Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reply to the lies of Dai Zhi Qiang (Jon Dyer) by Dr Stephen Yan (Yan Zi Yuan)

Dr Stephen Yan --- A  matter of respect

Jon Dyer(Dai zhi qiang) was my student from 1994 until 2007. He was enthusiastic and had a keen interest in martial arts, in particular the Chinese styles. I had trained for many years so I had a lot of information to present to him, much of it unusual or even controversial because I had studied the histories and hierarchy of the styles I had practised and some of the details I discovered countered that normally taught in many popular schools. He was very fortunate I feel to meet me because I have such a passion and back this up with long hours of training and cultural study of the classics. I actually started formal training at age 13 , I am now 50 , have never stopped training during this period , and still train twice a day , and teaching every week, students from local and overseas .
I have even built a training hall in my yard at home to train in every day and to teach classes. Not only this but I have brought out many great masters to live with me for months at a time in order to get the true nuances of the systems and all this gets passed on to my valued students(13 masters from period of 25years) . It is my life! As my chosen vocation I am an acupuncturist and massage therapist (was a surgeon of general surgery before immigrate to NZ) and everything I do revolves around this philosophy of self-preservation and appreciation of natural remedies. I cannot honesty tell you how many hours I have studied the great books of wisdom and translated their worth into a language people can understand. Although I am Chinese I now live in New Zealand but make regular trips back to China for the sole reason of learning more about these national treasures. Many of these old masters are dying now year by year and I feel it my job to preserve and restore their collective knowledge and to treat it as gold. My students understand that they are being gifted precious information from my travels and teaching. Anyway, I have taken Jon to many destinations in China to act as guide and translator and mentor. This was a great privilege for him and I did my very best to make him comfortable and direct him to the best places and people to learn. I do not do this for just anybody, there is a trust and respect and caring in this – not merely a “favour” lavished on anybody walking through the front doors of my training hall.
Jon started with Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and then progressed to Xing Yi , Dai Xin Yi and then Qin Na. I knew in the beginning his lifestyle was far from perfect but do not need to go into that here. Although he did romanticise about Chinese Martial Arts in the beginning (Like many people) he soon realised that it was more about hard work and hard study than a theatrical performance. He was ordinary or regular in his training and did not particularly stand out so I decided that I treat our relationship as a business arrangement rather than a Mentor/Protégé type. This appeared to work well. We trained every week in private lessons.
Later I felt by his demeanour and by what he said that he had changed his lifestyle more in keeping with that held by serious martial artists from the past. With this understanding I decided to make him an inner disciple. This was witnessed by Master Yan  (Xin Yi Master) and so it legitimised and lodged in history the deed as done. That would have been fine if he had actually changed and the story completely true. Unfortunately he has now left me and is saying unsavoury things which is irresponsible and in many cases unfounded. He has stumbled on some very public forums to hurt himself and others. It is very shameful to see a young man disintegrate and become so angry at the world and people providing him shelter and food in the form of teaching. I wish no harm or bad things to come to him of course but he needs help if this continues. I hope somebody else can offer some comfort to him and make him realise the mistakes he has made and the damage done to his nearest and dearest. Anyway my path lays ahead of me as it does for him also and hopefully people reading this can see through his delusions to get to the actual truth.

When I first came back from China this year I answered several questions online, but since then had not looked at the English Martial Arts forums for some time. I was first told about a post containing a nasty personal attack after it had been online for a few days. I have since read my former Tudi (disciple) Mr Jon Dyer’s article titled “Addressing Dr Stephen Yan – Unfortunately”. It seems the underlying reason for these posts is that Mr Jon Dyer wishes to establish an organization around Dai Xin Yi not associated with me. It may be to make money, or fame, but either way he has taken me as a barrier to achieve this purpose. To do this he thinks he needs to be Master Yan L C’s successor, needs to be a teaching certificate holder, and needs to be Master Yan’s sole representative. He also obviously feels he needs to discredit by teaching of Dai Xin Yi to eliminate any possible competition.

Both Jon Dyer and Master Yan (if everything Mr Dyer says can be believed) also seem to constantly forget that Master Yan himself led the ceremony for Jon Dyer to become my Tudi (As per the photos on the link below). Now it is claimed this broke the rules and am not ready even to teach – and yet Master Yan was there in the ceremony of me taking a Dai Xin Yi disciple? How can this be?

