The first time I heard that Master Chen Zhonghua was putting out an “Energy Alignment” DVD, I was thinking, “alrighty, now we are going to hear about how qi fits into the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. But then I remembered a quote about Chen Zhonghua:
In an interview by Yaron Seidman with Hong Junsheng’s student Chen Zhonghua, it is made clear that great importance should be attached to “Strengthening the practical applications of the movements, and not ’empty talk’ about things like Essence, Qi and Sprit. Things that there is no way to prove right or wrong.”
My previous experience with regards to internal energy was more about the circulatory aspect, the qi path, the microcosmic orbit, etc. While this information is good, I was never exposed to how knowing about one’s qi path can benefit the martial aspects of taiji. Chen Zhonghua bridges the gap by addressing the internal energy requirements necessary to martially apply the technique.
… after many years of study most people want to go beyond the ‘dance’ part of Taiji and start to move in the way described in the Taiji Classics. The Classics describe a method of movement that does not rely mainly on muscular effort but more on structure, rooting, joint rotation and stretching.
The Energy Alignment 1 DVD was taped in April 2009 and covers the first 30 movements of the Yilu form. The DVD is 60 minutes in length. It is important to note the contents of the DVD assume the practitioner is already familiar with the Yilu form. In other words, the video is not an Yilu Detailed Instruction Form DVD.
The DVD begins with Master Chen explaining that he will show the energy alignment and how the body is internally aligned for the Yilu form. Chen then begins with discussing the internal requirements for the preparation posture of the Yilu; standing feet shoulder width apart, right hand at solar plexus, left hand out in front about shoulder height. From this very simple movement, Master Chen begins discussing the requirement of an internal stretch that begins at the heel of the right foot and ends at the top of the head. Furthermore, discussions of relative positions of limbs and joints as well as the concept of dantien replacement are shown. I was very impressed with the amount of detail Master Chen went into for discussing the movement.
What really blew me away was Master’s Chen instruction on the transition movement of Buddha Warrior Pounds Mortar into the Lazy Tie Coat posture. In other styles of Chen Taiji, this movement is basically executed by moving both hands to the left in a counter-clockwise fashion before splitting to open the hands. However, the Chen Taijiquan Style Practical Method breaks this movement down even further, highlighting not only a vertical split, but also a horizontal split of internal energy. Additionally, Master Chen discusses a stretch on the Z-Plane, resulting in a 3 dimensional energy alignment! Here, why don’t I just let Master Chen show you for himself:
Needless to say, I was completely awestruck and floored by the explanation above. I have been working on the Practical Method Yilu for that past couple of months now and I always seemed to get stuck on this movement. With Master Chen’s explanation of the internal energy dynamics of this movement, I am finally able to *somewhat* execute this move. Hearing and seeing him explain the movement feels as if I am in a private lesson with Master Chen!
Master Chen Zhonghua has brought to light the previously hidden layers of taijiquan. Most other instruction will focus on the gross choreography, but Master Chen has guided us on a journey through detailed body mechanics, martial applications and internal energy. The videos produced by Master Chen are prime examples of teacher who is willing to share his knowledge with all those interested.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Over many years of training and teaching, Master Chen has developed a method and curriculum for learning the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method as taught by Hong Junsheng. The 3 video clips below will give you a glimpse to the path of mastery of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method as outlined by Master Chen Zhonghua.
Yilu Detailed Instruction DVD – Six Sealings, Four Closings movement:
Yilu Detailed Applications DVD – Six Sealings, Four Closings movement:
Yilu Internal Energy Alignment DVD – Six Sealings, Four Closings movement:
I would highly recommend Master Chen Zhonghua’s Energy Alignment DVD to any practitioner of taiji, regardless of style. For more information on purchase and availability of the Yilu Internal Energy DVD, please see Master Chen Zhonghua’s Online Taiji Store or send an email to email@example.com