Two aspects define this exercise. First, develop the technique of using the body like a ‘bow’, and second, in so doing ‘generate’ huge amounts of energy! To achieve this ability, the physical body must cultivate three-roots, a) the ‘lower’ or ‘foot’ root (脚根 - Jiao Gen), b) the ‘middle’ or ‘waist’ root (腰根 - Yao Gen) and c) the ‘top’ or ‘head’ root (顶根 - Ding Gen). The ‘middle’ or ‘waist’ root is inherently linked to the ‘dantian’ (丹田) - or ‘centre of energy self-cultivation field’ situated two-inches below the navel and also referred to as the ‘Life Gate’ (命门 - Ming Gen). The ‘head’ (top) and ‘foot’ (lower) roots should be visualised as being ‘set’ firmly in place. The ‘waist’ (middle) root – which inherently and continuously connects the ‘top’ root to the ‘lower’ root - is then completely ‘free’ to move in a forward and back direction which does not break the all-round ‘rootedness’ and does not disrupt the harmony of the all-round alignment of the three-roots. As the ‘top’ root is linked to rarefied consciousness and divine creativity, this sense of ‘righteousness’ should permeate the other two ‘roots’ and saturates the entire mind and body of the individual practitioner. This ‘divine’ consciousness flows from the ‘head’, through the body (‘middle’ root) and down into the ground (through the ‘foot’ or ‘lower’ root). This downward flow is inherently linked with the forces of gravity which is an amalgamation of Jing (精), qi (氣) and shen (神). This combined force hits the ground and ‘rebounds’ upwards re-tracing its direction of travel. Although this energy circulates around and through the 12-14 qi energy channels that run through the entire human body – this energy-process also travels through the centre of the bones (both upwards and downwards) developing the inner marrow and outer bone structure).
What does this mean in practical purposes? A person who is so ‘rooted’ remains immovable when an outside force is placed against any part of heir still body. The more pressure that is exerted – the stronger their immovability becomes. Although the head and feet do not move – the waist act as a shock-absorber. Such a practitioner can absorb, re-direct and divert all incoming energy through an expert ‘waist’ positioning and subtle repositioning. Indeed, such an ongoing procedure will ‘tire’ a continuously ‘pushing’ opponent. All incoming force is redistributed through the hollow centre of the bones and safely into the ground. This simultaneously disarms an aggressor and ‘strengthens’ the immovability’ of such a practitioner. The expert positioning of the skeletal frame allows the movable waist to infinitely divert incoming force away from achieving its objective of ‘uprooting’. Once the ‘integrity’ of the opponent’s strength is broken, the movable ‘waist’ can be used to ‘repulse’ the opponent and ‘uproot’ his stance.
Righteousness and ‘stillness’ are identical. When movement is correct – then ‘righteousness’ and ‘movement’ are correct. The posture can rotate and turn 180 degrees and the bow can be drawn. In an instant the bow can be ‘released’ and a tremendous force emitted in a focused direction. In reality, if the ‘lower’ root can be maintained, the other two ‘roots’ can be used to remarkable effect in combat – moving and adjusting to an opponent's movements and positionings. However, just as opponents can be unpredictable, an advanced martial artist must decide which ‘root’ to keep in-place and which ‘roots’ to move! This is how victory is assured. Stay polite and move around naturally seeking-out the openings. When it is time to deploy your advanced skills then the concept of ‘Yi’ (意) or ‘intention’ comes into play. When ‘rootedness’ has been properly achieved, then everything is achieved without any undue effort. Energy can be built-up in any area of the body and ‘released’ as your ‘intention’ sees fit. In this regard, ‘intention’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘rootedness’ are all mirrored in one another with one not existing without the other two. This type of unified power can be developed and used in any circumstance and always prevails over those with less spiritual development and martial arts skills. Just as the Jing and qi energy flows through all the energy channels and generates ‘shen’ as an empty mind – martial power of this kind appears to manifest without any undue effort. The secret, of course, is that the practitioner has spent years training the mind and body to achieve this ability.
The ‘intention’ is the product of ‘stilling’ and ‘expanding’ human consciousness so that it permeates out of the head area and traverses through the entire body and out into the environment in a 360-degree deployment. The developed ‘intention’ can draw jing and qi into a certain area for health purposes, healing and longevity. With the case of ‘shen’ developed from his congealment of ‘jing’ and ‘qi’ - all the advanced spiritual states are achieved. When combined with bodyweight and the principle of skeletal alignment – a deep and inherent combat power is formed as if from nothing! Bodyweight does not exist outside of qi and jing – but firmly within these facets of traditional Chinese thought. Bodyweight has always been an important facet of this ‘hidden’ power which makes more sense in a modern context. When its presence is clearly ‘perceived’ - then is falls firmly within the context of ‘shen’ - when shen is used to equate with an expanded conscious expansion! With ‘awareness’ tremendous vigour and force are generated. The mind and body can function to a greater extent of healthiness and be prepared for a successful martial encounter. Intention becomes the essence of Taijiquan (太极拳) and the foundational ability to both ‘adapt’ to circumstance and ‘generate’ tremendous force.
The main question Is ‘how?’ to use ‘intention’ to generate ‘effortlessly’ power? Within Taijiquan – the ‘Grand Ridge-pole Fist’ - the essence of this practice evolves around the principle of ‘frame’ (架 - Jia). Without understanding the use of ‘frame’ - there can be no ‘effortless’ power through the use of intention. For many people the question becomes ‘how to beat others without effort’? For most, this notion seems to contradict the reality of the material world and the use of ‘obvious’ force to defeat others. With regards to advanced Taijiquan practice there are ‘two’ forces which need to be mastered. 1) is the bodyweight which exists within the body of the practitioner, whilst 2) is the bodyweight which exists within the body of the opponent. The first drops down through the centr of the bones – hits the ground (thus ‘rooting’ a practitioner) - and then ‘rebounds’ upwards creating a reservoir of immense and effortless power which can be ‘emitted’ from any part of the body as the ‘intention’ sees fit! This process of modern physics ‘mirrors’ perfectly the thinking of Chinese traditional thinking and certainly does not contradict it! This amounts to 1) using our own strength and 2) using the strength of others. Most people remain complete unaware of these two methods of generating effortless power. Instead, they over-balanced, always ‘pressing down’ and stopping the natural rebounding force that gravity ensures is always being generated. To change this habit – the capacity to sense ‘intention’ from the ground to the top of the head must be cultivated. Instead of tensing the muscle to achieve this – the muscles are completely relaxed to allow the rebounding force to move up through the structure without hindrance. Sensing this upwards movement is the exercise of ‘intention’. This is combined with the ‘awareness’ of the bodyweight ‘sinking’ this energy into the ground and the entire cycle of ‘intention’ is attained... The qi (氣) sinks into the dantian whilst the head is ‘suspended’ and ‘buoyant’ - as if floating on an invisible cushion of air or held-up by an invisible silk cord. The top and bottom are united by a single ‘awareness’ and ‘permeating’ energy.
The most difficult aspect of generating ‘effortless energy’ is learning to distinguish between a deep ‘loosening’ (松 - Song) of the body-structures and a superficial ‘relaxation’ (弛 - Chi) of those same surface-structures. Although it is true that ‘relaxation’ is the first step of training whereby the muscles, ligaments and tendons are freed of habitual ‘tension’ - this is only the beginning as the ‘intention’ or ‘awareness’ permeates these structures and generates an entirely ‘new’ organisational structure that appears sub-cellular in origination. As the bodily-structures re-orientate (like the branches of a pine-tree ‘fanning-out’) energy travels through the area in a totally different way. This is why superficial ‘relaxation’ gives-way to a profound ‘loosening’. The bottom is ‘rooted’ and connected to the ‘head’ by the ‘middle’ or ‘waist’ area with no breaks in energy transmission. Superficial relaxation must transform into a state of profound ‘loosening’ or the body-structures will never be fully transformed. Indeed, the term ‘middle embracing’ (中正 - Zhong Zheng) refers to how the ‘middle’ communicates and relates to its surroundings. This can refer to its inner or outer surroundings and is not limited to any one dimension. It is both a psychological and physical reality. Another way of looking at this is the relationship between the ‘centre’ and the ‘periphery’. This can be summed-up as simultaneously embracing the states of ‘moving’ and ‘non-moving’. Whenever the centre moves it is always balanced and in harmony with the ‘still’ periphery – when the periphery moves it is always in harmony with the ‘still’ centre. The centre must be made profoundly ‘still’ in body and mind so that the nature and quality of its communication with what is forward, back. up, down, left and right is profound and all-embracing. Unnecessary movement is divisive, whereas ‘stillness’ generates harmony as the perfect balance between yin-yang (阴阳) relationship. When ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’ must interact, then it must be as a dynamic and symmetrical balancing of well-timed opening and closing – of allowing bodyweight ‘in’ and allowing ‘bodyweight ‘out’ - of allowing the opponent’s presence ‘in’ or keeping the opponent's presence ‘out’. Traditionally, this is explained through the mastery of the concepts of the ‘eight gates and five steps’ (八门五步 - Ba Men Wu Bu) which utilise the dropping and rising force (bodyweight and qi, etc) which opens into wide spirals or is ‘pulled’ back in to a ‘still’ centre.
The ‘eight gates and five steps’ represent the expert application of yin-yang interaction, and the application of advanced Taiji principles. However, without first realising and mastering the ‘still’ centre that is ‘all-embracing’ there can be no talk of perfecting the ‘eight gates and five steps’ - as the ‘eight gates and five steps’ arise solely from the mastery of the ‘all-embracing’ and ‘still’ centre. For most who learn taijiquan, however, these concepts mean nothing as they are not learned or even heard of. Simply practicing the movements of Taijiquan with no expert guidance is a fruitless task as you will remain just as ignorant ten years down the line as when you started. Study and seek instruction. Awareness is the key as a good instructor will teach a practitioner how sense their bodyweight and ‘feel’ its rebounding force. Without this – Taijiquan is just a set of meaningless exercises. This is achieved by a superficial relaxation being transformed into a profound ‘loosening’. Hard work must be a daily habit. Do not give-up and seek to achieve the maximum with the minimum. Calm the mind and expand awareness into the environment. Practice within this awareness so that mind and body unite and become one. Improve one aspect of training every day. If practice is of a good quality – then self-defence ability will manifest in an easy manner. Remember – even if the method is correct – Taijiquan might well take a long time to master. Seek good instruction.
Some people say: ‘Taijiquan can't be taught, IT can only be learned by experience.’ This is because many people possess vague notions of attainting ‘enlightenment’ (悟 - Wu), but no real knowledge of how to go about achieve it. Instead, they repeat superficial movements in cycles of performance within which there exists no transforming mechanism to ‘shift’ the structure from one manifestation to another. Even at the birth-place of Taijiquan, thousands have gathered over the last one-hundred years to practice the movements of the Taijiquan style – and yet very few can a) fight with the style, b) live long lives or c) attain enlightenment through such practices. This is true even of people who learn from well-known teachers with established lineages. Over-all, this leads to a deterioration of Taijiquan ability. The secret of mastering Taijiquan in all its aspects lies with the mastering of the placement and functionality of the ‘waist’ or ‘middle gate’, for when this understanding is lacking, the entire edifice of Taijiquan ability cannot be established!
