A little more instruction from Master Xu

“You must try different styles of tai chi in order to learn which you are best suited for,” Master George Xu once told us. Distinct styles match the five elements: wood, water, fire, air, metal. Metal is the most martial of all. Chen Style, for example is a fluid style, while Wu is like a snake—concentrated, connected. He didn’t say which is more metal in nature.

Also, you must go from one level to the next in your training. It is common that while you train at one level, you are preparing yourself for not only the next, but for all. The levels that Master Xu named are physical, energy and spiritual. There is no worthwhile physical without spiritual, he said. But you must train the physical to it highest level of attainment in order to reap the greatest benefit of the spiritual. (from 8/25/2002)

George Xu bio

George Xu · Chen Style · Lan Shou Shaolin ·10 Animal Xing Yi 

George Xu (Xu Guo Ming) started martial arts training in 1966 with Zhu Hong Bao, in the three Muslim styles in China: Xing Yi 6 Harmony, 10 Animal Cha Fist, and Chi Shu 7 Postures. Following that he studied with Zhang Qing Lin, a Snake Bagua Master, in this very unique system. He studied the Lan Shou System with Qing Zhong Bao; Cotton Fist with Yang Tian Gui; Chen Style Taiji with Shuong Guang Ren, a student of Chen Zhao Kui, Ma Hong, and others; Yang Style Taiji with Shi Wen Deu; and Xing Yi Master Yu Hua Long. His boxing teacher, Zhang Li De, was the undefeated Middleweight Boxing Champion from 1951-57. He graduated from Shanghai Normal University in Mathematics.

In 1981, he came to the United States and began a long career of teaching and bringing Chinese masters not only to the United States, but also exposing the art of high level practitioners to Kung Fu enthusiasts worldwide: Zhou Yuan Long, Chen Style; China Heavyweight Champion Liou Wan Fu (full contact); Ye Xiao Long, Lan Shou Master, Yang Style Taiji Master; Ma Hong, Chen; Wang Hao Da, Wu Style (student of Ma Yueh Liang); Lu Gui Rong, Wu Hao Style; Qian Zhao Hong, Xing Yi; Wang Zhi Qiang, Yang; Yun Yin Sen, Liu He Ba Fa; and Ji Ah Dong, Yang StyleTaiji.

Tai chi silk reeling and martial applications

Xu-Richard testing technique

About a year ago, my teacher, George Xu, came out with a name to his system of Chinese martial art as Ling Kong Shen Shi Men. This year he updated the name to Xin Tian Ling Kong Shen Shi Men. The system is the practical application of his so-called “predator theory,” through which he explains how the system works. His latest instructional video, which I produced, expands on the past couple of videos for the most complete understanding of his system yet.

Master Xu translates Xin Tian Ling Kong Shen Shi Men as “Organic Light Traveling Through Space Invisible, Indirect Space Power.” The title is a long one, but I think it says a lot. It lays out the components of the system, which Master Xu says is complex.

“It looks simple, but not so easy. Yeah, once you get it, it’s easy, but not until then,” he says.

Xin Tian translates as “pre-birth.” It’s means literally heart and heaven, relating to a state of newness and naturalness. It’s a term the Chinese use to refer to a newborn baby, whose skin and muscles don’t yet have the memory of living and responding to the pressures of its new world. It also refers to the word “organic,” and Master Xu uses the term in his explanations.

During the past year, Master Xu has traveled to Italy, Oregon, Colorado … developing a clearer description of his system. Many of his students are beginning to see the connection between his theory and his system.

I think he’s continually building on the theory for his own understanding, but the components of his system and the accompanying explanation for doing them is not only more understandable, but also more achievable.

In a big way, the system as he explains it in lecture and demonstration is simpler to understand intellectually, but while still being more of a challenge to implement in practice. I can see how much more possible it is to apply now with the current series of educational videos available.

Master Xu talks and demos such concepts as dead arm, body art, zhong ze ding (or vertical force, not just zhong ding), melting, using space and centrifugal force “scientifically.” How the muscles can be incorporated in the move, even be essential to certain kinds of movement.

Knowing yourself in tai chi: Advice from a poet

Yes, know yourself, but what is knowing? I like the way e.e. cummings describes it as a feeling that is as unique as the person feeling. What he says in A Poet’s Advice applies well to the art of taijiquan. As George Xu says, “martial art, not martial work!” Cummings writes:

“A lot of people think or believe or know they feel – but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling – not knowing or believing or thinking.”

“Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”

I also like this…

“And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world – unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.”

Continue reading “Knowing yourself in tai chi: Advice from a poet”

The concept of “Two Bodies” in Tai Chi Practice

Ever since my teacher, George Xu, first talked about the concept of two bodies, I’ve wondered what he meant exactly. Intellectually I thought I knew what he was referring to. But, since little in taiji is as obvious as it first appears, I had to ponder it over time to understand more clearly.

My “pondering” took place in my practice, in the movement of taiji itself, not in “thinking” about it, which is word chatter in the head. So I arrived at this articulation: Two bodies refers to the physical body and the energy body as two distinct units of our total beings. What I have since clarified, at least in my own mind for now, is that the quest of the tai chi practitioner is to distinguish between the physical and energy bodies, then learn to direct their activities separately. For example, while moving the body up, while moving energy down. Or the other way around. This touches on the concept of “opposing forces” in tai chi, which isn’t really accurate because “opposing” suggest going against and that is not what is intended. It means, as the yin-yang symbol shows, that there is an up on any down motion and vice versa.

With extended practice, you learn how to emerge them into a new, more powerful entity.