Join Dayong, a CLI team member since 2009, as he learns about Master Huang’s journey into tàijíquán. While watching the video, follow along in the below transcript for the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation. You can also use this link to download a PDF containing the interview transcript and vocabulary list.
Jump to the vocabulary list.
Taijiquan Interview Transcript
Dayong (00:05 – 00:11)
Can you please briefly introduce yourself?
黄师傅 (00:12 – 00:24)
Hello everyone! My name is Huang Jian, I’m from Guilin, a learner of the thirteenth generation Chen-style Tai Chi, and am thirty-seven now. Thank you!
Dayong (00:26 – 00:35)
Master Huang, when did you begin learning Taiji?
黄师傅 (00:36 – 01:01)
I began learning Taiji around 1995, at that time CCTV broadcasted a simplified Chen-style taijiquan instructional video. I was instantly taken from the moment I saw that video. From then until 2000 I was officially looking for a Chen-style Tai Chi teacher.
Dayong (01:03 – 01:21)
China has it’s own Kung Fu culture, for example Shaolin Kung Fu, ChangQuan, and others like Wing Chun. Have you ever wondered why you didn’t choose Wing Chun, Kung Fu, or another form of martial arts?
黄师傅 (01:22 – 02:22)
I’ve been asked this question many times in the past. Personally, I believe my personality best pairs with Taiji. I enjoy it because the art of Taiji holds a great amount of Chinese culture. The components of Taiji Yin and Yang, folding, tenderness phase, rigidness, all this together with an ancient Chinese philosophy. Of course, for me personally, I prefer the slow, gentle, and full art of dance actions in Taiji. In the beginning, I was only a little interested in the art, but after a while I was hooked. It may have been because the Taiji Master series playing on TV moved me. At that moment, it was just like falling in love with a new woman, and I can’t stop practicing Taiji for a second.
Dayong (02:24 – 02:31)
Do you remember how you met your first Taiji teacher?
黄师傅 (02:32 – 03:32)
Oh, it was like this… Because of the CCTV broadcast, I began going to the library and Xinhua bookstore to take a brief look at related books. But it was much less effective for me to learn without the guidance of a teacher. So, one day on the way to work I saw an elderly person practicing Taiji in a small pavilion. I knew that it may have not been the style I was interested in, but I went over to talk with him, show him a few moves. The old man told me that my moves are from Chen-style Taiji. The old man told me there is a teacher named Liu in Guilin Xishan Park who teaches Chen-style Tai Chi, I could go learn from him. The next day I went directly to Guilin Xishan park to see this man. From then on, with the help of this new teacher, I slowly and gradually went from zero to where I am now.
Dayong (03:33 – 03:38)
Oh, how many years has it been since you began to learn Taiji?
黄师傅 (03:39 – 03:43)
It’s been almost sixteen years, from 2000 until now.
Dayong (03:45 – 04:01)
So, you met your first teacher in Xishan park. Has he had any influence on your life or your attitude?
黄师傅 (04:03 – 06:40)
This is a great question. I was very young at the time and just entering the real world. The Taiji philosophy has definitely affected the path of my life, as well as improved the way I interact with others in my professional and personal life. Before practicing Taiji, I was short-tempered and careless. But since then, my character has changed. Now, I always think twice before doing something, I am calm, I give people a very gentle feeling, one that is easy to connect with. Taiji has had a direct impact on my life. Regarding the effects to my body, I remember when I was young I didn’t focus on any of my life’s habits. At the time, I actually had a few small problems, but am a little afraid you may laugh at it … constipation. I remember my father telling me my temperature was always relatively high during the summer months. But, when I began practicing Taiji, I began sweating a lot during the summer and my stamina improved. I started to feel the improvement when I was climbing up stairs, running and hiking. I am in good condition now. After doing some research regarding Taiji, by reading related books, I found out that practicing Taiji is good for the Gastrointestinal system. The health benefits boosted my interests in Taiji, and gradually I got to where I am today.
