On Tuesday, November 29, 1994, I observed a very unusual incident that goes against the grain of Chinese martial arts' tradition - keeping one's technique/forms to oneself. At Master Kenneth Chung's Wing Chun studio in San Francisco, I watched two masters of different kung fu styles, Master Kenneth Chung and Master Chen Qingzhou, openly exchange their training techniques and share their experience.
Master Kenneth Chung gave a brief introduction of Master Chen. In his closing sentence was a Chinese phrase meaning "I throw you a stone and hopefully you will give me a jade in return." This was his humble way of offering to share his techniques with Master Chen in hopes that Master Chen would be generous enough to reciprocate.
Master Chung began demonstrating his technique by having his students perform three principle forms of Wing Chun followed by a routine sparring exercise. Master Chung also demonstrated the "sticky hand" technique with one of his students. In return, Master Chen had his student demonstrate a Chen Taiji first form as well as the training technique for how energy coils from the leg up to the Dan Tien, propagating to the shoulder, down to the elbow, and finally out to the hand. This is the first time I saw how to practice spiral power in this form. Master Chen demonstrated this technique by using a short 90 degree wooden log. He also demonstrated the "fa jin" and the push hand technique with his student.
Master Chung then demonstrated how to practice Wing Chun's explosive impact power which can be generated within an inch by shaking a 6-foot pole. This 6-foot pole was then handed to Master Chen for him to demonstrate the Chen Family pole shaking technique (they probably use other pole to shake in the Chen Village). This demonstration session ended with both masters verbally discussing their experience and answering questions from students and guests.
The final closing of this gathering was interrupted by two San Francisco cops who were curious as to why there was such a heavy traffic going in and out of the studio. Ironically, one of the cops wanted to test this "Old Taiji Master" from China by trying to lock Master Chen down. Unfortunately, he was no match for Master Chen. Within a split second, the cop was effortlessly thrown to the ground. The room exploded with laughter! As the cop stumbled to gain his balance, he dusted off his behind and took a deep bow to Master Chen.
It was an awesome experience watching two masters openly share their techniques. Most of all, I was impressed by Master Chung's generosity in taking the initiative to offer to share techniques and by the gracefulness of Master Chen's acceptance. I am extremely grateful that I was able to witness this unique experience. It would be great if more masters are willing to share their techniques and experiences with each other in front of their students. By this, everyone benefits.