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Chen Taiji and Hunyuan Qigong, the deep heritage of the past


Beijing Hunyuan association

Chen style Taijiquan is very famous right now around the world, with many followers, mainly for health or psychic purpose.
Most of the non-Chinese lovers of martial arts look normally for more heavy practices of fighting methods because of some understandable reasons.

  1. Results are very slow in Taijiquan for effective fighting
  2. Following softness and slow during practice is not to attract fighters
  3. Chinese Daoist principles are very far from modern occidental culture

The result is that now Taijiquan is put to many different sauces in the occident, tacked as a tool to make money, it is profitable to psychologists, physiotherapists, new age gurus or Chinese migrants without really good skills or knowledge.
All of thoses make the image of Taijiquan a bit different that how it was practiced in the past in China.
Even there, big expansion of Yang style Taijiquan as a physical exercise during the middle of the 20century contributed to confirm this image.
Taijiquan is originally a martial art as well as a way of understanding philosophy, and ancient followers of this art where fierce fighters.
It is why it was not so disseminate in the country on his real aspect, because his learning was a big sacrifice of time and self engagement.

To practice Taiji and to have real skills and knowledge, it needs many years of every day hard practices of the forms, practice of fighting, practice of Qigong and practice of immobile postures with breathing.
It also needs a good knowledge of Chinese Ying-Yang philosophy, if not transmission, to not fall in the modern 'western sauce'.
Practice of the internal principle of Daoism are also to be worked for a high understanding of the art as well as the physical forms.

The branch of Taijiquan that I study was brought to Beijing, the capital by Chen Fake (1887-1957) the 17th generation of the Chen style Taijiquan from the Chenjiagou village in Henan province. Chen Fake was a very famous follower as well as a fierce fighter.

Chen Fake Hu Yaozheng

He was teaching a Taiji in a little different way that in the Henan province, mixing the principles of opening ,closing and internal spiral flows of Qi, extended them in the physical forms as visible big moves.
The so later called Xinjiazi (new position) was then to be followed by Beijing students and some other Chenjiagou followers.
The main differences between the students of Chen Fake and the others of the Chen village are few but discernable.

  1. Most of the Chen Fake students do not make often explosions of power (fali), even in the second routine (erlu paoqui). Most of the practice has to be slow to built and feel internal power.
  2. Movements are more rolling and axed on the opening and closing effect.

We can also say that they are different way of practicing between the ones students of Chen Fake such as Tian Xiuchen, Xiao Qingling, Gu Liuxin, Lei Muni etc.

One of the students of Chen Fake, Feng Zhiqiang, was already practicing martial arts since his youth. Strong and fast, he was following the Tongbiquan fist school from Hebei province.
Then, when Feng arrived to Beijing, he started to study with two main masters.
One was Chen Fake, from whom he studied Chen routines, Chansigong (silk worm internal work) and immobile postures (zhanzhuan gong).
The second master was Hu Yaozheng, a Doctor from Shanxi that practiced Xingyi quan, Qigong, and who was a very good friend with the famous Guo Yunshen.
Hu Yaozheng had traveled around China to look for different Qigong Master, but it is in Shanxi that he learned the best of Qigong system according to him. This Qigong was the Hunyuan Qigong (Qigong of the original mixture).
Hunyuan Qigong was created in the five Dynasties, during the Jin period (936-947) from a Daoist monk.
Hopefully, this fantastic way of accomplishment was transmitted till before in China, and now in Europe. His all theory his based on the moving of flows in the Universe. The positive and negative flows are moving with expansion and refraction within space and time. There are not straight segments but more cyclic, spiraled moves of the material and immaterial world (Yin-yang shijie).
Like in the Greek Heraclitean philosophy, everything is alive and moving twisting between positive and negative aspects.
They are tree connected concepts, Yi (will), Qi (invisible flows of Ying and yang), Li material force.
Yi is directing the Qi and Qi is directing the Li (Yi dai qi, qi dai li).

Steps in the symmetry of Heaven

It is why practice of natural moves according to natural principles is so important in Chinese Qigong and Taijiquan, developing our body with the flows of Qi is the right way because it do not go against with nature of things.
Complex internal practices are also to be made in this school purchasing a high objective of conscience realizing and understanding Universal concepts.
As our earth is made under the dry thin skin of an ocean of burning metal moving all the time, our body is constructed on a similar way, with moving visible and invisible matters.
We are constructed from the Universe and our body and soul are a made with natural laws ordered by natural orders.
Symmetric human societies do not last if they are not respecting the harmony of Heaven.
Harmonious societies, begins with harmonious humans and high virtue level from the leaders.
Our body is not chaotic, just like the nature, and it is only by interfering with nature that we bring chaos and destruction.
It is because that we are high level creature that we can harmonize, create and developing nature.
It is only with Heavenly virtue (De) that we can realize the Dao of the ancients, of course mixing our attitude with internal arts practice.
In Taijiquan we follow complete relaxation of the external body, mixed with intention of full our body with strength and a little will.
We built with a little of will, that can attract the bigger power of the Dao, without trying to catch him, like a surfer in the wave, we give a little push before we let ourselves following the flow or like opening a place on the river, we let the water going.
Taijiquan and Hunyuan Qigong is a higher way to consider human and his connection with the world, and a very healthy way to practice.
It is not dogmatic or following strict laws, only natural laws that are changing in a selective order.
Taijiquan is at a high level of martial art, and his ultimate purpose is the research of a correct concept more than a dead reproduction of moves.
This concept is to be realized and it has to do one with the follower, in the right way, out of representation and ideas.
Naturally, with the time those practices are building a strength and increasing conscience and reflex.
Practice of qigong can realize the union of the inner energies. Inner Qi flows is like the outside ones, that means circular to a central point in a spiral design circle, like the Taiji drawing.
For example, before a big storm, many small winds are turning and connecting to each other till they met all together in a big like spiral destructive form. Or within the galaxies of the Universe, it is the same, a central point connected with matters that flows around. For the Qi that flows in our body, the center is the lower Dantian (Qihai) that connect all the Qi flows, and this is the real Heqi (Aiki in Japanese) if you know how to connect them (the flows) to become powerful.

Master Chen Xiang, my good teacher, the student of Feng Zhiqiang and a very high level fighter has tacked me as a disciple and
I work the principles of the school since that time.
The most important points for the development of the Hunyuan School of the art are:

  • Regular practice of Qigong
  • Regular practice of the forms (Quanlu)
  • Working virtue in his one life
  • Practice of fighting (Sanda and Tuishou)

Chen Xiang is the 19th generation of the Chenjiagou Taiji family fist, and as well an inheritor of the Bajiquan (Eight Extreme fist) of Ma Yintu from Cangzhou.
His skills is becoming worldly famous and he has give many seminars in Japan, Korea, United States and Europe.
More and more followers of the Hunyuan principles are to be find around the world, and it is a treasure of Chinese heritage that now is gift to outside countries.

Modern world should be now with the progress of communication, a place with great transmission from knowledge of different cultures around the world.
Modern international 'World markets' societies, and brain wash from the medias, occidental strict way of thinking and there cultural background are very self centralized. It is then very difficult for people to go away from there 'cliché' and to access to the deep old Chinese culture (practiced only by few, even in China today).
Practice of the Hunyuan Qigong and Taijiquan can be only benefic in the long-term development of human beings, where ever they are, because theses arts are only working with the power of the fantastic nature.

Lucas Christopoulos, Switzerland, March 2003

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le style du grand singe blanc
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le tongbiquan de la famille Qi
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le taiji de la famille Chen
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le style des jambes du moine Zhoutong
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