Authentic Taijiquan technique, regardless of style or frame, depends entirely upon the perfection of the use of the ‘waist’. This explains why there are many references to the ‘waist’ and ‘waist management’ spread throughout the Classical literature of China. Such examples are ‘the waist is the master’, ‘the waist is the driver’, ‘the waist unites and controls the upper and lower body through the turning of the spine’, and ‘the mind’s awareness penetrates and controls the waist’ - are just a few examples of the extent of this importance. However, according to observations, many practitioners, especially beginners, are still not clear about this. Many chose to stand bolt upright, crooked or overly slanted; some do not know how to loosen their hips; others only know how to swing their arms but don’t know how to turn their waists, and their movements appear awkward and stiff. The analysis of the reasons for these errors is mainly due to an unclear understanding of the position, function and basic essentials of waist movement found within genuine Taijiquan principle and technique. The point is this - If you practice Taijiquan without training your waist, it will be difficult to improve your skills throughout your life. The author of this article would like to assist martial artists in China (and abroad) through sharing my own experience and humble insights. To sum-up the important position and function of waist movement, there are two main points:
太极拳特别注重腰部活动。经典著作中讲得很多，如“腰为主宰”“腰为驱使” “源动腰脊转股肱” “刻刻留心在腰问”等，都是说腰在太极拳运动中的重要性。但据观察，不少练拳者，特别是初学者对此还不够明确。有的立身不正，歪歪斜斜；有的不知松腰松胯；也有的只知旋臂而不知转腰，动作显得别扭、僵硬。分析原因，主要是对腰部活动在太极拳运动中的地位、作用和基本要领认识不清所致。正是：练拳不练腰，终生艺难高。笔者愿以自己的体会和浅识拙见，向拳友们讨教。腰部运动的重要地位和作用概括起来，主要有四点。
1900 The Great Boxer Uprising and China’s Subsequent Darkest Moment as Experienced Through Western Eyes
Translator’s Note: The following article is collected from Western and Japanese accounts of the Boxer Uprising (1898-1901) - still referred to in the West by the racist epithet the ‘Boxer Rebellion’ (the US-controlled ‘Wikipedia’ still follows this racist convention). The ‘Boxers’ were comprised of a popular folk movement that spanned North China – but which also had Southern Chinese sympathies. It was a popular ‘anti-foreign’ movement premised upon a highly spiritualised Chinese martial arts movement which immediately empowered its adherence with martial abilities – rather than relying on the more traditional years of practice to become efficient. As a spiritual movement it was anti-Christian – and as a physical movement it was anti-imperialist. The aggressive missionaries of the Christian Churches were demolishing Buddhist and Daoist temples and building Churches on their ruins. These Christians were then buying all the rice in the area and only giving it out to those Chinese who ‘converted’ to Christianity! This policy continued despite it causing widespread famine throughout the Christian dominated areas. Wherever the local people rose-up to stop this Christian invasion – the Western Authorities would unleash their military on the Chinese population in support of the missionaries. These ‘Righteous Harmonious Boxers (義和拳 - Yi He Quan) flocked to the anti-imperialist banner in their tens of thousands and in the early days of the uprising – inflicted serious defeats upon the Western and Japanese forces! When they were finally defeated, the Western Authorities (and their Christian missionaries) insisted that tens of thousands of men who joined the Boxer movement – or who were suspected of joining the Boxer movement – were publicly ‘beheaded’ whilst these executions were viewed by attending Western and Japanese audiences as a form of cultural entertainment! Many of these executions were photographed at the insistence of the Western Witnesses – with many such pictures subsequently hung in local Churches as a warning to the Chinese population about what will happen if they resist the spread of Christianity in China! Contrary to the hideously racist 1963 Hollywood film ‘55 Days in Peking’ - it was the Czarist Russians who led the eight allied nations in the rape and pillage of China. During the US contrived Cold War, however, the Soviet Union was ‘written-out’ of history and the British and Americans falsely portrayed as the main protagonists. In fact, the British only possessed a small number of soldiers who were mostly ‘Indian’, and not the ‘White’ soldiers portrayed in the film. As the White British officers did not ‘trust’ their Indian soldiers, they kept ‘stopping’ on the advance into Beijing and ordering their men to be arbitrarily ‘drilled’ as a means to ensure their continued compliance with the raping and killing of another ‘non-White’ people! Despite this misrepresentation, all the allied troops committed tremendous destruction of people and property in China! After the Qing Authorities surrendered in 1900 – the allied forces killed an estimated 50,000 innocent Chinese men, women and children in and around the Beijing area! The rape of women and girls was also extended to include men and boys! After committing these atrocities and robbing the Chinese of all valuables – the Western and Japanese allies then had the nerve to accuse the Chinese people of ‘War Crimes’! ACW (30.11.2021)
The 37th year of the traditional lunar calendar of China (in the continuously repeating-cycle of 60-years of earthly branches and divine-sky stems) is termed ‘Gengzhi’ (庚子) and typically represents the year of the rat. Within traditional Chinese astrological thinking, this year is associated with disaster and calamity. In 1840, the year of Gengzi, Great Britain launched the First Opium War and the process of China beginning to lose its status as an independent, sovereign nation began. In 1900, the year of the Geng Zi, the Eight-Power Allied Forces launched a war of aggression against China, and the Chinese nation fell into a situation where it was at the mercy of others following the defeat of the Chinese Imperial Army and the volunteer ‘Boxer’ Armies of spiritually empowered peasantry. At this darkest hour, the curtain was mercilessly brought-down on the era of Classical China, with the blood of the setting sun soaking the city of Beijing. Many Westerners at the time saw all this with their own eyes. After a murderous outpouring of arrogance, ecstasy, and pity, these historically altering emotions finally returned to the normality of rational thinking. Although China is both ‘liberated’ and fully restored to its rightful ‘sovereign’ status, the history books of these terrible times can be accessed afresh, and the Western eye-witness accounts objectively and critically examined.
The commander-in-chief of the Eight-Power Allied Forces - the German Field Marshal Alfred von Waldersee - said at the beginning of the ‘Discussion on the Partition of China" in "The Notes on the Boxers’: (A ‘Boxer’ is a peasant volunteer member of the ‘义和团’ [YiHeTuan] - ‘Righteous Harmonious Regiment’ empowered by folk martial arts). “In terms of the weakness of the military equipment, the exhaustion of financial resources, and the chaos of the political situation, it is a rare once in a thousand years opportunity for the implementation of the division of China." (Note: "Waldersee's Boxer Rebellion Notes" section is translated from "Waldersee's Memoirs", Wang Guangqi (王光祈) Translated, published by Zhonghua Book Company in 1928.)
On May 31st, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces sent troops into Beijing "On the afternoon of May 28th, the diplomatic mission held a meeting again, decided to request troops to be sent to Beijing, and informed the Prime Minister's office." "On May 29th, when the mission asked the Prime Minister's Personal Secretary to allow troops to guard the embassy, it was rejected. They said that allowing foreign troops to enter Beijing would damage the reputation of the imperial court and the divine kingdom and anger the people. Later they gave in." "On May 31st, the first batch of coalition forces drove from Tianjin to Beijing by forcibly requisitioned trains." "The strange thing is that Dong Fuxiang's (董福祥) Muslim soldiers retreated from the station when they saw the train on the city wall of Beijing. The train arrived at 8 o'clock in the evening. When arriving at Yutingmen, the city gate opened and 337 coalition officers and soldiers successfully reached the embassy area. Three days later, another group including 52 German sailors and 37 Austrian sailors moved into Beijing without hindrance. At this time, the embassy area had a total of 426 soldiers." ([Italian] Adriano Madaro, "Beijing in 1900", based on the diary of the Marquis Giuseppe Salvago Laghi, Italian Minister Plenipotentiary to China from 1899 to 1901, Translated by Xiang Jiagu (项佳谷), published by Oriental Publishing House in 2006.) "The ministers demanded that the Marine Corps be sent to defend the embassy." "On May 29th, the Marine Corps composed of 72 sailors sent from the six ships reached Beijing on the 31st." "The soldiers predicted that they would take Beijing soon, and said that if they receive an order, they will go to conquer Manchuria and the whole of China.” ([Russian] "New Frontier" reporter Dmitry Yancivitsky "The Eyewitnesses of the Eight-Power Allied Forces", the book was originally titled " Inside and Outside the Stagnant Chinese City Wall" is a battlefield diary, translated by Xu Chongxin (许崇信) and others, published by Fujian People's Publishing House in 1983.)
On June 10th, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing for the first time "On June 1st, the commander of the British Far East Fleet, Sir Edward Seymour, called from Dagu, the British Minister to China, Sir Claude Dunal, and assured him that the commander has 17 warships under his command and his military power will not be reduced by the year 1860." "On June 4th, the ministers of all countries unanimously requested the governments of all countries to order the warships moored in Dagu to take action." "On June 10th, 2129 officers and soldiers of the Eight-Nation Coalition set off from Tianjin Station. The coalition commander was Seymour. He once served in the British-French coalition as a junior navy officer. This unit had occupied Dagu and invaded 40 years ago. After passing through the city of Beijing, they razed the Old Summer Palace to the ground. Therefore, it can be said that he is a veteran of dealing with China." ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900") "A total of three trains departed this day, carrying 915 British, 450 Germans, 313 Russians, 158 French, 100 Americans, 52 Japanese, 40 Italians and 25 Austrians. This support army is led by Seymour." "The support army set off very hastily. The marines did not bring any luggage, but only two or three days of food, each of which was given 200 to 250 bullets." "June 11th. The fourth additional train was dispatched today. The second team of 212 Russian sailors departed. At the Zailuo station, they caught up with the Seymour troops." "I got news today that Seymour and his reinforcements didn’t even finish half of the journey, and it took a lot of effort to reach the Luofa station. The railway was destroyed everywhere, and the station was burned. The closer you get to Beijing, the more damaged the road." "June 12th. While building the road, the coalition forces moved forward slowly and finally arrived at Langfang Station." "June 14th. The troops arrived three and a half miles from Langfang Station. From then on, the railway was completely destroyed. There were no traces of the rails and sleepers. They were all pried out, burned or thrown away. The railway embankment where you can see has become a road." "June 15th. Luofa Station was surrounded by numerous regiments." "On June 16th. Seymour led the British Marines to retreat to Luofa. The other coalition forces stayed in Langfang." "June 17th. For the first time from Beijing, there was a Chinese official army carrying large and small flags. The one who appeared near Langfang was probably the forward of the troops led by Admiral Dong Fuxiang."
