• What does "hunyuan" mean?
• What is "Hunyuan Tai Chi"?
• What are the guiding principles of Hunyuan Tai Chi?
• What is practicing Tai Chi like?

What does "hunyuan" mean?

• Hunyuan, pronounced hun-yu-enprimordial natural state 

The word 'hunyuan' has both deep metaphysical meaning in Taoist philosophy, and, with regard to Qigong and Tai Chi, practical application.   

One online Chinese dictionary defines "hunyuan" simply as "the beginning of the universe," but that hardly approaches the subtlety and insight the ancient Taoist sages brought to this dynamic principle of change and evolution. For instance, Kong Yida (574-648) writes in "The True Meaning of the Book of Changes":

"Tai Chi [as a metaphysical principle] is the time where heaven and earth did not separate yet. The Yuan Qi (original chi) was Hun (mixed) into one. It is the ultimate beginning, it is the ultimate oneness [what Grandmaster Feng called "the hunyuan integrity state"]. When Hunyuan separates, immediately there is heaven and earth, therefore it is said Tai Chi gives birth to two forces. From ultimate oneness come out two forces. From two forces come out Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang change and transform, one above, one below, they join into one whole and become one entity in the pre-separation state. When separating it comes back together again, and when coming back together it separates again. This is called heaven constant. This is Hun Yuan."

This cycle of joining and separation, manifestation and dissolution, stillness and movement, is the "way" of the Tao, the way of Nature. This unchanging principle is therefore called "Heaven constant," the primordial source from which which all things continuously arise and to which they return. This is why hunyuan is often translated as "primordial." Read more >

What is "Hunyuan Tai Chi"?

• Hunyuan, pronounced hun-yu-en: primordial natural state 
Qigong, pronounced chi-gong: internal energy cultivation 

Hunyuan Tai Chi is a modern version of Chen Style Tai Chi, the original martial style of Tai Chi renowned for its external beauty and internal power, and still practiced today in Chen Village, Henan Province. "Hunyuan" means "to mix the elements," and refers to mixing the energies of yin and yang to return to the primordial "hunyuan integrity state," the state of wholeness, health, and vitality. This is the goal of Hunyuan Tai Chi. In the broader philosophical sense, hunyuan simply means "the beginning of the universe." 

Hunyuan Tai Chi was the life's work of Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang. As the protege of both Grandmaster Chen Fake, the 17th generation Chen Family Tai Chi lineage holder, and Grandmaster Hu Yaozhen, a Xinyi grandmaster, traditional Chinese medical doctor and the "Father of Modern Qigong," Grandmaster Feng was in a unique position to master and then combine these three great traditions to produce a new frame of Tai Chi: Chenshi Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan—Hunyuan Tai Chi for short. 

For more information about the beginning of Hunyuan Tai Chi, see Michael Dorgan's article Remembering Grandmaster Feng.  

What are the guiding principles of Hunyuan Tai Chi?

1) Heart and spirit empty and quiet from start to end.

2) Center equilibrium.

3) Use your mind to move your qi. The heart is the commander.

4) Start with sink and drop.

5) Search for soft and smooth.

6) Inside/outside and upper/lower should work together.

7) The transition of yin/yang will help you find hard/soft.

8) The silk reeling force should be present through the body.

9) Search for open/close by "folding" the chest and stomach (thoracic piston).

10) Focus on the dantian to improve your neigong (internal force).

11) Keep your heart calm, mind quiet, and practice slowly (stillness in movement). The form is a moving "standing pole" meditation (huo zhuang).

12) You will be successful if you know both how to practice and how to nurture yourself (yang sheng).

(From "Entering the Door of Chen Style Taijiquan", by Feng Zhiqiang, Peoples Sports Publishing House, Beijing, 1992)

What is practicing Tai Chi like?

• Qi, pronounced "chi," internal vital energy

According to Grandmaster Feng, practicing Tai Chi is like:

• enjoying a peaceful rest.

• experiencing the sensation of Qi flowing smoothly through all the meridians.

• balancing Yin and Yang.

• swimming in the air.

• a moving form of “Standing Pole” meditation skill.

• using the body to draw beautiful Tai Chi symbols.

• drawing in the new fresh Qi and expelling the old stale Qi.

• the total relaxation of the body and mind.

• repairing and healing the mind, body and spirit.

• nourishing the body with the vast, upright Qi of the Universe.

• achieving the ultimate unification of Heaven, Earth and Moon.