Cheung Kuen Se Ying - Long Fist Snake Form

been passed to him through hands-on application together with the growing body of deeper and refined concepts led to changes in the emphasis and application of the Cheung Kuen. Movements from the Yang Ban Hau lineage were reintroduced back into the form, as well as introducing newer concepts such as the Tai Chi Circle and Lin Chee Bu (Cantonese).

The result of repeated refinement gave rise to a form that may appear simple to the onlooker, yet hidden within is an unforgiving, complex and profound practical and theoretical system that will allow the practitioner to develop and mature on many levels. Those who learnt the form, very quickly realized its characteristically uncompromising and tortuous nature, and soon after it became known as ‘Cheung Kuen Se Ying’ – literally translated as the Long Fist Snake Shape/Form.

Cheung Kuen Se Ying is a form that is as powerful as it is subtle. True to the perception of the snake’s attributes, externally the form is carried out entirely in a low stance, with smooth yet full transition between substantial and insubstantial weighting. Postures are based on a triangular arrangement, with the two feet representing two points of the triangle and the leading hand, being angular, representing the third. Its postures are also compact with close hand movements that work synergistically with the movements of the Tai Chi Circle. Internally the mind is focussed (意 yi) but quiet (靜 jing) facilitating the mental intent that is required for Chi to circulate more effectively –Yi Dou Hei Dou 意到氣到. Both the physical and mental processes allow the Chi energy to gather into the bones, making them stronger and heavier and thus develop the practitioner’s internal power.

Like the Traditional Long Form before it, each movement of the Snake Form contains within it an abundant breadth of potent combat application. Having the privilege to access the higher 

aspects of internal training through the correct use of the principles and concepts behind the Snake Form coupled with the traditional transmission of regular exchange of hands, the practitioner has the potential to translate his practice into powerful and deadly martial application. Both powerfully direct and subtlety deflective, Cheung Kuen Se Ying is ideally placed for nurturing the martial aspects of the art.

Cheung Kuen Se Ying then, is a form that has the potential to deliver some of the higher aspects of Tai Chi Chuan. However one must be mindful of the fact that this can only be achieved once certain prerequisites have been met. Like the roof top at the pinnacle of any tall construction, to be stable, it must first be borne of solid foundations. This is no different in Tai Chi Chuan. Therefore there must be sound comprehension of the triad consisting of the Traditional Long Form, Chi Kung and Pushing Hands, before the practitioner can begin to appreciate, understand and then absorb the Snake Form’s transmissions. Much like learning the Traditional Long Form, the Snake form is not simply the act of learning sequences of movement. It is not a form that can just be learnt superficially and archived with a library of other forms. Instead, like the Long Form, an able Sifu must first show its movements to the student and then guide him to realize the many hidden and unseen subtleties. It must then be practiced, used and reused to unlock its deeper qualities.

As has been said before, all forms, including the Snake Form, are learnt and used as tools because they enable us to substantiate our understanding of Tai Chi Chuan principles and concepts. High level Tai Chi Chuan then, is the translation of those ideals into situations beyond the structural bounds of form practice. Ultimately pure Tai Chi Chuan has no need for a form – it is simply applied concepts.

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