Dr. Paul Lam, subject of the cover article, expresses some important ideas about Tai Chi Chuan that carry added weight because he is a medical doctor. Because of this, he is able to speak with more authority than most on the health benefits of Tai Chi.
He told a couple of stories about his teachers, Professors Men Hui Feng and Kan Gui Xiang, that illustrate their modesty.
On his first visit to Beijing to study with them, he went to the biggest Chinese bookstore and bought all the Chinese books available on Tai Chi without even looking at any of the covers. “I carried all these books back to my hotel room and Professors Men and Kan came to see me.
“We sat and talked and Prof. Kan browsed through one of the books. Since I didn’t really know what I had bought, I asked her opinion on the book. She said it was “passable”. I asked should I have bought it? “Oh, yes, you should have bought it,” she said. “It’s Okay. I wrote it.” In fact it was her book, “The 36 Forms Chen Style Taijiquan,” which I later translated into English years later.”
During one of his later visits to Beijing, Dr. Lam, at Prof. Men’s request, participated in the filming of the official competition forms by the Chinese national television network.
“At one shooting there were eight of us practicing on the Great Wall. A young man called Liu who looked very good was in the front. During lunch break, I met him and complemented him.
“We talked about competitions and I found out he competed in the Chinese National event. I asked him how he did and he said he did all right. On further questioning, he then admitted he had won the Wu style national title twice.
“On the way home, I asked Professor Men what he thought of Liu and Professor Men said: ‘Oh, he’s passable.’ I could not get over how casual he commented about the twice-national title winner. Professor Men said winning a national title was in no way meaning the winner is the best in the art. Later on, I found out Liu was a student of Professor Men.”
One of the functions of TAI CHI Magazine is to introduce people to the Tai Chi Community.
Xie Bing can, who writes in this issue about the 8 Power Strokes and 5 Steps, has been studying Tai Chi in China for over 40 years. His main teachers were Fu Zhongwen and Ma Yue-liang. He has studied all the main styles, including sword, staff and dagger.
Barbara L. DeCoster, who edited the article, said that when she met Xie in Shanghai in 1992, “one of the first things he showed me was an article in the April 1990 TAI CHI Magazine in which Zhang Luping was interviewed and spoke about his teachers in China. Zhang emphasized that the most influential and important to him was none other than Xie Bing Can.
Xie has been teaching in China for many years and has applied qigong principles to the forms, DeCoster said. “Until he came to the United States in January 1994, sponsored by the Bellevue (WA) Community College Foundation, he was a Tai Chi coach at East China Normal University.”
Cheng Liang-Qing, who is also known as Cheng Jing Zhai, started learning the Lao Jar (Old Frame) in 1970 from Wang Xian. When Chen Zhaokui came to the Chen Village from Beijing in 1973, Cheng and Wang Xian began learning the Hsin Jar (New Frame).
From 1979 to 1981 Chen Zhaokui lived with Cheng Liang Qing in Jiau-Dzou City, Henan Province. Edward Shen writes that, “During this period of time, Mr. Cheng was not only master Chen Zhao Kwei’s student, but also his best friend.”
Gary McMillen, who interviewed Van Horn Hom, works at a medical center and noted that, “I would some day hope to discover clinical research avenue for Tai Chi. I also coach baseball (13-year olds) and have been successful incorporating Tai Chi principles.”