On June 18th-28th, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces were defeated and returned to Tianjin "On June 18th. The Seymour Expeditionary Army fought a tough battle with the Chinese officers for the first time. At 11 noon, the battle began. At 1 noon, the battle ended. The Russian 12th Regiment suffered the heaviest loss." "Seymour summoned the commanders of various countries and announced to them the decision to withdraw, because this is the only wise decision under the current conditions." "That night, the coalition forces began to retreat." "June 19th. The coalition forces continued their general retreat along the railway line. The closer they were to Tianjin, the more damaged the road was. It was impossible to retreat from the railway. So, they had to abandon the train, carry the wounded members, and retreat on foot. Everyone. Unanimously, it is impossible to walk with the Wounded, so he must retreat from the White River by barge." "June 21st. The Boxers followed the landing team in droves, not afraid of foreign guns or foreign cannon. The canned food was quickly eaten up, so they had to eat whatever God gave them: like the thrown rice, Pigs, calves and other animals that can be caught running around." "June 22nd. This is a very difficult day. The food is going to be eaten, and horses and mules are destined to be slaughtered and eaten." "June 23rd. The Marine Corps had to drop the barge, carry the wounded soldiers, and retreat to Tianjin under the cover of the nearest groves and mounds. The Chinese army that had previously chased the Marine Corps and the Chinese army that had retreated from Tianjin together, fired fiercely at the approaching Marines. The Marines’ situation is extremely critical." "June 24th. I received a letter from Seymour in Tianjin saying that he was surrounded by Chinese in the Xigu Arsenal three miles away from Tianjin. The letter was sent by a Chinese Christian." "Rescue troops ( 2000 people) set off at night and was led by the Chinese who led Seymour. The next day, they met at nine o'clock in the morning." "June 25th. The coalition has been transporting wounded soldiers all day and sending them to the opposite side of Baihe." "At three o'clock on the night of June 26th. The joint force returned to Tianjin smoothly. The Russian army lined up in front of the barracks shouting "Ula", welcoming the brave Seymour Expeditionary Army and his sad army carrying 238 wounded soldiers. Long stretcher team." ([Russian] Jancivitsky "The Eyewitnesses of the Eight-Power Allied Forces") "On July 1st. In Beijing, no one heard about the Seymour expedition. However, European newspapers published reports about Seymour, including his expedition diary, which recorded the number of casualties: dead 62 people injured 228 people.” ([Italian] Madara, "Beijing in 1900")
On June 17th, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded and occupied the Dagu Fort "The four forts in Dagu extend three versts from south to north along the coastline. The forts are equipped with a powerful battery of 240 guns of different models and calibres, 54 of which are Armstrong's latest cannons." "At the last morning joint meeting on June 16, the admirals of the navy decided to submit an ultimatum to Zhili Governor Yulu and Dagu Fortress Admiral Luo Rongguang, requesting the fort to be handed over before 2 a.m. by the Chinese army. If the fort is not evacuated by then, the coalition forces will be forced to use force to capture." "The ultimatum will be handed over to Luoshoutai by the torpedo captain, Lieutenant Bach Metyev. At the same time, Navy Warrant Officer Shramchenko will be sent to Tianjin to deliver the ultimatum to Governor Yulu." "Taiwan Admiral Luo Rongguang received a telegram: No matter what happens, the Dagu Fort shall not be handed over to foreigners." "At one o'clock in the morning on the 17th, there was a flash of fire on the new turrets. There was a roar of artillery, and the shells rumbled over the 'Kiriyak'. The fire from the various turrets burst out. One round of shells continued to pass over the warship." "A boiler on the British warship "Battle" was destroyed by a Chinese five-inch shell." "Seventeen grenades fell on the German warship 'Iltis' and all of the upper deck of the ship was destroyed. Captain Landz was hit by 25 shrapnel and wood chips. He was seriously injured and saw off one leg. This was the first time that the Germans personally tasted the excellent effects of German grenades fired from Krupp cannons. A German officer and 7 soldiers were killed and 17 were injured." "A grenade exploded on the French warship "Leon" and caused a fire. One person on the ship was killed and 46 others were injured." "A Chinese grenade hit the Russian warship 'Kiriyak' ammunition depot and caused an explosion. A total of 8 people were killed and 48 people were injured on the ship." "At three o'clock in the morning, the first Chinese shell hit the hull of the Russian warship 'Korean.' The restaurant above the shell magazine burned. 2 officers, 9 sailors and 20 were injured on the ship." "At 3:30 in the morning, given that the gunboats did not cause any damage to the battery, and also expected that it would not be possible to take the Northwest Battery as an offensive target, the (Marine Corps) commanders decided to retreat." "The Chinese noticed that the Marines were heading for the fort, and they immediately fired at them with guns." "Fight against their own unshakable Japanese feud with fierce gunfire. The Japanese commander Hattori Sasa ran to the gate just a few steps away, was suddenly shot dead and fell down." "At 5:30 in the morning, when the coalition forces saw the British flag on the northwest fort, the cheers of 'Ula' resounded through all the warships like thunder." "After the Marines occupied the northwest fort, they rushed to attack the north fort. The Chinese were in a mess, abandoning the fort and fleeing. The fort was immediately occupied by the coalition forces." "At six o'clock in the morning, all the warships pulled their anchors and set sail down the river in order to bombard the South Fort and the New Fort." "At 6:30 in the morning, the Russian flag was placed on the South Fort, the German and Austrian flags were placed on the New Fort, the Japanese flag was placed on the North Fort, and the British and Italian flags were placed on the Northwest Fort." "Luo Shoutai (罗守台) tried his best to defend the fort entrusted to him. Near the cannons of all the captured forts, brave defenders with broken hands, feet, and heads were found. Chinese infantry and artillery were lying everywhere along the parapet." "Luo Shoutai saw that he was powerless, and at the same time he was unwilling to leave the fortress entrusted to him alive, and according to the duties of the Chinese military attache, he died in pain after swallowing gold." ([Russian] Jancivitsky "The Eyewitnesses of the Eight-Power Allied Forces")
On June 19th, 1900, the Qing government decided to declare war "June 19. The news of the occupation of the Dagu Fort angered the Qing court. After a heatedly debated meeting, the Prime Minister’s Yamen was ordered to submit an ultimatum to the ministers of various countries in China. This is very shocking. No one in the embassy area expected this, and no one knew that Tianjin was besieged and Dagu Fort was occupied." "In the afternoon, 12 large red envelopes were delivered by the Prime Minister’s national affairs office to the ministers of the 11 countries and Sir Robert Hurd, the General Taxation Department of the Imperial Customs. The letter is an ultimatum. The 12 letters clearly marked the time limit: 4 pm. At the same time the next day, the embassy staff must be evacuated, and all their guests will be evacuated to Tianjin. The ultimatum is succinctly written, mentioning the coalition’s ultimatum and the occupation of the fort: ‘I was surprised to learn that the fort was occupied. This is actually a deliberate destruction of peace by Western countries and is an enemy of China’s Qing Dynasty. The Boxers disturbed the capital, The people are in turmoil. Your Excellencies, your family, and the embassy are in dire straits. The Qing court is in a difficult situation and it is difficult to provide effective protection. In view of this, this Prime Minister’s Personal Secretary hereby invites you to leave Beijing as soon as possible and be escorted by the embassy guard to Tianjin to avoid disasters. The embassy guard must be effectively restrained. ’Everything must be carried out under the escort of court guards." "The ministers of various countries held an emergency meeting in the Spanish embassy because the Spanish minister Ge Luogan is the head of the mission. Everyone's first reaction was to condemn the stupid actions of the soldiers. The decision to submit an ultimatum to the Chinese government should be made by diplomats, not soldiers. "The proposal of the Marquis of Raj was adopted, and it was considered the most appropriate plan. ‘The meeting decided to give the following reply based on my suggestion: Once Commander Seymour arrives in Beijing, we will immediately withdraw. If the court provides convenience, they can arrive at the capital within two days. The reply also stated that it was difficult to evacuate within 24 hours due to the inability to find enough means of transportation. With the insistence of the French Minister, the requirements of the Dagu Fort were extremely difficult to understand. "" "This is the testimony of the Italian Minister-it has never been mentioned by historians who have studied the Boxer Movement and the embassy besieged. "([Italian] Madara "Beijing in 1900")
"From June 16th, the Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧) held an imperial meeting for four consecutive days. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon on the 19th, Cixi unexpectedly decided to declare war on all countries. "" Yun Yuding (恽毓鼎), who participated in the Imperial Conference, recorded the decision at that time in the "Chongling [崇陵] Biography": The Queen Mother declared: ‘Four notes for foreigners: 1. Specify a place for the emperor of China to live; 2. Collect money on his behalf, 3. Collect food on his behalf; and 4. Control the world's military power on his behalf. “Today’s provocation is open to others, and the country is dead at the present time. If I give it up, I will die without a face. Wait for death, and die in a war, nothing is heavier!” A number of ministers present were not keen to follow her instructions but the Empress Dowager Cixi added: “I have no choice but to declare war on the Western aggressors as they are destroying the country and killing the people!” “It was said that the Empress Dowager Cixi represented three-hundred years of eminent ancestry and was of the opinion that her personal history grants her the power to make such heavy decisions. She said that no single person was to blame for the current situation and that she would work hard to rectify the situation.” ([中] Jin Chong 金冲] and "The Outline of Chinese History in the 20th Century") "Over the next night and day, the Boxer's announcement was posted on the city wall: "Divine Spirit Empowers the Boxers! The Foreign Devils are Navigating the Central Plains; Teach these Barbarians a Lesson! Be Confident! When They Disrespect the Buddhas and Gods They Forget Their Own Ancestors." The Boxers attacked the foreigners, destroyed their railways and over-ran their legations! Joining with the Chinese Imperial Army great defeats were inflicted upon the foreigners! The Boxers practiced a spiritualised martial art that empowered the peasantry and enabled them to confront the advanced and highly dangerous war technology of the foreigners. The Boxers, although xenophobic and patriotic, they were highly effective as a fighting force. "The announcement was exciting and powerful, reminding people of the majesty of the Chinese Empire, which was lost in the last hundred years of the Qing Dynasty. "([Italian] Madara "Beijing in 1900") "On June 21st, four days after Dagu conquered, Beijing issued a decree: ‘The ancestors support the descendants, just as the Divine-Essence permeates reality. Everyone is loyal and indignant, as nothing in the past justifies the present. Within all the temples our cries are heard, and Masters take Disciples and teach them the ancient secrets! United as one people, we can confront this menace! If we are daring, the enemy can be defeated! I have summoned ministers and workers for several days to enquire about the same. From the provinces of Jinji and Shandong the loyal volunteers have been streaming in in their tens of thousands! Indeed, in one day over a hundred thousand of ‘Boxers’ spontaneously gathered! Even male youths are presenting themselves to defend the realm! The Boxers fights fraud and conspiracy, The Boxers relies upon their own inner strength, and upon a pure heart and mind! For the Boxer - ‘loyalty’ to the realm serves as the only ‘armour’ they carry! This secret martial system is entered through ritual, righteousness and a ‘mark’ made upon a sacred scroll. Once so empowered, these divine-soldiers are willing to expose themselves to every danger without fear, and to die in their multitudes for the well-being and survival of the realm! As there are over four-hundred million people living throughout China, this nation possesses the strength to confront the enemy until final victory! This resistance burns brightly like a fiercely bright flame!” The decree concluded: “All those who have made meritorious service in combat and those who donate military pay, all will be rewarded separately." ([Russian] Jancivitsky "The Eight Kingdoms Sightings of the Allied Forces)