My complete response and the associated photos to this can be found on my main website:http://www.tai-chi.co.nz/Addressing%20Mr%20Jon%20Dyer%20(Unfortunately).html

Monday, April 27, 2009

Push hands: Rugby Tackle / Charge with open arms

I started to learn Wu style Tai-Chi (I learned the fast form first) from Grandmaster Ma Yue Liang in 1981. It was my first year in Shanghai Medical School of Fu Dan University (现称“复旦大学医学院”).

Our medical school martial art association was formed in 1983, I was one of the organisers, and we invited Ma Jiang Bao (Master Ma’s son), and Shi Mei Lin as our association instructors. I got to know more about Wu style Tai-chi through Shi Mei Lin during that time (later on Shi Mei Lin and I were married, and were later divorced). From 1983, I started to meet master Ma Yue Liang and Wu Yin Hua more often and tried PH many times with Master Ma. I was really convinced, and thought Ma’s Tai-chi was the ultimate martial art. I also heard lots of Wu style history from Master Ma. By 1990, we invited Master Ma and his wife Master Wu to NZ to live with us for over six months. During that period of time, I recorded down more of the histories, as well as learning PH and Tai-Chi Nei Gong from Master Ma. In 1992 Shi Mei Lin and I divorced.

I went to Shanghai to learn more from master Ma and Wu in 1991 and 1992, and most of all during the period of my three years living in Shanghai from 1993 to 1996. During those three years, I spent lots of time with Master Ma and Wu.

After Master Wu and Ma passed away, I decided to write down the histories that I heard from them for people who may be interested in Tai-Chi history in general, and especially Wu Tai-chi history.

My book was written in 1999, and was published in the year 2000. I also sent some Wu Tai-chi history to “Wu Dan” martial arts magazine. After the magazine published my articles, two persons put challenging notes on the magazine. One was Master Wang Ji Zhen who does Yang style Tai-chi, Xing Yi and Ba Gua. The other was Master Yu Zhi Jun, who was a disciple of Wu Tu Nan. Coincidentally at the time I was in China. Since these two masters (they were both around 60 years of age) challenged me, I went to see them to accept the challenge. I went to Wang’s club in Shanghai while he was teaching, I told him that I was there to take his challenge, we could do either PH or free sparing and if I don’t put him down on the ground within a minute, I would never practise Kung Fu again. Wang didn’t even dare to put his hands out.

Then I went to look for Yu Zhi Jun in Beijing. I took my friend who is a Tong Bei Quan master with me as a witness. My friend also called his Da Chen Quan friend came with him.

The reason Yu challenge me was because in my article I pointed out his master Wu Tu Nan was born around1901’, not 1880s, I was told this by Master Ma. Yu got upset, so he challenged me in PH. Of note last year, 2008, researchers found a registration form of Wu Tu Nan in the first china national Kung-Fu competition in 1927. The form clearly stated Wu Tu Nan was born in 1902, which has therefore proved Master Ma was correct.

Once we enter Yu’s house, I told him that I was there to take his challenge, and that the other two people were witnesses. The room was around 16 square metres, at one end by the window was a double bed, at the other end was a book shelf with glass sliding doors. There were some stools close to the bed. Yu asked me to stand in front of the book shelf to have a PH. Once I felt Yu’s hard force, I intercepted it and threw him back-wards, and one of his knees hit on the concrete floor. He got up and madly rushed towards me with two arms wide open to both sides, like a rugby tackle, with a limping leg. I could have delivered a double palm push on his chest, as his chest was wide open, but I hesitated, as it would be too mean to do this. This was not “Tou Xi”偷袭, and in push hands you are supposed to place your hands together before you can attack. But his hands were stretched to both sides, not in the front, so no hands were given to contact. While I hesitated due to this, he embarrassed me and drove us together into his book shelf which was half metre away from my back. We both hit the book case and broke the glass. One piece of glass made a little cut in my right ear, which I wasn’t aware of until we left Yu’s place.

I told Yu that this was not a traditional way of PH, with a rugby tackle / charge, and told him I could strike him badly if I wished to. I then requested to have more PH in a open area, but he refused.

