Lineage, ego or link to the past?

To me as a lifelong martial artist to search for the purest and closest method to the source has been a goal, it is not always possible due to time and location but I have been very very lucky in that I have been able to travel and experience training with teachers who have been at the top of their chosen arts and who have deemed me a good enough person to impart their knowledge. I know some will think claiming lineage in this or that is about collecting something or ego, but I can assure you I have only ever tried to get to the source or close as I can in the arts I teach or am proficient in from a view that the closer I am to the source then the teaching and training experience will enable me to grasp the basics and train them as they were meant. I don’t want to come across as disrespectful to anyone and I certainly don’t claim to be the best at the things I do, but for me lineage is an important step in the learning and understanding ladder or maybe I am getting to be an old man, reminiscing about when I started out, anyway for anyone out there who is interested I will offer my lineage in the Chinese systems I train and teach.

Lineage2A friend told me an old African saying

A man with no past is a man with no future !

Something to think about?

History and Lineage of Taji Stick and Ruler

The Taiji Stick and Ruler were reputedly passed on by Chen Dao a Taoist from Huashan mountain, his given name was Chen Xiyi (871-989). The name of the stick and ruler techniques were originally called the Qian Kun needle or Qi guiding stick. He also imparted the 24 sitting Qi Gong techniques. These techniques were passed down as part of Taoist practices.

Huo Cheng Guang visited Shanxi and it is here that Master Peng Tingjun learned the techniques from him. He was taught in a broken fashion over many years, but through perseverance and hard work attained a very high level of practice.

Master Hu Yaozhen learned Chinese medicine and boxing since the age of sixteen he had taken a roundabout way of learning and did not have access to a high level teacher until he met master Peng Tingjun in Shanxi he followed his teacher and combined what he had learned with his skill in Chinese medicine to help many people.

Master Feng Zhiqiang learned the techniques from Master Hu Yaozhen and with the knowledge from his other teacher Master Chen Fake further developed the techniques of Stick and Ruler and also Qi Gong. He passed on these techniques to his disciples in China of which Master Chen Hui Ying is one.

Biography of Chen Hui Ying

Zhu and chenZhu 2 zhu 3 zhu chenMaster Chen Hui Ying was born in 1936 he trained in a form of Shaolin from aged 8 till 23 years of age. In 1966-1969 he studied Baji Quan then Wu and Li Style Taiji. From 1973 till 1985 he studied Hebei Xing Yi with Master Zhu Yunxing. In 1985 he studied Fu Family Dabei Boxing learning the 42 and 128 forms. Then from 1990 to present day he has practiced Chen Shi Hunyuan Xin Yi and followed the late GM Feng Zhiqiang and became one of the top three disciples in Beijing.

Master Chen teaches everyday and everyone can go to join his classes, in my opinion he is a great teacher with exceptional skills and he can also pass those skills on for health and also for Martial practicality.

I wish to thank him for his time and effort in teaching me correctly, explaining the visualisations and training methods and welcoming me as part of the group.

The images are some old pictures of him training with Master Zhu Yunxing

Taiji Stick and Ruler 2

stick and rulerI thought seeing as I have already mentioned the benefits of this exercise it might be good to give the dimensions and also the differences between the stick and ruler.

Taji Stick
This is measured from your closed fist to your elbow this will give you the correct size for you, the ends are rounded smoothly and the diameter is the circumference from your middle finger to your thumb, it looks like a large rolling pin.

Taiji Ruler
This is about 1/3 metre long and has a ball in the middle with the two arms tapering to the end where there is a circle, shaped into a dome that will cover the centre of the hand.

