Qi Magazine: Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 2022: Published Article - 'Taijiquan Classic' (New Translation) By Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD! (7.6.2022)
Translator's Note: I have been very fortunate to have understanding, tolerant and wise parents who allowed myself to thoroughly 'mix' with and 'integrate' into the ethnic Chinese side of our family! This has exposed me to the 'old' Chinese cultural set-up in New Territories (Hakka) villages at a time when the modern commerce of the British had not yet penetrated the area from Hong Kong island, and most of the post-1945 changes and transformations of the Chinese Mainland had very little influence until the hand-back of the British Colony to the Chinese People in 1997! I subsequently learned about a 'modern' and 'commercial' China, and this led to me engaging and thoroughly appreciating the culture of 'New' China - the people of which have treated both myself and my family with dignity and respect! All of this experience has culminated into a rich understanding that involves the mind being 'stilled' and the 'awareness' facility 'expanded' to encompass the Ten Directions! It is the wisdom that emanates from the Empty Mind Ground that influences and guides all of my gongfu practice and translation activities! May All Beings Be Happy and Free from Suffering! A clearer scan of the paper copy of this article will be added to the 'Published Articles' section soon - whilst what follows here - are 'screenshots' of the Online 'Journal' version! When the Online Qi Journal is accessed properly - the print can be easily enlarged, made sharper and clearer! These screenshots are merely an 'idea' of the article! ACW (7.6.2022)
For years I taught class of gongfu in a private and public capacity. The ‘private’ aspect involved my family’s Ch’an Dao School which involved a rented hall and two-hours of gongfu training on a Sunday morning. Initially, this only involved members of the British Born Chinese community in Sutton who were related to us (the Sai Kung Chan Clan), or who were associated through business, warfare or any other historical means. Just being ethnically ‘Chinese’ was not enough to train in our gongfu hall as we are of ‘Hakka’ Chinese ethnicity. This is the old way and very different to how many Westerners mistakenly view traditional Chinese culture. In this context, Chinese people of clans considered ‘enemies’ were termed ‘foreigners’ and excluded from consideration. However, although this was the reality, Master Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) was of the opinion that we had to find a way of ‘evolving’ beyond this feudalistic attitude.
As more and more Westerners started enquiring about training, when I was promoted to the Head of the Ch’an Dao School, I decided to open our doors to a class of people we did not know and were not related to. This also included other Chinese people we did not know regardless of their surnames. Around this time (the late 1990s), I also started being approached by Mainland Chinese people living in the UK, who explained to me about how ‘New’ China was thoroughly ‘modern’ and how this attitude of openness and inclusiveness was being used in China to teach all foreign visitors about the beauty of Chinese culture and what it has to offer to the contemporary world! As this change in attitude dove-tailed with what Master Chan Tin Sang had in mind, I decided to transform our family style of Hakka gongfu and ‘revolutionise’ the way in which we managed our martial arts lineage!
Although I was brought-up in the old way, I never felt comfortable with its exclusiveness and ethnic clannishness. Although I was accepted as someone of mixed ethnicity – this acceptance only extended to my immediate Hakka clan and Chinese people who knew me. When outside of this group, I was subject to this ‘exclusive’ attitude and marked as a ‘foreigner’ who was not welcome within the inner workings of the Chinese community. When this happened – I would scurry back into my cultural safety zone knowing I had just experienced something very unsavoury! After 1949, Mainland China thoroughly rejected this feudal attitude and embraced ‘Internationalism’ which is designed to open-up the beauty of Chinese culture for anyone who would like to benefit from it! Since the early 2000s, I have defriended many Mainland Chinese people (living and working in the UK and in China via the internet), and have even started various academic projects and translation initiatives. Indeed, our family gongfu has evolved because of these experiences from an insular, feudal entity to a local practice premised upon universal principles!
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.