Then the Da Chen Quan guy went forward saying “let’s have a PH”. Without waiting for Yu’s answer, the guy already hugged Yu and drove him towards the bed. They both fell on the bed, with the Da Chen Quan guy on top of Yu.

Then we left, Yu wrote a letter to the magazine, saying “a foreigner from NZ came to his house, beat him up and injured his knee. I have already reported this to the police”.

Afterwards, the Da Chen Quan guy also made up a story saying “he sent Yu in the air……” which was not the case.

Some people also started to attack me on the internet saying that I only beat up old guys. They forgot that the challenges I have had over the years are from all age groups. It was also their challenge to me and not mine to them. If I did not go to take the challenge, then someone would no doubt say that I am even afraid of taking an old guy’s challenge. When I did, then they say I take advantage of old guys, I guess I can’t win.

My suggestion to this rugby tackle / charge is to just strike the chest with palms before they embarrassed you.

Additional Pictures from Tricks

Here is the begining, where Master Yek tried the sudden use of hard force and was bounced back by Dr Yan

The following are some more photo's of the specific trick using the low couch behind.
Master Yek driving Dr Yan hard into the couch behind

In the photo above, after managing to neutralise most of the attack, Master Yek is losing balance forward while driving Dr Yan onto the couch behind

The above photo shows Master Yek bouncing away while trying to push Dr Yan back on the couch as he was trying to stand up.

The following photo's are in the middle of the open area, once Dr Yan moved away from the couch.

These last two photos show Dr Yan turning the low couch tactic against Master Yek

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tricks To Be Aware Of In Push Hands Challenges

An article by Dr. Stephen Yan

From my numerous experiences in Push Hands Challenges, I have distilled the following tricks to be aware of;

1) “saying use little force by mouth, but use big force by hands”,
2) “let opponent stand by wall with leg very close to a couch, or a bed, or a chair etc, so the opponent worry about his back and can’t concentrate his front.
3) Rugby tackle charge to object behind (often used in conjunction with number 2)

The following article is the first part describing my experiences with PH and these particular tricks.

As a means of my background, ever since Grand Master Ma Yue Ling and his wife Wu Ying Hua left NZ (after staying with me and my now ex-wife Shi Mei Lin for over 6 months in 1990), I have met different people from different Tai Chi styles and other martial arts like Akido, Judo, Chinese ShuaJiao (wrestling), Wing Chun, Da Chen Quan etc, for push-hands challenges.

Among those people, there were Xiao Qing Lin肖庆林 (陈发科Chen Fa Kou’s disciple), Chen Xiao Wang陈小旺 (Chen Fa Kon’s grandson, Chen style), Ma Hong (Chen style), Liu Jun Long (who has won 3rd place in China national Chen style competition), Fu Sheng Yuan付声远 (Yang style), Xue Na Yin薛乃印 (Wu-Hao style), He Shao Ping (Zhao Bao He style), Wang Guen Nian (Zhao Bao Zheng style), Hou Jian Guo (a successor of Hu Lei忽雷 style founder Li Jing Yan late age creation of “Wu Hu Yun Qi Chui”五虎运气捶), Yek Sing ong of Zheng Man Qing郑曼青 style, and his martial art brother Patrick Kelly and Mr. Wei; Dan Docherty of Wu Dan Tai-chi, a branch of Wu style Tai Chi, Master Li from xin ji county (BeiJing Wu style master Wang pei sheng’s王培生 disciple), Yu Zhi Jun于志钧 (Wu Tu Nan’s吴图南 disciple), Mr. Liu (forgot his name, only after P.H, someone told me Liu was Shanghai PH champion, and also a master of Chinese wresting), David from Auckland(a boxer and a body builder, also practices Yang style).

Apart from above well-known Tai Chi practioners, there were numerous un-known Tai Chi teachers, masters.

The following video capture picture is of an Akido expert who challenged me during a public demonstration I was performing with Gerard:

I also had a kind of P.H. with Da Cheng Quan大成拳, Dai shi Xin Yi戴氏心意拳, and Wing Chun Quan masters or instructors (which put hands together first or body in contact first, then both sides were allowed to use their own technique to push, throw or strike), I also let one Muay Tai champion (Dan Brook) do a Muay Tai neck clinch and kneeling application and I used my Tai-Chi technique to throw him on the floor.

