Chen Taijiquan Naturally Arising Application Methods; Be an Explorer
It is the unfortunate state of affairs that modern Taijiquan culture and instruction worldwide is trending heavily towards performance, health, or sport competition. The true traditional (old) way is being lost. The vast majority of interested students and practitioners will not have access to the traditional sort of instruction that will build the ability to develop or find applications methods such as these.
I do not write or present this to gloat or compete, but simply to maintain a placemarker, or flag for the lonely frontier of traditional practical and martial function based Taijiquan practice. This is simply to repeatedly say that it DOES still exist and here are some examples of what it may look like. As a martial art, it follows no rule set suitable for the sport ring, and no limit set by a gentleman’s agreement.
What it does follow is the rule of ‘harmony’ which by this I mean “Taiji” or the harmonious flux between yin and yang and the “non-resistance” of action that follows the demands of physics and gravity without imposing more strength than needed to get and keep the circle moving properly. Beyond that, it follows the true rules of martial arts; survive, win, prepare; basic ideas.
The traditional way of practice and instruction that follows these rules and contains the unfettered (by sport) application and engagement methods combined with proper and dedicated practice will give rise to naturally manifesting application methods such as this. Being a 20 generation ‘inheritor’ of quan from my shifu, Chenyu, I asked many questions about this subject over the years. He is a vast source of functional application methods and knows well both the sport and combative areas of practice. Once regarding the subject of correct vs. incorrect application he said to me, “I don’t care about right or wrong (which was a gross oversimplification for a certain point) I care about what works”. Of course in his teaching ‘correctly’ practicing traditional methods results in methods that work better, but the point was important.
Correct traditional Taijiquan practice, over years, with patience and intelligent approach should and will lead to a state of naturally arising functional applications. If practice is correct and instruction in traditional strategic engagement and patterned usage is good, the state of ‘flow’ through unlimited application methods can be reached. With the huge caveat of first having authentic and proper instruction, the point is that once one is beyond simple and class applications if it follows the method and the proper energy and it is WORKS, then it IS CORRECT.
The methods shown above are particular to this style of gongfu in their combination of footwork, body method, neutral physical opportunism, joint lock or “qin na” and spiral. The raw shape of mechanic of a throw perhaps may be mirrored in other arts but the road through it is unique. This is an example of a throw method that as I have been describing over the years as ‘the Chen Taijiquan throws that one cannot roll or slap out of”. It would be very common to see some slightly related throwing methods in Aikido, Judo or Jujitsu with the partner helping out by jumping, flipping over their demonstrator and then rolling out or slapping to disperse the impact on the falling side. This is impossible in this type of throw, since the limbs are tied up, and the essential nature of the throw is to spiral through the opponents shoulder and spine in a way that removes their ability to move effectively at all.
This type of throw is fun to watch useful to learn, but really not practical to finish at all in practice due to its ending; on the opponents face with a likely injured shoulder or back. Please do not try this at home, as no one is responsible for your mistakes but you, and I am not instructing anyone over the internet. One needs proper instruction. This application is very likely to injure. It could only be demonstrated here because I know how to release all the way through.
Thanks for watching, please practice gongfu carefully and dilligently.