand, consequently experiencing its value, or from the earliest contact they set part of their mind against the system, then self-righteously criticised it on the basis of their own deviant practice and incorrect understanding.

The Initial Meeting

带着对大师名誉的笃定,面对跟前的大师,我努力“消化”着这突如其来的拒绝,也没想就自己的模样去辩驳。几年后我才明白到,所谓的首访闭门羹,其实是传统上对学员决心的一种测试。对那些还没有对‘铁杵磨成针’做好充分准备之人,导师就不必浪费时间和精力。或许我当时的茫然和长时间的沉默让黄大师认定了我不是那种轻言放弃之人,又或许当时他心底下认为应该再给我一次机会吧,总之好一阵后,大师说道:“先来一个星期吧,每晚5309点上课,观摩一下。” 他还说可以考虑拜师的事。看来这第一步还有收获!带着些许安慰,我谢过大师后离开。初访的经历夹杂有意外,但我与黄大师间的一生深厚关系却由此展开。199212月,大师仙逝于中国福州。 Now, standing before him at this initial meeting with his reputation firmly in mind, there was no thought of arguing over my appearance as I struggled to process his unexpected refusal. Years later I understood that this first refusal is a traditional test of the student’s determination to learn. It prevents the teacher wasting time and energy on those unprepared to make the substantial effort necessary to make a success of the training. Perhaps it was my blank stare and what seemed like ages of nothing said as he awaited my response, that convinced him it would not be so easy to send me away, or was it that he experienced some inner-prompting that convinced him to give me a second chance? Either way, after a time he spoke again, “Attend the classes every evening for a week. Watch the practice from 17:30 to 21:00.” Meanwhile, I was told, my request to be taught would be considered. With some relief I expressed my gratitude for the chance and satisfied with this first step, took my leave. That was the unexpected beginning of an intense and close relationship that lasted until Master Huang Xingxian’s death in Fuzhou, China, in December 1992.

Becoming a Disciple

两年后的1979年,在大师位于婆罗洲孤岛的古晋小镇家里,我与师傅的深厚关系经传统的敬茶仪式得到了正式确立。敬过茶,我即视师为父,师傅则视我为子,师傅的个人太极传承自此开启。被收为内校弟子看似荣耀,背后却是大量的勤学苦练。假如师傅在我初访时就告知这背后的艰辛和之后多年我可能会有的经历,我那时未必就能坚持下去。如今几十年过去,那最初的两年恍如一梦。那时的我懵懵懂懂,既没真正意识到自身内在的变化,也没留心那些复杂却又只可意会不可言传的中式礼仪,还有那些让我感觉那样陌生和遥远的中华文化,但我还是将自己的一生交付给了这位在中式文化教育下长大、谜一般却又充满魅力的人。That relationship was formally cemented two years later in 1979 at his home in Kuching, a small town on the isolated island of Borneo, when – after the traditional ceremony in which I presented him with a bowl of tea and accepted the obligation towards him of a son, while he took the responsibility of a father – his personal transmission of the art really began. But that acceptance into his Inner School was an honour which had to be earned. If it had been known at that first meeting, what it would be necessary to go through in those succeeding years, I would have been reluctant to proceed. Now, decades later, those two initial years seem like a dream and that is how I went through them, more or less unconscious of the internal processes being initiated within myself during this time and oblivious to the complicated unspoken Chinese etiquette, placing my life in the hands of this charismatic and enigmatic person, from, what was to me at that time, a strange and distant culture.

The Title Master

谈及各位导师时,本书均以“大师”称之。这些人都是我跟从过的老师,“大师”这一称呼无论从年龄还是传统而言,都是比较恰当的文化表述。此外,我也用它来称呼我的师公及任何极富经验的知名人士。大师这一称谓是弟子对导师的一种尊重,但它非导师所独有,真正的大师也不会这么做,而那些要求他人称己为大师者与真正的大师之间,必有相当大的差距。就个人而言,我不会尊重任何一个拿个称谓就指望他人用其称呼自己,或仅凭那一称谓就指望得到他人尊重的人,无论他是医生、教师、小贵族还是一国之王。称呼黄性贤为大师,还因为他是掌握太极精要之人。黄大师与学员间的关系并非英文词义中的主仆关系,我自己也从不称其为“主人”,而总是叫“老师”。在东方,人们尊称郑曼青为老师,但他为了避免可能的英文“主人”歧义,选择了英文的“教授”称谓。当然,世间确有有视己为主人的伪老师,还有很多学生容易上当受骗,会屈服于那些“主人”的淫威之下。The title “Master” is used quite lucidly in this book when speaking of various teachers. It is used for those teachers under whom I studied and who were at an age and in a tradition where that title was culturally appropriate. It is also used for my teachers’ teachers and any other well experienced and well recognised teachers. It is a term of respect from a student to a teacher. It is not a possession of the teacher. No real teacher can appropriate the title to themselves and any teacher who demands to be addressed as master has gone well off the Way. I personally have no respect for anybody in life – whether doctors, teachers, minor aristocrats or kings – who take on a title and expect or hope other people to address them with it or respect them because of it. When we called Huang Xingxian “Master”, the implication was also that he was someone who had mastered the art of Taiji as in the term “master-craftsman” – not of course the simplistic implication that he was our master and we his slaves. Never actually in my life did I address him as “Master” – it was always Laoshi (Old Teacher). Zheng Manqing, also known as Laoshi in the East, chose the English rendering “professor” thereby avoiding the possibility of the “master-slave” misunderstanding which many false teachers assume and to which many gullible students submit.

