Chen Taijiquan Small Details Have Great Influence

July 30, 2012 in Articles, Taijiquan Musings, Uncategorized by Mo Ling

When we are talking about structure and Jibengong of Taijiquan, and specifically THIS Taijiquan (in the line of Chen FaKe through Chen Zhaokui, the smallest details, and changes in ‘philosophy’ of physical method have a major impact on the resulting gongfu produced.

At advanced levels of practice, rather than becoming simpler, possibly due to greater awareness and control of small functions, the options spread out before one.  Since different methods can be executed skillfully, the variety of options can become a changing palette of practice methods.  These methods may differ in small mechanics and resulting sensibility, but they all may be very functional.

There are many areas of the movement that can be changeable but above all in influence is of course the stance, or ‘horse’ method, which when changed even minutely, will then change everything else in major ways. This, like everything else in the practice is at the call of thought and ideology of the day.  A very simple way to examine how changes are made in the horse is to consider what the ideology of weight placement is in the legs.

Chen Zhaokui’s line of practice generally (often) emphasizes a 60/40% division of weight in stances, whereas some of the other lines have a great split in weight.  Our line also tends to have a moderate length of stance whereas some of the others are significantly longer.  Regardless of the differences in lines, or even the stated percentages of weight division in our line, even those stated divisions cannot finely express the feeling and minute differences an individual might experience during practice.

In our method, at an advanced level, great differences will be felt as well as producing tangible differences in resulting Jin with changes as small as 60/40% to 61/39% and of course up to 70/30% distribution.  The specific division of weight in combination with the specific timing and mechanics of the weight shift and execution of hand movements does illuminate the question of ‘how many legs, and how many feet is one thinking of’ at any one moment during movement?  One must be able to think of each one individually, then 2, in a leader-follower capacity, as well as 2 as 1 unified.

This is somewhat easy to write, much easier to mistakenly claim intentionally or accidentally that one understands, but formidably difficult to physically attain in practice and practical understanding.