About “Taiji Prince” Master Shen Zhi
From magazine “Jingwu” (“The best of Wushu”). ¹3 1996. Translation from Chinese language.

1. A Star of True Martial Arts.
Shen Zhi from Fuyang district of Anhui province was born in 1962 in the family of masters of martial arts, therefore, he has been practicing martial arts since early childhood for already more than 20 years. His teachers are the 19th patriarch of “Chen” style Taijiquan Master Chen Xiaowang and the successor of Wudang Panlongmen tradition (school of the Coiled Dragon – Wudang Daoist school) Qigong Master Zhang Jialing, the 9th patriarch of “Tianwangsi” monastery (translated from Chinese as “Lord of Heaven”. The modern name “Tianhesi” is “The Heavenly River”) in Hubei province. Shen Zhi was a zealous student and gradually became a star of the traditional martial arts.
   In 1987 in Zhengzhou Letai Wushu competition “Zhen-Xian bei” was held between Zhengzhou and Xiangang (Hong Kong). Shen Zhi surpassed with his talent a number of masters and became a champion in a 60 kg weight category, and that made him famous. In 1989 Shen Zhi was invited to visit Xiangang and Taiwan. In 1991 he once again visited Xiangang, as well as Thailand and Singapore, and as a result became famous “among four seas”.
   Shen Zhi is reserved and calm, firm and courageous, which, in combination with the excellent natural qualities, serves for the ability to perceive the essence of the martial arts in a special way. Now Shen Zhi is the chief of secretariat and the main trainer of Chinese Letai Wushu of “18 Emperors of Peking”, head of the qigong department of “Chinese Literature, Painting and Qigong Research Society” in Anhui province, the chief instructor of Goshu Institute in Peking district Jingtu. He teaches for a long time and was able to a great number of disciples.

                        Cover of the magazine “Jingwu” (“The best of Wushu”). ¹3 1996.

2. The Path of Studying the Arts.
While studying the martial arts Shen Zhi was looking everywhere for high level teachers; he sincerely asked them for instructions and diligently perfected himself, while having a firm foundation of the fighting practice laid back in his childhood. In the process of learning Taijiquan with master Chen Xiaowang, as a result of thorough practice of basic techniques, he learned to apprehend “movement and rest, relaxed and tense, opening and closing, absorbing and releasing, sloping and straight, exciting and carefree, hard and soft, Yin and Yang”, and from studying martial arts he gradually reached the subtle feeling of Life and Universe. He understood that the Great Way is not unfathomable, ordinary practice already is partly unfathomable. This way he achieved spiritual enlightenment that had a great influence on his practice of the martial arts.
   Practicing Taijiquan, Shen Zhi deeply felt its sacred meaning. Only after a short period of study with Chen Xiaowang he already became a champion during the Taijiquan competition in Henan province and earned a nickname – “The Prince of Taiji”. The enlightenment rapidly improved the process of his learning, and he began getting true input from his teacher Chen Xiaowang.
   After two years of learning under Qigong master Zhang Jialing, Shen Zhi achieved a second level of spiritual progress. He deeply comprehended and mastered hard Qigong of the Tianwangsi temple. He realized that spiritual progress has two forms – “gradual” and “sudden”. These two forms happen only as a result of restricting of the human mind, and not as a result of subjective wishing, and, even more so, are not something artificial, introduced mechanically. Wushu and Qigong, when they are taught to the unprepared and inexperienced people, are the examples of these “boundaries of the mind”. A Buddhist saying speaks of the same: “There are eighty four thousand schools of Buddhism – each leads to the Bodhi tree” (under the Bodhi tree Buddha Shakyamuni received Enlightenment). The goal of practice of the fist-fighting methods and Qigong is the absolute spiritual enlightenment of human life and of the entire Universe. As soon as you realize that – you will be able to use either method. Shen Zhi truly deserves the name he was given – “Zhi” (“Wise”).
   Upon reaching high spiritual level, within two years Shen Zhi mastered such extraordinary martial arts techniques as “Iron Shirt”, “Golden Bell Cover”, “Iron Palm”, “The Power of Two Fingers”, understood the essence of the methods of Wudang Panlongmen school and became a high level instructor. Following the footsteps of his two teachers, he also adopted their moral qualities. The instructions of Chen and Zhang let him “lay a path through the reed obstruction”, lighten up his heart and perfect his skills.
A path to comprehending the Arts is hidden in the revelation of its essence. Shen Zhi apperceived the demands of his teachers diligently and deeply. Being a reserved man, during his lessons he carefully considered the essence of the wisdom received from his teachers, thought about the things he heard, and respectfully accepted the things he saw. Ten years of practice went by as just one day. Every word, every movement, every psychological state of mind was being achieved and practiced without idleness.
    Shen Zhi also met with other masters, carried out instructions from other teachers, for answers within himself, putting into practice the aphorism “thousands of things in the world can be my teacher”.
    Martial arts are directly connected to the traditional Chinese culture. When the sixth patriarch of the sect - Chan Huineng, achieved the enlightenment and wanted to travel south over the Yangzi river, the fifth patriarch Hongren wanted to help him cross the river and get to the south, but the sixth patriarch crossed his hands and bowing to the teacher said: “When the mind of Huineng was at war, the teacher helped me over (that is over the Dharma sea, brought me to the enlightenment), but now Huineng reached the enlightenment and can cross over himself”. Shen Zhi is just the same. He knows that the purpose of a teacher is to lead the disciple to the most important moments. There are two kinds of teachers: the ones with an earned image, and the ones without it, but who, however, know everything and can do anything. People practicing martial arts are often attracted by the outer looks of the teacher, and, thus, miss the most important thing – his inner state. But Shen Zhi knew that if you judge only by the appearance, then, even if you meet a great teacher, you will not be able to recognize him, and then “passing from one heart to another” is out of question. “Passing from one heart to another” is, as a matter of fact, the most important part in the relationship between teacher and student. If you have not found this kind of teacher, you will be tossed between them; today you go to one teacher, tomorrow you go to another one.
    Studying qigong with the honourable teacher Zhang Jialing, Shen Zhi strictly kept the commandments of his school. There were a lot of precepts that Zhang Jialing demanded to fulfil in the practice of hard qigong of Tianwangsi temple. The precepts were divided into external and internal. External precepts referred to the body – for example, murder, adultery, alcohol consumption and others - things that are traditionally forbidden in Buddhism; internal precepts referred to the spiritual state. Spiritual responsibilities come before the bodily, and Shen Zhi always used them in his practice. When doing the exercise “Standing Pole”, practicing the basic forms, the heart needs to be cleansed and wild ideas need to be set aside. This is how he used to walk, stand, sit, and lay; movement or stillness - they are one. This way he reached his heights.
    Shen Zhi understood that keeping the commandments is the main task for the practice, that the external and internal limitations in the end become one. On the path to studying the Arts, one needs not only to practice with diligence, but also to sincerely follow the instructions and to emerge oneself in the sophisticated skills of the eacher.
   The founder of Dachengquan - Wang Xiangzhai used to say: “A fist on its own has no methods, methods are emptiness”, “ordinary is extraordinary”. Shen Zhi understood that to reach such a wonderful unity is especially difficult. The path of studying the Arts, his teachers and fulfilment of the precepts shaped his way to perfecting the body. ”Man takes his law from the Earth, the Earth takes its law from Heaven, Heaven takes its law from the Dao, the law of the Dao is its being what it is”, wrote Lao-zi, Shen Zhi′s path of studying the Arts is completely reflected in this verse.

