Tai Chi - (Chen Style)

VIDEO: "Old Frame" "New Frame" Chen Style

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Chen Style Tai Chi - (General Listings)

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Chen Style Grand Master Photo with World Tai Chi & Qigong Day co-founders

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day's co-founders with Chen Style Grand Master at International Tai Chi Symposium

The Chen Style founder, Chen Chang-hsing, is only four generations removed from T'ai Chi's originator, Cheng San-feng, making the Chen Style closest to the original creator of T'ai Chi. Chen family teaching eventually developed into two related training traditions - "Large Frame" and "Small Frame."

The Chen Small Frame tradition is based on the same original 13 postures that the Yang, Wu, and Kuang Ping Yang Styles are.

The below Chen Style Research was generously contributed by:

In the 1670's Chen Wangting, a retired army general, of the Chen village in Henan Province, developed several Tai Chi routines, which included the old frame form still practised today. He assimilated into ancient martial art routines the ancient philosophical techniques of Daoyin and Tuna, together with the use of clarity of consciousness as developed in the practice of Taoism. Daoyin is the concentrated exertion of inner force, whilst Tuna is a set of deep breathing exercises which in more recent times has been developed into the popular Qigong deep breathing exercises. By combining the martial arts exercises with the practice of Daoyin and Tuna, Tai Chi became a complete system of exercise in which the practitioner's mental concentration, breathing and actions were closely connected, thus paving the way for its use in future times as an ideal form of exercise for all aspects of health care.

Since then Chen style had been kept almost in secrecy within the village, it was said that the clan only taught daughters-in-law and not their daughters, lest they took the art outside the village (there is no such thing as divorce those days!).

In the early nineteenth century, Chen Fake, one of the most highly achieved leaders of the Chen style started teaching Tai Chi in Beijing. There have been many stories told about his amazing prowess and also about his near perfect disposition: he was universally well-liked, making no enemies whatsoever during the 29 years he lived and taught in Beijing up until his death in 1957.

Chen Style is characterised by emphasis of spiral force, and its movements are close to martial arts. Every move, no matter how small or innocent in appearance, has an effective application. Slow movements intermix with fast and hard movements complimentary to soft, and it is also characterised by explosive power and a low stance. Chen Style is rich with combat techniques that are practical and effective, making it more enticing to younger people.

The below Chen Style Article/Letter was generously contributed by:

Chen style TaiChi was developed over six centuries ago by Chen Pu from the Chen village in Wen county, Huh Nan province. My teacher, Chen Fu Shen, also known as Chen Fa Ke, was seventeenth generation Chen family. His father, Chen Ian Xi and his great grand father, Chen Chang Xien, were the famous TaiChi masters. The sets my teacher taught me are the original forms perfected by his great grand father, Chen Chang Xien, over 200 years ago. My teacher was a big man, but gentle and refined. He was very humble whenever he talked about martial arts even though he was a master. He was a very demanding but also very patient teacher. He was satisfied with a student's performance only when every detail of a move was done correctly. In the autumn of 1928, my teacher was invited to Peking by "Huh Nan Peking Tueng Xiang association." His nephew Chen Zhao Pei was in Peking also. Chen Zhao Pei left Peking to work for the Nanking city government in 1930. My teacher's second son, brother Xiao Chu other name Zhao Xu, were with him in Peking. They lived in "Luo Ma Da Jie Tan Huai Huei Guan". At first he taught only a few student privately, but his reputation spread, many asked for his teaching. The most famous of his students included Shu U Sheng the president of Peking Wu Shu Institute and Yang Xiao Lou, a Chinese Opera celebrity. I was introduced to my teacher by a close friend of his from Wu Si, Jiang Su province, Liu Mo San, who was himself an expert in Wu style TaiChi. Eight of us included Mr. Liu were honored to be his students in the same ceremony in 1931. When my teacher first arrived in Peking, Taichi was very popular and arguments over the merits of different styles were common. Many challenged my teacher, but he did not want to be involved. He said he would go back to his home town rather than be involved in these arguments. But the challenges kept coming so he finally decided to accept. A contest was arranged at Chun San park Lai Jien U Xuan. My teacher and his opponent met and touched hands. My teacher "listened" and neutralized his opponent's attack, moving backward. He opponent kept approaching until my teacher was almost backed against the wall. Just then, he changed positions with his opponent and lightly pressed him to the ground. Just as quickly, to save his opponent's honor, he pulled him back up. His opponent showed his appreciation and called a truce. My teacher's skill was so complete, but it was his gentleness in using it that won everyone's respect. Another time, my teacher was explaining how to handle a spear thrust with the agile step and turn of the "Wild Horse Shakes Its Mane" movement. His listener would not believe him. To prove the applicability of TaiChi, my teacher proposed a test against a renowned spear master. On the day of the test, at the Zh Men Square of Xi Men, a crowd gathered. At the first thrust, my teacher stood relaxed and still with his hands at his side. He could sense the move was a fake. The spear master then made a real thrust to my teacher's chest. Instantly my teacher turned aside, his hands already on the spear shaft, his leg raised to kick his opponent to the ground. The crowd burst into applause, amazed to see such speed and coordination.. My teacher told us later that what he had done was all based on everyday practice. He had used no secret moves or tricks. The above events were widely discussed through out the martial arts community and brought recognition and legitimacy to Chen Style TaiChi. In 1933, my teacher was invited to the Chinese National Martial Arts conference in Nanking as one of the great masters in the Chinese martial arts community. My teacher was very honest and sincere in his teaching. He used different examples to help his students learn and inspired all of us to do our very best. It has been many years now since I was studying with him in Peking, but I feel it was only yesterday, and I often think of him and wish that I could see him again. His death in 1957 left me with a deep sadness. I wish him comfort in heaven. My teacher was born in 1887 and was 71 at his death. His first son, Zhao Ho died young. His second son, Zhao Xu stayed with him and inherited all his art, but unfortunately he died only three years after his father in 1960 at the age of 46. His death was a great loss. My teacher's third and fourth sons, Zhao Xiang and Xao Kuei both learned his art and continue the family tradition. If my teacher knew it he will be happy in heaven.

