An Insight from Chen Xiang
Chief Instructor Brett Wagland
Xiang is Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang’s most accomplished disciple. Chen
Xiang, who is in his 50s, has trained with Grandmaster Feng for more
than 10 years and has achieved an excellent level of skills. Before he
began practising Tai Chi, he was an expert in Ba Ji (Eight Ultimates
Boxing or commonly known in China as the Bodyguard Style) and Shuai Jiao
(Chinese wrestling). When he is demonstrating, Chen Xiang becomes the
epitome of relaxation and power. It is very obvious that he has reached
a high level.
Chin Na (Joint Locking)
my training with Chen Xiang, I observed that he always emphasised
training the mind and circulating the qi. Chen Xiang spoke of the body
as being composed of a main river with many tributaries. Generally, our
lifestyle takes its toll on this internal energy supply. The way we
live can sometimes be likened to a hot sun or a storm, drying up the
water and causing havoc in our inner river system.
Practices like Tai Chi and Qigong help to nourish and replenish this
internal energy system. Once your energy is full, you will feel a keen
sense of liveliness that radiates from every cell. When you practise at
this level, not only your muscles, sinews and joints are exercised, but
also your cells.
level practitioner can feel his opponent’s every move, even if he is not
in visual contact. When a high level master asks his student to
demonstrate or perform movements behind him during the night, the
teacher is able to tell the student exactly what he is doing. High
level practitioners can feel qi around them. They sense a person’s
energy and intentions before they are physically apparent. This is
similar to fish being able to feel our vibrations through the water,
thus making it difficult for us to catch the fish with our bare hands.
As you develop your qi, you feel more and more. Your practice becomes
more interesting and enjoyable.
Xiang also spoke about how he would deal with a potential physical
threat. If he is required to act, his release of energy could be
compared with turning the ignition key of a Ferrari. The power and
speed generated would be difficult for an opponent to deal with. In
many cases, this sudden burst of energy would already alarm the attacker
who would then be thinking twice about his intentions.
Xiang is of exceptional character and ability. He is gentle and
humble. When we are around him, we feel happy and more open minded.
Students who travelled to China with us in 2005 had the pleasure of
training with Chen Xiang. I hope you have the opportunity to meet him
in China on our September trip (2007)!