The mystery of the shooting of the German minister – who was killed on June 20th, 1900. "On June 13th, a Boxer personally appeared in the embassy area in a carriage. He showed off his broadsword and arrogantly wiped it on his leather boots. The German minister, Baron von Klind, walked over and attacked him with his cane. The Boxer escaped, but there was a 13-year-old boy on the carriage. Klind beat the boy severely and dragged the boy covered in blood into the German embassy and imprisoned him. This incident angered the Boxers, and they poured into the capital (at night) through the ‘Gate of Manifest Virtue’! Fires blazed everywhere in Beijing... There is the shout of ‘kill!’ everywhere. kill!" "On June 16th, in London, the local newspapers (Note: relaying the headline taken from the English-owned "North China Daily News") published the shocking news: German Minister Baron Klind has been killed by the Boxers! The European and American governments were panicked. The strange thing is that this news was not True, Baron Klind was still alive at the time. He was killed, but that was four days later." "On June 17th, news of the destruction of the embassy and the killing of Klind was published in the international press." "On the morning of June 20th, the ministers of various countries met at 8 o'clock in the morning. At the meeting, it was decided to ask the Manchu and Qing government to contact the military commanders of various countries in Tianjin. Undoubtedly, they wanted to return the Dagu Fort to China in exchange for the Manchu Qing government to agree to the envoys of various countries to stay in Beijing, waiting for the arrival of the Seymour Expeditionary Army. ...But the German minister, as usual, did not want to sing the same tune as everyone else. The meeting ended in vain, and everyone returned to their embassy to wait for news. After the meeting, Klind changed his mind, or he never wanted to send his translator (the Chinese secretary of the embassy - Ke Shida [柯士达]) to inquire about the news alone, and so he ordered two sedan chairs, one for him and one for Ke Shida, and headed to the Prime Minister's Office. Two uniformed attendants rode out in front of him. "([Italian] Madara "Beijing in 1900") The first (eye-witness) account is the Ke Shida narrative. When the sedan-chair traversed the main street heading toward the Gate of Manifest Virtue – it gently collided with a cart carrying Manchu Cavalry as it turned-out of a West-facing side-street (after these troops had delivered a number of culprits to the nearby house of arrest). Then, a high-ranking ‘Chinese’ soldier standing nearby and dressed in a formal military uniform fastened with big buttons, (and wearing a Han nationality hat decorated with blue-feathers), raised the gun he was carrying and aimed at the Western occupant of the sedan-chair. As he was less than one meter from the window of the sedan-chair, he easily shot the (German) minister in the head. The men carrying the chair immediately dropped their load and fled for safety – whilst the body of the now dead German minister was lying sprawled half in and half out of the chair. He appeared to have been killed instantly by the single shot. The second version is from the Diary of Beijingers. A German newspaper published in Shanghai published the Diary of a Beijinger on August 3rd. Klind and his guards were on their way to the Prime Minister’s Office to meet his Personal Secretary. Near the Belgian Embassy, one of his attendants had a pistol which fired by accident. The European soldiers in the embassy believed that the gun was fired from the Chinese army next to them, so they fired. The Chinese shot back, and Klind was shot and killed in the exchange. The third version is in the form of a note written by the Prime Minister's office. According to the note, the two Germans rode in the sedan chair and shot passers-by near the Personal Secretary, so the Chinese group returned fire and killed one of them. The fourth version is that this event was an organized and premeditated murder. One thing is still inexplicable. Why did the British newspaper report the killing of Klind four days before it happened? One possibility is that the article was fabricated out of nothing and should not have been published at all; There is also a possibility that this news was sent back secretly from Beijing via telegram very early (as the murder was pre-planned), and it was prepared to report the news on a certain (future) day, but was published too early by mistake. Some people think that Klind should have been killed in the conflict between the 14th-16th. The killing of Klind coincided with the plan of the great powers to divide China, whilst China was already on the brink of collapse. "On the last day of 1900, En Hai (恩海), the Qing soldier who killed Klind, was executed. He confessed to the facts of his crime. At the time of the execution, the German generals Trotta, Lesser and many German officers and soldiers were present. When the judge read the death sentence, En Hai laughed and said to the crowd watching: ‘I’m worthy of death! His head, this creepy trophy was sent to Germany." ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900") "At 9 o'clock on June 27th, the coalition forces attacked the Tianjin East Manufacturing Bureau which fell at 1:30 pm. The coalition forces killed 11 soldiers and wounded 75 people." "Our spoils are worth more than 10 million rubbles, and there are countless inside. A large arsenal of shells, bullets, gunpowder and various workshops." "In the entire Zhili war, this is our best trophy." "July 14th. Tianjin fell. The Eight-Power Allied Forces amounted to more than 10,000, the Qing Army defended with about 15,000, and the Boxer Regiment 20,000 to 30,000." "The coalition had 882 casualties, including 38 officers." "There are traces of European shelling everywhere. The houses of Chinese civilians were pierced by circular shells, and the roofs and walls were all pierced. Along the way, I encountered people killed by shell fragments and bullets. The corpses of the Chinese poor. No one came to collect the corpses, only flies, dogs and pigs came to patronize them." "Now, brutal and insatiable robbery has begun in the city. This is not surprising. Not only are the houses and properties abandoned by Chinese businessmen, officials and other citizens who rushed to escape, but even the houses where the owners still live! There are no human rights granted to the subhuman Chinese. There is a strange medieval view that everything can be done to the Chinese. They are treated as lowly beasts, yes, and they should be abused, ravaged, and even allowed to be Killed with impunity." "On July 18th, the Eight-Power Allied Forces established the Tianjin Provisional-Tianjin Metropolitan Government Office. The Metropolitan Government Office has the right to issue necessary decrees, organise police power, and inflict judicial power." "It existed for two full years, until 1902. Not revoked until the summer of that year." ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight-Power Allied Forces Witnesses") On August 3rd, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing again "After the failed expedition of Seymour’s troops to Beijing, the military leaders in Tianjin gathered 25,000 people in Dagu at the end of July. They divided the large number of coalition forces into two columns and marched towards Beijing at the same time: Japanese, British, and American troops. On the right bank of the North River, Russian, French, German, and Italian troops marched into Beijing along the left bank of the North River.” ([Italian] Madaro "Beijing in 1900")
On August 3, the Russian army, in coordination with the coalition forces of various countries, set off in the direction of the Chinese military position at Beicang, taking the first step towards Beijing. On the 4th, Beicang fell. 15,000 coalition forces attacked Beicang, including 6,500 Japanese soldiers. The occupation of Beicang was mainly attributed to the Japanese soldiers. The Japanese army launched an early attack at night and broke into the centre of the position using hand-to-hand combat. One Japanese officer was killed, 41 soldiers were killed, 8 people were missing, 12 officers were wounded, whilst 234 Chinese soldiers were killed. On the 5th, Yangcun fell. Since the coalition forces captured Yangcun, a water, land, and railway hub has been established between Tianjin, Tongzhou, and Beijing. From the evening of the 5th to the morning of the 7th, the coalition forces rested. The military conference decided: "Tracking and pursuing the Chinese soldiers, and denying them the possibility of gathering forces for a counter-attack." On the 7th, 13,500 coalition forces continued to march towards Beijing. And made camp in Nancai Village. "They eat delicious, nutritious cans and drink water from many wells along the road. The water is not yet causing diseases whilst fatigue, and heat stroke have not yet occurred. All officers are healthy." "The road we are walking is the same road that the British and French forces led by General Grant and General Montauban took 40 years ago in early September 1860." On the 8th, we arrived in Xiwu Village, only 50 miles from Beijing. On the 9th, we camped in Matou Village. On the 10th, Zhangjiawan was only 40 miles away from Beijing. On the 11th, we occupied Tongzhou. There are only 20 miles from Beijing. "There is no counterattack everywhere. All the local forces and officials have all escaped." "Most of the residents, about no less than 100,000, still stay in the city. They stay behind closed doors in their homes or small shops." On this day, Major General Vasilevsky, Chief of Staff of the Russian Command, personally surveyed the only way to Beijing. At four o'clock in the afternoon, "the reconnaissance team passed the famous Bali Bridge. In the summer of 1860, 40,000 Chinese troops were defeated by 600 French troops and British artillery and fled." "Many Chinese were sitting on the grass beside the road. Under the shed, drinking tea and chatting, watching the full moon. Moonlight is spreading like silver hairs over their villages, surrounded by fresh cornfields and neat poplar trees. To them, it seems that there is no war, and there is no such thing as what has come. These 13,000 enemy troops." From 12th to 13th, the coalition rested. 1:40 am on the 14th. After the Russian army killed 61 guarding Chinese troops, "General Vasilevsky immediately ordered two guns to be deployed and placed fifteen steps away in front of the city gate." "General Vasilevsky ordered an attack on the city gate (East Gate). This is the first Russian attack on Beijing." At two o'clock in the night, the city gate was breached. General Vasilevsky entered the city gate boldly. "The gate of Beijing collapsed under Russian artillery fire. The Chinese sentries abandoned the arrow tower on the gate, and the Russian flag was raised on it. This is a sign of victory and reconciliation. This is the first city wall in Imperial Beijing. Flags flying above." "Never an enemy shell has ever damaged the castle of Beijing.... In 1900, Russian shells hit the gates of Beijing for the first time. I hope this will be the last time.... This time is also like this. Just like 40 years ago, the Chinese emperor, empress dowager, court officials, princes, ministers of military and machinery, and all officials hurriedly fled from Beijing overnight, and then the residents of the city also fled. China who fought in vain to defend the capital – its defeated army has retreated through the West Gate of Beijing day and night, fleeing westward one unit after another." At ten o'clock in the morning, the Japanese army broke through the Qihua Gate. At eleven, American troops entered the city. "The British soldiers were wiser. They drilled under the wall along the dry river, and entered the outer city of Beijing at one o'clock in the afternoon. Then they passed through the empty city without fighting, and drilled under the inner-city wall and appeared in front of the British Embassy fortifications at 2 pm. The Indian soldiers were the first to clear the enemy positions and lift the siege.” At about two o'clock in the afternoon, the Qing soldiers surrendered and Beijing fell. The Russian army killed 28 people and injured 106 people. The Japanese army killed 30 people and injured 120 people. The U.S. Army wounded 20 people. Two Indian soldiers were injured in the embassy yard. ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight-Power Allied Forces Witnesses")
On August 15th, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded and occupied Beijing "Beijing fell into the hands of the Eight-Power Allied Forces. After experiencing the serious incident of the embassy and temple being besieged, it is impossible to hope that the foreign occupying forces will be benevolent. On August 15th, someone decided to humiliate the national pride of the Chinese people. It was the American General Schaeffer. He grew up in the western United States where he was hunting and killing Indians, so he had a harder heart. His goal was to conquer the Forbidden City and enter. He used cannon to blow up the strong gates of the Forbidden City.” ([意] Mada Luo "Beijing in 1900") "On August 15th, the Americans started shelling the palace in the imperial city, but due to the intervention of General Linevich and the envoy, the shelling soon stopped. There were nearly 20 casualties. On that day, the joint commander of the coalition forces and the envoy had a joint seat. At the meeting, a resolution was passed: No foreign troops can enter the palace. All the outer gates leading to the palace are guarded by international guards.” ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight-Power Allied Forces Witnesses") "The Qing imperial family has fled Beijing. The generals of the Eight-Power Allied Forces first divided the troops into four parts according to the most appropriate ratio, and then came to divide Beijing. The northern part of the inner city is all owned by the Japanese, and the Russians are divided into the southeast corner, and one point to the west. The French, a piece next to the British, and a little to the south for the Americans. The outer city is divided between the Americans and the British. The Americans set up their headquarters in Xiannongtan, and the British headquarters in Temple of Heaven. When the Germans arrived later, they were given the eastern part of the inner city, a large part of the western outer city, and other strategic locations. Italy was finally given a small part in the middle area, with their headquarters in the northwest corner.” ([Italian] Madaro "Beijing in 1900") The French newspaper at the time made this record: “A soldier who returned to China described: We were ordered to do whatever we wanted in the city for three days, kill and kill if we wanted, and take if we wanted, and we actually robbed it for eight days. The Christian priests acted as our guides.” “Allied forces. After the occupation of Beijing, the army was allowed to rob publicly for three days (August 16th to August 18th), followed by private looting. The material losses suffered by the residents of Beijing were very large, but the detailed numbers are no longer easy to investigate. Now, these countries blame one other for this robbery, but the fact that all countries have robbed together is well-known." "Therefore, the detailed numbers of China's damage and robbery will never be able to be found out, but the number must be extremely significant." ([Germany] Wadsey "Boxer Rebellion Notes")
"There is a saying in ancient China: 'The emperor humiliates his officials by ordering their deaths, that is, once the emperor suffers humiliation, his officials should be martyred. The emperor had to leave the capital due to foreign invasions. This is a sudden departure from Beijing. The officials who were loyal to the emperor could not bear such a shame. Such officials were not worthy to live, and no longer wanted to live. Therefore, on the night when Beijing was occupied, many ministers and generals served opium or swallowed gold. They died in pain. They also poisoned their wives, children and servants to prevent the family from surviving. Some threw women and children into the well and drowned them before committing suicide by themselves.” ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight Nations Allied Forces Witnesses") "In 1900, Beijing was ransacked by civilized coalition forces during a month of rampage. Because of the deep-rooted contempt for the Chinese by the alien forces and the lack of unified jurisdiction over the coalition forces of various countries, and despite the efforts of some commanders, however, no matter what, the looting of the imperial capital (and the atrocities against the residents) could not be stopped." "Half of the great capital of the emperor has been destroyed and burned, it has been ravaged so disgustingly, almost everything is dead. On both sides of the Embassy Street. There are piles of ruins, piles of stones, ashes, rubbish and dirt everywhere. The bodies of the Chinese are scattered on the road in heaps and as individuals." "The French soldiers burned the houses and shops around the Beitang. Charred corpses are exposed as piles of ruins, rubble and ashes. Chinese people who were shot and stabbed to death formed piles of corpses on the street. Not only Chinese soldiers were killed, but also innocent Chinese citizens. All Western forces perpetrated in this crime.” ([Russian] Jancivitsky "The Eyewitnesses of the Eight-Power Allied Forces")
