Chen Taiji Spear – Part 8

Grandmaster Tse started the seminar with a lecture. First he described the meaning of the Chinese writing on this year’s polo shirt: 心意氣神 (xīn yì qì shén).

Grandmaster Tse started the seminar with a lecture. First he described the meaning of the Chinese writing on this year’s polo shirt: 心意氣神 (xīn yì qì shén).

Xīn means heart and here it refers to setting our heart on something – as in choosing something we really want to do. Without a deep desire to do something it is hard to see it through, so we should choose wisely when deciding what we devote our time and energy to.

means mind or focus. It refers to the fact that once we have chosen what to do, we must focus on it and be diligent – without practice we will get nowhere.

means energy. Here it refers to the good energy which is developed through repeated practice. In time what we do should become natural and effortless – it should flow.

Shén means spirit and refers to the strong spirit which can be felt from a practitioner who has become one with their skill. This is the level to strive for and in order to get there we need to start with Xīn.

GM Tse continued from these inspirational keywords and introduced a way of structuring our practice in order to improve:

1 Warm Ups. Here we become familiar with the most common moves and get used to moving the body in the right way.

2 Practising the form. We learn the form which is like a catalogue of techniques. We start with the rough shape then add on more details, repeating until it becomes smooth.

3 Practising complicated moves separately. Certain moves are complicated and we tend to stop or slow down which breaks the flow of the form. After identifying these moves, we practise them on their own until they become just as effortless as the rest of the form.

4 Practising advanced version of moves. Certain moves have basic and original versions. This is often a type of jump. In the beginning we do it slowly and gently, later we can jump. To do the original version we need to build up a certain level of strength, flexibility and balance. This takes more time and practice than other moves. Like the more complicated moves, we practice the advanced moves separately to improve.

5 Practising the whole form with the advanced version of moves. Once we can do the whole form with the basic version moves without stopping AND we are comfortable with all the advanced moves then we should try to do the whole form with advanced moves. This challenges us further, increasing our stamina and developing our ability to change gear between advanced moves and normal moves without breaking the flow of the form.

by Paul Hogg

Student Comments

 Really enjoyed today’s Chen Spear Seminar! The Lecture on the meaning of the new T-shirt and the different levels of training was very interesting. In the form it starts to show that the mind bending spinning from the earlier sections is repeated, so the previous hard work pays off again and again. Looking forward to next time already. Thanks, Sigong. Best, Tom Hogg.
A very nice Chen spear part 8 seminar.  I am still learning the shape of this form, but there were many digestible new parts and a variety of people in the playrooms that helped me to fill in some of my gaps. Thank you for all of your help. Daniel
Chen Taijiquan is a wonderful and complex skill and really understanding the movements and energy of the Spear will take time but I am very happy I can now connect it all the way from the beginning as the middle and end were tricky the last time. Thank you Sifu and senior students for your help!
Definitely finding the Chen Spear form quite challenging, but seeing how amazing it looks, especially when Sigong performs it, makes me want to work at it even more! I also very much enjoyed the story about the lazy farmer’s son. Thank you again Sigong. Sam
I really enjoyed the lecture today about how to become accomplished – especially the story about the farmer and his lazy son. Always a pleasure to discuss the form in the breakout rooms. Thanks very much Sigong
Peter H
Thanks Sifu for the interesting seminar and excellent story about finding gold. The earlier parts of the form are now becoming clear, but discovered i still have quite a bit soil to turn over to fully cultivate the later sections! Pete
It’s good to go over the form after the break. The foot work for this form can sometimes be a little tricky and it’s important to clear up the little details. Thank you Sigong for the seminar. Yunki
Enjoyed the lecture today on Chen Taiji Spear part 8. I had not quite appreciated that the very high level of Spear (or other skill) practice is freestyle! There are still some bits of Spread twirling that I am not 100% sure I am doing right, but some of the detail is starting to sink in, like weight change and how the body moves with the Spear. Thank you Sigong. Christine