The below Chen Style Article/Letter was generously contributed by:

Grand master Pan, spent most of his life, from 1930 to 1996, investigating the art of Chen style Taichi Quang, which he learned from his beloved teacher, 17th generation Chen family grand master, Chen Fa Ke. He put most of his discoveries in his notes over the years. I remember he used to show me his articles and ask if I could understand what he was trying to say. Then, with his movements, he would demonstrate the theory he described in his notes. This is how these commentaries came about. They were written based on his long study, and tested by experience and experiment in the practice hall. In 1986, his students wanted to gather resources and publish his writing. I was the one who against it. I said that, everything he.s trying to tell is in himself. We have him and all his teachings. Why bother our teacher, spending his precious energy in organizing those articles which he has shared with us every day? I thought he would always be there, to clarify my confusion. I was wrong. He passed away the year after the third book.s publication. At that time I recalled that once, when I asked him about life and death, he told me that there is nothing that remains unchanged, if there is life, there will be death. He was well prepared for death. One day, some months after he passed away, I opened one of his books, and started to read it word by word. I realized that he was the one who wanted to put the books together. He was the one who wanted to show his teaching even after he was gone. The articles are so detailed they are almost like hearing his advice in conversation. They answer all the questions I could ask, from a beginning level to the level he enjoyed far beyond my understanding. Now, I choose to translate these books, not only for him but for myself. You see, every time I open it, it seems that he is beside me guiding and discussing it with me. We are together again, in these "Books of Chen style Taichi Quang." Certain teachings in Chen style Taichi Quang emphasize power and efficient application. It is correct, yet we should look further. Chen style Taichi Quang is a practice developed from practical life and deadly fighting. However, society changes with time. Any enduring art must respond to these changes. My aim is to clarify the theory and the application, to remove the mystery, to continue in the footsteps of Grand master Pan. Hopefully, through understanding the spirit embedded in this art, we can enrich our life and benefit others as well.

(click picture to download zipped video)

Chen Style Tai Chi

Old Frame One (2003)

Old Frame Two (2001)

New Frame One (2002)

New Frame Two (2003)
copyright Malisa Ng www.taichichen.com


Old Frame One: (Lao Jia Yilu - 74 movements)
This is the foundation Chen TaiChi routine. In Chen style it is important for softening/conditioning the body and then nurturing the generation of "Chi" - even while performing the external martial moves. It is practised by beginners and Masters alike.The movements are spacious, extended and markedly more soft than the other Chen routines. This subtlety does not completely hide the Chen "Silk-reeling" skills nor the fast/slow qualities associated with Chen style.