"The trade here is extremely prosperous. Merchants from all over the world, especially those from the United States, have already come here to do business and reap huge profits. The most sold items are bronze, porcelain of various generations, and jade. Next are silk goods, embroidered goods, leather goods, copper bottles, red lacquer items, etc. As for gold and silver items, they are rare. The most regrettable thing is that many valuable objects have been destroyed, including priceless wood carvings." ([Germany] Wadsey "Boxer Rebellion Notes") The Italian minister, Marquis Laghi, wrote in his diary: "Beijing is occupied. The barbaric and cruel behaviour has begun.... I went there and saw children with their heads split and women stripped naked and murdered. Many raped first. I wish I could deny all of this, but I have to admit that it is all true." ([Italian] Madara, "Beijing in 1900") On August 28th, 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces Parade in the Forbidden City. "On August 19th, the generals and the diplomatic missions decided to occupy Beijing strategically. Everyone agreed that the Forbidden City should not be touched, but the Chinese must be given a strong warning. Therefore, a symbolic military parade must be held in the Forbidden City. And the parade is equivalent to a kind of spiritual occupation, and then the Forbidden City will be closed and guarded, waiting for the return of the royal family.” ([Italian] Madara "Beijing in 1900") "August 28th was exactly two weeks after the conquering of Beijing. On this memorable day, a historic event occurred in Beijing, China, which marked the fall of the Imperial Capital. On this day, the coalition forces held a grand parade through the palace." "At the preparatory meeting attended by the commanders of the coalition forces of various countries, it was decided to hold a military parade of all natiions: the leader was the Russian army that first invaded Beijing, followed by Japan, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, etc. All National Forces." "The number of troops is as follows: 800 Russian soldiers, 800 Japanese soldiers, 400 British soldiers, 400 Indian soldiers, 400 American soldiers, 200 French soldiers, 200 German soldiers, 60 Italian soldiers, and 60 Austrian soldiers. (Note: 2920 in total)” "Before 7:30 in the morning, the weather was exceptionally fine, and the troops gathered in the palace courtyard inside the Qian Qing Gate (of ‘Divine Purity’), the first gate of the imperial city." "All coalition forces of various countries are ready to be reviewed." "At 7:30, the commander of the Russian Army’s Zhili forces, Lieutenant General Linevich, accompanied the Russian minister Mr. Giles, Mr. Popov, the consul general, and a large number of attachés including headquarters officials, military reporters, embassy staff, and guards. Came to the assembly place under the white banner of the army commander." "Russian troops raised their guns and saluted. Our military band played a welcome song. General Linevich inspected the troops with the highest rank. After the general raised his hands to the Russian troops who warmly chanted their routine congratulations, the tour began. Allied forces of various countries. At this time, a magnificent and unusual scene was presented." "In the forbidden walls and towers of the imperial city where not only foreigners but even Chinese can approach, in the ancient stone-paved courtyards that no ordinary people have ever visited, there are now lined with foreign rifles and sabres, The eight-nation allied troops with flags, trumpeters and military bands. They greeted Russian generals with cheers and music. This is the respect of the first troops from all countries to break through into Beijing." "At eight o'clock in the morning, General Linevich finished the military parade. Then he took his entourage into the palace. Behind the entourage, Russian troops and troops from other countries followed in with military bands and flags." "The sound of a British salute announces the beginning of the parade." "This spectacular parade of coalition forces is a vivid manifestation of today’s political situation in Asia. At the forefront is the great and powerful Russia. After it is the young Japan, which has leaped over the eastern countries, and behind Japan the third country is the United Kingdom, which was once strong in Asia and has now retreated behind Russia and Japan, followed by the United States, France, and Germany, which has emerged from East Asia with its military policy, and the rest of the countries are behind them." "At nine o'clock in the morning, the military parade is over." "The sacredness and inviolability of the imperial palace in the past two hundred years has been destroyed, the secret has been revealed, and the Forbidden City is no longer the Forbidden City." ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight-Power Allied Forces Witnesses") "On the morning of August 28th, a solemn ceremony was held in front of the south gate of the Forbidden City. All the personnel of the diplomatic mission, the generals and officers of the eight-nation coalition forces, and the representatives of the soldiers of each unit held their respective signs and symbols, a total of 2,300 people. Soldiers participated in the ceremony. The parade passed through Tiananmen, Meridian Gate, Hall of Supreme Harmony, and then Deshengmen to the north. The parade was orderly, not long, and careful, but they also knew that this was a desecration of Chinese cultural identity. The Holy Land will never be the same again.” ([Italian] Madara, "Beijing in 1900") The Italian minister, Marquis Laghi, was present at the time. He recalled: “When we got to the north of the palace, we found some diplomats’ wives waiting there. They wanted to watch the parade of the troops and at least have a look at the palace. I don’t know who allowed them in. But the beloved wives were in front of the husbands who could not refuse...Some small treasures in the palace were undoubtedly lost, and at the same time, the dignity and the solemnity of the whole ceremony was lost.... But the regulations have been violated, and the door was later reopened. It has been opened several times...In the living room of an American lady's house in Beijing, I saw some very delicately carved jade objects, which many people admired... They were historical relics that were kept for centuries in the emperor's living room." ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900")
On September 7th, 1900, military parade in the Imperial Palace of the Russian Army. The Russian army camped in the imperial city: partly in the tents around Meishan, partly in the palace houses. The luxurious "Summer Palace" is guarded by several companies of our army. On September 6th, Vice Admiral Alekseyev, commander-in-chief of the Russian army, arrived in Beijing in a troika. This is the first Russian troika to drive into Beijing. On September 7th, General Alekseyev inspected the Russian troops camping in the imperial palace. All of our troops who have conquered Beijing bravely put on clean white shirts, beaming tanned faces, and saw their commander-in-chief with vigour. The commander-in-chief paid tribute to all the troops one by one as he inspected the entire army. Then, the Lieutenant General stood in the middle of the entire army and delivered a loud speech full of patriotism. The speech commended the brave, courageous and tenacious spirit of the Russian army and thanked them for their dedication in marching and conquering Beijing. And hail long live for the honour of His Majesty and the holy family. The 4,000 Russian soldiers of His Majesty the Tsar honoured His Majesty the Emperor of Russia: it was the first to occupy Beijing. Their enthusiastic cheers and national anthem resounded throughout the imperial garden and palace for a long time. General Linevich received cheers as the commander responsible for the successes in the two vast theatres from Beijing to Fengtian. A celebration was held at the end of the military parade. ([Russian] Jancivitsky "Eight-Power Allied Forces Witnesses") On December 27th, 1900, New Year's Day, 1901, the military parade at Tiananmen Square in Wade West.
"On August 18th, 1900, the hostilities began on a larger scale. In Berlin, Germany publicly issued a speech when the Kaiser sent off the German Expeditionary Force: 'You should retaliate for unjust acts. The way of implication is mocking the sacredness of foreign envoys. If you encounter an enemy, don't be merciful and do not spare life. With the weapons in your hands, the Chinese will not dare to look at the Germans even after a thousand years. Let us open a permanent channel for civilization!'" ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900") On August 23rd, 1900, Wadsey led the German Expeditionary Force to China. "At 11:30 on September 21st, I arrived at Wusong Bay and was welcomed by the many warships moored there... In the French concession of Shanghai, the British General Creagh ordered the armies of various countries to gather and hold a grand event. Military salute... and the general asks Yu Shen (余深) to review the entire army the next day... If Yu goes to the military parade, he wears the Black Eagle Medal belt, and is master of the marshal’s command, followed by one of his majesty’s guards holding a handsome flag, and dozens of officers. There are also countless Indian cavalry with splendid costumes and brave appearances, and they disperse the crowded Chinese visiting. It is inevitable that there is a sense of stage acting. But Yu Shen knows that this kind of acting method is not for Asian residents. It should be there." ([Germany] Wadsey "Boxer Rebellion Notes")
"On September 25th, Wadesy landed (Tianjin)." "Wadesy established the highest headquarters in Tianjin, and then arrived in Beijing in mid-October to organize punitive crusades and occupation of Zhili Province. Germany. The emperor’s order is arbitrary and unquestionable: 'Let the Chinese never dare to look sideways at the Germans!'” ([Italian] Madarao's "Beijing in 1900") On October 9th, Vadsi wrote in his diary: “As for Asians, you can only exercise authority to move them. This belief will still be used as a guide for all future actions.” “Now Beijing, is cleaning up the former Winter Palace where the Chinese empress and emperor lived as the rest of the headquarters." On October 17th, Wadsey wrote in his diary: "I arrived in Beijing. Eleven minutes before noon, I took a horse to enter the gate of the southeast corner of Beijing. All the generals of the coalition troops stationed in Beijing are waiting there." When Yu Chu (余初) entered the first city gate, the German artillery team opened the Chinese cannon on the wall as a salute. The Japanese artillery team stood on the marble bridge outside the palace to pay tribute to Yu - when Yu entered the Winter Palace. The journey will take more than one hour. There are troops standing by the side along the way. All Europeans staying in Beijing are not present; that is, there are many Chinese people who come to see this drama. The rest of the journey enters the winter. The palace first passes through a bridge above the lotus pond (Beihai, Zhonghai). According to this route, it is especially pre-selected, so the formerly Europeans were not allowed to cross the bridge, so it is." ([德] Wadsey "Boxer Rebellion Notes") "On December 27th, Vardesi parade in front of Tiananmen Square." "Vardesi wears winter clothes, riding a high horse, posing for a photo with two German guards in front of Tiananmen Square." ([Italian] Madara" Beijing in 1900))
Today (New Year's Day in 1901) is the military parade of the British garrison, most of which is composed of Indian soldiers. Indian custom often celebrates the Queen’s birthday on this day. The (British) General Gaselee, on behalf of the (British) Queen’s grandson, went to hold a military parade, commanded the Union Jack raised during the salute, and chanted long live the Queen. It's something that has never happened since ancient times! It's really a lot of experience here. Under the command of a Prussian marshal, the British and Indian troops saluted and shouted Hep hep Hurrah! I dare not forget to thank the Queen. The military parade was excellent. During the period, the style of the military uniform and the flesh colour of the soldiers actually showed a resplendent image, with spectacle only visible in the Eastern Kingdom. The ride is on beautiful brown horse. "([Germany] Wadsey "Boxer Rebellion Notes") "On June 5th, Vardesi left China. To be sure, he left an unforgettable mark in 9 months. The newspaper wrote: China was calmed down. On July 29th, the Forbidden City was destroyed. Returned to the Chinese authorities." ([Italian] Madara, "Beijing in 1900")
On September 7th, 1901, the "Xin Chou [辛丑] Treaty" was formally signed "For this expedition, the emperor has the greatest hope for the development of our East Asian business. The emperor has also made Yu remember: to demand China's compensation to the highest limit, and must thoroughly implement the proposition. Because the emperor urgently needs this money to produce Battleships, so it is. Later I learned more that the emperor wanted to expand our rights in Shandong. In order to achieve this project, I hope to put it on Yantai." ([Germany] Wadesi "Bpxer Rebellion Notes") "On October 26th, 1900, the peace negotiations began. Li Hongzhang (李鸿章) was sitting next to Prince Qing (庆)." "Because Spanish Ambassador Ge Luogan was the head of the mission, the negotiations were held at the Spanish Embassy. The meeting was very lengthy and exhausting, everyone. Not wanting to lose face, but the Chinese must pay a high price for peace." ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900")
"On December 22nd, 1900, when the great powers proposed the outline of the peace talks, the Qing government in exile in Xi'an immediately issued a shining edict, announcing that the government's future foreign policy was to 'Preserve China's material resources and unite with the country's love', and brazenly added: 'To discuss the agreement today, not to compromise our sovereignty, not to cede our land, to recite the forgiveness of the nations for the ignorance of the violent protests. Thinking after the fact. A mixture of regret and indignation.'" ([中] Jin Chong and "Twentieth Century China" History Compendium) On January 3rd, 1901, "Mr. Yu and (German envoy) Mumm had a long talk about the amount of indemnity that China can pay. The ministers of various countries said that the maximum should not exceed 1.5 billion marks (about 750 million taels of silver). Yu advocates that the number of two billion marks (about 1 billion taels of silver) can be squeezed out. This amount had been expected as the total amount of indemnity proposed by the great powers in compensation for the Boxer Uprising." ([Germany] Wadsey's "Boxer Rebellion Notes") On September 7th, 1901, the "Final Protocol" (Note: Xin Chou Treaty) was formally signed: The core content of the first paragraph, is effectively dealing the murder of the German imperial Minister Baron Klind, the imperial Prince Zaifeng (载沣) was ordered to go to the German Emperor to express regret on behalf of the Qing Dynasty emperor and the country. Second, the Qing Dynasty built a monument for the minister of Klind. The core content of the second paragraph deals with the need to severely punish the Chinese-Qing ministers considered responsible for the anti-Western violence and resistance – terming this ‘resistance’ as ‘War Crimes’. This included Duanjun (端郡) - ‘second-rank-prince' - Wang Zaiyi (王载漪) and Fu Guogong (辅国公) - prince-knight-general – Zailan (载澜), both of whom were charged, tried, convicted and exiled (with their titles expunged). These two men fully supported the Boxer Uprising and called for the expulsion of all foreigners from China! They were exiled with generous pensions. Many other high-ranking Qing Court officials (and members of the royal family) decided to commit suicide due to the ‘shame’ associated with losing to the Western forces. This included such people as Prince Zhuang (庄亲王 - Zhuang Qin Wang) Zaixun (載勛), Zuo Du Yushi (左都御史) – High Official of the Metropolitan Procuratorate – Yingnian (英年), and Xingbu Shangshu (刑部尚书) - High Official of the Ministry of Criminal Prevention - Zhao Shuqiao (赵舒翘); Yuxian (毓贤), the governor of Shanxi, Qixiu (启秀) from the Ministry of Ritual, and Xu Chengyu (徐承煜) from the Ministry of Criminal Affairs, were all rehabilitated and directed to the correct path of righteousness behaviour (by denying