Hong Jun Sheng was born in 1906 in YuXian, China in 1928 so he was at least thirty years younger than Chen Fake. He was born into a wealthy Merchants family and his “Private” schooling was directed towards one day taking over the family business. However, just as with Chen Fake, he was an ailing child and to correct this, at around the age of twenty he began studying the Martial Arts under Master Liu MuSan. Liu taught the Wu Tai Chi style and was a highly regarded and much sought after teacher.
While studying under Master Liu, an important and historical event occurred, 1928, that would forever change Hong Jun Sheng. Being one of Liu’s better students, Hong Jun Sheng was invited to see a Martial Arts demonstration in which the “First” form of T’ai Chi was to shown. This form, the one above all others, was supposedly the predecessor of the Yang and Wu styles. Expecting the demonstration to last hours, due to the slow style and movements they had learned from their master, the students, along with Hong, expected a long day away from their studies.
However, in less than twenty minutes, the demonstration was over and all those who viewed it were left baffled and in complete awe. To them, this demonstration did not resemble T’ai Chi as they knew it. The slow fluid movements were gone and were replaced with stops, forceful stomps, changes in speed and direction and most of all.., Force.
Who was the Master giving this demonstration? Chen Fake.
Hong Jun Sheng, unlike all the other witnesses to this flurry of speed and force was not as taken aback as all the others who watched in amazement. He thought quite opposite in that he saw the benefits and merit in Chen’s demonstration and was particularly astonished that even with all the forcefulness in the fighting, Chen remained calm and relaxed. Master Liu, Hong’s teacher also saw this in the exhibit and encouraged his students to study under Master Chen before deciding on what style of T’ai Chi they wished to study further. This advice began a long and lasting discipleship between Hong Jun Sheng and his new master, Chen Fake.
As Chen was not at all wealthy, quite the opposite in fact, and Hong was, he invited Chen to live with his family and even use his families house to teach the Chen style, to which Chen graciously accepted. As Hong was still not in the best of health, he would allow his fellow students to practice the Chen style while he simply sat back and observed. As such, he was able to not only see the demonstrations and hear what Master Chen was telling his fellow students, he was also able to see the routines over and over again thus when it came his time to practice with his Master, he knew the movement by rote.
Within a decade however things changed. The Hong family fell on hard times and at the same time, as Chen was much sought after as a teacher, situations reversed themselves. In turn it was the Master that took in the student, but only for a short period as Hong felt he was imposing on his Masters generosity and moved his family to the village of Jinan. He did however continue to study under Chen for the next fifteen years. While in Jinan Hong became a member of an Anti- Communist, along with an Anti-Japanese movement as this period in Hongs life happened during the Japanese occupation of China. His association with these groups labeled Hong as an “Undesirable” and a political dissident. As such, this caused the Hong family to suffer, which led to even more poverty for the Hong family. This sadly led to the members of the Hong family to denounce Jun Sheng and he literally lived on the streets.
Once again, fate stepped in as China began to slowly open up which found Hong a new life in teaching the next generation of T’ai Chi Ch’uan followers and in this period Hong also wrote a book on Chen Fake’s principles. So, in the end, not only did the student learn from the Master, the student became the Master in the long run.
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