Chen Spear Part 1

The Chen seminar this weekend was special as we started a new form, the Chen Taiji Jasmine Spear and White Monkey Staff. It is always exiting to start up on a journey of learning a new form!
I remember learning this form in one Easter residential course in 2011, so that is how long ago Sigong (Grandmaster Tse) last taught this form!
The seminar started with Sigong giving a lecture explaining about the Chen Spear weapon. Sigong pointed out that the Chen Spear is actually two weapons in one: one part is the Jasmine Spear, the other part is the White Monkey Staff. The Jasmine part refers to the shape that the Spear head makes when moving, like flower petals. The White Monkey part refers to the wooden staff to which the spear head is attached. Sigong explained that staff are always related to the Monkey, because of the fact that in “Journey to the West”, the Monkey carried a staff for defence.
Sigong went onto detailing the 10 basic techniques of the Chen Spear. Some of the techniques were related to the Jasmine Spear part of the weapon, others were more akin to the White Monkey Staff part of the weapon. Spear techniques relate to pointing and shooting motions, using the Spear head end of the weapon only, like Lan, Na, Za, Tiao, Dian and Chan. Staff techniques relate to sweeping and twirling motions, using both ends of the weapon, like Pi, Beng, Yun and Wu Hua.
After a break, we proceeded to learn the first few movements of the form. For those who recently completed the Chen Taiji 13 Long Pole series of seminars, it was a soft start, as the movements were identical to the start of the Long Pole! But the next set of movements were more complicated so we had to pay more attention.
The form is quite long, 73 movements, so it will be a while before we finish it. But finishing a form is not that important (although satisfying), the journey is what counts, learning new movements, polishing existing movements, giving our brain and body the time to develop, getting used to the movements and performing them better. 
Looking forward to that journey. Thank you Sigong for teaching these exiting skills.
by Christine Barbier

Student Comments

It’s always fun to start a new form and discover you’ve some familiarity with some moves already from previous skills learned. Then it challenges the brain to learn new and different ways of moving. Thanks, Sigong-
looking forward to learning all 73 moves of Jasmine Spear and White Monkey Staff! – Kay

It was great to start on the Chen Spear today. The first part was very reminiscent of the long pole but this only served to lure us into a false sense of security and catch us completely off guard with the spinning steps! Very excited to see what comes next. Thank you, Sigong. Best, Tom Hogg.

It is very nice to start a new form, especially a Chen Taiji weapon form. Having done some spear, I am really looking forward to understand the movements better and to learn new ways to use the spear. Thank you, Sifu!

Thank you Sigong for the opportunity to learn the Chen Taiji Spear form. The simple looking warmup is already quite challenging for a novice like myself. The form itself, as of now, feels quite nice and light, though I’m sure there’s going to get a lot more testing and dynamic; looking forward to the next lesson with great anticipation. Sam

The first Chen Taijiquan spear seminar was incredibly fun and interesting. I enjoyed Sigong’s lecture about the history behind the names, and the way that the spear and staff forms have been combined, with techniques from both. The warm ups were also fun and required careful co-ordination to get right, particularly the circle / hua technique, which we could already see in the first movements of the forms. Thank you Sigong for bringing this back!

This was my first seminar and really enjoyed it! Great to hear about the context and then get started with the walm-ups and the form. Got myself in a bit of a tangle with a few of the twists and steps at first, but got there in the end through Sifu’s clear guidance and the encouragement and helping insights of everyone in the breakout rooms. Huge thanks to all and looking forward to part 2 already!

Thank you Sigong for the seminar. Its quite nice to polish this form after so many years and catch up on details I’ve forgotten. Looking forward to the next part. Yunki

It was exciting to begin the Chen Spear form today. The beginning seems familiar but I’m sure it will become more complicated as we progress. It’s always a pleasure to exchange ideas and questions in the breakout rooms to bring greater clarity or to draw one’s attention to something that may have been overlooked. I’m looking forward to the next part. Thank you Sigong. Peter Hogg

Exciting to start a new form! Looking forward to the long journey this form will be.
Thank you Sigong.
Paul Hogg