I also let one Akido instructor in Wellington try his akido on me, and an Judo instructor from Wanganui use Judo on me and as a result they both became my students for several years.

The most recent PH challenge was in early this year in Xi An China, while I was staying with my XYLH master Bai Wen Yi (Master Bai is the top student of the great master Yang Xiang Lin杨祥麟 of Mai Zhuang Tu买壮图 XYLHQ). Master Bai introduced his neighbours friend Master Sang桑 (whom retired from ShanXi陕西 wrestling team, and had won the light weight China national championship)to me, we had a go with he used his wrestling techniques, and I used my Tai Chi.

While I was staying in Xi An, I also asked master Yang Bao Shen of Xi An Wu Shu committee to pass my invitation to master Li Sui Cheng李随成 of Zhao Bao Tai chi to have a PH, but had no reply.

Among my above all those experience, I met several practitioners who used what I would now term ‘dirty tricks’, so I am writing down these experiences so other Tai chi practioners can be aware:

Case one:Master Yek Sing Ong, also called professor Yek Sing Ong.

1)“saying use little force by mouth, but use big force by hands”,

2)“let opponent stand by wall with leg very close to a couch, or a bed, or a chair etc, so the opponent worry about his back and can’t concentrate his front.

As early as in 1990, master Ma Yue Liang马岳梁, master Wu Yin Hua吴英华, My ex-wife Shi Mei Lin and myself, put a demonstration in Patrick Kelly’s Tai-chi school in Auckland (Patrick calls his Tai-chi as “fighting Tai-chi”), I had a P.H. with Patrick, and we became friends at that time, he also had a PH with master Ma.

Five years later in late 1995, Patrick contacted me to express his wish to try again on master Ma, as he still couldn’t figure out how he was thrown around without seeing master Ma use any effort. He thought at that time, he might not have tried his best, as he worried about Master Ma’s age (in 1990, Master Ma was 89 years old). So he wanted to have a good try. Patrick also said that he had PH with Chen Xiao Wang in Sydney and other masters in Europe, and that no one could beat him.

I told Patrick that Master Ma was already nearly 95 years old, so I had to ask him about the challenge. When I told Master Ma that Patrick wanted to come “to try again”, Master Ma said: “since Patrick wants to fly all the way from Paris to Shanghai, it indicates his sincerity of wanting to know the art, you tell him that he is welcome ”. So Patrick came, I picked him up from the airport, and next day I took him to Master Ma’s house. Of course, Patrick had no chance.

In his hotel Patrick and me had another PH (one of my Tai-chi students Edward Ware was visiting me from NZ, he was also present).

Later on I met Patrick and his Tai-chi brother “Wei” in Wellington, I had PH with both of them. By 1996, I went to Auckland to participate in the “Siu Lam Gar Kong-fu 1996 International Martial Arts Competition”, I won black belt weapons first place. While I was staying in Auckland, I had another PH with “Wei”.

From both Patrick and Wei, they talked about their senior Tai-chi brother Master Yek Sing Ong 葉神恩,whom was the number one student of their master Huang Xing Xian黄性贤, and had won PH champions in East Asia. So I had a desire to have a PH with master Yek Sing Ong to see the difference between our PH, but Wei told me that his senior brother master Yek Sing Ong was very busy in giving workshops around world, and often not available in NZ. But he would let me know when Yek Sing Ong was available.

The Push Hands

One day in early 1998, I received a phone call from Wei, saying Yek was in Auckland and would like to meet me in the weekend. I took two of my indoor students Gerard and Tony, and my Dai Shi Xin Yi Quan master Yang Long Chang with me, and drove all the way from Wellington to Auckland. Then Wei took us to Yek’s place. I felt like in the movies when I walked towards Master Yek, as from Yek’s front gate to where he sat he has a long walking path and on both sides of the path stood lots of his top students in their uniforms, while master Yek was sitting in a chair by a round garden table and drinking tea at the end of the path.

Once we sat down and introduced each other, Master Yek started to say some nice words about Master Ma Yue Liang. I guess he was told by Patrick about Patrick’s two PH experiences with Master Ma.

