A pause for thought

I was on MSN last night chatting to Carlos, who commented that I’ve been quiet for a while. Very true. It’s not that things haven’t been happening, more that I’ve been trying to absorb and process it all.

The yiquan is going very well indeed; I’m loving it. The weekend before last saw quite large classes on both Saturday and Sunday, with the foreigners (German & Russian) that I mentioned before, plus more Chinese than usual. On the Sunday, we practiced with the staff, which was cool; it’s not a weapon I’ve used much before.

Last weekend saw a big change. It turns out that many of the Chinese who have been coming for the last few weeks are not actually from Beijing; they’ve been staying for short periods to train, but have now gone home. The Russians have also left, and the Germans depart next week – which means that before long, it could be just me and Master Yao at the weekend small classes! That’s a rather scary thought, given the language barrier… Of course, I’ve been having 1-1 lessons with non-English-speaking teachers for the last year or so – Master Zhou in Singapore, Master Sun Zhijun, Mi Lao Shi and Sun Lao Shi here in Beijing – but that was bagua… I don’t mean to say that bagua is any less profound that yiquan (much more, in many ways) but if nothing else it’s much easier to actually see what the teacher is doing in bagua! Yiquan is much more subtle… Still, I’m looking forward to it.

I did politely ask Yao Lao Shi whether it would be ok to use the books I’d bought from his brother, Yao Chengguang, earlier this summer. He suggested it would be better not to, as they don’t do things the same way (I couldn’t follow what the differences are, but the point was clear). So, right now, I’m trying to use VLC to rip Yao Lao Shi’s DVD (Yao Chengrong, that is) so that I can put clips onto my iPod. So far it’s not working – the picture is badly distorted 😦

Even with the communication issues, I am learning huge amounts very quickly in the yiquan lessons. My ‘kua’ and shoulders are stretching and relaxing. My weight is sinking more naturally right down to the soles of my feet and is better distributed when it gets there. Although yiquan doesn’t talk about qi, I’m feeling some kind of sensation at my lower and middle dantians while I’m in zhan zhuang (post-holding standing posture). I’m even having new insights into (Cheng) bagua’s palm use and mud-stepping!

And so, speaking of the bagua… I have no idea where Sun Lao Shi is. I called a couple of times in October but his wife said that he was travelling, and that he would contact me when he got back. I haven’t heard anything but so far it’s not really a bad thing… As I’ve mentioned here, I kind of lost my direction for a while, and stopped training solo. However, I began to use VLC to put clips from VCDs of Liu Jing Ru onto my iPod (it works fine with VCDs; the problem is with DVDs) and that finally relit the flame, so I’ve started training again. I’ll spend a while refreshing my memory on the details of the ba mu zhang and ba da zhang at first, and then move on to doing it faster and longer (for aerobic fitness) and with steel rings/wrist & ankle weights (for endurance and strength). A friend of mine says that he often goes to Ditan Park in the morning to work on his Chen taiji, so I may try to join him – it’s only a couple of subway stops away.

So that’s the news up until now….


  1. Hi,

    I studied Yiquan with Yao Chengguang. It would be interesting to know how Yao Chengrong’s teaching approaches or styles are different from Yao Chengguang’s.


  2. Hi Ke Cai,

    Thanks for leaving a comment; I’m afraid I can’t make the comparison, though!

    I went to Yao Chengguang’s school just to try Yiquan out; I was always up front about the fact that I was only going to be there for a few weeks. I didn’t meet him much; he wasn’t around often, and I was mostly taught by one of his students. On the few occasions when I was taught by him, I found him to be a good teacher, and I enjoyed what I learned of yiquan there – enough to think that I would want to try it again in the future.

    I didn’t actually expect to go back to Yiquan until next year, but I happened to move into a new apartment practically next door to Yao Chengrong’s school, so it’s very easy for me to attend classes there. I find him to be an excellent teacher.

    However, I don’t have sufficient length of experience with either teacher to make any comparison, or to know what Master Yao had in mind.


  3. So you actually got a set of Iron ring’s then! How are you finding using them? I love them I can really feel my hands fly after using them.


  4. @Carlos – heavy and noisy! I bought three for each arm… I don’t think I’ll go as far as you did to keep them quiet by wrapping them, but I’ll see how it goes. I actually haven’t used them for a while, since I put the bagua on hold. Now that I’ve started again, I won’t use them until I’m happy I’ve got the basic technique right – that’s the first thing, strength training can come afterwards….


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s