Being the founder of the Hong's school of Tai Ji Quan (shadow boxing), Master Hong Junsheng had passed away ten years ago. As one of his earliest students, I was urged by my inner vocation to write this article in memory of him.
Master Hong became one of the apprentices of the great Master Chen fa-ke in BeiJing in 1930. In the following 15 years, Master Hong did in-depth research into his Kuan-fu field and took pains in drilling. His hard effort paid off when he finally acquired the mastery and gain the essence of Tai Ji Quan. With both civil and military talents, he went to Jinan (a city in Shandong Province, China) to make a living in 1944. His career in learning and teaching the Quan completely required scientific experiments and void of impulsive feelings with profound knowledge, proficient practicing skills, lofty moral of martial arts and innovation having him a great Tai Ji Master of his generation as well.
Succeeding to and evolving from the Tai Ji theories studying founded by his predecessors, Master Hong had developed his own style of martial theory. He was due being recognized as a great Tai Ji master in his Age. His martial theory owns an evident mark of the time since it is a combination of traditional Chinese philosophy and modem western scientific theories.
As early as in 1950, Master Hong had applied the opposite unification theory of materialistic dialectics to explain the principle of Tai Ji Quan. As he explained, the theory of the Quan is based on the principle from Yi Jing (Book of Changes) that the masculine and feminine factors are interconvertible. This principle could be better understood being considered in the framework of Tai Ji ball. The central section from the ball is called Tai Ji Picture, which could illustrate the configuration of the ball. In the Tai Ji picture, there is an image that a black feminine fish is embracing a white masculine one, with one's head connected by the other's tail. It implies a harmony between relative independence and mutual coexistence. Likewise, there are masculine and feminine interconvertions in the form of opposite unification existing during the whole process in practicing the Quan or in real fighting. There are three analogies given to clarify the point. Suppose a practitioner is being a big Tai Ji ball, his body would contain numerous small balls in his limbs and other bones all associated and independent, connecting one another successively in a few different systems. Under the command of the big Tai Ji ball, the small balls of different systems would move at the same time in a certain orbit once the big one revolves. Master Hong also explained that there is also an axes lies in one's physical body, and a principle axis connecting Bai Hui Xue (an acupoint located at the top of one's head) with Hui Yin Xue (an acupoint located in one's private parts) that could be visualized during the movement of the body. As a human being is erectly a standing animal, he surely sets the criteria of erection movement in practicing Tai Ji Quan. The principle axis must be vertical to the groun without any incline. To do this, one should let his tailbone stretch outward slightly in order to keep his bottom from being projecting or contracted.
As mentioned above, the body of a practitioner is like being composed by numerous small Tai Ji balls, these small balls would move in spiral. Moving in spiral is the basic principle in practicing Tai Ji Quan, which produces leverage Practicing Tai Ji Quan is tantamount to using two weighbridges, what the Xia Pan (the lower part of one's body) is like a balance, knee is to poise; while arms seem to be somewhat steelyard, hands are being a sliding weight, and the back neck in the principle axis is seeming the fulcrum of the two weighbridges. Drooping knees equals to adding poises while stretching arms equals to lengthening the arm of force and Vice versa. Hands could be used flexibly in the leverage. The overall rule is, lighten strength when the opponent strike hard, leading him to go by the board; and when the opponent strikes with lightening force, then counterpunch with added strength.
Master Hong enjoyed a wide-spread popularity in the world of martial arts both home and abroad. During a national Tai Ji Quan seminar in Shanghai in 1982, Fu Zhongwen, Gu Liuxin, He Fusheng and Feng Zhiqing compared notes with my teacher, Master Hong. Afterwards, they credited my teacher's proficient mastery of Tai Ji and diversity in practicing techniques, acclaiming as the peak of perfection. In the sodality of Chen Style Tai Ji Quan held in Jinan at the New Year’s Eve last year, Master Feng said, "My fellow Master Hong's lofty martial moral and exquisite techniques should be learned well and carried forward", with his earnest sincerity flowing over his words. The director of Japanese Tai Ji Quan Association Zeng Wo Zhonghong once wrote in an article, "we can feel that be has the incredibly elegant bearing of martial arts and, he bears profound mysteries of human on earth just like a marvelous philosopher." "When Master Hong smashed his opponent, the accuracy of his hands' movement can be exact to millimeter, thus we all call his hands as magic ones. Some Japanese fellow friends wide spread his fist-applying method, crowning him as an Oriental Tai Ji Giant.