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?

Sun Style Mini System

DSCN0576After a long time researching and developing the Sun Style System, I have developed a mini system meant to introduce people to the Sun Style giving them a flavour of the arts involved but also keeping it simple and effective using the traditional methods and exercises.

Based on the 13 Step form developed by Sun Jian Yun, it introduces the practitioner to the basic movements of Sun Style Taiji with the emphasis on moving slowly with intent. The form can be performed multiple times or in multiple directions. Once mastery of the form is achieved the San Ti posture and Pi Quan are introduced along with the walking step of Bagua. After proficiency is attained then the single palm change is taught.

The last thing to be taught is a shortened version of the Taiji Sword. Obviously this method can be aimed at beginners, but also to improvers or for someone who just wants to experience all the elements involved in training the Sun Style. But without the time it takes in learning the 97 Step Form, all the Xing Yi and Bagua plus sword. This training is available still for those that want to follow that route and we will be offering certification, for those wanting to become instructors or affiliate groups.

This is not a detailed breakdown of what will be taught just a basic overview of what we will be offering, for further information please contact me.

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.

Unfinished Business

I am 52 years old and been doing Martial Arts, most of that time but I still feel like I have unfinished business another thing to learn a style to try, I watch boxing and think yeah I should go back to it get myself back into boxing shape, just to show that I can? My training with Chu Sifu was about getting rid of ego training in an art to keep that art alive and to be part of a culture and to learn skills that are no longer taught. When I went to Krishna it was like an epiphany in a lot of ways what he was doing and showing sort of made the jigsaw whole for me, it made my Kung Fu better by opening my mind to different concepts and ideas. After illness I started Taiji but not just a mainstream style I wanted to train in a little known and rarer style, so went to Sun Style Taiji and in Dave Martin found a great guy with no ego who just wanted to do the best he could in promoting his chosen style. I am not sure where this blog is going as I write it I just need to get some thoughts down as to why after all this years I still feel I have something to prove to myself? Is it ego? is it vanity to be known as one of the best? or is it just the way I am made? I lost my dad when I was 12 years old and maybe not being able to prove to anyone that I was good at anything, academic has driven me on as I really feel within Martial Arts I have found what I was born to do, I have trained with some of the best guys in the world within their chosen arts and continue to do so when opportunity arises, as I sit here typing I think well I could train the old stuff pick up the sticks again, push myself to new heights physically and mentally, but I don’t want my mind writing cheques my body cant cash, to me that would be detrimental to my development, I think where I am I am meant to be, training in what I should be for my health and well being, I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone who cares to read this but would appreciate any thoughts you have, I have stopped at many crossroads along my Martial path, stumbled and fell many times, been kicked and punched without a blow being thrown, I suppose I have answered my own question, do I have unfinished business?yes, with myself

Hunyuan 24 Step Taiji

Chen Laoshi, Me, Duan Laoshi

This is the foundation form of the Chen Shi Hunyuan Xin Yi System created by the late Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang.

It is designed for beginners and older people, with the emphasis on moving the energy round the body in circles.

Grandmaster Feng designed the system from his many years of research and he meant the system to be a straight line to gaining health using his methods.

The hands in Hunyuan taiji are the guide and whatever way they circle is mirrored in the Dantian this gives the practitioner a direct link with intent as he can feel which way the hands move and so transmit that to thinking about moving the energy in the Dantian.

I had previously practiced Sun Style Taiji for over 12 years but felt it needed the Xing Yi to gain the benefits. My short experience with Hunyuan has given me better results regarding health in a much shorter time. I have gone on to learn the 38 step cannon fist form as well, giving me a more rounded training as I have a form from Yi Lu and one from Er Lu.

When I am next in Beijing I am hoping to learn the 48 step Hunyuan Taiji and progress more in the system. My teacher Chen Hui Ying is a great teacher, patient and knowledgeable plus he can use the taiji if he needs to and I am lucky that he shows me the martial as well as the health.

Intent

It was always explained to me that in Sun Style the mind is the most important thing, 75% is intent in doing the movements and 25% physically performing them, I think this is a very difficult concept to understand unless you break it down in other ways for example, doing the Taiji with 25% effort but 75% concentration.

The most important movement according to teacher Lei Shi Tai is Pi Quan and this should be done slowly and softly but with 100% concentration on every movement. If you feel something different in the movement you should examine it with your mind, adjust it to what it should be and continue. Some days I just did Pi Quan for an hour nothing else! I maintained this routine, just teaching the form and other Xing Yi and so practicing it. The benefits from just doing Pi Quan on the rest of the Sun Style was amazing it improved everything.

This is really cutting down to a base movement no other movements needed just one fist to make all others.