5.a.xxvii.-gaining-the-skills-part-d Section

Gaining the Skills of Taijiquan

Part D: Training In Level 2

The Second Level of Chen Style Taijiquan Gong Fu

written by Nick Gudge - May 2012

1. The transition to Level 2
2. Training in Level 2
3. Qi development and qi sensations in Level 2
4. Martial ability in Level 2
5. My personal experience of Level 2
6. Some numbers

Part E. Beyond the Second Level

7. The Transition to Level 3
8. Afterword

Part D

The Second Level of Taijquan Gong Fu

1. The Transition to Level 2

By the time the student begins transitioning into Level 2 they will have completed a substantial amount of training, perhaps as many as 10,000 foundation (yilu) forms. (This number is not prescriptive, it is a very rough guide. For a student seeing their teacher every day and training at least 10 forms every day perhaps 6,000 to 8,000 might be sufficient. ) To reach the start of Level 2 a student will have had to practice consistently and under the correction of a good teacher for at least a few years. In modern days this is more likely to be more than 10 years. Towards the end of Level 1 as the student transitions into Level 2 an increase in practice is recommended.

Chen Xiao Wang says “The second level begins with the last stage of the first level, when the student is able to perceive the flow of internal energy.” CS “After acquiring the first level of gong fu, one should be able to practise with ease according to the preliminary requirements of the movements. The student is able to feel the movement of internal energy. However, the student may not be able to control the flow of qi in the body.” TP Also “However, at the transition from the first to the second level, you will feel that you are not making progress at all. Your qi moves sometimes and not at other times. When you express energy (fa jing) in a punch, you may make a snapping sound, but when you try to do the same in push- hands, nothing seems to work. At this stage, it is easy to feel discouraged or frustrated, and you may even give up. A strong determination and persistence is required. What you need to do is re-examine your form; go back to basic principles.” CC

He comments that “Generally we can say that most people are able to reach the second level of taiji gong fu within four years.” JS (NB. Personally I find this statement quite optimistic but then he says “are able to reach” and not “do reach.” It is difficult to know if this is a problem of translation or culture.)

2. Training in Level 2

Training in Level 2 is a long and arduous process. Having reached a sustainable, consistent and substantial daily training regime, of a minimum of two hours per day, the student must push up the long slope to improving their gong fu. The correction process become more subtle and each correction once understood by the mind must be practiced into the body.

The different high level teachers who have spoken about this stage of training provide different insights into the process. The ability of most people to understand either the requirements or the commentary about the process is more limited. As the understanding of the requirements becomes embedded in the student’s body the language appears more esoteric although in fact it is simply an appropriate way to describe the process. The use of terms like dantian and qi become unavoidable. The subtle adjustments of the body cannot be described in an unambiguous way.

For example Chen Zheng Lei talks about “Combining form and energy, like a circle with no end” and “Reciprocally connected movement of the whole body, the unity of internal and external.” CL Chen Xiao Wang also talks about “to gain unity of the internal with the external” CC

Chen Zheng Lei advises “in the present (second) level, it is not permitted to use the solution of adjusting body mechanics to resolve defects or contradictions. This level requires that the whole body be reciprocally connected (xiang sui), using internal energy to drive the external form. If the qi is not there, the external form doesn't move; if the qi is there, the external form moves according to the internal energy. Use the mind to move the qi, use the qi to move the body. In each and every move and posture, the qi arises from the dantian. Internally, it moves throughout the internal organs and the bones of the body; externally, it moves along the skin and fine hairs. It moves throughout the whole body and then returns to the dantian, spiralling back and forth, circling at will.

“The core of the movements is "chan si jin" (twining silk energy), using qi as the overall "driver", forming a comprehensive system of movement. Chan si jin originates from the kidneys (shen) and arises from the dantian, spreading throughout the whole body. Each part of your body always has some, filling your four limbs to overflowing, soaking into the "hundred bones" of your body, reaching the ends of your four extremities and penetrating nine important points (jiu qiao). This increases your internal energy without limit, causing the internal energy to be infused into your bones, stretching your tendons and strengthening your bones. The internal energy and blood flow freely, aiding digestion of food and drink, curing disease and extending one's years. These are all beneficial results of working on "twining silk" internal energy. Twining silk internal energy is the essence of Chen style taijiquan.

