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Lost in Generation?

12 June 2011 5,130 views No Comment

This is a post by our guest blogger, Silkreeling who is also a keen player of Chen Style Taijiquan.

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Watch the above clip, featuring Master Jiang Jiajun performing Yilu perhaps in the 1990s. Jiang, a top student of Grand Master Hong Junshen, trained initially under Chen Zhaopei prior to 1964. Through that experience, Jiang found good ties with the Chen Villagers; he was particularly close to Wang Xian and later was to become the godfather of Wang’s eldest son.

Jiang had to travel frequently to Jinan to train with Hong Junshen and on several occasions have had the good fortune to be coached also by Chen Yuxia, who was Chen Fake’s daughter. In his training diary, which now has been adapted to a book, Jiang relates one of this encounter:
After 10 repetitions of the form, Master Hong has just arrived with teacher-aunt (Chen Yuxia). That was around 6.30am and when teacher-aunt saw that that I was drenched in sweat, she asked how the practice was. I told her I played the form 10 times, which led Master Hong to add “Jiajun is really hardworking, practicing like this everyday in the morning, afternoon and night; just like how Master Chen Fake practiced.”
“You must be tired; we’ll continue tomorrow when I can come earlier.” Teacher-aunt said after a brief pause. I quickly responded saying I wasn’t tired and could immediately receive any instructions or corrections that may be offered. After which I proceeded to play the form for teacher-aunt’s review. I played the form to as close as I was taught, trying best to stay loosen yet focused without the use of clumsy strength. I completed Yilu and Erlu without any strain, feeling natural and overall goodness.

Teacher-aunt glanced at Master Hong before breaking into a smile saying “You practice the form very close to how your teacher’s teacher practiced it. The postures, movement coordination and spirit are all very similar. Looks like your teacher had spent considerable efforts in coaching you.”

Some moments later on the request of us students, teacher-aunt began her practice of Yilu, which was then followed by the sword form practice. All of us were really impressed with such an eye opener; and Master Hong said to teacher-aunt after she concluded the practice “Yet you say there wasn’t much time for practice, I see much improvement from before. And certainly, I see Master Chen Fake in the way you practice and that really brings back fond memories of my training with him.”
Master Hong and teacher-aunt then started to reminisce about the past trainings they both shared under Grand Master Chen Fake. Teacher-aunt told us “Your teacher has vast experience and knowledge in the practice of Chen taiji as taught by my father. In terms of skills and length of practice, he can be considered to be the representative of my generation. You guys got to learn diligently and do not let this precious knowledge be lost when it comes to your generation!”

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