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Masters of Tai Chi: Huang Xing Xian

Updated on February 16, 2012

Brief History

Huang Xing Xian was born in 1910 in the Fujian province of China. As a young teenager, he trained in Fujian White Crane and became a doctor of Chinese medicine.

Huang later went on to open a school in Shanghai where he also trained with friends from other schools of Chinese martial art, including Tai Chi Chuan. A major change for Huang came in 1947 when he moved to Taiwan, a move he made in common with many Chinese fleeing the communist takeover. In Taiwan Huang met and began to train in Tai Chi Chuan with Zheng Manqing.

In 1958 Huang moved to Singapore where he began to spread Tai Chi Chuan also establishing schools in East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia. Although known for his high level of Tai Chi, Huang also taught some of his students White Crane. Part of the reason for this may have been that Huang’s White Crane was very similar to Tai Chi Chuan but less refined and more accessible for beginners to internal training.

Huang died in 1992 having set up what has become a world wide community of Tai Chi enthusiasts.

Master Huang's Tai Chi

Master Huang's Tai Chi follows the teaching of Master Zhen Manqing, expressed in Huang's own way. The early years as a student are spent learning standing postures, Huang's 5 loosening exercises and Zhen Manqing's short form together with pushing hands. Later on a student learns Jian (straight sword), staff and the long form.

From a teaching and learning point of view the initial syllabus makes a lot of sense. The standing postures are taught in order for the student to learn how to relax and connect the body structure internally, for example sinking the tailbone draws down the shoulders. That the postures are static gives the student the opportunity to concentrate and work on feeling what is going on inside the body without the added confusion of having to move at the same time.

The next step, the 5 loosening exercises add a very controlled measure of movement so that the body awareness built up in the static postures can be taken into a more challenging, but not overwhelming, situation. Each of the 5 losening exercises also trains particular Tai Chi principles in a limited setting which gives the student an awareness of those principles that can be taken into the more complicated short form.

The standing post, loosening exercises and short form teach the student to tune into the Tai Chi principles in their own body. Pushing hands allows the student to then work with those principles when an external force is acting (or seeking to act) on their body.

Of course there is more. Master Huang's Tai Chi Chuan also includes the Long Form, straight sword (jian) and staff. However, the standing postures, loosening exercises and short form should keep you busy for the first ten years or so!

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    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 6 years ago from USA

      thanks for sharing