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Wudang Master Chen ShiXing comes to Lewes

Monday, 19 April 2010
By Wolfiewolfgang

On Friday evening, an illustrious Chinaman came to visit our kung fu club, White Crane Fighting Arts in Lewes in Sussex in the United Kingdom. Master Chen ShiXing is a Wudang master from the Wudang Mountains in Hubei, central China and he was a long way from home. It was, therefore, an amazing experience to see him in action just down the road from my house when he came to see how our club’s White Crane Kungfu is practised.

It fell to me, still too ill from my brain haemorrhage to take part in the evening’s kung fu, to come along with my camera and to try to capture a small piece of the action.

Hitting shins
It began peacefully enough with the White Crane students hitting their shins with metal or bamboo to condition them for action.

Hitting shins with metal
It looks gentler than it is.

Pete enjoying it!
Pete seems to be actually enjoying it!

Matt not sure
Matt is not so sure

Chen ShiXing
Chen ShiXing stood quietly watching and impressive figure in his traditional Wudang costume and, even more impressive was his gentle charismatic aura.

Focused as a silent observer
He stood still but focused as a silent observer whilst the class continued with a series of stretches that we learnt in Fujian Province in Southern China, the home of our style of kung fu.

It was difficult to tell what he was thinking.
It was difficult to tell what he was thinking.

This is just wrong, Mike!
This is just wrong, Mike!

If he was impressed, Chen ShiXing gave no clues.
If he was impressed, Chen ShiXing gave no clues.

Ken seems to relish the pain.
Ken seems to relish the pain.

Some of these stretches are very demanding.
Some of these stretches are very demanding.

And there was added pressure in making sure that it all looked good for the visiting master.

So it was all pretty vigorous stuff.
So it was all pretty vigorous stuff.

Dog style
The stretches were followed by a demonstration of our club’s Dog Style patterns and combat techniques also learnt in Fujian Province, Southern China…

Head instructor, Neil Johnson
Leading from the front, as usual, by our head instructor, Neil Johnson.

Chen ShiXing
By Now, Chen ShiXing seemed to be enjoying himself.

He was certainly watching with real concentration.

Then it was his turn – this gentle man demonstrated one of his Wudang tai chi patterns, we are told that the Wudang Mountains was the birthplace of this style of tai chi and Chen ShiXing seemed to have this slow-moving, deeply spiritual form profoundly in his veins:

There was a palpable sense of peace and tranquillity when he brought his demonstration to a close and then, as they say, now for something completely different as Pete found out when the master showed that his style was more than capable of a sharp and accurate hit to the testicles.

He took Pete, a willing but at times surprised guinea pig, through a series of Wudang hits and defences, which soon made us all realize that this gentle man was a very formidable fighter indeed.

When it was over, you could tell just how much he too enjoyed a good fight.

Chen ShiXing is 2008 All China’s gold medal sword fighter and we were given an astounding demonstration of his skills – at times so rapid and devastating that my camera just could not keep up with him. Wudang Mountain is also one of the cradles of sword fighting so his pattern was something quite special.

It was amazing enough to have done the pattern at all but to have completed it without taking off at least some of his own fingers was beyond my powers of comprehension. My feeble attempts at the Chinese Straight Sword were more than dwarfed but he was truly inspiring and I have had a go in my garden at emulating some of his techniques – needless to say, I failed.

Group photograph

He must have enjoyed himself because when it was over, he asked to have a group photograph taken so I did my best at playing school photographer. I think everyone who was there would like to have a record of an inspiring occasion.

Article by: Wolfiewolfgang

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