10 Questions with Chen Zhonghua

The CombativeCorner gives a special welcome to Chen “Joseph” Zhonghua, not only for being a masterful teacher of Chen Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), but for being the primary teacher of the CombativeCorner’s own, Michael Joyce.  Master Chen is the founder and head master at the Hunyuantaiji Academy in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  He is the only official International standard bearer for Taijiquan through the lineage of the late Chen Style master Hong Junsheng.  Master Chen has an unmatched ability to explain complex concepts and theories and gives many of his students the unique priviledge of discovering for themselves the powerful and the often-thought, “mysterious” forces of Taijiquan.  Get to know Master Chen better by subscribing to his YouTube channel.  As a close student (Joyce) to Master Chen, I can safely give you one important tip, “Study the circles.” (video located at the bottom)

(Click the picture above to visit his channel. Click here for his 2nd channel)

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(1)

What was the moment when you knew you didn’t want to just teach (school system), but teach Taijiquan for a living?
Two events in 2001 led me to that decision. In a discipleship application, one student outlined his future actions in regard to how to commit his time to learn taiji from me. It struck me that my teachings in taiji have profound influence in people’s lives. I realized that as a part time taiji teacher, I had no right telling serious students how to regard taiji as part of their lives.

Another event was a plea from a student in my Maple Ridge (near Vanouver, Canada) workshop group. I teach a weekend workshop once a month in that location. In 2001 I was hesitant whether I would be able to continue another year while teaching in a high school in Edmonton full time.

These two events helped me make up my mind to go into full time taiji teaching.

(2)

For someone who is just starting out in Taijiquan, what do you recommend for them to concentrate on?
Learn the rules and regulations of the art. Don’t try to make them up on your own.

(3)

As someone progresses in Qigong and/or Taijiquan how much importance would you place on their study of certain texts (i.e. YiJing, Tao Te Ching,etc.)?
Reading of classics should only be supplementary to the practice of taiji/qigong.

(4)

Many students are enjoying a mix of martial arts; taking from one, borrowing from another. What do you think of this?
I am of the old school. I try to learn and do one thing right at a time.

(5)

For those who do not know, what do feel to be the difference(s) between Chen Taijiquan (Hong) and Hunyuan Taijiquan (Feng)?
Chen Taijiquan emphasizes the physical aspect while Hunyuan Taijiquan emphasizes the non-physical aspect.

(6)

How important is it, in your opinion, for someone to practice qigong? Do you feel that qigong should be a separate practice outside of Taijiquan form?
First of all, Qigong and taiji are two disciplines. They are not directly related. It is totally acceptable to learn and practice taijiquan without qigong and vice versa. On the other hand, the practice of qigong indirectly enhances the practice of taijiquan.

(7)

When watching your videos, of both yourself and your students, emphasis seems to be placed (highly) on the Practical Method First Routine (Yi Lu). Could you please tell us why other aspects such as: the Second Routine (Er Lu), Weapons (i.e. Sword (Jian), Sabre (Dao)) are under-emphasized?
In taiji practice, everything is equal. The placement of an emphasis is highly arbitrary. In my opinion, Foundations and Yilu are basic and therefore, fundamental. Constant practice of the fundamentals will lead to future progress when others aspects such as Cannon Fist, weapons, etc. are learned.

(8)

When Master Chen is not teaching, practicing form, or running your business, what does he like to do for fun?
Doing circles.

(9)

The foundational exercises of the “Positive & Negative Circles” are important in the Practical Method system. What makes them so important?
They are the building blocks. Everything in taiji is made up of either a positive circle or a negative circle, or parts of. They are like the DNA of people.

(10)

A century from now, when people look back on Master Chen Zhonghua…. what would you like them to remember about you?
Kept the tradition alive.

