Writings | 文章
By Patrick A Kelly, September 2010
In remembrance of Master Huang Xingxian on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, and in response to the lifelong obligation I feel towards him as my teacher to pass on his teaching, I would like to write something of what he personally explained and taught to me some decades ago. Master Huang was both a martial artist and a Daoist. Although initially interested purely in martial arts he was gradually introduced to Daoism by his main Fujian Baihe (White Crane) teacher, Grand Master Xie Zhongxian, then later led deeper by his Taiji teacher, Grand Master Zheng Manqing.
By the time I came to know Master Huang (I began to train his system in 1973), inside he was first a Daoist and only second a martial artist. Once when sitting outside eating, late at night in Kuala Lumpur in the late 1970's, he looked up at the stars, then gesturing to the expanse of the night sky he turned to me and said, "That is the big Taiji, inside us is the small Taiji", then after a moment's pause added quietly, "Now I teach Taiji, not Taijiquan." The depth and sincerity of expression behind his words, I have never forgotten. From that time I subtitled my practice and teaching of Master Huang's methods, "Taiji – Daoist Principles in Practice". The best remembrance of Master Huang is to practice and teach as accurately as possible the subtle expression of the deep art of Taiji that he left to the world. I offer this article with that aim.
Internal Aspects of the Taiji of Master Huang Xingxian
Patrick A Kelly, 2015 上海
Master Huang Xingxian (1909-1993), born in Fujou, China, later living in Kuching, Malaysia, practiced and taught Taiji with a depth and subtlety seldom seen in recent times. I first trained his Taiji in 1973 and continued closely with him until his death 20 years later. For the benefit of those who, choose to make some effort to follow his teachings, I would like to pass on something of his teaching style and details of the most important aspects of his Taiji.
Throughout his life he constantly refined and evolved his methods – just like his teacher Grandmaster Zheng Manqing who described himself as "The Old Child who never tires of Learning". Having worked so hard to achieve his own understanding, Master Huang did not give away his methods easily, but preferred to give hints, then leaving people to succeed or fail according to their own intelligent practice. While initially suspicious of Westerners he gradually warmed to my presence, later emphasising to all that success at Taiji was completely independent of race. He strongly believed in the importance of personal effort saying, "Life is difficult and even when we become older it does not necessarily get any easier, but effort and the progress that comes from it is always fully worthwhile."
13 Questions & Answers
with Master Huang Xingxian
Q: Are there different schools or sects of Taiji?
A: Taiji embodies a comprehensive set of knowledge, developed and handed down by our learned predecessors with mystifying principles and profound philosophical learnings. The Taiji movements are scientific as the principles are based on scientific fundamentals. Our predecessors developed the art for improving health, warding off sickness, slowing the ageing process, achieving longevity and self-defense. All this benefits mankind and society. Good character formation is promoted. An adherent imbibed with the Dao (or philosophy as a way of life) of Taiji would contribute towards proper governance of the country and universal peace. Taiji is not a martial art meant for bragging and antagonistic purposes. A Taiji exponent would need to understand the principles and philosophy of Taiji. No one should deviate from these principles and philosophy. The movements can be developed and modified but the principles are eternal. The external forms may differ from person to person but the principles are standard and unvarying. Because of this there is no basis for differentiation by schools. Instead a spirit of a single family should prevail. Common interest of the art should take precedence over personal interest. An open attitude should emerge, bearing in mind the spirit of the founder and predecessors to propagate the philosophy of Taiji throughout the world so as to improve the health of mankind.
13 Questions and Answers
太极立体圈, "太极理论真传" -- 太极拳大师李雅轩（杨澄甫弟子）论立体浮沉立体圈和真正的三向循环动法
True Transmission of Taiji Principles - Taiji Vertical Circle
by Master Li Ya-Hsuan (Student of Yang Cheng-Fu), in which he argues for the vertical lifting and sinking which produces the vertical circle and the true 3 dimensional circularity of movement.
Taiji 3D Circle
杨露禅 – 现代太极之父
Father of modern Taiji – Yang Lu-Chan
Yang Lu-Chan of Guangping, is remembered as the father of Taiji. The art passed on by him was called Yang family (Yangjia) Taiji. From this sprang Wu Taiji, Sun Taiji and most other minor modern styles.
太極法說 - 楊班侯
EXPLAINING TAIJI PRINCIPLES – Yang Banhou
[circa 1875] [translation by Paul Brennan]
 八門五步用功法 Eight Gates, Five Steps
 固有分明法 Training Method for Eight Gates, Five Steps
 粘黏連隨 Innate Ability to Distinguish
 頂匾丢抗 Touch, Connect, Merge, Follow
 對待無病 Crashing In, Collapsing, Coming Away, and Resistance
 對待用功法守中土 Fighting Without Mistakes
 身形腰頂 Practicing Maintaining the Central Ground in Fighting
 太極圈 The Body's Posture – The Waist and Headtop
 太極進退不已功Taiji's Circling