This year is the 100th anniversary of grand-master Hong Junsheng's birth. We all miss him very much.
I still remember the day when grand-master Hong had his 84th birthday while I followed my teacher, Master Jiang Jiajun visiting Ji'nan, Shangdong Province to join Hong's birthday felicitation. I was keen in having anticipated this meeting for a long time, I was extremely excited. Unfortunately, grand-master Hong was not feeling well on the day we arrived in Ji'nan. He was sick and not convenient to walk around. However, he showed great enthusiasm at our arrival coming from afar. Hisspirit was brought up a bit and, he had a long talk with us. As the saying goes, "Quan is always inseparable with one's hands while song is always attached to one's mouth." Our discussion surely could not be detached from Tai Ji Quan (shadow boxing) indeed.
He got excited in his lecture then stood up to do some demonstrations for us. Seeing that he had difficulty in doing so, I went over to help him. My help was rejected since he insisted on standing up by no means of depending on others. Using his hands and trying to stand up for several times, he propped himself up on the sofa finally stood up. His spirit in constantly striving to stronger had touched all of us. He was such an old man -- tough, sober, with profound knowledge.
He told us the profound truth of Tai Ji Quan and its meticulous rules. We were told to stand straight and keep balanced in practicing Tai Ji; the hands are to be in coordination with feet, and the same to hands and feet with the body; shifts between waist and crotch should be smooth; the whole body is to be relaxed without exerting any strength. At last, he especially explained the twine methods on the part of hand: every finger should be circumvolved seeming in screwing with each performing its unique attacking function. Everyone there was seriously listening
to his lecture.
Every disciple came to Ji'nan had to be checked out by grand-master Hong with the basic Kung-fu of "Zheng Xuan Quan (clockwise circle) and Fan Xuan Quan (anti-clockwise circle)". Everyone of us was no exception. How we did the circling was checked out by grand-master Hong on the very day we arrived. Mistakes were corrected, and the usage of Zheng Fan Quan (clockwise and anti-clockwise circling) was told. We learned a lot.
My teacher, Master Jiang told me that "your grand-master is very strict to all the learners. If your basic Kung-fu has not been up to a standard, there will be no need for him to watch your Quan movements."
Grand-master Hong did Tui Shou (pushing hands) to rectify our gestures. When he touched my hand, I felt his movement was very swift. The second his movement touched me, the one it's gone. What I felt was like touching a circumvolved wheel. When I was at a loss, his Jin had transferred on me making me feel dizzy and unable to stand steady any more.
Grand-master Hong had used the story of "Tai Hang Mountain and Da Hang Mountain" to warn the later generations including us. He told us that "it is impossible to grasp the essence of Tai Ji Quan if one does not study hard on its connotation and does not have an inspiring teacher who understands the truth and rules of Tai Ji Quan."
I have been learning Chen Style Tai Ji Quan from Master Jiang Jiajun for more than 20 years. Although I didn't go on some crooked roads, my real understanding of Tai Ji Quan only be right clear in the later years. I do know that it is hard to learn Quan (boxing) well. And I consider that if I hadn’t been enlightened by an inspiring teacher, and studied all the way myself only, I might never be able to understand Tai Ji Quan through my whole life.
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