The 19th edition of the Internal Fighting Arts podcast features the second part of a two-part interview with Chen Tai Chi instructor and Taoist Monk Yunrou. He became known as Arthur Rosenfeld, as a martial artist and author, but has taken on the name he was ordained with as a Taoist monk -- Yunrou.
This interview covers some interesting topics:
** The need to boost the self-defense aspects of Tai Chi.
** The problem of "having a plan" in fighting.
** The Guan Do and its relationship to Tai Chi Chuan.
** Becoming ordained as a Taoist monk.
Yunrou lives and teaches in the Pompano Beach/Boca Raton area of Florida. His website is www.monkyunrou.com.
Here is the link to listen online or download the podcast on Audello.
This video shows Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing giving a private push hands lesson to my former teacher, the late Mark Wasson, in the early 2000s.
Mark was on one of his many visits to train with the Chen family in Chenjiagou, but it was a cold winter day and in those days, the village was still without heat in most of its buildings. So Chen Xiaoxing graciously came to Mark's hotel room to train him.
Mark died in 2013 after a long battle with Crohn's Disease. He helped to popularize Chen Taiji in the United States, sponsoring or arranging sponsors for Chen Xiaoxing and others to visit the U.S. for workshops, and Mark also took several Americans to Chen Village to train.
When I studied with Mark, I sponsored Chen Xiaoxing's visa for his 2006 visit to the United States. In return, Chen Xiaoxing stayed in my home for a week and we practiced like this every day. I learned a lot and, after being thrown to the ground so many times, got a brand new perspective of my basement carpet.
This is push hands for self-defense, using the movements and energies of the form to unbalance and counter against your opponent.
I have been working for more than a year on my newest DVD on the Chen Tai Chi Laojia Yilu form. Now, it is finally done! Five hours of detailed, step-by-step instruction is now available in a 2-disc set.
For years, members of my website and customers of my Chen 19 DVD and Chen 38 DVD have asked for a DVD version of Laojia Yilu instruction. I did video lessons for the website in 2009 and 2010, but wanted to reshoot it in widescreen format for the DVD (technology has changed a little).
Laojia Yilu is considered the "essence" of Chen family Taijiquan. It means "Old Frame First Form." I began studying the form around 2000, and along the way I have had coaching from Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, and my instructors, who were students and disciples of the Chen family.
I have been teaching the form for more than a decade, but due to health setbacks along the way, it has taken me a while to decide I was ready to put it on DVD.
I had great instruction and I took a lot of notes. I hold nothing back. The instruction on these DVDs is my effort to pass it on after years of hard work. If you are a disciple of one of the Chen masters, this DVD is not intended for you. For most students of the art, I believe they will find nuggets on these DVDs that would take years to get from some instructors, if you got them at all. For only $24.99, I don't think you will find a better investment, even if it takes you just one or two baby steps forward.
Getting Laojia Yilu instruction from Chen Xiaoxing in 2005.
As usual, I put a lot of emphasis on internal body mechanics, infusing each of the movements with the ground path and peng jin, whole-body movement, silk-reeling, Dan T'ien rotation and opening/closing of the kua. I try to drive home the body mechanics with each movement. This is NOT just a DVD where the instructor shows a movement at different angles and then doesn't explain the movement in-depth.
When you look at Chen masters, each one performs a little differently than the next. Their stylistic differences make some movements appear quite different. Some are more conservative and others include more stylistic flourishes.
Regardless of who your teacher is, and how differently their movements appear, the fundamental concepts and body mechanics should be the same. Because of this, you will learn from this DVD set. And if you don't, just send it back for a refund.
You will see a front and back view of the complete form, then each movement is broken down in detail. You will also learn as I coach a student who has never learned Laojia Yilu, and you will avoid beginner mistakes as you watch me correct him in his movement and structure.
It is like going through an in-depth class with actual instruction that goes beneath the surface of the movement. There are even a few fighting applications (but the applications of Laojia Yilu are already available on my Tai Chi Fighting Applications DVDs).
As I shot and edited these DVDs, I put the videos on my website. One member who has already learned Laojia Yilu called them "a revelation," and another was stunned by the detail. That's the kind of feedback I like.
As usual, shipping is free anywhere in the world and there is an iron clad, no hassle Money Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied for any reason.
Click this button to go to a secure order page, and check out the clip below to sample part of the DVD.
Arthur Rosenfeld is an author, ordained Taoist Monk who was ordained with the name Yunrou (pronounced "Yoon-ro"), teacher and a student of Chen Taiji Master Yan Gaofei.
As Arthur Rosenfeld, he is author of more than a dozen books, including "Tai Chi: The Perfect Exercise." He has also written fiction, and his newest book, "Yin," written under the name Yunrou, is described as a "Lao Tzu love story" and will be published November 1, 2015.
This is part one of a two-part interview with Yunrou, in which he talks about the forces in his life that drove him toward the martial arts, Chen Taiji, and the philosophy of Taoism.
It will also be available on iTunes, where you can become a subscriber.
By the way, at the end of the podcast, Yunrou tells of an incident he was involved in at Starbucks, resulting in a "random act of consciousness." You can see the story that went viral by clicking this link to the NBC Nightly News report.
This video shows some historic sites in the Chen Village, in Henan Province, China -- the birthplace of Tai Chi Chuan. Among the sites is the wall where Yang Luchan watched the Chen family perform their art. Eventually, he was taught the art and then went to Beijing to create his style of Tai Chi, Yang style.
The video was taken by my former teacher, the late Mark Wasson, who went on many trips to Chenjiagou to train with the Chen family. On this visit, he was accompanied by Bill Helm of the Taoist Sanctuary in San Diego.
Mark was a pioneer, one of the early Americans to visit and train in the Chen Village. He helped bring some of the Chen family to America for the first time, including Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing.
Mark, who died in 2013, narrates this video. Chen Village has changed a bit since this was taken in the early 2000s. The government realized there was money to be made, and facilities have sprung up as tourists began coming from around the world to study the amazing art of Taijiquan.
My former Taijiquan teacher, Mark Wasson, spent a lot of time in the Chen Village training with members of the Chen family, including Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, and Chen Bing.
On one visit, the weather was bad so Chen Bing came to Mark's hotel room to practice push hands.
Mark helped spread Chen Taiji into the United States. He was one of the instructors who sponsored members of the Chen family, arranged for them to get visas, and helped them set up workshops.
I was lucky enough to be Mark's student at a time when Chen Xiaoxing made one of his first visit to the United States. I flew out to California for a day of private training with them, and I filled pages of notes on the plane during my trip home. Later, I personally sponsored Chen Xiaoxing's visa for one of his trips, and he repaid me by staying a week at my home.
Mark died in 2013 after suffering from Crohn's Disease and mental illness for many years.