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JS: Is Dantian movement usefull in fighting?

MR.FENG: The body moves as a cordinated whole because of Dantian movement. While issuing power (Fa Li) Dantian turns and the whole body power is focused in one point. In this way the power issued can penetrate the bones of the opponent. While issuing power the body should be relaxed, but one should be very conscious about so-called "Shaking Power" (Dou Jin). This power has to be focused and not scattered all over the body. The more advanced one is, the smaller the shaking. When we were learning Taijiquan from Chen Fake shaking the body in Fa Li was the greatest taboo to be avoided.

JS: Is Silk Reeling Power (Chan Si Jin) the feature of Chen style only or other styles of Taijiquan have it too?

MR.FENG: All Taiji styles emphasize Opening and Closing (Kai-He), Empty and Solid (Xu-Shi), Hardness and Softness (Gang-Rou), Contracting and Opening (Qu-Shen), Yin and Yang, etc. Silk Reeling Power appears in all Taiji styles but Chen style emphasizes it more than other schools and the round movement of all parts of the body is its feature. Other schools of Taiji pay more attention to Opening and Closing. Actually all martial arts contain circular and round, Hunyuan movements. In Xingyiquan this feature is described by Drilling (Zuan), Wrapping (Guo), Twisting (Ning), Overturning (Fan).

 
JS: What is Peng Jin?

MR.FENG: It is a kind of power that both Internal and External styles should have (although External styles do not use this term). It is a protective, warding off, directed forward power, which is not weak/soft (ruan). All Taijiquan powers should have Peng, and the differences among them lie in different directions it is applied.

JS: Is Liu He - Six Harmonies - the feature of only Neijia arts?

MR.FENG: Six Harmonies mean coordination between Mind (Xin), Intention (Yi), Qi and the body. Externally they can be understood as "arriving at the same time". Both Neijia and Waijia should use Liu He principles.

JS: What do you consider to be the most important part of Taijiquan practice, most useful in building gongfu (skill)?

Feng Zhiqiang performing Lean With Back (Bei Zhe Kao) movement
 

MR.FENG: The skill should be build upon a strong basis of Internal Exercises (Neigong). Hunyuan Neigong is a kind of Qigong which is a set of basic exercises and at the same time very advanced practice method. I was able to realize how powerful Internal Power (Nei Jin) is when one day in the 60s in the factory I was working in a 500kg generator was falling down and I could hold it and put on the ground. I believe it was possible only because of neigong exercises. These exercises not only help in maintaining or regaining health but also serve martial purposes.

JS: What about fighting?

MR.FENG: Although martial arts are about fighting, one should not think about fighting during practice. The fighting skill comes naturally after a certain time of correct practice. One should practice Neigong (Internal Methods), routine, pushing hands (Tui Shou). Pushing Hands should be practised in a cooperative way, to get the skill of "knowing the opponent" (Zhi Bi), without any thought of fighting. Then one should also practice single movements and their applications, free techniques, footwork.

JS: What changes have you noticed in the last twenty years and how in your opinion will Chen style Taijiquan evolve in the next fifty years?

MR.FENG: The recent years showed some phenomena that were not present when I was learning Taijiquan. Most of practitioners show a lot of Shaking Power. As I already said, the better the skill the smaller the shaking. Concerning the future, I believe there will be constant improvement in the skill level of the practitioners - they will realize the importance of Hunyuan. As old saying goes "Skill is satisfied only with clear understanding" - it is very important that the teacher understands and is able to explain clearly the principles of the art.

JS: But it is a common phenomena that the skill of the next generation is worse than that of the one before, isn't it?

MR.FENG: This is mainly because the teachers were very conservative at sharing their knowledge. I believe the opening of the teachers will have very positive influence on the level of their students.

JS: Mr.Feng, thank you very much for your kind explanations and your time!

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