I first met Master Zhao Da Yuan in 1996, but did not get a really chance to study with him until 2012, when I brought a group of IAI instructors to Beijing to train intensively in Qin Na and Liang style Ba Gua Zhang. Although widely known for his Qin Na ability, Master Zhao is also expert in Xing Yi, Ba Gua, Tai Ji Quan, and a wide variety of Chinese weapons. A former policeman who taught bodyguards, elite military and police personnel, Master Zhao now devotes his energies to spreading the art of Qin Na.
Members of IAI have been lucky to train directly with Master Zhao, who is a demanding yet also generous and understanding teacher. His instruction in the mechanics and application of joint locks is detailed and precise, with emphasis on countless repetitions and precision. Master Zhao has a dedicated following of students and disciples from all over China, many of who have extensive prior experience in other styles of Chinese martial arts. His wonderful sense of humor goes along way towards offsetting some of the painful moments in training.
We found Master Zhao Da Yuan to be a real hands-on teacher, who guides you through every aspect of the very technical art of Qin Na. In 2012 , he took our group through the basics of Qin Na. We learned throws and entries, “Dead Hand” Qin Na against grabs and “Live Hand” Qin Na against punching attacks. Qin Na training includes punching, kicking locking and throwing. also included are defenses against clubs and knives.
One of specialties of Zhao’s Qin Na is the use of Hooking Hand (Diao Shou).
Some of the Ba Gua throws are quite devastating and difficult and impossible to break-fall out of. Part of Master Zhao’s teaching is how to soften the body’s response to locks and throws, so it is possible to escape and counter the opponent.
Below, Master Zhao looks on as students practice landing on their feet from a backward throw.
Master Zhao’s attention to detail on the finest nuances of each technique and his knowledge of the weak points of the human body, and how to use them to your advantage, takes his teaching to another level. Below, he demonstrated tendon seizing on IAI Senior Instructor, Thad Wong.
Master Zhao senior disciples are very skilled and accomplished. They are also generous and were very willing to help teach our group, patiently leading us through the techniques and exercise until we could do them properly
During subsequent trips we learned the Eight Forms of Middle Seizing (Wrist Qin Na) and the Eight Forms of Upper Seizing (Elbow and Shoulder Qin Na). Our training included the basic forms, and many variations and counters and re-counters to each of the basic movements. We were also exposed to Master Zhao Da Yuan’s longer comprehensive Qin Na form, and supplemental training methods.
We have helped Master Zhao publish two of his Qin Na books in English: Practical Qin Na Part 1: Explanation of the Qin Na Nine Heaven Secret Text and Practical Qin Na Part 2: Foundational Training, Techniques and Methods. We hope to publish his third book this year, thereby completing Zhao Da Yuan’s Qin Na trilogy, which comprehensively discusses and illustrates the fascinating art of Qin Na.
All photos of Master Zhao and IAI China training by Valerie Ghent
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