Notes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System

Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System

Notes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System
An Article Series by Ken van Sickle


Ken van Sickle and Cheng Man Ching
Ken van Sickle and Cheng Man Ching

Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System is praised by some as a corner stone of Tai Chi’s reinvention in the modern age. At the same time, the slanderous remarks Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi has to deal with are legion. Despite its unquestioned success and worldwide popularity, the Cheng Man Ching system until this day is accused of ignoring the Tai Chi legacy, of shortening cultural treasures solely for personal convenience, of watering down Tai Chi’s essence and last but not least of destroying its mythical aura.

Ken van Sickle’s article series does not take the bait. Unaffected by criticism and solely rooted in his personal experience as a practitioner of Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi, Ken illuminates some central practical implications of Cheng Man Ching’s endeavour to renew Tai Chi. Thereby, he also sheds some light on Tai Chi’s ethical background, especially concerning dealing with Others.
Ken thus is able to paint a picture of a Tai Chi style which comes across as both categorical and poetic, both practical and rooted in principle.

A living system

Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System
Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi – A living system

Put into a nutshell, (not only) practitioners of Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi owe to Cheng Man Ching – and his students – the cultural achievement of having reinterpreted Tai Chi as a living system: true to its essence while open to change. – Free to go its way into the future!

Come with us on a journey to discover this living system and read about:

  • Tai Chi’s general attitude (fight or flight),
  • the serious effort to make Chinese visual language practically meaningful (swimming in the air),
  • the interpretation of relaxation as something requiring hard work (On (mis)alignment),
  • the intense study of single postures (Roll back),
  • the need to practically reconnect one’s own form to the original meaning of Taiji (The Cheng Man Ching 37 Form),
  • the ultimate art in life (Tai Chi’s Role),
  • the relation to the Other (Push Hands),
  • the principle of going with the flow (Ride the horse),
  • and – ultimately – the artful combination of energy and direction (momentum).

Please note: During the publication of this series, the publication of further parts of Ken’s book Tai Chi Sword will pause for 9 weeks until the beginning of July!

Author: Gabi Kannenberg
Images: Ken van Sickle
German version of this article, pub-5093373437036984, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0