Occasionally, I receive a call or an e mail from someone interested in studying Qi Gong with me. I always ask if they have done any Qi Gong before and what was their experience of it. Often I am told that they learned some movements or perhaps even one of the Traditional methods/forms and most likely add that they like the experience of Qi Gong but do not practice much anymore. If we meet and I see their practice, I will look carefully for the subtle yet distinctive signs of Qi Gong achievement and more often than not I will be disappointed, not for me, but for them. Often what they are doing is only the outward expression of a Qi Gong practice.
Over the years I have come to see that the problem for many learning Qi Gong, certainly in … Read More »
One of the most important achievements in the study of Taiji quan is ‘use mind not force’. This is such an important ingredient that it could be said that if you do not achieve this you are not doing Taiji quan at all. Outwardly this achievement shows itself in the calm demeanour and ease with which the highest level practitioners can divert, move or throw an opponent and exhibit extraordinary levels of control and hence a ‘martial understatement’ that seems as if Taiji quan is a martial art that is not a martial art!
This of course sounds ridiculous but most people who train to a high level, in the ‘Internal Arts” under high level teachers will have seen extraordinary (not mysterious) skills exercised against opponents with no apparent effort but with remarkable effects. Indeed the level of mastery can seem … Read More »
The popular understanding of Taiji quan is mostly based upon film footage of old people in China doing early morning practice in the parks. It is generally referred to as a health practice.
To the uneducated western eye it looks both inscrutable, whimsically mysterious, quite easy and undemanding. It therefore seems hard to understand how it could be considered as either a health exercise or, which was its original purpose, a martial art. In the West and even to some extent in China now, Taiji suffers from this dual personality.
Up until the 1920’s in China, it was a highly regarded martial art that had been taught to the imperial bodyguards of the Ching dynasty and had a formidable reputation and ancient provenance. From the early 20 century onwards many traditional martial arts, owing to a changing social, military and cultural context … Read More »
Master of Tui Shou
by Michael Acton
Liu Ji Fa Brush Knee
I first met Liu Ji Fa on a recent trip to Shanghai to visit my now retired and aging Taiji and Qi Gong Master Li Li Qun. Like Li, Liu was also a disciple of Master Ma Yueh Liang and also like Li he had held a senior positions in the Jian Quan Taiji Boxing Assoc. in Shanghai. Liu is still deeply involved in the larger family of Wu Style practitioners in Shanghai and is recognised as a specialist Master of Pushing Hands (Tui Shou) a practice that beyond any other area of Taiji now, has come to define Taiji as a martial art.
Master Liu and I met on a cold December morning in the park in Shanghai where I had studied over the years with Master Li. He arrived with … Read More »
The Wu Style Fast Boxing
by Michael Acton
Anybody doing a search for the Wu Style of Taiji quan on the web would quickly find clips of Wu Ying Hua (daughter of modern Wu Style founder Wu Jian Quan) demonstrating the slow hand form (Da Man Quan) and also her husband Ma Yueh Liang ( Senior disciple of Wu Jian Quan ) demonstrating another hand form known simply as Kuai Quan or Fast Boxing. It is easy to see that the two forms are recognisably related and follow the same sequence though the Kuai Quan also includes additional movements that are not in the slow form and is distinctly martial in character.
To my knowledge there is no footage of Wu Ying Hua demonstrating the Kuai Quan and I have seen none of Ma Yueh Liang demonstrating the slow form. Indeed the Kuai … Read More »
A Fourth Generation Wu Style Tai Ji Quan & Qi Gong master visits London
by Michael Acton
In May 2006 Dr Li LI Qun and his wife arrived in London from Shanghai for a 4 week teaching programme. Dr Li is a fourth generation Wu style Master (Quan You, Wu Jian Quan, Ma Yueh Liang, Li Li Qun) and a Qi Gong Grandmaster. As his host and only representative in the UK I was pleased that he had accepted my invitation to visit London. After 12 years of study with Master Li (4 of which I spent living in China and many visits) and 29 years of Tai Ji study and practice all told, it was a personal milestone to bring such a high level master to London.
Master Li is a senior disciple of Master Ma Yueh Liang (1901-1998) and currently one … Read More »