A: As I have said before, exceptional boxing masters of the past generations had most carefully
and deliberately given exact names to each posture or set of movements as the basis of true
instruction. Each name taught a meaning or double meaning, method of practice, and often a
philosophical teaching. A good example for me to speak on is the taijiquan set of movements
called 金鷄獨立 Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).
Gongji公鸡 (roosters) have the ability to sense the approach of evil in the form of demons.
When a rooster cries out it called gongming公鸣 (a crowing rooster), its crowing is able to
frighten demons, making them flee. According to the taijiquan posture Gongji Duli 公鸡独立
(Rooster Stands Alone), my father said that his taijiquan master, Hao Wei-Zhen, expounded
on the posture’s name which teaches the lesson of self-diligence and reliance in one’s own
courage to confront and overcome any hindrances encountered in life. A double meaning,
according to a play on words, is another reason the posture’s name was created. Duli 独立 (to
stand alone), has a similar enunciation as duli 独力 (individual effort). The inferred
connotation is that one can ‘stand alone’ at the very top of a summit, and through trusting his
own attentiveness in studies can be fruitful in passing the civil service examinations, thereby
attaining the rank of a high official or government minister.
Sun taijiquan’s three sequential postures composing
金鷄獨立Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).
Master Sun also taught his students the double meanings of many postures. For example,
gongji 公鸡 (rooster) has the same pronunciation as ji 吉 (lucky, auspicious). The morning rooster that crows (gong ming 公鸣) sounds very similar to功名gong ming (merit and fame).
My father’s taijiquan teacher, Master Hao Wei-Zhen, had taught many further meanings of 独立(to stand alone), many are deeply philosophical, others are profound methods of internal practices. These are taught throughout the practice of neijiaquan.
One of my classmates under Madam Sun was a professor of history at Bei Da (Beijing University). He had explained the following to us, as it had direct bearing on Jinji Duli (Golden Rooster Stands Alone).
[The expression 独立潮 duli chao (to stand alone before the tide) was well known during past generations. The character 潮 chao (tide) has the same pronunciation as the character 朝 (court [government]). In essence, 独立潮 duli chao (to stand alone before the tide) has a veiled meaning, that being a high ranked government officer ‘standing alone before the emperor.’
Temple of Heaven
In the 1980s Master Liu Xing-Han taught us that from 1911-1937 the Temple of Heaven in Beijing became a very special meeting place for both baguazhang and xingyiquan sects to practice and exchange information. His friend and one of his teachers Master Cheng You-Xin [Cheng Ting-Hua’s youngest son], regularly conducted classes there near the stairway to the upper platform. The photo here was taken in the early 1920s when these classes were flourishing. Masters Yin Fu, Liu Bin, Cheng You-Long, Sun Lu-Tang, Cheng You-Xin and others held classes there on a regular basis. I was given this photo (rather traded for it) by Master Liu Xing-Han. I hope that all of you will treasure it as part of the cultural heritage of neijiaquan.