The importance of Chanfa in Taijiquan
This is a chapter of the rare writing by Hong Junsheng that just surfaced recently. Here it is for readers of our website.
The old Chen Style Taijiquan Treatise begins with “Taijiquan, the method of Chan.” This is the characteristic of taijiquan. It is this point that it conforms to physiology; it is also this point that it conforms to physical dynamics.
Chan is the rotation of a spiral. Every move is governed by Chan, from head to foot, from limb to finger. Suspended energy starts to Chan from Baihui on the head, reaches to the Dang area, then turns left with the suspended energy leading to the left, or turning right with the suspended energy leading to the right. When turning right, the right Dang is loose while the left Dang is tight; when turning left, the left Dang is loose while the right Dang is tight. The side of the Dang that is loose then the leg turns out chan, the tight side will turn in chan. Out chan is from the root joint to the tip joint (i.e. from Dang to toe). In chan is from tip to root.
Out chan, in chan is even more obvious on the hand. Out chan is from the root of the arm turn upward, it stops when the turning reaches the center of the palm, facing up. In chan is from the fingers downward to the root of the arm. It stops in the center of the palm facing down. Out chan produces opening energy; in chan produces joining energy. The coordination of the movement is such that it when the outer shape joints you use opening energy; when the outer shape opens you use joining energy. This is the wonder of yin and yang, or empty and solid. The finger usage is also such as every joint in the fingers has chan energy. Out chan starts with the small finger, in chan starts with the thumb. Both are centered on the middle finger.
From the point of view of physiology, every part of the body such as fingers and foot has meridians. Therefore this type of chan movement can give each meridian proportional exercise, effecting the inner organs, so much so that the cell could be exercised. This will enhance the function of metabolism. The treatise says “One moves all move”, and “Movements are like a string of nine pearls, it reaches every where”. When one knows how to move in chan fashion, he can then “move one and move all” and “reach every where.”
From the point of view of dynamics, chan energy uses the hand to neutralize oncoming power, the same hand retaliate the opponent. Only this way we can reach the level of “Looks loose but not loose; almost open but is not open yet”. This is the wonderful method of “soft overcoming the hard”. Power comes from spiral movements that can destroy all!”
May 1, 1962 in Jinan
May 1, 1962 in Jinan