“During this level, in addition to maintaining daily practice of the forms and sets, you can combine this with the practice of push hands, thus realizing the distinct energies of "adhere to, connect, stick to, and follow" (zhan lian nian sui), and, "ward-off, roll-back, press, and push" (peng lu ji an), testing whether or not your forms' movements are correct. You can also add the practice of several sets of "Pao chui", in order to strengthen your stamina and explosive power. You can practice broadsword (dao), spear (qiang), double-edge sword (jian), and staff (gun) in order to test the coordina­tion of the hand, eyes, body, and step. Therefore, causing your practice of Taijiquan to be a process bringing about unity of internal and external, and the whole body interconnected. You practice without having to think too deeply about it, and without having doubts or unanticipated results; grasping completely Taijiquan's requirements and rules of movement.” CL

Chen Xiao Wang offers some observations about the focus of Level 2 training. “The second level of kung fu involves further reducing shortcomings such as: stiff force/jin produced while practising taijiquan; over- and under-exertion of force as well as movements which are not well coordinated. This is to ensure that the internal energy/qi will move systematically in the body in accordance with the requirements of each movement. Eventually, this should result in smooth flowing of qi in the body and good coordination of internal qi with external movements.” TP He offers some similar practical suggestions as Chen Zheng Lei as to how to start training in Level 2. “At this level, you will begin to feel the movement of the intrinsic qi. Keep practicing the form to gain more fluidity and smoothness of movement. Do not bob up and down. Keep an even height of posture throughout. Although you are now able to feel the intrinsic qi, you are not yet able to direct it. There are two reasons for this.

“First, your qi is uncoordinated and your posture is not quite right. You still do not understand the sub­tler details. For example, in trying to hollow the chest, you collapse it too much, or in trying to keep the waist supple, you make it too loose. Or you may stick your buttocks out too far and push your chest forward. Your posture will need to be adjusted in order for you to gain proper coordination of the body and eliminate all contradictions of purpose, to gain unity of the internal with the external.

“Internal harmony means that the heart unites with the mind, the qi with the strength, and the sinews with the bones. External harmony means that the hand is coordinated with the feet, the elbow with the knee, and the shoulder with the hips. It is only then that the external is unified with the internal, where the open exists within the closed, and the closed exists within the open.

“The second reason is that you may be doing the form either too fast, so that you lose the smoothness of the movement, or too slowly, so that your move­ments become disjointed.” CC

“At this stage, the "reeling silk" exercise is very important, and you should use the technique in your movements. The Classics say, "In 'reeling silk' the qi originates from the waist, permeates everywhere, and is ever present."

“To do "reeling silk" properly, first relax the shoul­ders, sink the elbows, hollow the chest, drop the waist, open the groin, and bend the knees. Start with the hand at the dantian. The hand leads the elbow, the elbow leads the shoulder, the shoulder leads the waist. On the return cycle, the waist acti­vates the shoulder, the shoulder activates the elbow, and the elbow activates the hand. On the upper hall of the body, the wrist is coordinated with the trunk, and on the lower half, the ankles turn the legs. The body is like a tree—the roots represent the legs, the tree trunk the body, and the branches and leaves the arms and fingers. The qi circulates from the roots to the trunk and then to the leaves and then retraces its path to the roots again.

“During the first level, you will feel that you are making rapid progress. However, at the transition from the first to the second level, you will feel that you are not making progress at all. Your qi moves sometimes and not at other times. When you express energy (fa jing) in a punch, you may make a snapping sound, but when you try to do the same in push- hands, nothing seems to work.

