The Work Ethic of Chen Fake (Pt. 1)
Chen Fake is considered by many as the greatest Taijiquan master of the century. Born as “Fusheng” in the village of Chenjiaguo, in Henan Province, China, Master Chen grew up to become an extraordinary martial artist and teacher through persistent practice, respect for his family background (ancestors masterful in Taijiquan), and love for the artform.
From reading about Chen Fake, through the words of his disciple, the late Hong Junsheng (via my teacher Chen Zhonghua), I’ve developed a deep admiration for the man and for his accomplishments as an artist and teacher. To understand who Chen Fake was, in terms of his gift of Taijiquan, these two characteristics must be mentioned:
First, it was with the dent of hard work and preserverence that harvested this amazing gongfu skill. Second, Master Chen never withheld anything from his teaching. His students asked and they were given an answer. In most cases, a detailed understanding. Withholding anything is strictly for the ego.
Lesson 1: Work, Work, Work
Part 1 is dedicated to that which is most important. To accomplish anything in life, we must put forth effort…never an aimless attempt… but a steady, direct and focused study of that which we feel we must accomplish. The word “work” being just another of those four-letter words that, for many, initiate a conditioned response of dread… is just the first problem of many. Our first direction should be to make work into something else. For me, when I’m teaching, studying, or training in Taijiquan or fencing…I’m “play”ing. So, in essence, “hard work” might best be called “hard playing.” The only criteria one must follow (after this change in vernacular) should be a change in “how we play.” Whether we are playing the piano, ice skating, or doing a martial art form we should look to our actions a heavenly experience and never anything reminiscent of a chore. Embrace your bliss with your entire being and you’ll be surprised at the growth and jubilance that follows.
Part 2: Soon-to-Come!