The Horsetail Whisk

The fuchen (拂尘 Fúchén), or chen (尘), is a soft Taoist weapon from the Wudang mountains. My friend and teacher Hu Pei Yi brought me one from China and she is teaching me a 38-step routine. Here is a video of Vicky Ting performing the same one we’re doing:

vickyting

This is a modern combined wushu form. There is a shorter, faster and more furious traditional form practiced by the Wudang masters. The setting of this video makes me long to go back there!

wudangchen

The chen makes a beautiful sound much like its English name: whisk. A number of its movements are borrowed from the saber (daofa): chan tou, hua. Others are derived from sword (jianfa): jiao, pi, dian, ci, beng. Miss Hu also gave me a list of names and instructions, which it has taken me the better part of a month to decipher.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Here is the PDF list of names, many of which are familiar from other forms: fuchen38names.

I have worked out all the instructions (with a lot of help) in Pinyin, but haven’t bothered to translate into English; the vocabulary is familiar, with just a few new words. Here are several new (to me) words that are good to know: 弹dàn  (flick); 曲qū (bend, as in 曲肘qū zhǒu, bend the elbow); 把bǎ (handle); 后坐hòu zuò (sit back); 拉 lā (pull). I needed to clarify for myself: 反 fǎn is reverse; 翻 fān is flip over, overturn.

Fuchen 38 names and instructions (may not be 100% correct, errors are mine): fuchen-instructions.

I always enjoy coming across idioms among the names of the movements. Love this one: (#10) 虎踞龙盘 Hǔ jù long pán is literally Where tigers crouch and dragons coil, a lovely figure of speech to describe forbidding territory.

Other good ones:

  • (#15) 声东击西 Shēng dōng jī xī means to threaten the east and strike the west; in other words, to use diversion.
  • (#4) 芙蓉出水 Fú róng chū shuǐ is translated as Lotus emerges from the water,  but Furong is actually hibiscus, not lotus. Anyway, this one is an idiom for blooming, either figuratively or literally.
  • (#17) 横扫千军 Héng sǎo qiān jūn is literally Sweep aside a thousand troops. It is an idiom for total annihilation.

Elsewhere I have seen Bawang ju ding as hero raises a pot. But when I looked up Bawang ju bian (raises the whip), I read that Bawang is a despot! A Simon Legree!

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