Grandmaster Zheng Xian Qi and the Custom of Huang Type T’ai Chi Ch’uan


This publish is an interview performed in 2006 with Grandmaster Zheng
Xian Qi by my former classmate/inner martial arts trainer/author Heron
Beecham. This was initially written with a view to publishing in Tai Chi
Worldwide Journal however was thought-about to be a bit too quick on the time.

You may discover it attention-grabbing and there may be good recommendation regardless
of the type you practise. I imagine Grandmaster Zheng Xian Qi handed away in

Grandmaster Zheng Xian Qi and the Custom of Huang Type T’ai
Chi Ch’uan


Every morning in Taipei’s 2-28 Memorial Park, Grasp Zheng Xian
Qi (Jeng Shean Chih 
鄭顯氣), a quietly spoken
Fujianese man in his mid-eighties, continues the custom of Huang type T’ai
Chi Ch’uan, a variant of Yang type created by Huang Xing Xian (
黃性), Cheng Man Ching’s well-known ‘Malaysian pupil’* who
taught in Taiwan and South East Asia.


Huang Xing Xian (1910-1992) was identified all through Asia for his
inner energy (previous video
 footage reveals him uprooting
college students through fluorescent gentle strips as proof that he wasn’t utilizing pressure), and
he was already a grasp of White Crane Boxing previous to finding out with Cheng Man
Ching. Huang subsequently mixed  White Crane and T’ai Chi to create his
personal distinctive mix.


Zheng Xian Qi, a nationwide pushing fingers champion, and a
practitioner of White Crane Boxing himself previous to leaving the Mainland, was
Huang’s solely formal disciple in Taiwan – in addition to a junior pupil of
Cheng’s. Despite his superior years, he’s identified on the island for his
abilities in tui shou and his capability to topple college students much less
than half his age. 


Grasp Zheng is amongst the final of the previous mainland boxers who
moved to Taiwan on the shut of the Chinese language Civil Battle, and he is among the few
masters nonetheless educating conventional Chinese language gongfu based mostly on
non-forceful strategies. Earlier this 12 months, I had an opportunity to interview him:


Heron Beecham: Grasp Zheng, when did you first start finding out Chinese language
martial arts?


Zheng Xian Qi: I started finding out gongfu after I was eighteen.
At the moment I used to be nonetheless in China, in Fujian Province. My first type was White
Crane Boxing (Baihe Quan), by which I’ve had three totally different lecturers. I then
got here to Taiwan through the civil warfare the place I began studying T’ai Chi Ch’uan.


HB: What initiated your
curiosity within the martial arts?


ZXQ: In China, earlier than we
had tv, we used to have conventional storytellers who would go from
place to position telling wushu tales. Listening to these
tales sparked an curiosity. I additionally noticed many alternative individuals coaching from an
early age and I used to be actually impressed by them.


HB: What totally different types
do you apply?


ZXQ: I apply Yang type
T’ai Chi and two types of White Crane, one in all which incorporates Lohan Quan (Monk


HB: Are you able to discuss a little bit
concerning the types you train? 


ZXQ: There are 4 types
of White Crane Boxing: Fei He (Hovering Crane); Ming He (Whooping Crane); Su He
(Nesting Crane) and Shi He (Feeding Crane). The principle type I train is Ming He.
The type of T’ai Chi I train is Yang, which is mushy (sōng róu 
鬆柔). In distinction, there may be Chen
type, which is more durable. 


To start with I skilled in White Crane, and was already a very good
customary, however I didn’t actually turn into efficient till I mixed it with T‘ai
Chi. As soon as you set the 2 varieties collectively, your jin will likely be
far more highly effective; a number of touches, after which your opponent will fall down. 



HB: What conjures up you to
preserve practising?


ZXQ: Initially, I used to be
impressed in my youth, however now I’m previous. Daily I’m at residence with nothing to
do; (laughs) an previous individual with nothing to occupy my time, so I preserve


HB: How does Huang type
differ from Cheng Man Ching type?


ZXQ: Huang Xing Xian’s
boxing is extra like White Crane. He wasn’t so involved about preserving Cheng Man
Ching’s type; he needed to create his personal. Cheng Man Ching wanted to take a
step to push you, however as a result of Huang Xing Xian had White Crane he didn’t want
to. Many individuals watch Huang Xing Xian’s video and suppose it’s pretend, however when you
felt him, you knew it was true.


HB: Are you able to discuss
what’s necessary in tui shou


ZXQ: Crucial
factor is to chill out (sōng 
). By enjoyable, you’ll be able to
get energy from the ground. 


I apply ‘gang rou bing zhi’ (mushy and arduous assist every
different/counter every others weaknesses). White Crane is efficient by itself, however
it’s arduous. After I mixed the 2, my artwork took off. After this, the jin was
extra highly effective. This occurred with my trainer: when he arrived at courses, he
would simply contact individuals calmly and they might go flying. However if you happen to needed to
transfer him, he might be identical to stone. There was no manner you could possibly transfer him. He
additionally had a tremendous stage of tunegenerally
it was as if he was fully empty. He might be actually mushy. And when he
was like that, he may simply pull you.


HB: Huang Xing Xian was
famed for his energy. The place did that energy come from?


ZXQ: Grasp Huang practiced
day and evening. He was frequently practising, which is why he was in a position to be so
superb (Grasp Zheng then demonstrated learn how to push). It’s essential to apply tune and
not push forcefully. Then the facility will come from the bottom. It comes through the
legs from the bottom.

HB: What do you suppose are
obligatory components for fulfillment when finding out Chinese language martial arts?


ZXQ: Crucial
components are focus and apply. It’s just like the foundations of a home. It’s
necessary to have a root. It’s essential to take the essential actions of no matter system
you examine and actually practise and do them appropriately. The opposite factor is
standing apply (zhàn zhuāng). Finally it doesn’t
matter what type you do; an important factor is that you simply actually practise.



*Huang Xing Xian was initially from Fujian province however moved
to Malaysia (through Taiwan and Singapore) within the Sixties. In Taiwan he’s usually
known as Cheng’s Malaysian pupil’.


 Photographs courtesy of Heron Beecham