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught between Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang until his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

Infinite Dao

Earlier this week I contacted a friend of mine living in Shanghai. I connected with him with the intention of reconnecting and finding out if he had any marital arts articles to share. At present he’s training at 9 Clouds Taiji in Shanghai under Patrick Kelly. Immediately, he connected with Patrick Kelly who give me permission to publish the preface and first chapter of his book Infinite Dao. So here is your first instalment.

《无极·道》作者:INFINITE DAO

前言 PREFACE

虽然,人们对各种灵修的历史发掘的越远,对其发展的认知就愈发扑朔迷离,但这一研究却能让我们清楚地意识到以下两点:首先,经过德才兼备的师父对虔诚弟子的精心传授,这些灵修的思想精髓得以绵延不断地传承至今;其次, 要表述和传授这些精髓的玄妙所在,每位师父就必须创作出自身独特的教学方法。教学传授,要么向外蜕变,要么向内衰亡。The further back in time we look, the more obscure becomes the history of all spiritual traditions, yet from the study of this past, two things become clear – first, that the inner-essence of these traditions flows down through genuine teachers to sincere pupils in unbroken chains, and second, that each teacher must devise his or her own training system to express and pass on this impersonal inner-essence. The teaching is bound to evolve outwardly or die inwardly.

本书记录了19722006年的35年间,我与道家、苏菲派和瑜伽派等派内一系列“杰出人物”的会面与修学。写作伊始,我本想就自身所获进行细述。但随着落笔的深入,我意识到自己想要传达的信息与其所处各种诱因状况以及那些帮助过我的人们的生活之间,具备着不可分割的联系;再往下写,就需要将更多的学习经验纳入到写作中。如此,我愈发认识到,相较于通过学习获得的简单事实,现实生活中的交互影响以及自身对这些影响的感受其实更为重要。而那些影响和经历,锤炼并锻造了我的认知基础。This book records my meetings and studies with a series of “remarkable people” within the Daoist, Sufi and Yogic traditions, during the 35 years from 1972 to 2006. When beginning to write, my intention was to describe in detail just what I had learnt, but during the initial writing I realised that this information was neither independent from the situations that gave rise to it, nor from the lives of the people who had helped me. Continuing to write, while including more of those learning experiences, I gradually realised moreover that those real-life interactions and resulting experiences that formed the anvil on which was forged my understanding, were even more important than the plain facts of what had been learnt. 

在学习与传授中,对己对人我都一贯力求扶持个体的心灵进步,做到日积跬步的进步,并促进内心的升华。在形式上,我倾向于道家的开明哲学和细化的培训方法;但内心里,我知道正确的道路只有一条,而那是一条超越你的思维、引导你穿越层层自我带你回到内心最深处的道路。My direction in learning and teaching has always been to support the spiritual process in myself and in others, both in the sense of gradual evolution in daily life and accelerated inner refinement. Outwardly my inclination was towards the open philosophy and refined training methods of the Daoists, but inwardly I knew there has only ever been one true Way. That is the Path that leads back through the layers of yourself to the deepest regions within – beyond the mind.

太极可以说是道教原则中最玄妙的一项。意识到这点后,我便义无反顾地投身于其中,以期发掘出太极深处的奥妙所在。命运让我与本书提及的最重要杰出人物 — 我的导师黄性贤大师相遇,也正是黄大师的太极成就了我35年来的心灵之路。而期间出现的另一位重要人物,苏菲派的谢赫·阿普杜拉·杜根大师,也同样成就了我这一心灵之路的无相精要。 除了为我构建心灵根基的这两位大师,我还遇见了其他许多拓宽并深化了我的视野的卓越人物,这其中对我影响时间最长、最终对我影响同样巨大的,就是沙漠瑜伽大师摩尼·马哈拉吉。Recognising Taiji as potentially a most subtle practice of Daoist Principles, I jumped in with the intention of diving to its depths – fate placing me for guidance in the care of Master Huang Xingxian, the principal “remarkable person” of this account. While his Taiji methods gave form to my inner journey throughout those 35 years, the formless essence of the Way was equally influenced by another remarkable person, Sufi Shaikh Abdullah Dougan. With these two as the base, further remarkable people helped my own vision to broaden and deepen, the most enduring and finally equally strong and influential, being the Desert Raja Yogi, Mouni Maharaj.