(This video is an abbreviated public Demonstration given in 2003 before representatives of the HongKong ChinWoo Association when they visited Auckland, New Zealand. The training of these seven students varied from 9 to 24 months at the time.)

Old Frame Two: (Lao Jia Erlu - 43 movements)
The Second of the traditional Chen style routines is a more difficult form of the First (Lao Jia Yilu). It contains the soft, slow and gentle movements commonly expected of all the TaiChi styles. In Chen style this also serves to hide some very hard, "explosive" and powerful ellbow strikes, shoulder charges, kicks and single/double punches.

It is used to learn facility in expressing inner "Chi" into the external martial form. The routine emphasises swift, firm movements not only in the above mentioned but also in its low sweeping trips and high jumps. It is not surprising that this routine is also nicknamed Cannon fist (Pao Chui).

New Frame One: (Xin Jia Yilu - 83 movements)
The "new frames" are apparently modified versions of the Old Frame. They were created by Chen Fake (legendary leader of the Chen Village) when he broke the ancient secrecy of the village's family art and taught publically in Bejing from the 1930s.

This evolution of the Old Form One is considerably more lively. Springs and jumps are introduced and Intricate, flexible wrist movements are emphasised in preparation for Qinna (joint-locking skills) - very relaxed shoulders are a necessity.

There is a strong emphasis on the gathering and discharge of force from internal to external. The Fajing ("shaking energy"), the Gansigong ("Silk-Reeling energy") and the "stamping energy" so characteristic of Chen style are visible.

You can see why this style is known for its martial vigour and paradoxical harmonising of contrary soft/hard and slow/fast movements. It contains numerous kicks, single/double punches, strikes and blocks yet is punctuated by instances of strikingly graceful movements.

New Frame Two: (Xin Jia Erlu) - 71 movements
This routine most clearly demonstrates the "Silk-Reeling" that Chen style is best known for. These water-like, spiral twinings of the central body are an internal skill used to release "internal energy" for martial purposes.

The extraordinary beauty and deceptive strength of Chen TaiChi comes from this skill - and it takes some years of disciplined training to acquire.

"The considerably better known Chen Large Frame tradition is now well established outside of Chen Village. This is due in no small way to the efforts of such well known Masters as Chen Fa-ke (Beijing from the 1930s), the "Four Buddha Warriors" (Internationally from the 1980s) and numerous less well known individuals."

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Chen Style Tai Chi - (General Listings)


World Chen Taiji Association belgium


Chen Style Tai Chi - (General Listings)



This is a GREAT Chen Style Links Page:

Widely hailed as the premier online reference for the art of Chenstyle Taijiquan, the
Chenstyle Taijiquan Web Resource has been redesigned and
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For over ten years, the site has been a favorite of practitioners and enthusiasts seeking
detailed information about the oldest form of Taijiquan.

Over the course of the decade, it has been favorably reviewed in martial arts magazines
in the US and the UK, and enjoys a worldwide reputation for quality. It was voted one of
the top three "Readers Choice" martial arts websites by Qi Journal.

Chen Style TaiChicise
- New Zealand -
Malisa Ng (lineage of Zhu Tian Cai)

THE CHEN STYLE OF TAI CHI, Tai Chi Family Trees and more . . .

What you may find on this site:

Web sources on Chen style taijiquan that
you may find, or not, worthwhile; Information on
a few videos on Chen style taijiquan; Information
on other material (mainly books) on Chen
style taijiquan; Something on conduct and ethics
of the Chen family; A beginner's glossary
for quick reference on Chen style taijiquan . . .



Chen style taijiquan in Istanbul,

Center for Taiji Studies -
Chen Style - Founded by
Yang Yang in 1996,
the Center for Taiji Studies
is committed to two purposes:
To share and promote the art of Taijiquan, and
To conduct research, publish results, and . . .



Yan Gaofei was born in Guangzhou
/ Canton in China.
He graduated from Xi'an Jiaotong
University. Now is
the president of Endless Forest, Inc

Tu-Ky Lam's Chen style website

GrandMaster Zhu Tiancai
19th Generation Successor
of Chenjiagou Taijiquan


American Chen Style
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British Chen Style Tai Chi College
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Welcome to the World of Taijiquan

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Chen Style Tai Chi Centre Online

USA Hunyuan Group Inc., Taiji Academy

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American Chen Taiji Society - San Francisco

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At Sanshu you can learn Tai Chi &
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www.Tai-Chi-Association.com -
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