The hard work is worthy of the penance.

Fu Zhongwen

A Japanese martial artist who made a special trip to China to teach Yang Style Tai Chi, Master Zhong Wenxuequan, he said that he wanted to learn Tai Chi Chuan well in two or three months.
 

Fu Zhongwen listened and shook his head. He felt that this Japanese martial artist lacked a certain understanding of Tai Chi Chuan, and this kind of thinking is very representative among people who learn Tai Chi Chuan at home and abroad, and thinks that learning Tai Chi Chuan has a quick practice method.

Fu Zhongwen believes that it takes a long time to practice Tai Chi Chuan and there are certain procedures, which include many contents. Fu Zhongwen has been practicing Tai Chi and teaching for more than 70 years and has accumulated rich experience. He has his own unique insights on Tai Chi, especially Yang Style Tai Chi.   

Practicing Tai Chi must have the conditions.

Mr Fu Zhongwen said that learning Tai Chi Chuan is not an easy task, because Tai Chi Chuan is an advanced art. Based on his observations and his lifelong experience of practicing Tai Chi Chuan, he said that in general, the following conditions must be met to practice Tai Chi Chuan well:

  • First, it is my hobby, knowing the functions of Tai Chi;

  • Second, is to have a master, that is, a teacher who really understands Tai Chi;

  • Third, there are places to practice Tai Chi;

  • Fourth, there is time to practice Tai Chi;

  • Fifth, be able to practice hard work, willing to endure hardship;

  • Sixth, perseverance.

These conditions are for practitioners who aim to improve the skill level of Tai Chi Chuan. Generally, those who aim for fitness do not have to be so strict, but they will gain more if they try hard.

Mr Fu Zhongwen uses these conditions to observe the people who learn Tai Chi Chuan today, and thinks that not many people have these conditions.

This is mainly because the times are different, the social environment is different, and the main function of Tai Chi has weakened. Some people who practice Tai Chi Chuan lack this condition or that condition, so the talents in the Tai Chi Chuan world are not as good as their predecessors.

He said that after Yang Shaohou (3rd generation) and Yang Chengfu (3rd generation) in the Tai Chi world, there are very few people who really understand Tai Chi. If you have practiced the skills of Yang Shaohou (3rd generation) and Yang Chengfu (3rd generation), you don't have it today.  

Manage several major issues  

Mr Fu Zhongwen in the 20 century, 60 years of teaching based on past Yang Chengfu (3rd generation), the preparation of the "Yang style Tai Chi Chuan”, a book to explain the Yang style tai chi shelves and training method. In 1989, he edited the book "Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Teaching Methods and Practice", which described the teaching methods and practices of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan in detail. In addition to describing the physical use and practice process of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, it also put forward more than 240 key points for training, more than 230 requirements for training, pointed out more than 220 easy faults, causes and correction methods, proposed more than 240 teaching methods and more than 110 technical analysis . These two books are nearly 300,000 words and are a guide for practicing Yang style Tai Chi.

In general, Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that to practice Yang style Tai Chi Chuan well, there are several important points to be managed. If these points are well managed, it means that you have basically mastered the Yang style Tai Chi Chuan practice.

First of all, you must be conscious when practicing each movement, that is, consciousness must precede the movement. For example, "from the potential", overlooking the palm of his hands slowly put on when I must have put on the consciousness, usually referred to shoulder, must first have a sense of falling, then hands and then slowly press down. Consciousness and action must be coordinated, every move and every style are like this. After practicing this kind of consciousness guided action for a long time, the practitioner will enter a state: at night, you are quietly around, you are fully engaged in Tai Chi, your consciousness and movements are coordinated, and your whole body feels very comfortable. There is no sound, and the whole body is light and fluttering, as if you don't know for you and don't know you are tired, except for the idea of ​​Tai Chi Chuan, there are no other distracting thoughts.

He often sees some people who practice Tai Chi Chuan without consciousness leading, and the movement is separated from consciousness. He said that this will affect the quality of training.

Second, the belt has an arc movement.