“At this stage, it is easy to feel discouraged or frustrated, and you may even give up. A strong determination and persistence is required. What you need to do is re-examine your form; go back to basic principles. Correct your posture, and move the whole body as a unit. When one part of the body moves, the whole body moves. There is no excess or deficiency; flow with the changes, and rotate and move naturally.” CC

Also “in entering the second level of gong fu, the student may feel there is nothing new to learn and at the same time misunderstand certain important points. The student may not have mastered these main points accurately and thus find that their movements are awkward. Or, on the other hand, the student may find that he or she can practise the quan smoothly and express force with much vigour but cannot apply them while doing push-hands. Because of this, one may soon feel bored, lose confidence and may give up altogether. The only way to reach the stage where one can: produce the right amount of force, not too hard and not too soft; can change actions at will; and can turn smoothly with ease, is to be persistent and strictly adhere to principles. One has to train hard in the form so that the body movements are well co-ordinated, and with 'one single movement can activate movements in every part of the body', thus establishing a complete system of movements.” TP

This process takes many years. When Chen Xiao Wang and Chen Zheng Lei completed this stage in their early thirties, this was five years after the death of their exceptionally dedicated teacher Chen Zhao Pei, with whom they spent 16 years training.

3. Qi Development and Qi Sensations in Level 2

In Level 2 as consistency and duration of practice begin to reap rewards of improving skill, it becomes easier to feel the movement of qi in the body. At the beginning of Level 2 the hands feels full at the conclusion of more of the postures. It is easier for the student to recall the corrections that improve “qi flow” and the sensations can become very strong. Qi sensations appear in the arms, the top of the head and back.

Chen Xiao Wang address this very directly in many occasions in his interviews. “The Taijiquan Classic mentioned that 'yi and qi are more superior than the forms' meaning that while practising taijiquan one should place emphasis on using yi (consciousness). In the first level of gong fu, one's mind and concentration are mainly on learning and mastering of the external forms of taijiquan. While in the second level of gong fu, one should concentrate on detecting conflicts/ coordination of limbs and body and of internal and external movements. One should adjust body and forms to ensure a smooth flow of the internal energy.” TP

Chen Xiao Wang very clearly offers some easily understood directions if the student has reached the second level. “The student is able to feel the movement of internal energy. However, the student may not be able to control the flow of qi in the body. There are two reasons for this: firstly, the student has not mastered accurately the specific requirements on each part of the body and their coordination. As an example, if the chest is relaxed downward too much, the waist and back may not be straight, or if the waist is too relaxed then the chest and rear may protrude. As such, one must further strictly ensure that the requirements on each part of the body should be resolved so that they move in unison. This will enable the whole body to close or unite in a coordinated manner (which means coordinated internal and external closing/union.

“Internal closing implies coordinated union of heart and mind, of internal energy and force, tendons and bones. External closing/union of movements implies coordinated closing of hands with legs, elbows with knees, shoulders with hips). Simultaneously, there should be an equal and opposite closing movement of another part of the body and vice versa. Opening and closing movements come together and complement each other. Secondly, while practising one may find it hard to control different parts of the body all at once. This means one part of the body may move faster than the rest and result in over-exertion of force; or a certain part may move too slowly or without enough force, thus resulting in a under-exertion of force.” TP

With improving awareness the lower abdomen area (the waist) is loosened more frequently and a feeling of fullness grows in the lower abdomen. As the student progresses through Level 2 these sensations become more constant and the next stage is to sink the qi to the dantian (qi chen dantian.) The mind returns to the dantian at the end of each posture initially and this sensations grows. With time and considerable practice a part of the mind is always in the dantian. By now the student will be about half way through Level 2.

The next stage is to sink the qi to the feet or the yong quan. I have not managed to do this so I cannot talk about it. Wang Hai Jun assures me that when it happens it will be very obvious. Wang Xian says simply “the purpose of form practice is to ‘get energy to reach the tips of the four limbs’ where ‘qi links the san dian (three dan tians) and reaches the yong quan point (in the middle of the foot.) In this way the movements gradually become agile and flexible.” As Chen Xin says, “As for the essence of taiji, it consists of the sudden, quiet realisation of the way of qi circulation” CX

Chen Zheng Lei says that “By practicing and making progress in this way for a while, the internal energy will just naturally flow unobstructed. You will also slowly overcome the stiff energy (jiang jin) and brute force (zhuo li), gradually reaching a state of the whole body interlinked, continuous and unbroken movement, internal energy in accord with the demands of the barehanded boxing forms.” CL

4. Martial Ability in Level 2

Chen Zheng Lei say “two yin and eight yang, shi san shou. Here, you have loosened a little more, and your root is a little more stable, it is more difficult to be pushed down. This may not nec­essarily be a good thing. When you are not easily pushed down, and your opponent is also not easily pushed down, a certain resist­ance is built, then "you push me, I push you." It is easy for the two of you to end up wrestling with each other.”