the cause of the Boxers); the co-organizer of the Ministry of Scholars, Xu Tong (徐桐), the former governor of Sichuan, Li Bingheng (李秉衡), were already dead. Many officials who were suspected of collaborating with the Boxer Movement were dismissed from their posts. This included Xu Yongyi (徐用仪) the High Official of the War Department, Lishan (立山) the High Official of the Household Department, Xu Jingcheng (许景澄) the Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Cabinet Bachelor and the Minister of Ritual Department - Lianyuan (联元), and Qing Yuanchang (卿袁昶) of the Taichang [太常] Temple - the Restoration officer, etc. The admiral of Gansu Dong Fuyang (董福样) was dismissed from his post, although he deserved to be punished far worse. The second priority of the second paragraph was to suspend the civil and military examinations for five years in towns where the people of various countries were killed and abused. The core content of the third paragraph dealt with the murder of the Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, Bin Sugiyama, through a decree of ‘surrender’ carried by the Minister of Household Affairs Natong (那桐) - sent as a special Chinese-Qing envoy to the Emperor of Japan – expressing the regret of the Qing Dynasty. The core content of the fourth paragraph deals with graves and churches of various countries that were defiled and excavated - with Chinese replacement monuments used to cleanse the dirt and snow. The Chinese state has to pay an estimated fine of 10,000 silver taels for each place in the capital to be returned to its European design and structure, and 5,000 Silver taels for each place in other provinces. The core content of the fifth paragraph is that it is forbidden to transport arms or any kind of resources or technology specially designed for the manufacture of arms into China, and for this ban to operate for two years. The core content of the sixth paragraph is the payment of 450 million taels of silver acquired through custom charges - to various Western-friendly agencies throughout China. This money was to be viewed as a ‘loan’ granted by the Western countries to be paid back by the Chinese government with an annual interest rate of four percent, over a thirty-nine-year period of repayment in accordance with the chapters in the attached table. These financial resources were guaranteed to be distributed as follows: First, the funds received by the Xinguan – or ‘new gates’ (新关). The second, is to make money for all Changguan - or ‘common gates’ (常关). The third, is for the input of all salt administrations. The core content of the seventh paragraph, states that the realm of each embassy is for exclusive business and residential use, and is solely managed by the occupants of the embassy. Chinese citizens are not allowed to live in these territories controlled by foreigners. The Chinese state has promised that all countries with embassies should be independent, and that permanent (foreign) troops should protect the embassies. The core content of the eighth paragraph is the order to flatten the Dagu fort (and all forts) that hinder the passage from the capital to the sea. The core content of the ninth paragraph, the Chinese state promises to host, without limit, the economic and religious aims as inflicted by the various foreign countries, and to allow a free colonisation of a number of key places - at the discretion of the Chinese government - so as to ensure that there is no interruption of the channel trade or movement of people from the capital to the sea. The garrisons of the foreign countries today are confirmed as being stationed at Huangcun, Langfang, Yangcun, Tianjin, Junliangcheng, Tanggu, Lutai, Tangshan, Luanzhou, Changli, Qinhuangdao, and Shanhaiguan. The core content of the tenth paragraph states that the Qing Dynasty allowed two years to inform the prefectures and counties to issue notices stating: 1) All offenders (that is any and all members of the Boxers – actual or suspected) are to be executed through public beheading, (2) The execution procedure is to be clearly explained, (3) As the people of various countries were killed and abused, all such cities and towns will suspend civil and military examinations. (4) Provincial governors, civil and military officials, and all other officials have the responsibility to ensure safety in their respective territories. If there is a recurrence of harm to the people of various countries, or if there is another breach of contract, it must be immediately suppressed and punished, otherwise it shall be governed that staff members shall be dismissed and will never be re-employed, nor shall they be excused or given awards. The core content of the eleventh paragraph, the country of the Qing Dynasty agrees to treat the various countries in the treaties of commerce and shipping as the places where they should be reformed, and all matters related to commerce will be discussed in order to be proper and simple. The core content of the twelfth paragraph is to change the Prime Minister’s National Affairs Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to the discretion of the countries, so that Western commerce and religious influence can more easily be spread in China without hindrance. The various paragraphs in the article are adequate to the wishes of the countries, and China is willing to end the situation created by the turmoil of the summer of 1900, and the countries will follow along with their permission. Except for the defensive embassy troops, the troops of all countries will retreat from the capital on September 17th, 1901. ([Italian] Madarao "Beijing in 1900")
The indemnity involved in the "Xin Chou Treaty" is called Boxer Indemnity because 1900 is the Year of the Boxer. The compensation was calculated based on the population of China at that time, one tael per person, totalling 450 million taels. Among them, Russia 130,371,120 taels, Germany 900,705,15 taels, France 708,782,40 taels, Britain 506,205,45 taels, Japan 347.931,00 taels, the United States 329,390,55 taels, Italy 329,390,55 taels, Belgium 848,4345 taels, Austria-Hungary 400,3920 taels, Netherlands 782,100 taels, and the remaining 430,000 taels Shared by Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway and other countries. The annual interest is 4%, which is paid off in 39 years, with the interest being 532,238,150 taels. The principal and interest totalled 982,238,150 taels. There are still more than 20 million taels of "local compensation" in various provinces. Therefore, the total amount is more than 1 billion taels of silver. This huge sum of money is equivalent to 12 times the Qing government's annual fiscal revenue. "Until the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Qing government's annual fiscal revenue was generally stable at around 80 million taels. But by 1903, the annual revenue had reached 104.92 million taels; by 1908, the annual revenue reached 234.8 million taels." ([日] Mingshui "Japanese on China's Fiscal Management Policy")
"The Question of Jancivitsky" and "Wadsey Prophecy" On July 14th, 1900, the conscientious Russian journalist issued a "Jancivitsky question" in his diary: "Although the coalition treats the Chinese like this, despises them, and considers them barbarians and slaves, but I can’t tell who is more worthy of the title of barbarian, Chinese or foreigner? The Chinese, with more than 500,000 people, do not have any power. Based on the long-standing ethnic discipline that melts in the blood, in this million in a populous city, order has never been disrupted, and there has never been a commotion. It is the civilized foreigners who knocked on the doors and windows of banks, shops and government offices, robbed banks, rushed into homes, ransacked their belongings, and ruined women. When the Chinese resisted, they attacked with pistols and rifles. Who is more appropriate to call a barbarian?" On February 3rd, 1901, Wadsey predicted "On the Dividing of Chinese Affairs": "If China produces a smart and courageous figure as its sovereign in the future, it will be better able to make use of the contributions of other countries in the world and the modern cultural methods of that country, Yu believes in China’s future, and there is still endless hope.” On June 22nd, he wrote again: “If the sky is a powerful leader for China, his people can not only root out the corruption of the upper class in general, but also take advantage of the western world. Civilization, the future of China is beyond limit." In 1900, China had reached its nadir, and great men were born. Do not abandon yourself in the shallow waters of Longyou (龙游), there will eventually be an uplifting day. History is asleep, but time is awake, the world is asleep, but we are awake. At the darkest hour a hundred years ago, the Western aggressors still subconsciously awed the potential of this ancient country. In today's brand-new era, it is an inevitable historical process for the Chinese to forge ahead with confidence and to be high-spirited on the road to revival. The Chinese cannot forget 1900! The Chinese will never forget 1900! In the Year of the Gengzi 120 years ago, the Chinese nation fell into the abyss without the sky! In the Gengzi Year 120 years later, the Chinese nation has a bright future and is heading for revival!
Chinese Language Reference:
Contribution & Translation Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles
Beginners learn Taijiquan by replicating the "fist frame" (拳架-Quan Jia) - or the ‘physical structure’ of the Taijiquan style as taught by their teacher. The teacher uses the ancient method of teaching one step and one sequence at a time, so that each student can learn each step and each sequence before moving on to the next section. The teacher ‘expresses’ each movement one by one, whilst the practitioner imitates these movements ‘one by one’ until they become natural. This process is termed the "leading frame" (领架 - Ling Jia). Although the “fist frame” defines the physical appearance of the Taijiquan style, the essential and underlying reality of these movements contains an extremely rich content. It not only contains its extensive martial application, but this body of knowledge is closely connected to the internal strength-building (内功 - neigong) exercises. Authentic Taijiquan is passed on from one generation to the next through its readily recognisable ‘fist frame’ or stylised form. It is only through the correct preservation of the “fist frame” that all the other ‘hidden’ techniques are preserved and passed-on.
To effectively learn a style of Taijiquan, you must first seek out the correct “enduring image” (形象 - Xing Xiang), as taught by a reliable teacher. Logically follow the rules, be meticulous, and replicate each movement one by one and step by step. First learn the correct orientation of the body (that is, the correct alignment of the head, torso, arms, legs, hands and feet, etc), next perfect the hand positions and the techniques through which these positions are used, then perfect the footwork – learning ‘how’ and ‘when’ to step and stand-still, learn all the movement routes – that is how to step, when to stop stepping and how to piece each movement together into a smooth sequence of events, and through doing all this probably, mastery the ‘outer’ style of each style. The ‘outer’ methods are mastered first – then followed by a deepening of understanding and awareness whereby the ‘inner’ methods become apparent and are in-turn mastered. This creates a unified process which sees a relaxed mind, body and environment ‘merge’ into one complete reality of ‘awareness’ and all-embracing ‘presence’.
According to whatever the style of Taijiquan being studied, ensure that the ‘chin is placed-forward (and slightly down) so that the vertebrae of the neck are gently but firmly ‘extended’ and the head correctly ‘lifted’ and placed with a ‘rooting’ strength upon the shoulders. The head and neck – in relation to the shoulders – becomes both ‘buoyant’ and yet ‘heavy’ whilst being perfectly aligned between all its constituent factors. This alignment of the vertebrae extends down from the neck into the chest and lower back area (simultaneously confirming the ‘concave’ and convex’ anatomical structures), with each placed exactly where it should be above and below all other contributing structures. The shoulders are ‘rounded’ as they surround the ‘rounded’ chest-cavity and there is no contradiction in the head-to-toe alignment of the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The chested is rounded as it fills and empties with ‘air’ and ‘qi’ (氣). Therefore, the concave and ‘empty’ chest (together with the relaxed and strengthened abdominal muscles) joins the neck and head in being both ‘robust’, incredibly ‘strong’ through ‘alignment’ and yet ‘flexible’ like the wind. The pelvic-girdle is correctly aligned with the vertebrae that emerge from it. The pelvic-girdle form a ‘bowl-like’ structure into which the mass of the digestive organs sits, manoeuvre and function, etc. From the pelvic-girdle the upper body is structured and lower body touches the earth. The pelvic-girdle connects to the ground through the bone, joint and muscle structures of the legs, which always includes the connecting tendons and ligaments all over the human body! The pelvic-girdle must be rounded and concave so that it aligns with the knees, and the ankles, whilst the knees remain ‘rounded so that the bodyweight can ‘drop’ and ‘rise’ through the area unhindered. The descending bodyweight drops into the ground through the centre of the anatomical foot-structure (which varies in exact location depending upon the technique being used). When all this is ‘corrected’, then it becomes obvious that the shoulders and hips, elbows and knees, wrist and ankles and hands a feet become permanently ‘unified’ and ‘aligned’ in their physical activity and non-activity (I.e., ‘standing still’, etc). As ‘awareness’ increases, the shape of the hand and the ‘exact’ placement of one bone to another becomes possible and is a skill repeated all-over the body including throughout the structures of the feet. In other words, the ability to ‘align’ and correctly ‘arrange’ the entire body in general – becomes a highly efficient ‘localised’ skill applied to the smallest area of the body itself. This is how tremendous power can be generated throughout the ‘frame’ and correctly emitted through with a ‘fist’ or the open ‘palm’. Conversely, huge amounts of power can be ‘absorbed’ through an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ hand, distributed throughout the Taijiquan ‘frame’ and harmlessly neutralised into the environment. This is how the ‘mind’ first ‘expands’ its awareness’ throughout a ‘unified’ body-structure (or Taijiquan ‘physical ‘frame’) before ‘expanding’ beyond the physical ‘frame’ and becoming ‘all-embracing’ and ‘all-inclusive’ of ‘all’ and ‘nothing’ in the physical environment! This is the process of how a material ‘form’ (形象 - Xian Xiang) become an immaterial, ‘mind’ or spirit-driven ‘form’ (神象 - Shen Xiang). If ‘physical’ Taijiquan practice does not evolve into a ‘spiritual’ Taijiquan practice, then a life of practice, determination and sacrifice has been entirely wasted! The teacher provides the ‘fist form’ - but you must practice ‘beyond the ‘fist’ and firmly cultivate the ‘mind’. Without this transformation, nothing substantial can be fulfilled. The ‘spiritual essence’ is contained within the ‘form’ and the ‘frame’ - but is dependent upon neither and must emerge from both. However, due to the nature of the complexity of Taijiquan design and practice, it is inevitable that some will encounter problems with their practice. Beginners are often prone to rigidity of mind and body and are unable to properly ‘adapt. The most common errors involve ‘stiffness’ (僵 - Jiang), ‘scattered’ awareness (散 - San), ‘discontinuous’ awareness (断 - Duan), ‘non-alignment’ (歪 - Wai), ‘non-rootedness’ (浮 - Fu) and other problems.
