Internal Arts IA

martial arts , health enrichment, development of consciousness

Great Article on Hung Junsheng

Posted by Editor on August 5, 2006

Somehow we had never come across this before. Now, to spare all you readers from further chance of the same lack, here is the link to an inspiring article , “Hong Junsheng The Taiji Master as Artist”, by Gordon Muir and Richard Johnson. It is a reprint (with permission of the editor, Dave Cater) of the article recently published in Inside Kung Fu magazine. (It is the July, 2006 edition, so you may still be able to get one off the newstand.)

There are a number of gems in this article, which really offer some classic “martial arts hero” elements from the life of the great Grandmaster. To reflect on these glimpses into his life is a surefire way to gain more inspiration for our practice:

1. Like so many famous masters throughout he ages, Hong suffered poor health in his youth. He took up Taijiquan as a solution for this problem.

2. Hong was well educated, and a diligent student. Right from the start of his Taiji training, he applied his scholarly approach to everything he learned, researching, comparing to classic theories, and testing in practical application.

3. When Chen Fake came to Beijing, he was invited to live and teach in Hong’s family home. Hong’s family suffered a reversal of fortune. Losing everything in WW II. Chen Fake meanwhile became famous for his teaching, and took the Hong family into his own home. Hong therefor studied indoor with Chen daily for 15 years.

4. Hong’s material status in life went even further downhill, as he was branded a “Historical Anti Revolutionary” by the Communist government, even separating him from his family and children. Yet he never wavered in his constant study, practice, and teaching of Taiji, living in Jinan.

5. Even though he was a homeless “untouchable”, destitute and without possessions, his Taiji skill brought him increasing renown, as he attracted more and more students from all over China and abroad. Even masters of other martial arts sought him out, and his students and grand students dominated in national competitions.

6. After many years teaching and gaining mastery with what he had learned from Chen Fake, Hong returned to Beijing and gained high level refinement of his developed skills, as a master in his own right, returning to gain the highest teaching from the great master at his peak also. It was at this time that he presented his great innovation to his master, gaining Chen’s blessings on his work. This was Hong’s unique contribution, to create his version of the form which contained all the postures exactly as they should be applied in applications or push hands.

7. Hong’s skill eventually attracted thousands of students and famous disciples, yet he never varied in his steadfast humble devotion to the art. He could have allowed his fame to gain him the advantages of a more comfortable life. But he retained the most simple and poor material status. He also adhered to strict principles which allowed him to maintain equanimity and good humor at all times, regardless of the stress, difficulties and injustices which faced him throughout his life. (With all the hardships, he lived to be 90, practicing his Taiji right up till the end, of course.) His one purpose was simply to carry on his master’s legacy, and advance it with his own research —- to study, perfect, structure, and teach the art to which he dedicated his life. He put it down in writing, in his classic, “Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method”

8. There are many stories recorded of Hong’s remarkable skills. He graciously accepted and successfully met all challenges, invincible even into his old age. One of these famous challenges was witnessed by Chen Zhonghua as a young man. He immediately requested to become a student, was accepted as a disciple, and now has been designated by the Hong Family as International Standard Bearer of Hong’s Practical Method of Chen Style Taiji.

There is so much to appreciate in the story of Hong’s life. It inspires us to aspire. It is great to have such a direct link to the highest standard of Chen Fake and the glorious tradition of Chen Style Taiji, with a well organized systematic structure to learn the art, with the confidence of its practical value — as “Hong’s Practical Method”.


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