Chen Xiao Wang offers “The problem at this level is that you may find it difficult to attain perfect coordination; your opponent can use this weakness to defeat you. An opponent can also lead you into a weak position and then defeat you. You may use too much or too little force. You may not sink your energy enough. Because you still cannot deflect your opponent's energy, you tend to use force against force. You may need to step back, you may lose your balance easily or may hang on to your opponent when pushed. Generally your movements are not crisp and clean. This level is two yin and eight yang—still incomplete and uncoordinated.” CC

On another occasion he states “Push-hands and practicing taijiquan are inseparable. Whatever shortcomings one has in his quan form will show up as weaknesses during push-hands and thus giving the opponent an opportunity to take advantage of them. Because of this, in practicing taijiquan every part of one's body must be well coordinated with the rest, there shouldn't be any unnecessary movement. Push-hands requires warding-off, grabbing, squeezing and pressing to be carried out so precisely, so that the upper and lower bodies move in co-ordination and it is thus difficult for opponents to attack[. As the saying goes: 'No matter how great is the force on me, I should mobilise four ounces of strength to deflect one thousand pounds of force'.

“The second level of gong fu aims at achieving smooth flowing of qi in the body by correcting the postures so as to reach the stage when qi should penetrate the whole body passing through every joint as if it (qi) is sequentially linked. However, the process of adjusting the postures involves making unnecessary or uncoordinated movements. Therefore, at this stage, one is unable to apply the martial skill at will during push-hands. The opponent will concentrate on looking for these weaknesses or he or she may win by surprising one into committing all the errors like over-exerting, collapsing, throwing-off and confronting of force. During push-hands, the opponent's advance will not allow one to have time to adjust one's movements. The opponent will make use of one's weak point to attack so that one will lose balance or will be forced to step back to ward off the advancing force. Nevertheless, if the opponent advances with less force and in a slower manner, there may be time or opportunity to make adjustments and one may be able to ward off the attack in a more satisfactory manner.

“Drawing from the above discussion, for the second level of gong fu, whether one is attacking or blocking-off an attack, much effort is needed. Very often, it will be an advantage to make the first move, the one who moves last will be at an disadvantage. At this level, one is unable to 'forget' oneself but 'play along with' the opponent (ie. not to attack but to yield to the opponent's movement); unable to grasp an opportunity to respond to change. One may be able to move and ward off an attack but may easily commit errors like throwing-off or collapsing and over-exerting or confronting force. Because of these, during push-hands, one cannot move according to the sequence of warding-off, grabbing, pressing and pushing down. A person with this level of skill is described as '20% yin, 80% yang: an undisciplined new hand’.” TP

5. My Personal Experiences in Level 2

I clearly recall the breakfast conversation I had with my teacher Wang Hai Jun when he said that I had now entered Level 2. I had no idea what he was talking about. I do recall him saying in the same conversation that almost no one gets out of Level 2. I think this was in early 2007.

I was already training more intensively and for longer periods. However my training was still not concentrated enough and my mind still wandered, so much of my training was less efficient than it might have been. I would regularly train for two hours each day and sometimes as much as fours hours on top of my teaching hours. Sometimes I would train 10 laojia yilu in a single training session. This was my own personal training. Wang Hai Jun told me very clearly that time spend teaching cannot be considered as time spent training.

In 2011 I made a conscious decision to dedicate the month of August to training. I began in February with around 10 laojia yilu, (taking about 2.25 hours,) and slowly increased my training to 30 laojia yilu (taking about 6 hours over 3 or 4 training sessions each day.) During the summer there was the opportunity to spend 3 weeks training with my teacher in residential training, in one day training 9 hours in total. Unfortunately a few days into August, having come home to a sick partner and three sick children, I succumbed myself and had to spend a week in bed! Nevertheless the experience was very interesting. It helped me realise what might be possible if someone was willing to train 4 to 6 hours each day for an extended period. My teacher commented at the last camp that he could see the effects of my “short period of hard training.”

