CHENG STYLE TAI CHI CHUAN
This interview with Sifu Mr. Bill Law was, conducted, by John Hartley, of the Australian Tai Chi Chuan Flexible Boxing Fraternity. November 2000. TCAA Mem. No. 1122
Mr. Law Lun-Yeung (Bill Law) has been practicing CMC (Cheng Man-Ching) style Tai Chi Chuan since 1985 and is the disciple of Mr. Hsu Yee-Chung former disciple of the late Professor Cheng Man Ching (1900-1975). Mr. Law is current Principal, of the Cheng Man Ching Taichi Chuan Study Association, in Melbourne Australia.
Mr. Law was born in Guandong China (Southern China.) in 1939, and moved to Hong Kong in 1962 and migrated to Australia in 1990. In 1958 Mr. Law, studied Taichi Chuan in Guangzhou China learning the 24-step form. Mr. Law also previously studied and practiced Yang style, for five years under the late Mr. David Chan, former student of the late Mr. Tung Ying-Jie. Where he learnt the long form, Sword, Blade, Stick, Push hands, Da-lu San-shou. Mr.Law has also practiced Wing Chun, I Chuan (Mind Boxing) and Ying Zhao Chuan (Eagle Claw fist)
J.H. Mr. Law Sifu. Firstly thank you for your time in conducting this interview.
B.L. My pleasure.
J.H. I would like to ask, how did you meet your teacher, and of your time learning with him?
B.L. I meet Mr. Hsu, the disciple of the late Professor Cheng Man Ching in 1985 in Hong Kong. We did push hands in the park, after that I realized what was the authentic Taichi Chuan. And I started learning and practicing Cheng style Taichi Chuan 37 until now.
J.H. Mr. Law what lead you to study Taichi Chuan?
B.L I study CMC (Cheng Man Ching) Taichi as I like the internal works more than the external works, and my teacher Mr. Hsu Yee-Chung tells me what the real Taichi Chuan is.
J.H. What is the fundamental purpose of Tai chi Chuan?
B.L.The fundamental purpose of doing the authentic Taichi Chuan is that, it gives you better relaxation, health, balance, energy and for developing the mind and body in harmony, as well as for self-defense.
J.H. In your experience what have you found the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan to be?
B.L. The benefits from my own experience in doing Taichi Chuan are:
Good blood circulation, no more lumbago pain, healthy heart, no high blood pressure, no arthritis, no rheumatism, stable weight around 65kgs for the last 15 years and have more friends in the community.
J.H. Mr, Law have you taught Tai Chi Chuan, and if so where?
B.L. I have assisted Mr. Andrew Barry and Mr. Dusty Millerís CMC Taichi classes, here in Melbourne for many years and taught Taichi sword class in 1992, At present I have my own CMC Taichi class.
J.H. What is the role and function of the CMC Taichi Chuan Study Association in Melbourne?
B.L. To introduce and develop CMC Taichi Chuan and to unite CMC Taichi Chuan friends here in Australia.
J.H. What is the curriculum learning under Mr. Hsu Yee-Chung?
B.L. I have studied and practiced CMC Taichi since 1985. Mr. Hsu advised me to give up what I had learned (Kung-Fu) if I wanted to study CMC Taichi Chuan. First he taught me the beginning and preparation, it took seven days to learn and practice. Then I progressed to the 37 forms. He also instructed me to do homework and practice holding the, play guitar posture, do Zhan-chun standing. After doing the thirty-seven forms I learnt push hands. In 1992 I became his disciple and since then I visit Mr. Hsu every year to recharge and correct my forms.
J.H. Mr. Law you recently attended the 100th anniversary of your Grandmaster Professor Cheng Man Ching. Can you tell us something of the purpose for this gathering, and activities at this event?
B.L.This was the 1st Man Ching Cup Taichi Chuan international Championships held in Taiwan. The purpose was to bring together people who study Cheng Man Ching style around the world, to commemorate Professor Cheng Man Chings 100th anniversary (9/8/1901.)
There were forty-seven CMC Taichi groups attending thirty-eight local and groups from nine other countries these were Australia Mr. Andy Bulka and myself. Canada, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and US.A.
Mr. Ben Lo and his followers, from California, Ms. Katy Cheng and Ellen Cheng the late Professors daughters, Ms. Carole Yamasaki student of the late Professor Cheng from Detroit, Mr. Hsu Fun-Yuen and his followers from Chicago, Mr. Hsu is a disciple of Professor Chengís.
There were over 1500 participants in the tournament, which included individual and group Taichi Chuan, Taichi weapons, pushes hands and performance. There was also an exhibition of Professorís paintings.
J.H. Do you feel the legacy of your Grandmaster is still vibrant and strong today?
B.L. Yes. Professor Chengís legacy of Taichi Chuan 37 movements is still continuing and developing today, mainly in USA, Europe and South East Asia.
J.H. Mr. Law, what is the one thing for you that stands out, when talking of and remembering Professor Cheng Man Ching.
B.L. His Taichi Chuan and his way to do Taichi Chuan. I have never meet professor Cheng, but I know all of his top disciples, Mr. Liu, Mr. Lo, my Sifu, Mr. Hsu, Mr. Huang, Mr. Ju and Mr. William Chen. They all have a very high level of yielding and discharging. They always mention "song" and remind me that the soft vanquishes the firm. And to have a healthy body is the most important thing in peopleís life.