上述三位大师及诸多杰出人物的理念形成并酿就了我35年来的心灵成长体系(见《道家原则之践行》),如今我将之浓缩于本书之中。在他们的指导下,我的实践与教学随着自身内在认知的发展而不断演进。引导他人从最初对导师的依赖走向最终对内心真实自我的依靠,这一心灵的演变进程,就是我的授业目标。My system of inner-development (Daoist Principles in Practice) that has emerged and matured over that 35 year period, within the vision of these 3 remarkable people and more, is condensed and contained within this book. Under the direction of these teachers my practice and teaching has evolved with the growth of my own inner understanding. Leading others through this same gradual process of inner evolution, from external dependence on a teacher to internal dependence on their Real Self, is the aim of my teaching.   

时至今日,我的太极拳教学都表现为以精神、情感和体质系统等为基础的教学,但它的精髓却是独立的,并远超太极拳道的表象之外。学习者会在适合自己所需级别的太极拳学习中获益,其学习的动机也因个体的不同而千差万别。太极拳在予人健康方面,具备很高的价值。通过不断的练习,太极拳践行者能拥有行云流水般的行动力,宁静致远的内在平和力,以及清晰镇静的思考力。太极拳对力道与能量的运用艺术不仅令人着迷,其实用性也非常之强。Externally, until now, I have based my teaching on the mental, emotional and physical system of Taijiquan – but the essence of my teaching is independent of and goes far beyond the obvious methods of Taijiquan. People benefit from it on the level that suits their needs. The motivations to practise are almost as many and as individual as there are Taiji practitioners. The health aspect of Taiji is of value. The increasing ability to move freely and naturally, feel calmly and deeply, and think clearly and quietly is appreciated by all. The art of dealing with forces and energies is profoundly interesting and practically useful.

对初学者而言,我的太极拳教学法能让他们免受各种生硬规则的束缚。其实,除了规则,世上还有各种经改良后会随着学习者的进步也不断演进的教授方法。太极典籍虽制定了各种原则, 但我们每名学习者还须亲身再次体验这些原则的真谛所在。对这些基本原则的领悟并不是一成不变的,因为随着太极的发展,那些领悟也会出现更加微妙的变化。而一旦寻得某种真谛,你就一定要将其融入到实践中。如此以往,你终将做到自我依靠下的独立学习。My presentation of Taiji has been designed to free people from the restrictions of the various rigid rules commonly taught to beginners. Rather than rules there exist various training methods that are programmed to evolve as people develop. The principles are laid out in the Taiji Classics but each person must re-experience their truth for themselves. The understanding of those principles is not static – it necessarily becomes more subtle as our Taiji progresses. However once you find something true for yourself then you must incorporate it into your practice. This way you gradually take responsibility for your own learning.

由于师从郑曼青大师,师公又是杨澄甫大师,黄师父门下弟子众多,但这并不是说,成为其弟子多年就一定能习得其太极艺术的精妙所在。“我没料到你会学到那么多”,这是师父给我的临终遗言,它一语道出了这一不确定性。As with his teacher Grandmaster Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-ching) and his teacher’s teacher The Great Yang Chengfu, Master Huang had many pupils, but just the fact of being his student for a long time did not ensure success in learning the subtlety of his art. There were no guarantees. Even the last significant words Master Huang spoke to me before his death, “I never expected that you would learn so much”, clearly expressed this uncertainty.

无论是在实践中还是在生活中,即便是在写作本书时,我都重视、牢记并尽可能地,在以自然规律为中心下,让自己对平衡、勇气、品德,以及外柔内刚等的运用,都达到最理想的境界,虽然这一切都还有待臻善。In writing this book, as in my own practice and in my own life, I valued, remembered and made my best, though imperfect, attempt to apply, the ideals of balance, courage, integrity, external gentleness and internal strength, all within the embracing principle of naturalness.

作为指南,在阅读本书时,请谨记道家这句名谚:忘心忘境,忘我忘人,不著一物;住于虚无,方可入道。As guidance to reading this book, remember the Daoist saying, ”Behind the words is a picture and behind the picture is the intention. When you get the picture forget the words and when you get the intention forget the picture – then you will be close to the reality.” 

Continued………

pk2web克利 Patrick A Kelly

began Taiji with an experienced student of Master Huang Xingxian in 1973. In 1977 he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he studied full time in Master Huang’s school. In 1979, following tradition, Master Huang accepted Patrick as his personal disciple – the only non-Chinese to ever enter Huang’s inner-school. From that time Patrick Kelly travelled and taught beween Asia, Australasia and Europe while continuing to learn personally with Master Huang untill his death late 1992. Simultaneously Patrick worked closely both with the Naqshibandi Gnostic Sage Abdullah Dougan for 14 years until Abdullah’s death in 1987 and for 30 years with the Raja Yogi Mounimaharaj of Rajasthan who died in 2007 at more than 105 years old.