A) ‘Stiffness’ (僵 - Jiang) - involves ‘tension’ being hidden throughout the mind and body of the practitioner. It is a product of ‘habit’ that must be undone and countered through the practice of psychological and physical relaxation. Habits of thought that generate psychological tension must be ‘dissolved’. Simultaneously, the tension that abides within the muscle-fibres must also be ‘released’ through deep breathing and the focus of the mind’s attention upon the area. Eventually All mind-body tension (which is merely ‘blocked’ qi energy flow), must be a) ‘released’ and b) ‘reabsorbed’ into the entire mind-body system.
B) ‘Scattered’ awareness (散 - San) consists of a mind that is not yet ‘unified’ into a spiritual-whole so that the physical body is also affected by this ‘disunity’. A scattered mind inevitably manifests as a scattered body in the physical realm, whereas a unified mind which is all embracive of the physical body (and environment) inevitably provides the foundation for a fully united Taijiquan form. The ‘awareness’ must be ‘united’ by focusing the mind and disciplining its functionality. Once the psychological processes are ‘united’ - then the physical body (and its actions) will be permeated by this ‘unified’ awareness.
C) ‘Discontinuous’ awareness (断 - Duan), between the upper and lower body, means that there is no connection between the mind, body and environment. In other words, no ‘rootedness’ as the practitioners ‘awareness’ capacity is both incomplete and discontinuous. The upper and lowe body cannot interact in a fluid and smooth fashion. Q energy flow is ‘broken’ at crucial points (effecting ‘jing’ [精] and ‘shen’ [神] circulation, generation and transformation). As the top half of the body is ‘disconnected’ from the bottom half of the body – there is no transference of ‘awareness’, ‘energy’ or ‘ability’ through the pelvic-girdle. Beginners must observe and understand flowing water, reeling silk and clouds floating across the sky and how nature achieves these feats of action with no apparent effort at all. Human-awareness must extend fully in the ten-directions and not stop short at nine-directions! The practitioner must master the connection between ‘awareness’ and ‘movement’ - when such an awareness is ‘lacking’, then there is a ‘discontinuous’ awareness, or ‘break’ between areas of psychological and physical control. This problem can be resolved through practicing ‘deep’ relaxation of mind and body, as well as focusing the mind to ‘lead’ and ‘guide’ (引 - Yin) the awareness evenly through the physical structures of the body, so that ‘awareness’ always precedes and initiates all movement so that there is never a ‘break’ between ‘intention’ and ‘actuality’.
D) ‘Learning to lead’ (引 - Yin), or direct a strengthened, concentrated and united mind so that its ‘intention’ continuously precedes all movement both ‘within’ and ‘without’ the physical body. In this regard, conscious awareness must automatically permeate the ten directions and everything within those ten directions – including the individual mind and body. This is a continuous pulsation that exists during sleep and awake times and which is fundamental and underlying in nature. Guiding the awareness, however, ss subtly different as it is a ‘refined’ awareness operating within this meta-awareness. Whereas the meta-awareness permeates the cellular structure of the mind and body – this ‘leading’ awareness penetrates the cellular wall and permeates into the subatomic structures. It has within it a compelling and attracting force which can also be ‘reversed’ into a repelling force (like releasing the built-up energy in a drawn-bow). At other times, it directs awareness and ‘pulls’ the physical body into the various directions of movement required. It is nothing short than the evolutionary mind-body nexus. ‘Thought’ within this context, although appearing ‘spiritual’ and ‘other-worldly’ is in fact a very subtle form of substrative material reality.
E) ‘Non-alignment’ (歪 - Wai), refers to a disjointed and misplaced Taijiquan ‘frame’ (positioning) and ‘sequencing’ (form) so that the entire manifestation departs from the ‘law’ of the style, the philosophy of the tradition and the instruction of the teacher. Another description is that of a ‘crooked’ mind and body which mislead the practitioner and the world of taking the wrong direction. The body leans when it should be straight, or is straight when it should be leaning! The body remains ‘unrooted’ when it should be firmly affixed to the ground. The mind has no unified presence and is unable to penetrate and guide the the physical structures of the body. As there is no penetrative insight, the movements are ridiculous and disconnected. There is no awe-inspiring presence and no real Taijiquan practice taking place!
F) ‘Non-rootedness’ (浮 - Fu) can also be translated as ‘floating’ and refers to the non-dropping of the ‘qi’ (and ‘bodyweight’) down into the dantian (丹田) situated two-inches below the naval and through the centre of the bones (stimulating the bone-marrow) in the case of the bodyweight proper. Pockets of psychological and physical tension can prevent the qi-energy flowing properly through the eight special channels (and the numerous other major and minor qi-energy flow channels), as well as the bodyweight ‘dropping’ effectively through the centre of the bones down into the floor through the soles of the feet, etc. Eventually, the dropping of the bodyweight results in a ‘rebounding’ force which bounces the qi-energy back up the body through the centre of the bone marrow – a gravity related processes which eventually integrates with the qi-energy flow through the qi-energy channels. If an underlying psychological awareness of the deep structures of the body is not present, then neither qi-energy flow nor bodyweight movement will be understood or even known to exist! Instead, the external body will be separated into essentially top-heavy and insular compartments of disjointed and non-rooted entities! All is disconnected from the ground and from the awareness of the mind. Drop the awareness into the ground to rescue the mind and body from this hellish existence!
This is why the ‘fist frame’ is the mother of the Taijiquan system of advanced Chinese martial arts (as it conveys the ‘secret’ of how to ‘punch’ with extreme power! Each individual part of the body must be thoroughly penetrated and minutely understood with a fully develop and directed conscious mind – before each part of te body is ‘integrated’ (through accumulated ‘insight) into a ‘unified’ whole. Although a ‘form’ of Taijiquan made well hold continuous physical characteristics that continuously broadcast a well-known' style – it is the mastery of the ever-change ‘frame’ of the Taijiquan form that is vital for martial arts dominance and success in the physical world. Of course, the ‘form’ and ‘frame’ obviously over-lap and coincide but they are not identical. Whereas a ‘style’ of Taijiquan may well utilise a continuous ‘form’ or philosophical-physical approach – whilst a continuously changing, altering and adjusting ‘frame’ may be manifested by an expert practitioner. Whilst being firmly ‘rooted’ to the nourishing ground, an expert practitioner of Taijiquan is continuously manifesting the ‘root’ principles of the style, whilst also adjusting that particular ‘form’ (physical superstructure) to the conditions prevailing in the external world. A ‘fist frame’ facilitates ‘punching’ (or ‘open and closed hand techniques’ in general), whilst a ‘kicking frame’ opens the hip-area allowing for an array of ‘lifting’ or ‘floating’ leg techniques which uses the foot, knee or side of the leg-structure to ‘strike’ or ‘block’ whist standing still, or moving forward, back or side to side (although some of this activity might fall under the designation of a ‘stepping frame’ adjustment). An advanced ‘iron-vest’ frame allows for the bone structure to be utilised in a manner that deflects, absorbs or re-directs incoming energy, etc. There is even the case that suggests that the ‘frame’ of a Taijiquan style should be further adjusted as the age of the practitioner increases to counter the effects of ageing. With regards to self-defence, the body-shape, experience and motivation of an opponent will call upon the defending Taijiquan to adjust the type of ‘frame’ they manifest during hostilities. A Taijiquan ‘form’ that does not adjust its ‘frame’ (or the distance between the feet and between the hands), is then ‘stuck’ in manifesting just one particular ‘frame’. This is a common mistake today developed from a lack of properly qualified teachers.
When Taijiquan was ‘liberated’ from the limitations of feudalism in 1949 – there was not readily available a suitable cadre of instructors to carry-out this advanced ‘liberating’ policy. To remedy this, it was decided that initially it was enough for the ‘copying’ of the superficial movements (I.e., ‘form’) to take place throughout China, and that over-time, as this new approach of ‘openness’ settled in (with a limited single ‘frame’), the number of qualified teachers would increase. Today, this transitional stage Is still in operation, with practitioners seeking an ever-greater depth of understanding, although association with legitimate lineage masters that are coming to light. This is a slow but inevitable process. Taijiquan – the most advanced martial art ever constructed by the human mind – has been ‘freed’ from the few exclusive lineages that once controlled its dissemination. Although lineages till exist and their practice is disciplined, the knowledge they possess in now viewed as belonging to humanity.
Chinese Language Reference:
Photographs: The 'King Wah' Chinese Food Take-Away - Grove Road - Sutton - the First Chinese Take-Away in Sutton! (26.11.2021)
The picture above is from around 1980, whilst the image below is from 1985. Our current thinking is that Master Chan Tin Sang opened the King Wah c. 1966.
Chan (陳) Surname: Banana Village (香蕉村) - Tsui Hang - East Sai Kung - New Territories - Hong Hong - Now an Educatoional-Stop on the 'Tsui Hang Nature Reserve'! (25.11.2021)
As the occupants of the Banana Village have died away - the land they owed has been inherited and sold by their next of kin. Since 1997, this has been invariably a transaction in the direction of the Chinese government - which has pursued a policy of 'modernisation', 'preservation' and 'education'. Google Earth and Baidu Maps agree! Our ancestral village is now an educational stop on the Tsui Hang Nature Trail! We used to sit and rest for a minutes at the Tea Pavilion after walking from the bus-stop (a designated tree on the road) and telephone the Head Man or Woman to NOT let the village dogs out as we came near, We had to tell them who we are related to - and they had to know this person. Hakka people are notorious for being violent to the 'unknown'! We would then (tentatively) walk up a hill on a road built by the British - and then down the hill (a journey of about 100 yards) I think in a South-westerly direction - and the road would run-out at the entrance to Banana Village. The area is clean, safe and highly education-friendly!
