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CHEN FAKE
(1887-1957), seventeenth generation descendant of Chen clan, famous Chen Style Taijiquan master, Chen Changxing's great-grandson. Chen became famous in his hometown for victories in leitai (free fighting) competitions held in the county and for defeating opponents armed with spear and saber while Chen stood barehanded (after he rejected the post offered to him by Han Fuju, local warlord). In 1929, through Chen Zhaopei's recommendation, Chen Fake left Chenjiagou and went to Beiping (today's Beijing) to teach Taijiquan. Very modest, used to say about himself "No Good" and for this reason became known in Beijing as "Chen No Good" (Chen Bu Zhong). Many times challenged by martial arts practitioners (including Bagua and Chinese wrestling experts), defeated them in great style, without hurting anybody. Emphasized Wude (Martial Virtue) in his teachings In his late he created New Frame (Xin Jia) of Chen Style Taijiquan, modifying the Old Frame (Lao Jia) by adding several movements and expressing Silk Reeling Power (Chan Si Jin) in more obvious manner.
Chen Fake (1887-1957)
 

Chen had many students, including Lei Muni, Tian Xiuchen, Feng Zhiqiang, Hong Junsheng, Li Jingwu, Shen Jiazhen, Gu Liuxin. Shen Jiazhen and Gu Liuxin wrote a book called "Chen style Taijiquan", which was published in 1963. The drawings and explanations for the first and second routines of Chen style are based on Chen Fake's and his son, Chen Zhaokui's photos and introduce movements as taught by Chen Fake in his late years. Note: this book is a part of "The Complete Book of Taijiquan" (T029B) which is available through this site (Click here!)

To read more about Chen Fake and saw historical photos of him demonstrating Chen Style Taijiquan .

In 1953 Capital Martial Arts Research Society was established with Chen Fake as its president and Hu Yaozhen as vice-president. Feng Zhiqiang was going there everyday, first helping his teachers with everyday chores, and then asking for guidance and teachings. In this way he became Chen Zhaokui's (Chen Fake's son) practice partner. Most of Chen Fake's disciples were afraid to practice pushing hands with Chen Fake because of pain, but Feng Zhiqiang treated this as the best way to learn true skill. Since Feng's gongfu brothers always let Feng "enjoy" this "pleasure", at Chen Fake's late years it was usually Feng Zhiqiang who dealt with strangers coming to cross hands.

In his letter to Wan Wende of Shanghai, Chen Zhaokui wrote: "I have one older gongfu brother, his name is Feng Zhiqiang, he's extremely intelligent, and his skill is the best among all our gongfu brothers".

At the age of thirty Feng was already very proficient in both arts of Xinyi and Taiji and became very famous in Beijing martial arts circles.

After Chen Fake passed away in 1957, Feng Zhiqiang, although busy with his work in electric appliances factory, was keeping in touch with his gongfu brothers and made few simple rules to be observed by those teaching martial arts: "first, do not make trouble; second, do not fight; third, if somebody comes to challenge you, I (e.g. Feng Zhiqiang) will deal with him". It happened many times that either Feng or one of his gongfu brothers was challenged and Feng had to deal with the challenger. Once a Qigong master wanted to compare his skill of Bigu (fasting) with Feng. The rule was to sit in meditation for three days with some water as the only food. After three days Feng as usually went out to practise with his 19kg steel rod, while Qigong master could hardly walk!

Feng was in very good relations with Chen Fake's son, Chen Zhaokui. Before death Chen Fake asked Feng to take care of Chen Zhaokui. Feng was often practising together with Chen Zhaokui, taking care and protecting him. When Zhaokui passed away in 1981 at the age of 53, Feng was very sad and was often saying that he did not take good care of his gongfu brother.

Chenjiagou is the place where Chen style Taijiquan comes from. Every generation of the clan had its masters, and in the 17th generation the most skilfull was Chen Fake. However, since after his arrival to Beijing Chen Fake was living in the capital, Beijing became the center of Chen style Taijiquan. After the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was over, Zhang Weizhen, Communist Party secretary of Chenjiagou, wrote a letter to Feng Zhiqiang asking him to come to Chenjiagou to teach Taijiquan. Feng Zhiqiang visited Chenjiagou three times, teaching Taijiquan to the 19th generation descendants of the style. Many Taijiquan practitioners of Chen clan from Chenjiagou were also often coming to Beijing to deepen their studies with Feng. This part of the history of Chen style Taijiquan will always be recorded in the chronicles.
 
 
Feng Zhiqiang in Chenjiagou in 1979
Sitting (from left): Feng Zhiqiang (2nd), Chen Liqing (3rd; Chen style Small Frame expert); "Four Tigers" are standing (from the right): Chen Xiaowang (2nd), Zhu Tiancai (3rd), Wang Xi'an (5th), Chen Zhenglei (7th)

In 1981 Feng Zhiqiang was asked by one of his friends from Beijing PE Institute to meet a foreign martial arts expert. The foreigner, skillful in many Chinese and foreign combat arts, came to China to look for martial arts masters, and although BPEI introduced him to many experts, he was still not satisfied and asked for meeting with Feng Zhiqiang. Feng asked the foreigner to demonstrate his martial art and found out that although the man's upper part of the body was very strong, the lower one was without roots. Feng asked the foreigner to hit him, and using "scaring the up to get the bottom" method (also called "drawing into emptiness") pushed the opponent flying on the wall. Since the foreigner could not understand what happened and found out that he was not hurt, he asked to try again and was defeated again. Afterwards the foreigner was full of respect towards Feng's skill and took up Taijiquan study.

In 1981 Feng Zhiqiang retired and in 1983 became the president of the Beijing Chen style Taijiquan Research Association established the same year. Since 1981 Feng Zhiqiang has been invited to take part in many competitions in China, and in 1984 for the first time went abroad, to Japan, to teach Chen style Taijiquan. Later Feng also visited Mexico, USA, Singapore, Denmark, Holland, France and Hongkong. The country Feng visits most often is Japan. Among his student there are not only Taiji practitioners, but also Karate, Judo and Aikido experts. He has been challenged there many times by local martial artists and gained great respect. Same situation happened in 1986 in the US and in 1988 in Singapore.

Feng Zhiqiang has many times been invited to move abroad to stay and teach Taijiquan, but he always refuses saying: "My roots are in China".

He has also authored many books and video tapes/CDs on Chen style Taijiquan, like "Practical Fighting of Taijiquan", "The Essence of Chen Style Taijiquan", "Hunyuan Method of Taijiquan", "Silk Reeling Method of Chen Style Taijiquan", "Twenty Four Elbows of Chen Style Taiji", "Chen Style Taiji Grappling Methods", "Chen Style Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan" and many others.

Feng Zhiqiang often says: "It is my greatest wish is to let Taijiquan culture from China better benefit the mankind!".

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