Came across this excellent video depicting applications of movements similar (if not the same as) the style of taijiquan I study with Sifu David Wong. Interestingly the title refers to “northern school.” Sharing this here, as I plan to study it with greater attention when I get a chance at home.
Yesterday I purchased a copy of Chan Heart, Chan Mind by contemporary Chinese Buddhist monk Guo Jun. The book begins with Guo Jun’s account of his first teacher Songnian. As Guo Jun described the rough personality and teaching style of Songnian, it reminded me a great deal of my own kung fu teacher. More importantly, as Songnian taught the principles of grinding ink for use in calligraphy (shu fa), the essential principles reminded me of the important lessons my own teacher imparted to me especially with regard to the “pushing hands” exercises (tui shou) of taijiquan. Luckily, this chapter is also available online as a publication of Tricycle magazine, and I am able to share it here: http://www.tricycle.com/feature/calligrapher%E2%80%99s-apprentice.
There was a man who lived near the frontier who was well versed in the workings of fate. For no reason his horse ran away into the land of the nomads. Everyone else commiserated with him, but his father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be good luck?”
After several months his horse returned with fine nomad horses. Everyone else congratulated him, but his father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be bad luck?” The family was rich in fine horses, and the man’s son liked to ride. He fell and broke his hipbone; and everyone commiserated with him; but his father said, “How do you know this won’t unexpectedly turn out to be good luck?”
After a year, the nomads made a great raid into the border. The young men in their prime took their bows and went to do battle. Of those who lived near the frontier, nine out of ten died. But this father kept his only son because he was lame.
Thus good fortune turning into misfortune and misfortune turning into good fortune is a transformation without end, and the depths of it cannot be penetrated.
~ from the Huai Nan Zi (2nd century B.C.E.)
I came across this excellent video of a shufa (Chinese calligraphy) master creating a beautiful depiction and characters for the Year of the Ram. His skill and flow exemplify the broader meaning of gongfu. Celebrations of the new year are already underway in China, Viet Nam and other Asian nations and cultures. It is my understanding that the exact date of the lunar new year is this coming Thursday. My own Wing Chun and Taiji Quan school will be having its celebratory dinner this coming Saturday night. It should be a very good time! Wishing you all a very happy New Year!
~ Tom Delaney
“The first requirement for learning the Way is hard work; then you need to learn to be a member of society, which means doing good and refraining from evil, building up character. When you have developed virtue and built up character, eventually you enter naturally into the Way.”
~ Zhang Hodao in Opening the Dragon Gate by Chen Kaiguo and Zheng Shunchao (translated by Thomas Cleary, p.6)
At least once I have cited an excellent online resource for studying the Wudang styles of swordsmanship. The resource is Paul Brennan’s translation of Essentials of the Wudang Sword Art by Huang Yuanxiu, published in 1931 by Commercial Press.
Brennan’s online translation includes some excerpts of original calligraphy as well as the original illustrative photographs. The information is fairly technical, but if you have worked your way through an elementary course of study, possibly with Scott Rodell’s Chinese Swordsmanship or Zhang Yun’s Art of Chinese Swordsmanship, you can make the connections to the content of this text. The full text of Brennan’s translation of Essentials of Wudang Sword Art by Huang Yuanxiu can be accessed HERE.
Today’s traditional Chinese character is “loyal” or “faithful”. In the “Analects” of Confucius, there is the text:
“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”
Have a good day!
~ Tom Delaney, dao-chang.com