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Illustrated Explanation to Chen Family Taijiquan" (Chen Shi Taijiquan Tu Shuo) written by Chen Xin (16th generation descendant of Chen clan) and considered "Bible of Martial Arts" (Wulin Shengdian), describes movements which are practiced within "Small Frame" system. Chen Xin's own "Introduction" (Zi Xu) to "Illustrated Explanation" says:
"I am afraid of the passing of time and impatient to wait anymore; I'm also afraid that (the martial art) will divide into schools and branches and true knowledge will be lost. For this reason in my leisure time I do my outmost to explain and clarify deep secrets (of the art), describe it in great detail."
In the whole book there is no mention about the division of Chen style Taijiquan into Large Frame and Small Frame.This proves that the style recorded in "Illustrated Explanation to Chen Family Taijiquan" should be the closest to the original art created by Chen Wangting.
 
In spite of her advanced age, Chen Liqing still actively teaches in Xi'an
   



THE CHARACTERISTICS OF "SMALL FRAME" OF CHEN STYLE TAIJIQUAN

Body Method (Shen Fa): "The body should not leap up and sway carelessly, rather low than high, move on one level". During practice of the routines the body should not move now low now high, and carelessly sway to the left or right; the Intent (Yi) should sink down, the center of gravity should be kept low and basically on one level (apart from movements like "Shake Foot and Stretch Down" - Bai Jiao Xia Cha; Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg - Jin Ji Du Li; The Dragon on the Ground - Pu Di Long, etc.)

Hand Techniques (Shou Fa) - "Both hands should not (carelessly) turn over, there should be closing power between them, Qi penetrates slightly insides of the fingers; when moving hands upwards do not cross eyebrows, move them downwards by relaxing; (when) turning (i.e. moving the hands) inwards (i.e. in front of the body) thumb can go as far as the central line, when moving (the hands) outwards do not extend them too far, sink the tip of the elbow; do not extend it too far (Tan) do not keep it too close (Jia), contract the ribs, the skin on the ribs and hand should touch each other (Shu Lei Xiang Mao Fu Xiang Ai)"[2]. Both hands close (He), (i.e. are turned towards each other), they should not completely face each other but rather at a certain angle - this is called "Four Six, Yin and Yang"; palm is shaped like a tile, thumb and little finger close (He, i.e. move towards each other), the Intent (Yi) is on the thumb, forefinger and middle finger; the center line of the body determines range of motion for each hand, each hand controls half of the body; in its movements upwards the hand should not go higher than the level of eyebrows, when moving downwards one should focus on relaxation; when the hand moves outwards, do not extend it too far (Tan); when the hand returns, do not keep it too close to the body (Jia), leave some extra space, follow exactly the principles.

Footwork (Bu Fa) - "Never place the feet in the shape of character Ba (eight - which is similar to roman letter "V" written upside down - i.e. with toes pointing obliquely outwards) and Ding (similar to the letter "T" i.e. when there is right angle between both feet), always remember to close (i.e. move towards each other) tips of both feet; more weight of the body is on inner side of the feet, big and second toes lead (the foot); twist on heels, big step is as long as one leg, short step is as long as one vertical foot". Because of the requirement to open hips and round the crotch, both feet should be kept parallel to each other, and never placed with toes pointing outwards (in the shape of letters "V" or "T"), otherwise the hip joint will not fold and crotch will loose its curve (and will take shape of "V" letter - so-called "sharp crotch" - and hence the requirement of rounding the crotch will not be met); when moving from hips down using "contrary coiling" (Ni Chan), the strength vector should drop on the inner side of the foot, onto big and second toes; when taking a step, one should not extend it too far (Tan) - one should be able to take a step and draw the leg back freely, in big step the distance between feet should not be longer than length of the leg, in small step - not shorter than length of the foot.

     

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