I said to Yek that my purpose of the trip was not to challenge him, I just wanted to see the differences in PH. Yek agreed and asked his assistant instructor to have PH with me first (this is very normal in these situations – gives the person an opportunity to assess the skills of the opponent etc). As I kept my word about not challenging him but instead wanting to see the skill differences, I just gently threw the student around. After a while, Yek’s assistant instructor put an open hands posture to Yek, indicating that he couldn’t do anything to stop being thrown around.

Then Yek stood up, asked me to move to a wall, and stood me in front of a couch which was attached to the wall, there were some soft pads above the couch on the wall. I asked “why don’t we PH in the open place (where I did with the student)?”, Yek said he just wanted to do PH without us using any force, and therefore the place is big enough and safe just in case with soft pads on the wall.

I didn’t realise that it was his dirty trick to ask me to stand with my legs right against the couch, and saying “do PH without force”. Soon our hands in touch, I could sense Yek was starting to using big force to push forward, I intercepted his force and he was bouncing backwards, then perhaps he felt that he lost face, so straight away he rushed towards me. I tried to neutralise his force and retreat my font leg, but I was tripped by the couch which meant that I ended up sitting on the couch. Even though my leg was tripped, I had managed to turn my upper body, so Yek’s force was mostly neutralised, and so he fell onto the couch too, with one hand on the couch. Just as I was about to stand up, he pushed me on the couch again with his other hand.

By then, I realised that it was a trick putting me in front of the couch (which I had not expected). So I walked to the open area and decided to give him a good lesson. I said to him: “Master Yek, lets come over here”. After Yek being repeatedly thrown out by me, he tried a big move to gain his face back, but unfortunately, I neutralised his force and led him fly out, his body and hands landed on the ground with face downwards. I let him got up properly (I wouldn’t like trying to push him before he stood up) and kept on pushing him back wards, once I saw the couch was about a metre away from his back, I threw him hard. Master Yek was falling backwards and sat on his own tricky couch. At that point he didn’t want to carry on PH with me,

My indoor student Gerard requested a PH with master Yek as well, and Yek couldn’t push Gerard out. My Dai Shi Xin Yi master Yan Long Chang saw me throwing master Yek on the ground and on the couch, so he decided to try delivering his power to master Yek, (as putting hands together first, and then trying to throw each other is also the way they practise Dai Shi Xin Yi in master Yan’s home town.)

When their hands came together, master Yan Long Chang couldn’t deliver his power, and master Yek delivered a palm strike, master Yan Long Chang lost balance and nearly fell over, showing Master Yek’s good skills.

By then all the PH activities finished, and Master Yek asked his students to serve us with some nice Chinese tea, and he didn’t say any other words. After the tea, we left. On the way back to Wellington, I received a call from Wei, saying: “his senior Tai-chi brother Master YeK was blaming him for taking me to see him, and Wei wanted us to destroy the video that Tony took”. I said: “we won’t destroy the video, but we wouldn’t put it in public unless Master Yek wanted me to do it” (of note the photo at the end of this section is a capture from this video, clearly showing the couch in the background and Master Yek with hands on the floor as verification of the event).

As matter of fact, one of Yek’s own students also took video of the event, so if he wanted to put the video on, he could do that. After almost 9 years, one of master Yek’s top students came to my clinic and said to me: “Master Yan, you are very good, is there any chance to get a copy of the video?” I said: “did Master Yek send you here to ask for a copy?”. That man said: “no, it is my own trip, wanting it for my own references”. As I promised to Wei not give to the public, I refused that students request.

In summary with this first example, the ‘dirty tricks’ are;
1) “saying use little force by mouth, but use big force by hands”, and
2) “let opponent stand by wall with leg very close to a couch, or a bed, or a chair etc, so the opponent worry about his back and can’t concentrate on his front. Not only this, as soon as he retreats, he will trip himself over”.

In year 2000 in Henan China, I had a PH with famous master Ma Hong of Chen style, he used the same trick, when he asked me to stand in front of his hotel bed. With the experience with Yek, I already knew this trick, so when Ma Hong suddenly attack me, he himself ended up on his bed (I knew not to retreat and to expected that type of attack), and when he got up, he put his thumb up, saying: “young man, you are very good”.

One of the reasons I love Tai Chi is I have felt that my PH has continued to improve ever since the 1980’s, and especially in the last couple of years. This to me shows how deep the art can be, that you can improve your skill endlessly throughout your life.