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AS MASTER CHEN would instruct, “Learn the Circles”

11 Responses to “10 Questions with Chen Zhonghua”

  1. […] 10 Questions with Chen Zhonghua Posted on December 18, 2010 by wujimon 10 Questions with Chen Zhonghua | Combative Corner => […]

  2. Jake sergio Says:

    Joseph should call his style something other than Tai Chi Chuan. His style breaks all of the tenets of TCC (TJQ), regardless of style. I have seen him in action, and I have worked with his students. I could write a book, so I will spare the space it would take to comment in detail. I have judged nationally, and I teach with 50 years in the MAs and 25 of which have been in the internal arts. His style is by no means “practical” and as a physician, I can tell you not healthy. I know for a fact that he has taken flack, not just from me, but from others as well.

    • I’m fairly confident you couldn’t write a book on this, as I know Master Chen very well and am a student of his (speaking on the behalf of myself, Michael Joyce, and not the rest of us at CombativeCorner). If you have done your research, Master Chen is a student of the late Hong Junsheng and Feng Zhiqiang – both of which were students of Chen Fake. The “Practical” method was coined only to describe and emphasize that each posture and transition had a practical application/purpose behind it. As for health,… I think you’re the first person I’ve ever heard to say that the form that Master Chen teaches is unhealthy. Do explain doctor!

      • Jake sergio Says:

        NO Peng. Joints closed down. Restricts flow of Chi, blood, oxygen. Stepping does not separate yin form yang. I’ve pushed with students and they are tense and linear. Student I have worked with turns waist before jin from ground turns the waist. Applications are awkward and impractical as a result. If you do not adhere to YCF tenets, then martial, health, mental fall apart. I have watched Joseph’s teacher in videos, and their form is more like that of traditional Chen Village TQJ. I could go on forever, and yet will spare you.

        • With all respect to your opinión, but you say so just because you’ve practised with Chen’s students and they had flaws. Right, srudents are students, not masters and they are probably People with less experience than you. But,, have you practised Push Hands with Chen Zhonghua himself? If not, How can you be so sure of what you’re saying, beacuase i know that there are lots of thing that you can only know by touching the person.
          I’m student myself, and i’ve been able to feel and get many explanations by touching my teacher, direct transmission by feeling of things that you can’t see just with the eye. So, If you haven’t pushed Hands with Máster Chen, How can you be so sure?

          • I (Michael Joyce) am a student of Master Chen and have trained extensively with him in the Hunyuan Academy in Edmonton. He is a master teacher and practitioner of tai chi and I know from real experience that his “push hands” is quite the enigma.

            • Just to make it clear: my reply was for Jake. I was asking him how can he be so sure about what he said about Máster Chen’ s method. If he hasn’t practised with Máster Chen himself and he has not even touched Máster Chen once, I wonder how can he be so sure of what he’ s saying.

              As I said, i’m just a student but, so far, i have found nothing incongruent in what Máster Chen says in the videos. Nothing incongruent with what i’ve been told by my teachers, even the Yang style one.

      • Jake sergio Says:

        And besides, the traditional styles are more practical, with each move, each stance having infinite applications, not to mention that when all is said and done, there are no applications per say. Applications are for beginners to get some idea as to intent. For Advanced students, ultimately there are no applications, only the appropriate response to a particular situation. With applications, one must strategize. Hard styles are about applications and strategizing.

      • Jake sergio Says:

        All of my Chen style teachers are descendent of CFK, and yet none of them has the mechanics nor the form of Joseph. YCF is also a descendent of YLC who learned from CFK, and YCF was a student of YLQ, “the invincible”.

    • It’s amaizing to me when a keyboard warrior (more an stupid occidental) want to give lessons about what is and what isn’t correct in chinese martial arts to a master who lived and trained his entire live in china with real MASTERS…
      So you had 25 of internal martial arts? Chen Zhonghua has like 50, is a recognite figure in the taiji world, with proven skill, clear and direct teaching… What the fuck are you, trying to look well informed guy with your fancy words who I bet that never won a tiny push hand contest, you or either your students… if you had a poor bastard that can call student.
      You can’t give a flack to your own son… moron.

  3. […] artist from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada but now lives in Vancouver, BC.  He is a student of Chen Zhonghua and a dedicated Chen Style Practical Method practitioner and teacher.  I (Michael Joyce) first met […]

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