3. Teaching.
Having reached the progress in the true understanding of the Arts, Shen Zhi applied the developed approach towards the traditional Chinese culture as a whole. He became an instructor for the Chinese sports Letai Wushu and cultivated many wonderful talents. He told his students: “If you are sincere, you will have success”.
He teaches people from different age groups, the youngest are 4-5 years old and the oldest have been living for decades. Regulating the level of physical activities according to the age, he optimizes its influence. The Master often says: “The most important in practice is the achievement of correctness”.
The first thing that Shen Zhi does, is training the correct force in his students. He says: ”Not only the one practising needs to have a correct force, but any man striving for success needs to have a correct force – this applies to all sides of life”.
In the process of teaching he does not stop practising himself. In movement, standing, sitting, laying down – he continues to practise. A strict teacher has great disciples. People practising with him always achieve great results when competing in the Chinese championships.

4. Conquering the Capital.
Having achieved great success and taking part in the national competitions of Letai Wushu of different directions – Taijiquan, Sanda Wushu – he always and everywhere uses maximum efforts; his sincere ways, free movements and precision of kicks and punches were always highly evaluated by the professionals. This young man from Anhui province became a great discovery to the world of the martial arts.
During any kind of competitions – either a meeting of “Zheng-Xiang bei” or an international Wushu experience exchange festival – he kept his head cool from beginning to end. The throw speed of his hand surpassed the ability of a human eye. From the southern countries to the continental China, from Yangzi to the south-east of Asia, there are no fitting opponents for him. From 1995 Shen Zhi carries a heavy burden of being the Leader.
His sacred wish is to make friendships stronger during Letai competitions with the help of martial arts and to spread national spirit by spreading martial arts.

  Today Shen Zhi spends a lot of time giving seminars together with his students. He often comes to Russia and he also trains people that come to see him in China. Most popular Forms of Chen style are Laojia, Paochui, Xinjia First Form, Xinjia Paochui, Taiji Sword, and Dao Sword. Tuishou and various kinds of qigong are taught as well – healing and applied kinds. Having a surprisingly wide knowledge in this area, Master Shen Zhi chooses at that moment most effective and useful complexes; he connects them to seasons, health state of the person practicing them and to other conditions. He thinks that the main aspect of practice for a large number of people is health maintenance. A further internal growth is possible in most cases only after that.
In 2007 the Master granted his students an ability to witness the opening of a “new” style of the ancient arts: style of his own family – Shenshi Taiji, the source of which became a legendary Zhang Sanfeng. Form techniques of Shen style have the aspects of the martial arts and are the systems of knowledge of the highest level; they allow development in all spheres of life. Graceful and refined movements in full measure represent the inner works of Taij-ineigong: interaction of points and channels, concentration, internal movement of qi energy, technique of using the 8 trigrams and ruling one’s heart.
In this modern world, when it seems that all secrets and meanings have been already revealed, the birth of Shenshi Taijiqiuan could be seen as a miracle, a mystical sacramental event, confirming, that the world is changing, and offering people to grow and change as well.

  The latest competitions and awards of Master Shen Zhi.
2004 winner of taijiqiuan, taiji-jian nominations at the First Traditional Wushu Festival (Zhengzhou).
2005 winner of taijiqiuan, taiji-jian nominations at the First Traditional Wushu Festival of China.
2005 winner of taijiqiuan, taiji-jian nominations at the Big Taijiqiuan Competition of China of experience exchange.
2005 winner of taijiqiuan, taiji-jian nominations at the Second World Congress “Taijiqiuan and Health”.

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