The pattern and speed of my training has changed under instruction from Wang Hai Jun. There have been periods where he has instructed me to slow down my form and other times when he has told me to speed up my form. My general pattern of practice was to do a ‘warm up’ form of around 12-13 minutes, then a slower form concentrating on silk-reeling of about 14-15 minutes. Then a slower third form of around 16-18 minutes , concentrating on loosening my joints, sinking and extending: looking to follow my qi to my finger tips then returning to the dantian. These feeling would be very clear particularly after a couple of years in Level 2 and my fourth form would try and achieve the same end but at a speed of around 12 minutes. (Wang Hai Jun said that 12 minutes was a good ‘normal’ speed for a form.) My fifth form (usually my last form) was fast, typically 8-9 minutes, trying to stay loose and sinking while moving more quickly. Sometimes I would do a laojia erlu (cannon fist) if I was pressed for time.

More recently I have changed to simply doing slower forms, between 15 and 20 minutes each. My qi extends to my finger tips and returns to my dantian in the opening posture now and I concentrate on smoothing this flow and trying to fill my dantian that it might “overflow - clearing all blockages.)

I had the opportunity for frequent conversations with my teacher to try and comprehend the theory and process of improving my gong fu. I suspect that most of my questions were irrelevant. Many times I was (and still am) distracted by my interest and fail to pay attention to where he has tried to direct my attention. Sometimes months or even a year after my Wang Hai Jun had tried to get me to understand something, I reach some understanding of what he was saying to me or how he was correcting me.

I have tried writing about the many specific correction Wang Hai Jun made to my body. These attempts have always left me very ambivalent about trying to describe this process in words. The feedback in the body, (usually a significant and often overwhelming additional workload in the legs or an increase in qi sensation or a qi sensation in a new place) which has allowed my mind to grasp are an integral part of the process and are themselves ambiguous and ethereal. A reader can read my written efforts elsewhere, for example in an article entitled ‘Beyond Song Kua’.

The following more technical points are offered more as an attempt to get them into writing in English perhaps for the first time. The only hope a student has to grasp and understand these is with the assistance of a good teacher. The hands on corrections required to reach an understanding of them cannot be found by the student alone. Even with the assistance of a good teacher they are still difficult to grasp and I suspect only the most natural of students will be able to grasp them on first showing. My experience was that I needed to be shown them repeatedly, over many years as I slowly crawled towards an understanding of them.

My hope is that these descriptions or comments might help when a student hears their teacher say something in Chinese and they might recognise what is being said that small bit earlier for having read this.

In Level 2 the technical efforts of the student will be directed towards:
1. forming the dang more correctly
  a. the hips
     i. loosening more
     ii. opening more
     iii. ability to rotate them down and back
  b. moving the dang - dang zhou xia hu & dang zhou hou hu
2. closing the waist in gathering
3. closing the body to pick up the leg
4. loosening the waist (and hips) sufficiently for the dantien to become mobile
5. moving from the dantien
6. leading the qi out to the extremities and then back to the dantien

There are undoubtedly other. They will depend on the progress made by the student which itself is dependent on the degree and quality of practice put in and the calibre of the teacher. The technical issues outline above are co-dependent: when one part improves the student comes closer to improving the other parts. (It is likely that these particular points stick in my mind in some part because of my personal habits and inabilities. For someone else it will be different to a greater or lesser degree.)

My teacher says I am now in the upper half of Level 2. My perception of my own taijiquan and my own gong fu is that, while my skill has increased and I can do things now that I could not do just a few months and years ago, the more I practice the more flaws I become aware of and that there is so much more I need to figure out in my body. Most of what I previously understood taijiquan to be was in reality a poorly drawn sketch. I know much less than I thought I did to the degree that I question the value of both my current understanding and my writing. My silk reeling is still flawed, my body posture, particularly my hips, still need frequent correction.

Qi sensation and Circulation
For me, one of the major advances in Level 2 is the unambiguous and undeniable sensations of qi circulation. My qi circulates to my hands and returns to my dantien and I feel this movement most of the time but sometimes it is still missing. In a few postures the sensation of qi still commonly disappears. With the correction of my teacher there is a sudden very strong feeling in my body, coupled with a significant increase in work load to the legs. Wang Hai Jun on several occasions has called this “filling the legs out”.

