Pear-Flower Spear and White Ape Staff of Chen Family Taijiquan (Li-Hua Qiang Jia Bai-Yuan Kun)
Visit the International Chen Style Taijiquan site (Ren Guang-yi) for a video of the Chen Village spear form.
Notes on Posture Names
Ye Cha: The Chinese term ye cha translates to night ghost. The symbol of the night ghost is a forked weapon. Another possible meaning of this term comes from Indian Buddhism, where Ye Cha is a particular immortal being. The Indian name spoken to a Chinese speaking person may have been interpreted as a Chinese term. Ye cha is sometimes referred to as a flesh-eating demon. I do not know if that translation relates to night ghost or the Buddhist immortal.
Yellow Dragon: Dragon is often associated with something royal, and yellow is the royal color of China. Yellow Dragon would signify a very strong royal aspect. In martial arts forms, this may signify a move require high level skill, such as sticking to the opponent's weapon.
Black Dragon: Something very evil and fierce. In the form we attack someone that is attacking us while we retreat. Another common term for fierce and evil is black tiger as in Black tiger steals the heart in Hung Gar, and black tiger sits in the cave, in Kwun Wu Sword. Tiger often has a more youthful energy than dragon.
Green dragon (Ching Dragon): In this form seems to refer or something long like a snake. Also refers something like a sea snake that moves smoothly and has great potential lying just beneath the surface ready to manifest at the appropriate time.
Blue dragon: There is no blue dragon in Chinese martial art names. That is, there is no NAM dragon in Chinese literature; there is only Ching dragon. Ching is the light fresh green of fresh budding leaves. Blue may be a translation in which the translator thinks blue is this color. The Chen style move is ching lung chut sui, which is green dragon out of the water, The green dragon refers to a fish that looks like a sea snake. The image is a snake-like green thing vertically sliding out of the water, relatively abrupt, silent, and frictionless.
Er Lang Stories:
Er Lang was supposed to have special vision, like a third eye intuitive vision. This might be way some Er Lang moves are used as false retreats and the back is temporarily toward the opponent.
He was the second son (literally from the name) of a famous general. Er Lang, himself was famous for defeating the Monkey King and became deified.
His father is Lau yin Cheung a scholar. His mother Holy Mother of Mount Hua . She was condemned for this unlawful human-goddess marriage and sealed under Mt Hua. Thus when Er Lang grew up, he used an axe to chop open the mountain to save his mother. This is a well-known story and leads to a common name used in many martial arts. Er-Lang splits Mt Hua connotes strength. Another common move is Er Lang carries the Hill [eh-lang dam san]. In Journey to the West, he did fight the Monkey King to a draw. The goddess Guanyin used a vase, and Lao Tsu used a metal ring to strike the Monkey king, which enabled Er Lang to defeat him. It is interesting to note that Er Langs weapon was a broad bladed spear called 3-spike, 2-blade spear, The spear move may get its name from the use of this weapon.
Er Lang was the son of Li Bing builder of a famous architectural miracle, a wonderful water dam, around 200BC. It is still in existence in West China and is a tourist attraction. This Er Lang may not be relevant to our spear moves.
Eh Lang Man is a very famous old MA style, older than Chen Taiji In this style you would see an interesting oblique slant, similar to Wu taiji. It is supposed to be very graceful.
Tai Gong Goes Fishing: Tai Gong was a famous sage that was known for fishing with a straight hook. When asked how can you catch a fish with a straight hook, his reply was the fish that is willing will bite. It is a funny story that leads to a common tease in China, that is, when you see someone fishing you call them Tai Gong. For us, does it mean that we are simply in a posture that looks like we are fishing, or does it mean that we are fishing for our opponent to willingly bite into our hook?
Fair Maid Threads Needle: This indicates a very careful concentration and looking at something, like you were going to thread a very fine needle. The move occurs before a rapid advance, which you would not want to undertake without a careful examination.
Jade Girl Works at Shuttles: Jade girl indicates a maiden so fair that her skin is like white jade. She is more mythological than a fair maiden. Most Jade maiden moves that I know of involve a very quick advance, almost like a mythological being floating in a cloud. Jade Maiden also refers to a slender teenage girl. In Chinese the age is considered to be 12 to 14. The image is a bit shy, light, agile, and graceful.
Mount Tai: A famous mountain in Shantung province. Tai shan (mountain) is regarded as the heaviest of the 5 big mountains in central China. The others are Hua (mentioned above) of the west, Hang of the south, Hang of the north, and Zong of the central (site of Shaolin Temple).
Pipa: a musical instrument like a lute. It is held nearly vertical in the front midline, one hand up at the narrow part, one hand low at the strings. Play the pipa or take the pipa usually has a portion that looks like holding this instrument.
The martial flowers are intended to ward off or attack two opponents that have you surrounded, one in front and one behind you. In actual usage the opponents might be in different positions and you would adjust your flowers accordingly. Have the spirit of defending/attacking the front and back simultaneously. Very rapid changes in attention and stance are needed.
When starting a martial flower you often attack the front with the but of your spear. A good target is the opponents lead hand. It is closer than their head.
Horizontal thrusts often have a slight upward tilt. They are more difficult to block when they possess this tilt. Try your resisting a push down on your spear with and without the tilt and compare the difference in your strength.
When your spear is used in a defensive block try to get your hand parts (fingers, palm) on the side of the spear that is not taking the impact.
When thrusting far forward to end with both hands extended, note that the spear is weaker if you end with your right fist in your left palm. Try to end the thrust before one goes into the other.
Flower terminology - Flower movements refer to circling of the spear to slip away a attacking weapon and also to attack and defend to the front and rear. A similar term is used for other weapons.
Full Martial Flower: Seems to indicate spear circling while body turning 360 degrees L then 360 degrees R
Half Martial Flower: Seems to usually indicate spear circling while a body turning 360 degrees R
Turn Around, Half Martial Flower: Seems to indicate a body turn 180 degrees R plus 360 degrees R
Ending positions of flowers:
- Horizontal for horizontal thrust
- Pointed down for downward thrust
- Held up to be slapped down
Many thanks to the friends that provided translations.