J.H. Mr. Law I have read from time to time that Professor Chengís method is to soft, it is said generally in relation to itís martial application. Do you feel there is any substance in statements such as these, and what is your experience in practicing Professor Chengís method?
B.L. "Song" (softness) is the most important thing when doing Cheng style Taichi Chuan. If you have enough "song" you will have deep rooting. When you have deep rooting you can yield and discharge, as power (jie) comes from the sole of the foot. I am still learning the "SONG", the learning of which can last a lifetime.
J.H. Do you see that the martial aspect of Taichi Chuan, as a necessary function in the learning process?
B.L. Study of martial application in Taichi Chuan postures can help you do the form in the right position. You do not have to understand the whole application of the form, but you must learn and understand the application of the Taichi Chuan thirteen postures.
J.H. What role does push hands play, and do you feel it is necessary to learn?
B.L.Push-hands, is vitally important in Taichi Chuan. If you do not study push-hands you only study half of the Taichi Chuan. You will learn the sense of touch, sacrifice your own action for the sake of others, learn yielding and discharge skill from push-hands training. Do push-hands for self-defense, but do not make it a competition. There should be no place in Taichi Chuan for ego. The softer you get and the more you can yield, the better at push-hands you become.
J.H. Mr. Law Do you feel weapons play an important role in Taichi Chuan. And if so, what do you see their function or purpose, in todayís day and age to be?
B.L. When hot weapons appear (i,e guns etc.) the cold weapons ( sword, blade ) are useless. So Taichi weapons are not important anymore, but they are a part of Taichi Chuan and considered a performance/exercise. For Taichi Chuan students it is better to learn the sword form. Cheng Man Ching Taichi Chuan gave up the Taichi Blade form, as it will create physical strength.
J.H. How do you see Taichi Chuan developing today?
B.L. Developing of Taichi Chuan generally is quite good in Australia. CMC Taichi Chuan 37 postures does not seem to be progressing rapidly, because it follows all the Taichi Chuan principals according to the classics and theory, it is more difficult to do correctly. It requires more attention to the basic principal of relaxation, softness, central equilibrium (one leg supporting the whole body weight) turning of the waist etc.
One person can practice Taichi Chuan, or with a group and only a small place are needed and 10 minutes only. It is good and simple to learn, for peopleís health. I would suggest having Taichi Chuan class in gymnastics, sports centerís, universities and community centers etc. Taichi Chuan is suitable for all ages to practice, but it is better to learn at an early age, if you have the chance to study from a teacher, who understands Taichi Chuan.
There are over 100 new students who come to learn CMC Taichi Chuan in Shi-Zhong school in Taiwan every year. CMC Taichi Chuan 37 is also very popular in Europe, USA, Canada, and South East Asia. However there is no Taichi Master teaching CMC in Mainland China, because Professor Cheng left Mainland China in the summer of 1949 and settled in Taiwan. It was in Taiwan, he formulated his Taichi from where it spread to South East Asia, the Americas and Europe.
J.H. Mr. Law what advice would you pass onto people beginning their study in Tai Chi Chuan and indeed, those of us already studying the art. What are those things in Tai Chi Chuan do you feel we need to priorities?
B.L.For the beginner, when you want to learn Taichi Chuan you have to make sure of your target. If your aim is to be healthy, then you may learn musical Taichi, dance Taichi or any sports. But if you want to learn authentic Taichi Chuan, the martial art, the internal works for your health as well as for self-defense, then you have to choose a teacher who understands Taichi Chuan. Learning CMC Taichi Chuan is hard and not easy. You should have perseverance, confidence and be patient, there is no quick course for CMC Taichi Chuan. Remember Professorís quotation invest in loss (suffer losses) in doing push-hands.
For someone who has already studied CMC Taichi Chuan I need to see his or her performance, before I give my advice.
When doing Taichi Chuan, especially doing CMC Taichi Chuan, use mind do not use physical strength. Relax your muscle, shoulder, elbow wrist and chest, body upright, holding the head as if suspended from above, separate your weight substantial, insubstantial (Yin &Yang), Do not bend your wrist upward, step shoulder wide, Arms and leg movements are driven by the waist, central equilibrium three points are on-line, and practice push-hands daily if possible.
If you follow the above points I would say you are entering the door of Taichi Chuan.
J.H. Mr. Law Sifu again I would like to thank you for sharing your time, interest and understanding in allowing me this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
B.L. CMC Taichi Chuan 37 is simplified and modified from the Yang style Taichi Chuan 94 movements. Professor Cheng Man-Ching set up Shi-Chung school in 1950 in Taipei and Shi-Chung New York in 1965 to teach and develop the Taichi chuan 37 movements. We should keep in touch and share our knowledge and improve together, as we are one Taichi Chuan Family.
Thankyou very much for the interview,
My best regards to all style Taichi Chuan friends in Australia.
Mr. Bill Law is now conducting classes and can be contacted at the Cheng Man Ching Taichi Chuan Study Association Melbourne Australia. Telephone (03) 9338-1649. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) CMC- ATK