1973年,派瑞克利开始向黄性贤大师的一位资深学生学习太极。1977年,他来到马来西亚吉隆坡,在黄性贤大师的学校全日制学习太极。1979年,遵循传统惯例,黄性贤大师收派瑞克利为徒,他成为了黄性贤大师唯一的非华人入室弟子。自那时起,派瑞克利往来于亚洲、澳洲及欧洲教拳,同时继续私下向黄性贤大师学习,直至大师于1992年末去世。同一时期,派瑞克利还跟随纳什般迪派和诺斯替派哲人阿卜杜拉多安学习十四年,直到1987年阿卜杜拉去世,跟随拉贾斯坦的胜王瑜伽大师穆尼玛哈拉吉学习三十余年,直至穆尼大师在2007年以105岁高龄去世。

Taichi and MMA

by Nick Osipczak

After my last fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) in 2010, I didn’t know whether I was going to fight again, so I was afforded the luxury of easing off the punishing training regimen that having an upcoming fight forces you to endure, and instead I could focus on training purely for the love of it once again. I found myself drawn to Tai Chi and immediately began noticing all the imbalances in my body, and it took about two years to undo most of the significant damage I had caused to myself from years of sparring and pushing myself to the limits in training.

The beauty and depth of the internal arts

Once I’d realized the efficiency, beauty and depth of the internal martial arts, I was 100% committed to its mastery. Having a somewhat obsessive-compulsive personality when it comes to doing what I love, I immediately devoured all the texts and videos on the subject matter and began my travels to learn from various masters around the world. I took three years off from sparring, and instead focused on moving as slowly and smoothly as possible. It was both a beautiful and humbling experience to feel like a complete beginner again, and this helped me realize that, more than anything, it is the learning that I enjoy. I love a challenge, and when I read claims that Tai Chi Ch’uan takes 10 to 20 years to master, my imagination was instantly captured and I knew what my future had in store for me. I had to completely “empty my cup”, detaching from my previous training methods, which is no easy task! As my brain was attempting to rewire itself to learn this new language, most of my old habits were actually in direct contrast to what I needed to be doing in order to evolve further in this new direction. The concept of doing less to achieve more is certainly a tricky one for Westerners to wrap their heads around!

taichi in Watlington

Changing beliefs

And now today, when I try to pass on what I have learned to my friends in the MMA community, I encounter two common scenarios. The first is the confused look as I try to explain a concept which is too alien to their current way of thinking, one that does not harmonize with – indeed, even threatens – their limiting beliefs, or the way they see the “sport” of martial arts. The other is simply an inability or unwillingness to “start over,” to throw away the old to make way for the new, even if they can see the value. People too often feel that they have invested so much energy for so many years that they would be doing themselves a disservice by starting anew. As I see it, our attachments can become our downfalls, and adaptation is the key to longevity and harmony.

After years of study on everything from nutrition to philosophy, anatomy to alternative health systems, as well as the classic texts on war and peace, every aspect of my training has shifted dramatically from what it once was. A significant moment came when I felt I was no longer just following what everyone else was doing, or what my coaches were telling me to do. I was coming from a place where I could draw on my own experience and research – and, more importantly, I was following my intuition.

Over the last three years, my main training partner has been my son Shen, who is now three. Becoming a father forces you to adapt in so many ways, and in order to fit the daily amount of training hours in, one is required to make changes both to lifestyle as well as the type of training. Motivations change too. Now I am inspired to lead by example and I have to be more consistent and thoughtful with my approach. Shen is of the age now where he can spot anomalies and he loves nothing more than to ask, “Why, Dad….?”

Four ounces to move a thousand

Tai Chi Ch’uan talks of using four ounces to move a thousand pounds, so when I wrestle my son, it’s not a case of the strong and experienced versus the weak and unaware. Instead, I make it so I literally use as little effort as I can, and would have to say that he becomes the stronger of the two of us. I constantly play around with his balance, trying to affect it so subtly that he is unable to grasp what is the cause of his instability.

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Taichi principles in training and life

From my many years studying ground fighting, I am well-versed in the best offensive and defensive techniques; but I have yet to teach any to Shen. Instead, I just put some weight on him, pinning him to the ground or against something upright, and ask him if he can get out. Then I let him try and wiggle and squirm his way free using movement and the principle of finding space. Sometimes he says he is stuck and I give him a pointer on which part of the body he should move to free himself up. He has become blocked, limiting his own movement through lack of awareness. We all do it, becoming attached to one way of thinking; and when that doesn’t serve us, if our vision has become too narrowed, then we are unable to come up with any new, creative ideas because we are drawing from memory instead of feeling in the present.

A Karate friend of mine recently asked Shen to punch his hand and was surprised that I hadn’t taught him “correct technique” yet. But that will come later, and it will come easily and quickly once he knows how to move correctly and has cultivated a mind which stays open to assimilating new information. Besides, I don’t really want my three year old knowing how to punch just yet!