Push Hands and Martial Ability
My martial ability and confidence have improved but I feel like soft putty in teacher’s hands when I push hands with him. With all other it has become much easier and clearer to ‘hear’ where and when my partner’s peng is gone and to utilise this to my advantage. It is like their body tells me what to do and where to do it. If I think about it this skill it diminished but if I just stick and follow, it becomes clearer and more apparent. Attract to emptiness has become almost ingrained, aligning my jin to put my partner at a disadvantage with a light touch and using their force to lead them into off balanced positions.

It feels like I never practice sufficiently and that my practice is not sufficiently focussed. The distractions of my mind become more apparent and the connection between these distractions and my inability to concentrate and circulate my qi are clearer and clearer. My body is always tired but the feeling inside me is uplifting once I begin to practice well. There are also different ways to practice any particular posture depending on what error or deficiency the teacher sees. I am not talking about style here, but on emphasis to provide a better balanced set of shen fa. I recall Wang Hai Jun specifically “This posture looks good. Now do it this way.”

6. Some numbers

When pressed, Wang Hai Jun guessed off hand that there were between 3,000 and 5,000 Level Two practitioners worldwide. In conversation over breakfast several years ago he commented that few people get into Level Two and almost no-one graduates beyond it. During a few dinner conversations Wang Hai Jun estimated that there are perhaps 50-150 Level 3 practitioner’s (including himself.) While I would not hold him to these specific numbers (they were just informal guesses over a meal,) they do give a general idea. This might equate to the number of people in a sports like football (soccer) who might compete at the highest level of the game, in the premier league of the countries that might compete in the world cup. Yet the martial ability of those in the middle of Level 2 is still not considered significant.

Part E

Beyond Level 2

7. The Transition to Level 3

I have not reached Level 3 so I have no personal insight in this area. However I will provide the comments and details of my teacher and other who have reached Level 3.

When I asked him (several years ago) about what happens when a student reaches Level 3 and how would they know, Wang Hai Jun said “You will know! It is very clear and there will be no doubt.”

Chen Xin states “As for the essence of taiji, it consists of the sudden, quiet realisation of the way of qi circulation” CX (page183) and “The principles of Taiji concern only the mechanisms of qi.” (page 593.)

Chen Xiao Wang said something similar “When one reaches the state of being able to experience a smooth flow of qi in the body, one would suddenly understand it (the command of qi) all.” TP.

Chen Zheng Lei says “After another period of more practice and more corrections by the teacher, your body is more aligned, more relaxed and loose, more united, more connected, more nimble. You achieve a certain amount of feeling of qi, your internal qi is able to con­nect your body, you then achieve another part of rou, and now you have three rou and seven gang. This is the three yin and seven yang, you jue ying. At this stage when you push hands, you are able to send the other per­son off, push him down, but this is not done as easily as you intended. You feel that you are still using some brute strength.”

“Some people feel the dantian filling up with qi and think they have reached a high level state of practice. But this represents a second level, not the highest level. In the next level, qi will flow down into your legs. It is extremely difficult for the qi to be able to sink down to the legs. It is difficult because once you have the dantian filling with qi, the obstacle is to get the qi to flow through the gateways into the legs. It goes through the gateways of the kua. Unless your qi is full and clear enough, you will not have enough qi to move through to the next gateway. At each stage, such as filling the dantian with qi, unless your qi is full and clear, it will not pass through the kua, nor through the knee joints. Each stage of training requires very hard work.” Chen Zheng Lei - CO - page 7

Chen Xiao Wang says “When progressing into the third level gong fu, one should already have the internal energy flowing smoothly: what is required is yi and not brute force. The movements should be light but not 'floating', heavy but not clumsy. This implies that the movements should appear to be soft but the internal force is actually strong/sturdy, or there is strong force implied in the soft movements, and the whole body should be well-coordinated and there should not be any irregular movements. However, one should not just pay attention to the movement of qi in the body and neglect the external actions. Otherwise, one would appear to be in a daze and as a result, the flow of internal qi may not only be obstructed but may be dispersed. Therefore, as stated in the Taijiquan Classics, 'attention should be on the spirit and not just qi, with too much emphasis on qi there will be stagnation (of qi)'.