Dayong (06:42 – 06:46)
Listening to you is really like listening to a story, I really can picture it with my own eyes.
黄师傅 (06:46 – 06:54)
This is my personal experience, there is nothing similar, nor is it fictional.
Dayong (06:54 – 07:17)
You are a teacher now. This morning you had mentioned how concentrated you were. After this video is published many people will see you practicing Taiji on the internet. What are you thinking of when you practice?
黄师傅 (07:17 – 08:57)
When you are practicing Taiji, you are also practicing inner peace. You just mentioned being concentrated. What we are really searching for is absolute silence, to have not one thought on our minds. This kind of feeling, absolute silence, is very difficult to obtain. But, we can start by thinking of just one thing, Taiji, and block out everything else. You just need to think about perfectly executing the entire Taiji routine. By keeping your thoughts on this complicated and arduous process, you can find clarity. Wholeheartedly thinking about the next move and consciously preventing mistakes, you can find clarity. Chen-style Taiji is comprised of 83 movements, in fact you really need to distinguish between around six to seven hundreds of unique movements. So, within all these movements and situations, you really need to remain focused in order to prevent from making mistakes. Staying focused is having your mindset fully on the movements, not allowing small mistakes to slip in.
In the early morning, when the air is especially clear, you can peacefully practice the Taiji movements once, twice, or even three times. This practice helps to clear your mind, gives you spirit throughout the day, and brings calm and clarity to your work.
Dayong (08:58 – 09:00)
黄师傅 (09:01 – 09:05)
Not much, this is just one small part of the benefits.
Dayong (09:07 – 09:27)
You currently practice Taiji everyday, even when the weather is bad and it’s raining, you keep the momentum up. What kind of advice would you give to elders who want to practice Taiji?
黄师傅 (09:27 – 11:04)
For elderly people who practice Taiji, most of them have different levels of Osteoporosis, their physical health is certainly poorer than the younger people who practice. But, Taiji is a traditional exercise. What are the benefits of being traditional? It won’t leave from convention. When practicing, you can act according to your personal situation. We can have people practicing in novice, intermediate, and advance levels. For example, if you are younger you may be practicing Taiji as a means of exercise, or to build strength. In this style you can squat lower, with more power. However, if you are an older person, you need to protect your knees and stand taller. You need to not get too excited and control your breathing. In this form you will still sweat and get the results you want. However, the most important thing for elderly people to be reminded of when practicing Taiji is that they should squat in proper form in order to protect their knees. They should always keep their knees from going out past their toes.
In Taiji, the form is only one part of the martial art. There are also many static movements, single static movements, that are not usually preferable. But, when the weather is poor we can stand on the sundeck and practice static movements like “Shou Jing”, “Standing like a Post (Hun Yuan Zhuang)”, clear our minds. When you are performing these movements, it can also be an extraordinary experience. There are many ways to practice Taiji.
Dayong (11:04 – 11:12)
That’s great. I know what you mean. Thank you.
黄师傅 (11:12 – 11:18)
You’re welcome. I’m very glad to speak with you about Taiji.
Dayong (11:18 – 11:19)
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||Part of Speech
||chén shì tàijíquán
||Chen Style Tai Chi
||come into contact with; get in touch with
||to give rise to; bring about;
||Shaolin Martial Art
||Longfist Martial Art
||Wing Chun Martial Art
||two opposing principles in nature, positive & negative
||slow, soft and graceful
||yí shùn jiān
||a split second
||yī fà bùkě shōushí
||things that have happened can hardly be controlled
||get twice the result with half the effort
||to venture out into society for first time
||rénshēng de guǐjī
||one’s life philosophy
||one’s attitude towards life
||come into contact with; have dealings with
||máo mao zào zào
||sānsī érhòu xíng
||think thrice before you act; look before you leap
||bùpà nǐ jiànxiào
||not afraid of making a fool of oneself
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