Shen’s favorite film is The Jungle Book, and there’s nothing more he likes doing than climbing on me. Even my 10-month-old has started joining in, crawling as fast as he can across the room to get in on the action. We mimic animal movement, moving primally across the floor like gorillas, monkeys, snakes, bears…

Aside from our training together, just observing how a baby navigates this world is enlightening for those of us obsessed with movement. From the first few months when you can feel the strength of their grip and how all limb movements originate from the dantien, to when they begin to perform deep squats and exhibit perfect posture. Getting to feel true softness, noticing how their pliant muscles can move freely around the bone, and realizing what is actual full-joint mobility.

It can be an awakening experience knowing that we all once moved like that, and somewhere along the line we picked up some bad habits, and are continually paying the price for it as we age and strive to unlearn, simplify, return to our youthful ways.

When I was a boy, my friends and I would regularly dare each other on, challenging one another, pushing our boundaries in the quest for new experiences and overcoming fears. I find myself continuing that tradition with my son. When we come across some cold water and I ask Shen if he wants to go in, I’m really asking myself if I want to go in. Without him there, I may not always verbalize the idea, which brings it one step closer to reality. Like all good training partners, you find ways of fitting more training into the day and bond through the shared experiences.

I am a believer in the saying, “Do one thing a day that you are scared of.” It is an excellent way to prevent the mind from calcifying. When the mind begins to set, this is a sure way of letting fear creep in, and it only needs one foot in the door. The mind is like a parachute – only useful when open!

When carrying Shen on my shoulders, it forces me to adopt more and more efficient posture. With him constantly growing a little heavier, it reminds me of the old story of Qing-Gong training when one jumps out of a hole every day and each day the hole gets made 1cm deeper.

When he climbs on my arms as I am sitting, my structure is tested and I strive to apply all the principles that Zhan Zhuang practice cultivates – keeping the shoulders down, elbows heavy and spine tall.

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Practicing patience

But most of all my son helps me develop PATIENCE! An integral component to successfully training internal martial arts, it is something we could all have more of – the ability to not get frustrated and to continually adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. Having kids has forced me to reassess how I spend my time each day, and trim off the unnecessary. Time is more precious, and sleep, food and even breathing has to be respected even more due to their significant contributions to my energy levels. When you start your day with breathing exercises in the morning, it forces you to become more aware of your environment, more in the present, and has the ability to make you consider how you will spend the rest of the day a little more carefully. As the saying goes, “The yi leads the qi.”

The chances of the average MMA student today incorporating standing practice into their daily routine? Slim to none, and Slim just left town! The current MMA fighter wants quick results, and there is the prevailing dogma that if they haven’t finished the day exhausted and beat up, then they haven’t trained properly. There is also the irony of being partly motivated to rush through the stages of training in order to hit the “big time” in their twenties, believing that they will be “past it” by their mid-thirties, not realizing that it is this very mindset that will cause the damage to their bodies (and brains) that unfortunately force so many of them into early retirement. With often irreparable knee, spine, and shoulder injuries to name a few, it is a sad situation when professional athletes cannot even nurture their health into their forties.

Maintaining a neutral state

Nowadays, it is a rarity when I feel sore, and I enjoy the process of returning my body to a balanced, neutral state as soon as possible afterwards. This enjoyable process of putting a little wear and tear into the body before healing ourselves can be likened to the tempering of steel, where thousands of oscillations between hard and soft alchemically transcend us to a new way of being. There are no shortcuts for the sword that is destined to become great; it must be willing to endure and persist. It must also love its journey, and believe in its destiny.

Another lesson MMA fighters would do well to learn is to tone down their competitive natures for partner drills, and increase their sensitivity. They are like a fighter-plane locked onto a target with one objective: seek and destroy. This extremely yang approach doesn’t lend itself well to being aware of what the opponent is intending, limiting the amount of information one can garner through touch and even sight. A simple grounding drill where one applies pressure slowly and steadily to their partner becomes a great challenge for the MMA adept, as they are not used to toning down their force and learning to vary it in such small increments.

Future goals

One of my goals is to help spread the internal martial arts into MMA, not just because I believe the current standard of fighting on display is well below where it will be a few years down the line (the sport is still relatively young – the first UFC was in 1993), but I am also highly motivated to spread the health benefits to my fighting brothers and sisters. For this to be achieved, I am regularly reminded of just how much I will need to continue learning from Shifu Shen’s main lesson – the art of patience!

About Nick Osipczak:

Nick Osipczak began Hung Kuen at age 18 and six years later was competing for the world’s largest fighting organization – the UFC. No opponent could finish Nick in any of his 18 career fights. For 5 years he ran a martial arts club in London where at one stage his students amassed a 22–0 record in professional MMA bouts. Now specializing in Tai Chi Ch’uan, Nick passes on his knowledge and experience through seminars and intensive workshops.