“One may have mastered the external forms between the first and second level gong fu, but he may not have attained co-ordination of the external with internal movements. Sometimes, due to stiffness or stagnation of the actions, full breathing-in is not possible. On the other hand, without proper co-ordination of the internal and external movements, it is not possible to empty one's breath completely. Thus, when practising quan one should breathe naturally.” TP


This article started as something much shorter and has grown beyond my initial estimation despite restraint to remain within my writing objective.

I welcome any corrections, comments, observations or references that will help me improve it.


AY – ‘The Study of Taijiquan’ by Chen Zheng Lei, translated by Alex Yao
This material first ap­peared in the April 2007 edition of Tai Chi Magasine

CC – ‘Master Chen Xiao Wang's Five Levels of Skill in Tai Chi Training’, translated by Howard Choy and Ahtee Chia.
This material first ap­peared in the May 1992 edition of Inside Kung-Fu magazine

CL – ‘Method and Progression’ by Chen Zheng Lei originally found on his old website.
(This article was re-edited by Nick Gudge to correct grammar, syntax and spelling.)

CN – ‘How to Practice Taijiquan Well’ by Chen Zheng Lei originally found on his old website.
(This article was re-edited by Nick Gudge to correct grammar, syntax and spelling.)

CO - Chen Zheng Lei on Mind Intent as Unifying Principle: an interview with Chen Zheng Lei conducted by Marvin Smalheiser, in Tai Chi Magazine, translated by C.P. Ong

CS – ‘The Five Levels of Taijiquan’ by Chen Xiao Wang with commentary by Jan Silberstorff
Originally published in German in 2006, commentary translated by Christina Schultz in 2012.
n.b. The words of Chen Xiao Wang are an exact copy of those found in JS above.

CW – ‘A Discussion with Chen Xiao Wang’ by Chen Xiao Wang - found on the web.

CX – ‘The illustrated Canon of Chen Family Taijiquan’ by Chen Xin – translated by Alex Goldstein, 2007

DG – ‘The Six Stages of Learning Taijiquan” by Wang Hai Jun, written by David Gaffney and published in the British Tai Chi Union Magazine in 2009

DL – Zhu Tian Cai on ‘Chen Style Training Methods’ By Marvin Smalheiser Dan Lee was the translator for the interview. This material first ap­peared in Tai Chi Magasine

GS – ‘The Essence of Taijiquan’ by Davidine Sim and David Gaffney 2009

N1 – ‘Qi’ compiled by Nick Gudge

N2 – ‘Commentary on Training with Wang Hai Jun’s Silk reeling Exercises’ by Nick Gudge

N3 – ‘A Good Teacher’, ‘Good Understanding’ and ‘Good Practice’ by Nick Gudge

JS – ‘The Five Levels of Evolution (Gongfu) in Taijiquan’ by Chen Xiao Wang, Chapter 18 in ‘Chen: Living taijiquan in the classical style’ by Jan Silberstorff published in German in 2003 then translated by Michael Vorwerk and republished in 2009 pp256-269

TP – ‘The Five Levels of Skill in Chen Style Taijiquan’ by Chen Xiao Wang,
Translated by Tan Lee-Peng. This can be found at http://www.shou-yi.org/taijiquan/5-levels-of-skill-in-chen-taijiquan

SG – ‘The Five Levels of Taijiquan’ by Chen Xiao Wang in ‘Chen Style: the Source of taijiquan’ by Davidine Sim and David Gaffney 2001

WH – ‘The Five Most Important Skills for Beginners’ by Wang Hai Jun, written by Nick Gudge
published in the British Tai Chi Union Magazine in 2010 & 2011 in 3 parts.

WX – ‘Chen Family Taijiquan Tuishou’ by Wang Xi’an,
originally published in 1998 then translated into English by Zhang Yanping in 2009


Nick Gudge is a student of Wang Hai Jun and teaches Chen style taijiquan (tai chi) classes in Limerick.