While there are many Taijiquan Grand Masters who are well known in the West … there are also many of the greatest adepts of this internal martial art who are almost completely obscured. Even masters from more recent years, of whom there is plenty of video & photographic evidence demonstrating their skill, are often totally unknown to English speaking Western Taijiquan practitioners.
The departed Great Grandmaster Li Jingwu (1912-1997) is one such example. Master Li was an expert at both Wu style taijiquan as well as Chen style taijiquan … and studied with some of the most preeminent masters in these styles of his day.
Born in Shandong province, and raised in Harbin (of Heilongjiang province), it was not until he moved …
[continue reading The Taijiquan of Departed Master Li Jingwu …]
No matter what school, style, or lineage of taijiquan you may encounter, it is likely that over the course of studying this internal martial art … you will at some point be forced to totally reconsider the way you think your body works.
The above spinning image (left) is an example of a structure being held together by the force of tensegrity or tensional integrity. In other words, the rigid green “beams” are never touching, but are suspended in their shape by the interconnected flexible red “strings.” The structure in the black and white image (right) is a symbolically simplified model of our skeleton & muscles to display that the …
[continue reading Tensegrity and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch’uan) …]
The most popular topic of reading & discussion on this website is tai chi “fajing” (a technically incorrect spelling / concept). As such, I am going to build & refine this extensive online fajin study guide, for my fellow taijiquan enthusiasts to consider and comment.
Before I provide some of my own analysis on several fajin demos of accomplished taijiquan masters … we need to review the basics.
The Basics of Taiji Fajin
First of all, the “correct” translation would be taiji fajin (pinyin) … tai chi fa chin (Wade-Giles) … or 太極發勁 (Mandarin).
I get the impression — quite often — that many western taiji practitioners feel that “fa jin” is …
[continue reading Study Guide to Taijiquan Fajin (Fa Chin … or ‘Fa Jing’) – Part Two …]
This debate will probably never end … and the question will probably never be fully answered:
What exactly is the difference between the internal and external martial arts?
While I certainly can provide no definitive answer, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit of what I’ve learned in my experience with the Chinese internal martial arts, and particularly the distinction between jìn (勁) and lì (力).
First of all, an important linguistic note from native Chinese speaker & master taijiquan practitioner, Zhang Yun’s article on Li & Types of Jin in Taijiquan.
“In everyday usage, both of these words mean physical force, and can be used interchangeably. Very often, people use jin to denote a very large force.
In martial art, these are technical terms with more precise definitions. Li is simple muscular force, what we call “untrained force”, …
[continue reading “Internal” Power vs. “External” Power …]