Timing, Placement and Power

by Sifu Adam Mizner

When I am teaching classes or workshops on taijiquan I always emphasize the three principles of timingplacement and power.

These three skills are not only fundamental to acquiring real world taijiquan skills but are fundamental to the successful application of any martial arts technique.

TIMING

Timing Placement PowerBruce Lee and other famous martial artists often talk about speed as one of the most important attributes of a successful martial artist.  This is not untrue, though I would say that timing is more important than mere speed. It is certainly possible to miss the mark because one arrives too early or is too fast.

Understanding this we should strive to master timing rather than just speed. When we arrive “on time” in this way, our opponent is where we perceived him to be and our technique is neither early nor late.  In tai chi chuan this ‘correct time’ is when the opponent has “fallen to emptiness”, he is off balance and frozen or double heavy.  This is the right time to attack and finish the confrontation. Many attacks delivered with the wrong timing are not as effective as one that is delivered on time, whether it be delivered fast or slow.

PLACEMENT

The skill that is most often overlooked in modern martial arts training is the skill of being in the right place at the right time, not just applying the technique at the right time.  This is referring to the footwork, angle of attack, distance and also the impact area. The training to develop this skill of placement is honed and refined in tai chi chuan within the arena of push hands practice. It is here within pushing hands that we can investigate and ingrain all the different body positions and their advantages and disadvantages.

Push hands allows one to train this in a safe way and to get familiar with the up close and personal fighting range of tai chi chuan, a range that is shared by very few styles, somewhere between the clinch range and the striking range. This taiji range gives us the advantage of being able to strike or throw without changing range and keeps us in a range that most opponents simply are not familiar with.

When you placement is correct you naturally exploit the weakness in your opponent’s structure while capitalizing on the strength of your own.   The application of Da or Fa will leave you in a perfect structure, neither confined nor over extended and the placement and angle of the body and arms should make you as safe as possible, whilst still being able to apply your technique on the opponent.

POWER

It is said in Chinese martial arts that Gong Li or power is the most important skill a martial artist can possess.  I consider this to be absolutely true and in my teaching and training I place a great deal of effort into the development of power.

Just imagine fighting with a small child who has many techniques, has good timing and good placement but lacks power. The child would be unable to finish the fight and we, as grown adults could easily defeat the child simply with power, even with little technique.  This illustrates the importance of Gong Li or power in martial arts.

Waijia cultivates Gong Li with many methods, including various kinds of weight lighting and resistance training, striking bags to develop powerful full body coordination and conditioning of the body to make the body hard and resistant to impact.  Within the Neijia schools the development of Gong li is equally important, however the method to attaining it and the kind of force we generate is very different.  This is where the differentiation between Jin and Li becomes important.  While Li is generated by the contraction of muscle and the acceleration of mass, Jin is generated by the release of tension and the propagation of waves of force through the body.  This topic is beyond the scope of this short article, we can look at it in a future blog.

For practical purposes, in taiji quan the jin is cultivated through the practice of standing pole, form practice and sometimes heavy weapons.  Although the jin is cultivated in such solo trainings it is in the partner practice of pushing hands and fajin that we learn to refine this power and how to apply it with timing and placement. When these three skills of timing, placement and power come together, we have the almost magical looking effortless power that tai chi chuan is famous for.

In the below video you can see a demonstration of timing, placement and power.

Sifu Adam Mizner teaches Yang Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), in the tradition of Huang Sheng Shyan and Yang Shao HouWith his Discover Taiji online training programme you will find one of the most complete and powerful traditional Tai Chi Chuan systems available today.  The programme openly provides all of the tools, methods and training secrets his personal students at the Heaven Man Earth Taiji school have been enjoying.

An interview with Marc Meyer the writer of Taichi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America

Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Meyer a writer, martial artists and musician about his latest book Taichi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America.

Marc’s novel tells the story of a man who leaves China in the early 1960’s to open a T’ai Chi school and reconnect with his Asian American family in Chinatown, New York City. The main character in the story was once the bodyguard of Mme Chiang Kai Shek. It’s bright red cover below spells out the words T’ai Chi Chuan in Chinese pictograms. And the novel is a must read for lovers of tai chi  and Asian American fiction alike. It was inspired by the legendary T’ai Chi grandmaster Cheng Man-Ching and his American students during the period of the 1960’s in New York City. It tells of a time, years before the advent of Bruce Lee movies, when the Kung Fu art of T’ai Chi Chuan was first introduced into the United States and was secretly practiced only in small enclaves of America’s Chinatowns.

Marc can you tell me little about your book? And some of the Characters in it?