Tai Chi Chuan should focus on the waist, which is often said by people who practice Tai Chi Chuan. Mr Fu Zhongwen said that not only the waist is the main focus in Tai Chi training, but also the waist is the main focus in other Chinese martial arts, Western martial arts and other sports. For example, lifting weights doesn't work just by relying on the strength of the two arms, but on the waist. However, the waist used in Tai Chi Chuan is different from the waist used in other martial arts and sports. In Tai Chi Chuan practice, the limbs and other parts of the body are slowly rotated along an arc by the waist. Instead of going straight back and forth, every movement is carried by the waist to make the waist. Linked with the movements of the feet and hands.

He took the "cloud hand" (wave hands like moving clouds) as an example to illustrate: the completion of the "cloud hand" movement is to move the arms and hands left and right, turning left and right in an arc, driving the legs to lift, retract, and extend. Under the control of the waist, the whole body, all parts are doing arc shaped exercises, and you can't just move your limbs, don't move your waist, or separate your waist and hands.

He took "moving, blocking and pounding" (step-up, parry and punch) as an example to illustrate: to move is to turn the belt with a right fist to the left, then the belt with a right hand to turn right, with the left hand to block, and then the belt with a right fist to strike forward. Move away from the rotation of the waist. In short, under the dominance of the waist, the upper and lower parts can run through.

When the waist is moving the limbs, Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that the requirement of "storing more energy with music" must be implemented. The movements of Tai Chi Chuan are not straight forward, and the tunes are more than enough to be flexible when used. Straight, the energy will be used up, it will be stiff and vulnerable to human control.

Therefore, when practicing Tai Chi Chuan, the legs, arms, and hands should not be straight. They must have a certain curvature, but they are not soft. They are not implicit, not perfect, and have no momentum. 

 

When practicing Tai Chi Chuan, the belt must rotate in an arc, and the speed must be uniform. A set of punches must be uniform from beginning to end, not just a certain movement or a group of movements. The movement is even, and there is no motion at all, and the up and down will follow.

Third, keep your eyes straight and see your hands, but you should not stare at your hands.

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that Tai Chi Chuan has the traditional requirements of hands, eyes, body skills, and steps, and eye skills are very important when practicing Tai Chi Chuan. Based on his teaching experience, he put forward requirements for students' problems: when practicing Tai Chi Chuan, the eyes must see the hands, but not stare at the hands. Turn your eyes at will. When you see the hand, look straight out from the direction of the main hand, and avoid sluggishness and wildness.

He took the "Tiger Fighting Pose" (retreat to ride the tiger) as an example. When someone practiced this pose, the direction they looked at was inconsistent with the direction of the hand hitting. He thinks this is wrong, his eyes must be seen from the direction of the upper punch, and there is no reason for seeing this and that.

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that when practicing Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, you generally have to look straight. In the past, Tai Chi Chuan was called the "four level frame", among which "one-level" means the eyes are level. Whether you turn left or right, or move forward or backward, your eyes must be level.

Fourth, distinguish between false and true (solid and empty).

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that when practicing Tai Chi Chuan, it is necessary to distinguish between the deficiency of Yin and Yang. In each style of Tai Chi Chuan, there are virtual and real, there is yin and yang, the real is yang, the deficiency is yin, and the yin and yang are alternately changed, which should run through the practice of Tai Chi Chuan.

 

Fifth, the actions should be infinite and moderate.

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that when Tai Chi is practiced, it is not right to pass or fail. He uses food as a metaphor: a person is hungry, and he should be full after eating 3 bowls of rice, but if he eats 5 bowls, he will be able to hold his stomach. Uncomfortable. If you only eat 1 bowl, it won't work, it's not enough. Practicing Tai Chi Chuan has to master the moderate degree in every move and style. How to master this degree depends on your own practice and guesswork.

Mr Fu Zhongwen often quoted a seven sentence on the Quan Jue: "Lightness and vigour, seeking understanding". He explained that lightness is not floatation, it requires composure, and the composure is not dull. If you pursue lightness, you don't need any energy at all, this is wrong; if you pursue calmness, you don't use dead energy, it's not enough.

