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Chen Peishan demonstrates movements of Small Frame of Chen style Taijiquan

Punch of Covering Hand (Yan Shou Chui)
Punch of Draping Over Body (Pi Shen Chui)
Punch of Protecting Heart (Hu Xin Chui)


[1] The number of routines practiced within Small Frame system is not really clear. Ms. Chen Peiju said that before Taijiquan was created by Cheng Wangting, Chen clan practiced Long Fist Boxing in 108 Postures (Yi Bai Ling Ba Shi Chang Quan) that they brought from Shanxi. Chen Wangting created five routines of Taijiquan. Nowadays mainly First Set and Second Set are practiced. This is also "official" version that can be found in books on Small Frame (including recently published - one by Chen Liqing - famous Chen style Taijiquan expert living in Xi'an - and one by Fan Chunlei - Chen Liqing's grand-disciple from Hangzhou). However other sources - including articles in Chinese martial arts magazines - indicate that apart from Yi Lu and Er Lu other Taijiquan routines have been preserved within Small Frame system. I had a chance to talk to disciples of Mr. Chen Boxiang (Chen Kezhong's disciple) from Pingdingshan as well as Mr. Shi Lei (Chen Kedi's disciple) from Kaifeng and they all confirmed other routines are also in Xiao Jia's curriculum.

[2] This sentence as well as all other in quotations in this part of the article come from "Essentials of Taijiquan Practice" (Taijiquan Lianxi Gaiyao) written by Chen Boxian (student of Chen Kezhong). The sentence "contract the ribs, the skin on the ribs and hand should touch each other" (Shu Lei Xiang Mao Fu Xiang Ai) means that when the hand moves towards the body, its forearm should be kept close to the ribs so that there is a feeling of contact between the skin of the torso and the arm. However at the same time the hand should not be moved too close to the body (Jia). As Ms. Chen Peiju explains "during the movement the arms should not leave the ribs; the elbows should move close to the body; right arm moves on the right side of the body's central line, left hand - on its left side".

[3] As Ms. Chen Peiju explains "Small Frame basically never withdraws power back (Hui Jin) unlike Large Frame (where movement changes direction to the opposite one couple of times before one moves to the next posture); in Small Frame the end of one movement is at the same time the beginning of the next one; the end of "explosion" (Bao Fa) of the preceding movement is at the same time "Storing of Strength" (Xu Jin) of the next one; this is one of the difficulties in learning Small Frame".

[4] As Ms. Chen Peiju explains that "in Small Frame one moves the body center along curves - there should not be any kind of horizontal, straight line, swaying movement. The idea of "Opening the Rear and Closing the Front" (Hou Kai Qian He) is also very important, whole body should "open at the rear and close at the front". For example: if we stand in Horse Riding Stance (Ma Bu) with hands in front of the body in embracing gesture, vertically - from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet the body should form a vertical sphere; horizontally - the crotch, waist and chest - each of them has a vertical sphere as well; taken all-together the body forms a three-dimensional sphere. Actually all joints, all key links in power transmission from the bottom upwards, are small spheres. When crotch opens, it creates a circular supportive force, so-called "Crotch Strength" (Dang Jin). Waist is above crotch - it is responsible for changing the direction of this strength - that's why we say that "waist is the absolute ruler" (Yi Yao Wei Zhuzhai). In all martial arts power comes from the bottom and is transferred upwards, and through the waist transferred to the back, shoulder, elbow, hand which is the point the force acts. The value of force changes in legs, the direction of force - in waist, the point the force acts - in various parts of the body."




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