Xingyi Quan is a form of boxing known for its strong combat effectiveness. It is widely acknowledged for its simplicity and quick mastery; some may develop considerable fighting ability within a year, while others might achieve it in just a few months. However, many Xingyi Quan enthusiasts today possess minimal combat skills, and there have been instances where individuals practicing for years have been severely beaten in street fights. Why hasn't the effectiveness of "being able to fight within a year" been demonstrated in these cases?
Mr. Yao Minglan, styled Fuchun, from Zunhua City, Hebei Province, was a renowned martial artist during the Republic of China era, dedicating his life to martial arts and advocating for the national skill. In 1929, Mr. Yao, together with his fellow disciple Mr. Jiang Rongqiao, co-authored "Lectures on Tai Chi Chuan," which was published in Nanjing and Shanghai in 1930. The book, easily understandable and an excellent teaching material for Tai Chi Chuan, received endorsements and prefaces from Zhang Zhijiang, Li Jinglin, Yu Youren, Zhang Zhankui, and Huang Bainian. Unfortunately, their planned publication of Wang Zongyue's direct lineage of Tai Chi Long Fist (108 forms) did not come to fruition. Nevertheless, Tai Chi Long Fist continues to be passed down in Zunhua, characterized by stretching and bone pulling, encompassing ten major forms including dragon, snake, crane, tiger, horse, chicken, eagle, bear, phoenix, and monkey, with a 20-character secret to its application, offering excellent training effects.
Practicing boxing emphasizes specialization; through specialization comes mastery, and with mastery comes profound insights and endless discoveries. Consistent practice is crucial; seize every moment to practice. Practicing boxing requires concentration; with concentration comes calmness, and from calmness comes vitality. Not only should one remain calm in stillness, but also maintain calmness in motion. Achieving a calm mind is essential; a calm mind leads to a clear spirit, and a clear spirit leads to harmonious energy. The initial focus should be on relaxation and calmness; relaxation brings agility, which allows for smooth circulation of blood and qi; calmness leads to focus, which is essential for delivering powerful strikes. Therefore, relaxation and calmness are key to practicing boxing. The essence of martial arts is nothing but concentrated effort. When learning boxing, one must not be clever or hasty, as this leads to carelessness and superficial understanding, missing the essence. Constant reflection and examination are necessary; where the mind goes, energy follows, and with energy comes strength. Boxing techniques, ultimately, depend on mental agility.
In the "Great Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Personalities," only Li Daozi's proficiency in "Nirvana Sutra" and "Abhidharma" is recorded. This matches exactly with the records in the "Biography of the Ten Powers," which mentions his expertise in "Nirvana and Abhidharma." However, the dictionary does not mention Li Daozi's other areas of knowledge. In contrast, the "Biography of the Ten Powers" provides detailed accounts, describing him as proficient in literature, martial arts, medicine, and the Yi Jing, covering a broad range of skills including "Nirvana, Abhidharma, the Huang-Lao teachings, promoting the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism." Yet, there are no records of Li Daozi's writings in historical materials. The "Biography of the Ten Powers" specifically highlights Li Daozi's martial arts achievements, namely his creation of the "Wuji Life-Preserving Martial Arts." It also details the theoretical foundation of this martial arts system, identifying it as crucial for understanding the origins of Tai Chi theory,
What is Wushu? The term "Wushu" (武术; Wǔshù) is derived from two Chinese characters: "Wu" (武), meaning "Martial," and "Shu" (术), meaning "Art" or "Skill sets." Therefore, Wushu directly translates to "Martial Arts." Wushu encompasses a wide range of Chinese martial arts and is a standardized form of practice known for its fluid movements and acrobatic techniques. An example of Wushu in action would be a Canadian Wushu Team competing in the long spear discipline at an international competition, showcasing the art form's technical skills and athletic prowess.
Masters who have reached the pinnacle of their field are truly exceptional individuals. In the world of martial arts, especially within the Tai Chi community, there is a figure of immense influence and international renown, Master Feng Zhiqiang. Though Master Feng has passed away nearly a year ago, it feels as if he never left us. He continues to tirelessly teach us, guiding our practice of Tai Chi, his kindly face as vivid in my mind as ever. The martial virtues and skills Master Feng imparted to us will accompany us for a lifetime.
My mentor, Chen Xiaowang, is a renowned Tai Chi master of our times. His mastery of Tai Chi Chuan is intricate and profound, with a unique and deep philosophy. He is also a person of humility and high moral standards. I am fortunate to have received his teachings, which have greatly benefited me. Studying and researching my mentor's views on Tai Chi, whether in relation to the art of Tai Chi itself or to work and life in general, can be immensely beneficial. My own understanding is limited, but I will attempt a preliminary exploration of his perspective on Tai Chi, hoping to enlighten Tai Chi enthusiasts:
Over the years, the art of bare-handed fighting has been rapidly developing internationally, displaying a vibrant and flourishing trend. Particularly, Western Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Thai Boxing, and Japan's K-1, with their frequent events, powerful attacks, and shocking promotional effects, have swept the world. Similarly, Chinese martial arts Sanda is also being actively developed just like international combat sports. Whether it's domestic "Sanda King Contests" or Chinese Sanda facing off against American professional boxing, Thai professional Muay Thai, or confrontations with French Free Fight and Japanese Karate, for a time, martial arts competitions between China and abroad were frequent, with victories widely celebrated, truly dazzling and overwhelming to the public. However, a calm analysis of the current state of Chinese martial arts Sanda reveals many deficiencies that need to be improved and perfected.