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Chen Liqing and late Chen Lixian practicing Tui Shou

 
3.Chen Ziming in his "The Art of Chen Family Taijiquan Transmitted Through Generations" published in 1932 in the short biography of Chen Qingping writes: "Chen Qingping (was) a disciple of Chen Youben and Zhang Yan (...)". Since Zhang Yan is considered a 6th generation descendant of Zhaobao Taijiquan, this would suggest that Taijiquan was practiced in Zhaobao before Chen Qingping began to teach there. Other records (saying that Ren Changchun - Du Yuanhua's teacher - was a student of Chen Zhongshen, who in turn was Chen Youben's student) also confirm very close relation between Small Frame of Chen style Taijiquan and Zhaobao Taijiquan.
There is also a discrepancy between Chen Xin and Chen Ziming concerning Li Jingyan,
who created "Sudden Thunder Frame" (Hulei Jia). Chen Xin says that Li Jingyan learnt from Chen Youlun and Chen Zhongshen, while Chen Ziming - that Chen Qingping was Li Jingyan's teacher. It is generally agreed that Li Jingyan learnt first in Chenjiagou, and then in Zhaobao from Chen Qingping.

 

4.Very interesting chapter related to history of Chen style Taijiquan can be found in Wu Wenhan's book "The Complete Book of the Essence and Applications of Wu (Yuxiang) style Taijiquan". There are two official (i.e. government) documents related to the defense of Huaiqing County (where Chenjiagou is located) against Taiping rebelion army in 1853. One is called "Veritable Record of Taiping Army Attacking Huaiqing County" (Taiping Jun Gong Huaiqing Fu Shilu), and was written by Tian Guilin, who was responsible for "defending the western town" in Huaiqing. The other is called "Daily Records of Huaiqing Defense" (Shou Huai Rizhi) and was written by Ye Zhiji (teacher from government school in Huaiqing). Neither Tian nor Ye were Taijiquan practitioners, both were government officials, and hence their accounts can be considered objective descriptions of the events at that time.

According to the documents once Taiping army crossed Yellow River and attacked Huaiqing County, local militia was defeated and dispersed, while government troops escaped. Of all the villages only Chenjiagou resisted. In his "Veritable Record" under 29th day of 5th month Tian Guilin wrote:

"The head of the thieves (i.e. Taiping rebels) called Big Headed Ram (Da Tou Yang) invaded Chenjiagou. This thief was extremely brave and strong, he was able to carry two big canons under his arms and swiftly attack the town. The battles destroying whole town were conducted under the command of this thief. Fortunately Chen Zhongshen and Chen Jishen, two brothers from Chenjiagou, were very skilled in using spears and long poles, they used long poles to pull Big Headed Ram down from the horse, and then they cut his head off. (...) The thieves got very angry, and their whole group went to Zhaobao Jie (...) burning everything, then to Henei and villages around Baofeng, and there were no soldiers to come for rescue (of these areas), fortunately Chen Zhongshen and others managed to escape."

According to the documents, only inhabitants of Chenjiagou took active part in the fights against Taiping rebels. This would suggest that other villages had less people practicing martial arts than Chenjiagou. Those taking part in battles were mainly disciples of Chen Youben and Chen Zhongshen, as well as militia (Xiang Yong) from Chenjiagou; only very few disciples of Chen Changxing took part in fights. This would indirectly indicate that Chen Youben's branch was then more popular than that of Chen Changxing.

5.Ms. Chen Peiju said in Chenjiagou there was no restriction to pass the art to men only and not women; there was no tradition to choose so-called "Gate Keeper" (Zhang Men Ren), and no tradition to pass the complete art from a master to a single disciple only (Dan Chuan). However the students were divided into indoor and outdoor disciples, those who began to learn earlier and those who started later, etc. The art of Taijiquan has been very treasured and students had to follow strict rules and meet certain requirements.

6.For a long time home-made VCDs featuring Fan Chunlei (Chen Liqing's grand-disciple) as well as Chen Boxiang and his disciple Chen Ruihua have been the only material documenting Small Frame, all in unofficial, restricted distribution in Mainland China. Additionally Chen Peishan has produced a video tape which is on sale abroad in both Japanese and English language versions. Recently however a very complete video material presenting Xiao Jia has been released in China on both VCDs and DVDs (the latter with English subtitles). The routines - including rare Long Fist Boxing in 108 Postures - are demonstrated by Chen Yongfu, disciple of Chen Liqing. You can purchase both VCDs and DVDs through this web site - click on the links below to learn more:

7.Books on Small Frame of Chen style Taijiquan (all in Chinese):

Chen Xin (Chen Pinsan): "Illustrated Explanation to Chen Family Taijiquan" (Chen Shi Taijiquan Tushuo), 1933 (reprinted several times, last reprint Shanghai 2000)

Chen Ziming: "The Art of Chen Family Taijiquan Transmitted Through Generations" (Chen Shi Shichuan Taijiquan), 1932

Fan Chunlei: "Famous Chinese Taiji Boxing - Detailed Explanation of Chen Family Taijiquan" (Zhongguo Taiji Ming Quan - Chen Shi Taijiquan Xiangjie), 1990. The revised and more complete version of this book (explanations to the Second Set have been added) was published in 2001 under the title "Famous Chinese Taiji Boxing - Small Frame of Chen Family Taijiquan" (Zhongguo Taiji Ming Quan - Chen Shi Xiaojia Taijiquan) with Fan Chunlei as the author and Chen Liqing as advisor

Shi Lei: "Chen Style Taijiquan - Chen Xin's Boxing Frame" (Chen Shi Taijiquan - Chen Xin Quan Jia), 1999 (restricted publication for internal circulation only)

Chen Liqing: "Small Frame of Chen style Taijiquan" (Chen Shi Taijiquan Xiao Jia), 2001

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