Fang song

In other words, “relax”.

Back to yiquan class again today. We were working on dragon postures, uprooting, and punching… Master Yao was reminding us constantly to relax, to stay soft… I’m a very stiff, tense, person: as I’ve very often mentioned in this blog over the years, I’ve had chronic stiffness in my left shoulder and lower back. That is, until I started to study yiquan with Master Yao Chengrong, since when I’ve been clearing it out. It’s not gone completely; it still is there for the moment, and tends to come back if I stop practicing, but it is definitely weakening. So… I was a bit disappointed to read Tabbycat’s recent post, which wasn’t up to his usual standard. It didn’t really make sense… he talks about yiquan and zhan zhuang, but then goes on to assert that only one particular taiji teacher is able to teach relaxation properly – a bit of a non sequitur, since he’s thereby trashing every other teacher of every other neijia style… Anyway, I’m sure it’s true in his experience, but I have to say that Master Yao Chengrong also does a pretty good job of teaching relaxation, IMHO. Tabby does give some interesting insights into catatonia, though…

Speaking of Master Yao, it seems I was misinformed – his birthday meal is not next week, but the week after… That’ll be a busy week, I’m having dinner with some Chinese and African NGOs the day before to see if they can use my internet skills….

After today’s class I went for a run around the lakes, and didn’t die. Actually, I had no problems with breathing at all – I guess all the cycling I was doing before my accident did have some benefits after all… Mainly my problem was, yes, posture, with my lower back really giving me gyp – something I remember from cross-country running at school, so this does go way back… I was wearing my Vibram 5-Finger shoes, which are great. There’s a bit of chafing where the straps are sewn on, but they really got me running from the front of my foot rather than the heel, which seemed to let me generate a lot more power. Having said that, I usually wear cowboy boots anyway (Twisted X calf ropers, FWIW), and those also seem to get me walking from the front of the foot rather than the heel, so go figure…

Other interesting links from the last few days:

  • YMAA: The Dao of Kung Fu Why are martial arts practiced as a part of religious beliefs that teach compassion and humility?
  • Stepping Into Freedom Becoming a Monastic in Plum Village
  • The Guardian: Pakistan’s ‘heretical’ Muslims Increasingly threatened by religious extremists, Sufis are the inheritors of a tradition that predates Islam in south Asia
  • The Telegraph: The rise and fall of oil production Conventional oil powers modern economies and provides around a third of the world’s energy. But many commentators forecast a near-term peak soon and subsequent decline in global production as the resource is depleted. Some expect this to lead to major economic disruption, with “non-conventional” sources being unable to fill the gap in the timescale required.


  1. Hello Jiang Hu! Thanks for another interesting post. I wanted to clarify that even though YQ definitely does not teach or lead to the elimination of unconscious tension (ie relaxation is not understood in their teaching) still YCG is a great teacher, a great fighter, and YQ is a very fun art! No malice intended in the slightest. Furthermore, if you re-read the post carefully you’ll see that essentialy I am alowing YCG to be compared to George Foreman. For any martial artist to be likened to an American Heavyweight boxing champion of the world of Foreman’s caliber is not a slight by any stretch of the imagination (try boxing sometime! 🙂

    By the way, it is not “fan song” correct Pinyin is “fang song”.

    All Cheers to the Bitter End,


    1. Hi Tabby, thanks for dropping by! No malice read into your post at all 🙂 I wasn’t leaping to defend yiquan’s honour (as if it needed me to!), so much as perplexed by your train of thought… (In any case, YCG isn’t my teacher anyway, I train with his brother). And as for my pinyin *facepalm* how did I miss that? Thanks for the correction!


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