He believes that to practice Tai Chi Chuan, one must grasp the two levels of infallibility and inefficiency. Once these two levels are well mastered, the basic requirements of Tai Chi Chuan practice will be mastered.

Mr Fu Zhongwen repeatedly explained that practicing Tai Chi Chuan is not a simple matter, and some requirements are not understood as soon as you listen, or you can practice as soon as you speak, but you must know how to do it. The wrong way to practice blindly will only make you get farther away from the realm of Tai Chi Chuan.   

Under hard work training

Regarding Tai Chi Chuan practice, Mr Fu Zhongwen repeatedly said: "The method is right, and you should work hard". He added, "The method is the right method. Once you practice it, it’s fine. It’s not the case".

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that in the past era, the hard work performed by the predecessors of Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan practice is not what contemporary people can imagine. In addition to practicing hard, Yang Luchan (1st generation), in order to allow his sons to pass on his own kung fu, when the Jianhou (2nd generation) brothers were young, they drove them to practice with a big stick every day. It's almost unbearable. Yang Banhou's (2nd generation) invincible Kung Fu was trained hard under such strict supervision.

When Yang Jianhou (2nd generation) was young, due to the daily supervision of Yang Luchan (1st generation), he practiced Tai Chi almost to the point where he could not bear his body and mind. Later he became one of the second-generation representatives of the Yang family. Yang Banhou (2nd generation) was born with a daughter and a son. His daughter couldn't meet the requirements when she practiced Tai Chi. He missed and beat her to death.

Mr Fu Zhongwen said that in the past, people who practiced martial arts relied on kung fu for food. Without good kung fu, fighting against others would be over as long as one loses for a lifetime, and even life is in danger, so they have to practice hard. Although the times are different now, to practice Tai Chi Kungfu, you have to work hard. There is no other way, and there is no shortcut.  

When you start learning Tai Chi Chuan, the teacher dictates it by body. The teacher says and does it. Scholars understand it, and when they learn it, they will work hard to practice. After practicing for a while, the teacher will check and correct the action. Although the teacher dictates the body transmission, there will be deviations in the movements during the practice. This is not because the scholars deliberately deviated, but involuntarily. The teacher will show you how to change it, and if it is done, you will work hard to practice.

Practicing Tai Chi, after a period of time, there will be progress. But when there is progress, it is not clear. For example, I have practiced writing according to the rules for several years. I see it for myself and others. It is indeed better than in the past, but I can’t tell which day and year I improved. Kung fu is gradually increasing bit by bit. It's the same with Tai Chi Chuan. It's hard to learn at the beginning, either with wrong legs or shoulders, wrong wrists, and wrong eyes. After studying hard and getting home, the movements are right. It's hard to tell which day is right.

Mr Fu Zhongwen believes that if you really want to practice Tai Chi Kung Fu, you must practice it while you are young, at least four or five consecutive years of Kung Fu, every day. Spend 2 to 3 hours a day, practice Tai Chi seven or eight times at a time, without interruption in the middle, and finish it in one go. If you practice Tai Chi three times a day for 30 years, you still can't improve your kung fu, you can't keep your kung fu, you can only maintain your original skill, or even regress. Middle-aged practice Tai Chi, long-term kung fu is slower, but as long as you have perseverance and are willing to work hard, you can achieve something.

He often warned his students that they should be willing to work hard when practicing Tai Chi. Don't be afraid of hard work. Don't choose to practice Tai Chi if you are afraid of hard work.

It is impossible to practice Tai Chi Chuan without spending ten or twenty years of work, and it is very difficult to keep practicing.

Mr Fu Zhongwen said that martial arts training is a chore. As for how hard it is, he said: “Practicing Tai Chi until you sit down and don’t want to get up, you don’t want to sit down when you get up. The whole body is as uncomfortable as torture. You must practice to this level”.

© 2018 proudly created by World Yong Nian Taichi Federation (Inc.) - Western Australia

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