Allow me to reiterate my book is a work of fiction.  As you are possibly aware, authenticity when it comes to T’ai Chi Chuan in and of itself is a murky business, due mainly to the fact that much of the teaching we have was passed down to us orally by it’s forebears. Very little about it was actually written down. Many of the forebears of T’ai Chi chuan were illiterate and its origins go back several thousand years. This makes the art form somewhat mysterious which is actually what I like about it. I’ve found Douglas Wyle’s books to be one of the more reliable sources of reference when it comes to the origins and practice of T’ai Chi Chuan, specifically Yang style which I practice and one that I draw upon recurrently in my book. Specifically on the subject of Yang style T’ai Chi which I’ve been practing and studying for the past 18 yrs. Let me stress that study and practice of T’ai Chi should occur simultaneously and continuously for the dedicated teacher.

In the book, a T’ai Chi master named Kuo Yun San leaves mainland China in the 1960’s for what he thinks is the last time. His goals are simple, he envisions opening a successful T’ai Chi school and strengthening the bonds between himself and his Asian American family in Chinatown with whom he has had little to no communication in years.  The results are surprising as Master Kuo finds himself trading one Cultural Revolution for another and his newfound friends and family members, thinking they were going to educate him into adopting an American lifestyle, find he has more to teach them.

From some of the details in your book its obvious you have a solid martial arts background. Can you tell me about your own martial arts experience? 

I came to T’ai Chi Chuan through the back door in a sense. A dining club my girlfriend and I belonged to offered lessons in T’ai Chi on the beach where I live in Naples Florida as one of the perks of its membership. Fortunately for me, though I didn’t know it then, both instructors who taught this class had been students of Bob Amaker, a resident of Florida who co-authored books with Cheng Man-Ching. Cheng Man-Ching was one of the main proponents of Yang style T’ai Chi Chuan in this country. I subsequently went on to receive what’s known as form correction from Lawrence Galante, a student himself of four T’ai Chi Chuan grandmasters, Paul Guo, Yu Chen Hsiang, TsunTsai Liang and Chen Man-Ching. I received final instruction from a first generation student of Professor Cheng as he was called, from Maggie Newman, one of his last living pupils in 2006, then in her mid eighties.

In your book you discuss the student teacher relationship. Can you tell us a bit more about where that inspiration came from?

It’s my firm belief that every teacher involved with T’ai Chi has something to contribute to the student’s education, although many times the approaches can be radically different and often make a student doubtful about the quality of instruction that he or she is receiving. If you are getting instruction from someone in Taichi you’re unsure about, my advice is to be patient and hang in there. Looking back you may find what they had to teach gave you useful insight even if you didn’t think so at the time. For example one of my teachers had a very holistic and somewhat esoteric approach but I learned much from him about some of the more mystical aspects of T’ai Chi I might not otherwise have been privvy to. Another was very “nuts and bolts” about his approach but taught me the kind of accuracy that is absolutely essential for the study and practice of the art. I actually recommend that if you intend to take up T’ai Chi as a practice, that you go out of your way to learn from different teachers because you can often come away with a rounder and more beneficial education from doing so. Remember if you take up the practice of T’ai Chi you’re in it for the long haul. It can take up to a year to learn just one single form properly and up to ten years to learn it as an applicable martial art. “It’s all about the journey” sounds cliched but in the case of T’ai Chi it’s absolutely true and ongoing. You’re constantly perfecting and polishing that stone every day week, month and year of your life, which for me has turned out to be a blessing and one of it’s most cherished aspects.

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The book mentions a number of important martial arts milestones. Can you share a few of the most important ones?

Another one of the more interesting perspectives of this fascinating, mystical and multi-faceted art is its tendency to tailor itself individually to the practitioner. For me it has offered something of use from a health standpoint at almost every age related juncture of my life since i began practicing it in my early forties. In my forties I struggled with the onset of tinnitus, a horrible and constant high pitched ringing in the ears. T’ai Chi helped to calm me down, calm my anxious feelings about it and sleep better. After I found I could sleep more easily, the problem didn’t seem to bother me so much during the day and has finally faded into the background to the point where I don’t even notice it anymore. Another more serious problem developed when I turned sixty called Neuropathy. Another constant painful nerve related chronic disease which had equilibrium problems as one of it’s symptoms. It has taken a full year but thanks in part to Taichi I have been able to manage my symptoms and get them under control. When the doctor later asked me if if I wanted to take a class in learning how to keep my balance to prevent myself from falling I was happy to tell her “I TEACH balance!”.T’ai Chi Chuan is literally the gift that keeps on giving.

Finally, what’s next for Marc Meyer?  Do you have other books in the pipeline?

I have at least three more novels in me that I have begun working on simultaneously. One is a memoir, one is about an elderly batchelor who finds his way toward the end of his life and one is a young adult novel about five very unusual preteens in the possesion of individual healing powers. Of course getting ideas is easy, setting them down in a readable form that will capture an audience’s interest is very hard.

You can find Marc’s book here by clicking the amazon link  to the left. Any purchase you make via the affiliate link we will put back into www.StudyMartialArts.Org in order to help more students connect with genuine Master of Martial Arts.

