Contacts missed and found

I mentioned that a chat with Carlos had got me thinking about yiquan… So, I did a bit of googling, and discovered that I’m not the only one with yiquan on my mind. That in turn led me to realise that Tabbycat is blogging again, which I hadn’t been aware of. More than that, he was in Beijng! So, I dropped him an email… but a bit too late; he’d just left for the States again. Well, I’ll be here for a while… Anyway, as I’ve often mentioned over the last couple of years, I have a real problem with being stiff, particularly in the shoulders. I’m very tempted to sign up later in the year for one of the Yiquan Academy‘s 30-day intensive beginners’ courses; I really think that intense sessions of zhan zhuang might do the trick as far as relaxing and opening the joints goes, not to mention posture…. Well, we’ll see.

I’ve caught up again with Will, who was the senior student at the Beijing Milun School back when I was here before in 2004/5; he’s too busy running his restaurant these days to do much martials arts beyond a bit of Chen taiji. The food is very good, though!

I called Master Sun Zhujin, to talk about meeting him for classes. If I understood him correctly, he’s free to teach on weekends. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand where he lives! It got a bit frustrating; I’ll have to call him back again when I’ve enlisted a Chinese-speaker to help me….

As I’ve mentioned, Master Liu Jingru lives way down in the south of Beijing; I’m way up in the north, and it’s just not practical for me to get down there. However, I’d been in touch with his main student, Kong Cheng, who was so helpful to me last June (it was Kong Cheng who took me to Dong Hai Chuan’s grave). Kong Cheng happened to be in Wudaokou this morning, so we met up. He was in a real hurry; he’s flying Italy tonight, and will be there until June, teaching acupuncture and bagua in a series of cities. We met at Lush, where I was having breakfast.

As we chatted, I mentioned the difficulty I was having, ie that all the bagua teachers are very far from the University district. “Oh, but there’s one very close!”, he said, “Do you want to meet him?”. A couple of minutes later, we were in a taxi, on our way to meet Master Sun Ru Xian, who lives just north of Tsinghua University, near the Yuanmingyuan ruins. He’s studied a lot of internal martial arts, and is first and foremost a xingyi man. I spent a few hours talking to him; he’s really nice and down to earth, as is his wife. He has a few very friendly dogs as well! My luck continued to hold good; one of his students was there, a Chinese guy who had taken his MBA in Singapore (U of Chicago), and speaks excellent English.

Master Sun asked whether I wanted to learn for health, performance or application; I said application, which was clearly the right answer. He spent a lot of the time throwing me around (his apartment fortunately has big, soft sofas), and it looks like I might start training with him next week. He’s a heavyset guy in his 50s, very strong. He’s a student of Liu Jing Ru amongst many others. We also chatted about Yiquan, which he learned from Wang XiangZhai; he pointed out quite rightly that it’s only something to study if I have a lot of spare time.

Well, funny how things turn out…


  1. Glad to hear you’ve made up your mind what aspect of the martial arts you really want to study. Also glad that you’ve chosen the fighting aspect, which is, to me, indeed the right answer. 🙂


  2. Man oh man I hope you get to go to that intensive Yiquan course (and then write about it here). I wish I could go to something like that. I am basically eating up everything they are saying. How they explain things is painstakingly clear and helpful, though at times I think traditional vocabulary on qigong is more helpful since they seem to avoid these subjects. I have totally bought into the zhan zhuan training because I find it so useful. However, I find things like yoga are what I need for opening joints and correcting imbalances (that should end up helping me with zhan zhuang).

    Enjoying the blog on your training adventures and travels.


  3. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I want to do it.

    I find that my main problem with all the too-stiff muscles, postural issues, etc is that they do actually go away when I can send my awareness into that part of the body. Unfortunately, I can’t do this for sustained periods, so the problem always comes back. I suspect that a solid month of zhan zhuang, just standing and sending awareness through the body, would really pay off in this respect.

    It also seems very much like vipassana meditation, which is what I did on retreat in Thailand. Even 10 days of that, 9 hours a day, was transformative – what would a month of “sustained awareness” achieve?

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the nature of zhang zhuan and yiquan, but I’m also intrigued by the possibility that this actually is a martial style that could be combined with meditation… bagua and taiji also seem to be there, but yiquan seems so much more… direct? focussed? stripped down? Something like that. There’s only one way to find out, though, and that’s to try it… and since I’m almost certainly going to be around, with time on my hands, it seems a shame not to give it a go…


  4. But the internal styles are /all/ about meditation. I haven’t had any experience of Yiquan though, so I can’t say if it’s any different than the XY/BG/TJ I’ve experienced.


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