Within the theory of Taiji Stick and Ruler, the stick pertains to Yang and the ruler pertains to Yin. When practicing, both hands must stay in contact with the syick or ruler and the fact that you have something to touch helps with visualising in moving the energy. You can make a connection with the eyes and movements and the Dan Tian. For those of us that practice the Hunyuan Chen Shi Xin Yi Taiji this is normal as it is the way we practice the form also, guided externally connected internally. for image

Hunyuan Taiji Stick and Ruler

Though not unique to just Hunyuan Chen Shi Xin Yi Taiji, the stick and ruler techniques are rare and within the Hunyuan system GM Feng Zhiqiang refined what he had learned from Master Hu Yaozhen and Master Chen Fake to give us a unique blend of techniques, these techniques encompass spiral energy Qi Gong and also twisting strength for joint locks and immobilisations.

Use of the stick and ruler can improve your health quickly as it puts a different focus on your practice and can be of benefit to people of all ages and skill levels. In particular it can help greatly with the moving of energy along the Du Meridians of the back, these places are the most difficult to pass to complete the large heavenly circuit of energy.

What should I do?

Zhu and chenWhen you don’t have as much time as you would like what is the best exercise to do?
I am relating this to Martial arts and not specific to all but certainly to the arts I am proficient in.

Sun Style Martial Arts

The Taiji form takes between 7-12 minutes to perform it can take longer of course so this is a good thing to practise as it has everything inside, my teacher related to me though that when you only have time to do one thing it should be Pi Quan, as it is everywhere in the Sun Style.

Krabi Krabong

The mother skills are the most important things here and if not a lot of time the martial dances are essential to hone your technique.


familiarity with weapons is essential but that can be achieved by doing Ammara, with any weapon not just sticks.

Muay Boraan

The essential things are the basic footwork and doing combinations, making the transitions smoothly, making sure you have good co ordination between hands and feet, shadow boxing essential here.

Hunyuan Chen Shi Xin Yi Taiji

Without a doubt the 24 step form contains all you need to improve with daily practise, this can do done in anything from 7-20 minutes depending on your time available, also the 12 step qigong is another thing you could supplement or just do stand alone if time limited.

Obviously there are a lot of exercises that will give you reward for the effort to do them, Master Feng Zhiqiang advocated standing in Wuji for 45 minutes a day, as well as doing form and qigong but in this modern world we don’t always have the luxury of training 7-8 hrs a day, we can practise before work or after, get up early, practise during lunch there are so many ways to get your training but you must enjoy it, the daily grind is the most important thing.

Hunyuan Taiji

The Hunyuan Chen Shi Xin Yi Taiji derives from the Chen style Feng Ziqiang learned from Chen Fake and coupled with the Qigong and Xin Yi Liu He from Hu Yaozhen it makes a very interesting and complete system.

Training starts and for most people ends with learning the 24 step form which is beneficial for health but has martial applications contained within, this along with the 24 Qigong is enough for most people and certainly when I learned in Beijing the majority of people were happy just to practise these everyday and got tremendous health benefits from the practise.

Originally I came to Hunyuan to learn the Qigong for a herniated disc and when I started I was still taking medication for the pain and inflammation after 3 days of practise the pain went and I no longer needed to take the medication, mind over matter I hear you cry maybe, the postures certainly helped open up my back so there was not as much compression and it strengthened the area that needed it around the core of my waist, hips, legs and lower back. I then went on to study the 24 step form which again I have found to be beneficial in keeping the core muscles in good condition. It has taken a few years for me to emulate my teachers postures and get my stances low enough to feel more benefit from the style, but extreme stances are not stressed in Hunyuan and no stamping is done. The idea is to cultivate our inner strength by concentrating on the movements and how they correspond to the Dan Tian, in moving in circles. My teacher told me to keep the movements big and not be tempted to shorten them even when applying them as this would inhibit the flow of energy and slow development.

I have gone on to learn the 38 Pao Chui form and find this a great form to really relax and try to let the power flow. The Fa Jing aspect again is not stressed as the late GM said. If not done correctly you could injure yourself long term. Even if done after many years of training it should be done sparingly with more concentration on internal development than showing outward force.

I will be returning to the UK in 2014 and anyone wishing to learn the Hunyuan Taiji please get in touch.