 

Yang Family Fajin

by Sifu Adam Mizner

The idea of fajin is highly debated in Taijiquan circles, where some consider it the be all and end all of taiji quan skill, while others who have never experienced it, consider it a fallacy. In truth, fajin is a fundamental method of taijiquan.

No matter what one might think or argue, the fact remains that fajin is a standard part of the tai chi chuan skill set and has been practiced and developed by tai chi masters since the founding of the art until present day.

Below are excerpts from an article by Li Ya Xuan, one of the top students of Yang Jien Hou and Yang Chen Fu, on Yang family fajin.

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1. “Yang Lu Chan’s fajin was empty, leaving the opponent not knowing what happened or how the jin was released. His jin was so perfected as to be called mysterious.”

2. “Yang Ban Hou’s fajin was SUDDEN, like lightning without rain, emerging from nowhere with the sounds of «Pa!». One fajin would send the opponent out many zhang ( 1 zhang = 3.3 meters). His jin would leave people in pain and injured.”1. Yang Luchan 2. Yang Ban Hou 3. Yang Jian Hou 4. Yang Shou Hou 5. Yang Cheng Fu

3. “Yang Jien Hou would use the lightest of touch, his sticking energy was so high that people could not disconnect, then they would be suddenly released like an arrow from a bow.”

4. “Yang Shao Hou’s jin was ever spontaneous and song to the extreme, fast beyond compare. His body skills were mysterious and treacherous like a ghost appearing and reappearing, fooling his opponents so they would have no idea what was happening or how to defend themselves until they had fallen to his jin before even knowing it.”

5. “Yang Chen Fu’s fajin was powerful with great sudden dantien force. Before he would fa there was a deep intention; when he would fa it was like Guang Gong taking off a head with a single stroke…”

6. “Wu Hui Chuan used song elastic energy preferring to use just a little jin to send his opponents out, he did not lose face as a student of the Yang family. His students could produce long jin, both song and sunk, not bad.”

7. “Cui Yi Shi was skilled in fajin both song and sunk. Before he would fa he would inhale one time and use the elastic jin. His jin was song and springy, propelling his opponent away. On release the jin would cause the opponent to release a sound from the mouth as the wind was knocked from them. This is the kung fu of the qi striking the qi.”6. Wu Hui Chuan 7. Cui Yi Shi 8. Li Xiang Yan 9. Dong Ying Jie 10. Zheng Man Qing 11. Tian Zhao Lin 12. Li Ya Xuan

8. “Li Xiang Yan in his youth studied and trained deeply in long fist, after which he followed Yang Feng Hou taijiquan and achieved great gong li. He was dedicated to study and practice and achieved jin that was full and hard, penetrating deep inside the opponent. Later he bowed to Yang Chen Fu as his teacher.”

9. “Dong Ying Jie liked to use Rou Cou Jin, pressuring his opponent from side to side, forward and back until they fell defeated.”

10. “Zheng Man Qing would use light touch and clean sticking energy, entering close with his body before firing the opponent out with jin. He was small but had kung fu and courage and was skilled at penetrating the defense of his opponents.”

11. “Tian Zhao Lin’s kung fu was soft and penetrating, breaking his opponents as they were knocked down, amongst other skills.”

12. “I myself Li Ya Xuan use many strange changes, making it difficult to follow. The jin is fast like lighting. I don’t like to just play sticking and circling.”

As a picture is worth a thousand words and a video worth a thousand pictures, here are some videos of past taiji masters demonstrating fajin,

Wang Yong Quan – student of Yang Jien Hou, Yang Shao Hou and Yang Chen Fu:

Dong Hu Ling – son of Dong Ying Jie:


Ma Yue Liang
 – Student and step son of Wu Jian Quan:


Fang Ning
 – student of Cui Yi Shi:


Yang Jien Hou
 said:

When you hit people with Fa Jin it must cause both your opponents feet to leave the ground and jump back. They should feel pain on both feet (because of jumping) but not on the contact point, they just feel it as soft and fast. This is correct!! “

We can see examples of this correct fajin in the videos above as well as demonstrated by some present day teachers. Real taijiquan fajin is not lost.

Translation: Adam Mizner, from Thai, with assistance from 梁德华, the original translator from Chinese original article from 杨氏太极拳诠真 by 陈龙骧

Works cited: Chen, Long Xian. Yang Family Tai Ji True Transmission. Beijing: Beijing Physical Education University, 2008. Print. 陈, 龙骧. 杨氏太极拳诠真. 北京: 北京体育大学, 2008. 打印

This article was written by Sifu Adam Mizner. 

Sifu Adam Mizner teaches Yang Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), in the tradition of Huang Sheng Shyan and Yang Shao HouWith his Discover Taiji online training programme you will find one of the most complete and powerful traditional Tai Chi Chuan systems available today.  The programme openly provides all of the tools, methods and training secrets his personal students at the Heaven Man Earth Taiji school have been enjoying.