This 48 minute RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) TV show on Tai-chi Chuan documents two martial arts students through three months of learning Tai-chi Chuan as a martial art. The Chen and Wu styles are highlighted.
If you aren't aware of how Tai-chi Chuan is a martial art or if you don't have much exposure to Chen style, or if you are curious about how Tai-chi Chuan is portrayed in China, then this is an interesting show.
First, a few short comments...
What I consider contestable:
- Part 1 begins with the narrator repeating the popular and polarized belief that external martial arts are hard, tough, fast, powerful and the internal martial arts are soft, meditative, and restrained with a inference that internal martial arts train with Qi.
- Most of what I see demonstrated in this TV show is "muscle movement". The techniques and applications may be from Tai-chi Chuan, but the techniques and applications are not being executed with the unique quality of "internal" connectedness. And so for me, what they are doing is not really Tai-chi Chuan.
- In the fifth part, they have practiced Tai-chi Chuan for three months and are now going to compete amongst themselves to test how much they've mastered. And as you'll see, with only three months of training and practice, they haven't mastered much at all.
What I like:
- The first lesson is learning to do zhan zhuang stance practice.
- A comment in Part 4: "The Standing Exercise and Silk-Reeling force in Chen Tai-chi Chuan are not necessarily exclusively for Tai-chi movements. When you understand the dynamics behind them, after practicing you may apply them to any movements."
- A comment in Part 5 by Prof. Yuen Keiching, speaking about Tai-chi Chuan, "It's original foundation is the same with the foundation of all martial arts."
- Another comment in Part 5, by the narrator who apparently also learned something on this journey, says, "Chinese martial arts are not defined by internal and external styles. External styles also have internal practices. Internal styles are not just about gentleness."
You can purchase the entire Hong Kong version of Kung Fu Quest DVD with English subtitles from YesAsia. "Kung Fu Quest takes viewers inside the amazing worlds of Wudang, Shaolin, Wing Chun, Hung Fists, and Taichi to see the truth about Chinese kung fu"
The Tai-chi Chuan segment as it currently appears on YouTube is presented here. These parts 1-4 are 10 minutes each and part 5 is just over eight minutes. Enjoy!
Kung Fu Quest: Tai Chi 1/5
Kung Fu Quest: Tai Chi 2/5
Kung Fu Quest: Tai Chi 3/5
Kung Fu Quest: Tai Chi 4/5
Kung Fu Quest: Tai Chi 5/5