Google Maps - East Sai Kung - Tsui Hang Nature Trail
Google Earth - Tsui Hang Nature Trail
Baidu Maps - 潮坑香蕉村
Mr and Mrs Chan did initially live in a privately-purchased house not far from here - but this property was lost in a business-deal gone wrong. Master Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) came to the UK in 1956 - and settled in 'Sutton' - then in 'Surrey' - because this is where a number of the Chan Clan had previously settled after making the journey from the British Colony of Hong Kong to the British Mainland as 'British Citizens'. A number of British governments had requested Colonial Subjects to migrate to an economically 'booming' UK to carry-out all the menial employment tasks - such as 'sweeping' and 'cleaning toilets', etc. Maser Chan left his wife and Hong Kong and came to the UK on his own where he got a job washing-up in London's Chinatown. In his diary he records that whilst travelling on a bus in Sutton - he was 'spat at' by a British person. He worked hard for ten years until he had earned enough to bring his wife and two young daughters from Hong Kong (all of whom arrived in the UK in 1966)! Initially, the Chan Family lived in a comfortable three-bedroomed house in Orchard Road (next to the local school). From between 1966-1980, the Chan Family (two parents and two daughters) ran the very successful 'King Wah' Chinese Take-Away situated in Grove Road (believed to be the 'first' such Chinese Take-Away in the Sutton area). It was through cooking and selling their Hakka-Chinese food to the general public that the Chan Family made their fortune in the West! Due to a business deal going wrong around the early 1980s, however, the 'King Wah' Chinese Take-Away had to be sold - meaning that the family had to move-out of their home in Orchard Road. They were re-housed by Sutton Council (now a Borough of Greater [South] London), in 'Killick House' - a high-rise Council Estate completed in 1966 as part of the money given to Sutton Council to house the local working-class. This is typical of a number of similar structures built all over Sutton - with many being 'sold' into private hands since the mid-1980s. Killick House consists of each individual living-structure consisting of a two-floored flat with the bedrooms on the ground-floor and a livingroom and kitchen on the upper floor. There was a shared utility room next door where we would hold ad hoc gongfu classes when no one was making use of the washing-machines that used to be stored there. Master Chan's two daughters, until about 1972, used to attend the nearby 'Crown Road Council School' (now closed) when they lived in both Orchard Road and Killick House. This name for the school has been given to me by a Librarian working for Sutton Library Services - although I seem to remember the school as being called 'Sutton District', or something similar. After this, Master Chan's two daughters secured professional employment - one in accountancy and the other in insurance.
The school ran across the bottom of the four roads mentioned above, with the Main-Gate being situated at the end of Sydney Road. After it was closed, this land was used to build a number of high-rise Council Estates in what is now called the 'St James' area of Sutton. Again, many of these Council Flats have been sold into private hands. Although life was generally good in the area, around 1970, a tragedy occurred, which saw a young teenage Chinese boy (who had been subjected to months of racist bullying at this school) one day took a knife into the classroom and stabbed the main protangonist to death (a single blow to the heart)! Master Chan's youngest daughter (herself about fourteen years old at the time) had to accompany the police when they went to the young boy's parents to explain (in their local Hakka-Cantonese dialect) what had happened and what their son had done (the mother collapsed in absolute grief). After this, life went on as before with good memories obscuring the bad. Racism definitely existed then as it does now - but there was also many good people who refused to sink to these depths. Generally speaking, everyone helped one another get on - and this is why another place for gongfu practice was outside on the 'concourse' near the main entrance (c. 1983-1993)!
For sake of simplicity, practitioners of Taijiquan access this method through a teacher who specialises in a particular ‘Form’ or ‘Type’ of Taijiquan – often inclusive of its own historical and ideological baggage – and which is wedded to a specific ‘Frame’ of reference, in this instance, quite literally! I was taught both the ‘Old’ Long Yang and the ultra-modern Yang 24 Step ‘Beijing’ Short-Form. To the mind of my teacher – Master Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) - this combination represented the best philosophy from both ‘Old’ and ‘New’ China and re-emphasised the ‘flexibility’ of approach with the Yang Family conceived of and practiced Taijiquan (which built upon the ‘Chen’ Form Foundation and in many ways ‘Improved’ upon it – and I say this as a ‘Chan’)! Master Chan Tin Sang trained in Hong Kong with a visiting Yang Family member when young (prior to WWII) and I have inherited a ‘signed’ Taijiquan book given to our ‘Chan’ Family from the Yang Family.
Old ‘Long’ Yang Taijiquan is a truly magnificent Form that was developed in a feudal cultural milieu that was certainly very ‘martial’ in its manifestation and long-term logic. Training was related to Clan-Name and Clan-Association. within this, there was a bewildering system of layers of access all designed to ‘keep people out’ of the inner core of the organisation. What is often either ‘forgotten’ or ‘not known’ is that a number of versions of the style would be taught be different branches of the family, with junior males teaching a watered-down or incomplete version, and senior members teaching full the genuine method. As each version was treated as ‘genuine’ and of the ‘utmost value’ - the junior teachers valued their incomplete version often NOT knowing where they fitted-in in the over-all scheme of things in the Clan Association structure, as everything was designed to ‘protect’ the Clan and everyone in it. Some of these teachers of incomplete styles still managed to find fame and fortune because they naturally developed those parts of technical skill which were missing. Quite often, I am told, after a lifetime spent engaging in and winning numerous ‘honour fights’. It seems that psychological and physical evolution tends to ‘fill-in’ any missing gaps in a style – often generating ‘new’ styles!
All the ‘Snake Creeps Down’ within the Old Yang Long ‘Form’ is bias toward bending the right knee and straightening the left-leg! It was assumed (in the 19th century) that the only way for an Old Yang Taijiquan ‘Form’ practitioner to learn ‘Snake Creeps Down’ with a bent left-knee and a straight right-leg forward – is to also learn and master the single and double-straight sword (Jian) ‘Forms’ - within which all ‘Sneek Creeps Down’ stances are bias toward the right-leg being straight! This study is assumed to take at least 20-years alongside the Old Yang Taijiquan ‘Form’. Although we respect tis tradition – the Yang 24 Step ‘Beijing’ Short-Form contains (in its 24 postures) Snake Creeps Down left and right – speeds-up this learning process immeasurably! We must not fight progress – but find our place within it. What is important – and a lesson acquired from the Yang Family – is that a practitioner of Taijiquan should alter and adjust their practice by exploring different ‘Frames’ - which are ‘high’, ‘middle’ and ‘low’. A Taijiquan ‘Frame’ is measured by how far the elbows and knees are ‘deployed’ away from the torso.
With a ‘high’ Frame the elbows and knees are ‘close’ (but not too close) with the stance being ‘high’ (with the feet being perhaps three-foot apart). For a ‘middling’ Frame the elbows and knees are a little further away from the torso (with the feet being perhaps four-foot apart), whereas for the ‘Long’ Frame the elbows and knees are the furthest apart from the torso (with the feet being perhaps five-foot apart). Advanced Taijiquan practitioners often vary the ‘Frame’ they are using as they move through a single repetition of a Taijiqian ‘Form’ and experiencing no difficulty or contradiction. The ‘intention’ in the mind regulates the flow of Jing, qi and Shen as and when the situation requires – which requires the distance between the bones to be increased or decreased, etc. Of course, all this is approximate and a true measure of a ‘Frame’ is dependent upon a) the size of the body in question, and b) the development of inner and outer ‘awareness’ possessed by the practitioner. All types of Frame should be explored and eventually ‘mastered’!
The early Ch'an Dao website was esyablished around 2000 - when the net was 'new'! Initially, the early website was 'managed' by its creator and we received a bill every six months or s0 - until it was established that we owned the site and could 'self-manage!
Email: For Your Files - How I Realised 'Enlightenment' or the More Modestly 'Self-Awareness' - This Experience Cleared the Path for Me to Encounter You! (22.11.2021)
What is interesting is that after decades of effective inner and outer martial arts practice, I have arrived at a profound 'stable' state of mind, body and spirit (whatever that is). This journey has traversed many inner and outer levels or states of being. Mostly, this has included a logical approach to physical training motivated by 'doubt' a) in the process itself, and b) in my ability to keep-up the practice or c) to carry-out the prescribed practice correctly. This 'doubt' was inward whilst the physical 'outer' Chinese martial arts techniques were superb and highly effective. This 'doubt' (which ceased to function about 14-years-ago in c. 2007) acted like a force of magnetism drawing my 'uncertain' inner-being toward to the solid and stable outer-structure of the martial arts techniques and how they might be used in self-defence (function) and mind and body health and fitness (longevity). There is now a great awareness. A great all-embracing sense of psychological being that appears to be united with mind, body and environment. This unity I term 'spiritual' because all this seems 'transcendent'. Of course, whilst being driven on by the inner doubt to practice physical martial arts (as a form of 'armouring' against external attack), I also committed myself to intense Ch'an meditative practice as a means to 'uproot' this doubt which all motivating throughout my entire life to 'take action' in many different arenas - it also contained an element of 'weakness'. As I interpreted this 'weaknesses' as a major problem that a) held me back in a state of fearful 'non-action', or b) sabotaged physical actions so as to render all exertion completely pointless! The mind 'cleared' and 'expanded' - it became all-embracing so that the body stopped appearing to be 'outside' of it and took its place entirely within psychological awareness. Although I had my initial experiences of the realisation of a 'still' and 'empty' mind with its awareness expanding and embracing all things around 1990 - it took another 15-years for this experience to settle-down (2005), and about another two or three years for all vestiges of 'doubt' to completely dissolve (2007/8). What did happen around 1990, however, is that my physical use of outer Chinese martial arts technique deepened, expanded and matured, and since the time of 'teaching' in my own right (as opposed to 'training' under a teacher) - I have never lost a fight in the training hall. (Around a year before this experience, I was following a strict Chinese (Mahayana) Buddhist 'monastic' regime and sitting in meditation for hours a day practicing the hua tou 'Who is hearing?' Suddenly, whilst sitting in my 'cell' and without warning, my mind 'ceased to move' becomingly utterly and completely 'still'. This was accompanied by deep sense of permanent ecstasy! My Chinese teachers correctly taught me with 'silence' - whilst my Western teacher Richard Hunn (1949-2006) - my Western Ch'an teacher - correctly taught me with words! Ironically, he drew my attention to the authentic Chinese Ch'an texts. 'Neither be attached to the (realised) inner void - nor hindered by (the 'external') hindering phenomena'. It was deep within the 'silence' of my Chinese Ch'an Masters (including Chan Tin Sang [1924-1993] that I discovered the poignant meaning of Richard Hunn's spiritually 'vibrant' words. This is how I knew that Richard Hunn was correct in his understanding. Later, this dual instruction [into non-duality] led to the next shift in perspective This occurred a year later after a further period of intense practice, and was a product of a complete change or 'turning about' [see the 'Lankavatara Sutra'] at the deepest essence of the mind. It was such a profound and important 'first principle' that I nearly omitted it from the list of all the important events! I was once meditating sat on the ground outside 'returning' all sensory data 'back to its 'empty ground' essence - when a cool and refreshing Summer's freeze blew gently across my face. Suddenly, my mind instantaneously 'turned the right way around' immediately abandoning its previous 'inverted' functionality and appeared to 'expand', assume an 'all-embracing' position of being, whilst this 'new awareness' thoroughly permeated the physical-body and penetrated the physical universe throughout the past, present, and future! This permanent shift in psychological and physical manifestation changed 'me' from the DNA-chemical foundation upward and influenced all the views and opinions I now hold!) This includes not only transforming the experience of sparring with students (which is now unified experience premised upon wisdom, loving kindness and compassion) - but also manifested within the otherwise 'brutal' realm of 'honour fights' whereby unknown and unfamiliar individuals suddenly turn-up at my training hall and (disrespectfully) ask to spar! They wish to gain fame and fortune through 'out of control' violence which involves (for them) the 'beating' and 'exposing' a local (Chinese) gongfu teacher! How did this happen? I think whereas my opponents were still motivated by a deep and profound sense of 'doubt' (often involving a profound 'self-hatred') - I no longer experienced this 'doubt' which 'divides' human-beings during combat. Doubt by this time in my life had become nothing more than a profound sense of enhanced 'awareness' full of compassion and understanding. This is all held in place by a physical (martial) ability that can use 'gentleness' just as easily as 'harshness' to 'control' or 'regulate' physical interactions.
Signed: Adrian Chan-Wyles [陳恒豫 - Chan Heng Yu] (22.11.2021) - '釋大道' (Shi Da Dao)
Witnessed and Authenticated by Yau, Gee-Cheuk [邱芷芍] (22.11.2021) - 'Gee Wyles' - Wife of Adrian Chan-Wyles
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.