The History of Taijiquan

Grand Master Wang Xian

Taijiquan is one of the internal systems of Chinese martial arts. It is based on a combination of the philosophical principle of Yin - Yang, Traditional Chinese Medicine, breathing exercises, meditation and the essences of various schools of self - defence techniques.
Taijiquan was founded by Chen Wang Ting (1600-1680). He was the ninth generation of the Chen family, a former military official in the late years of the Ming Dynasty. Chen was a native of Chenjiagou, Wenxian County of Henan province in China.

Due to Chen Wan Ting the ethos of practising Taijiquan in Chenjiagou has become popular with people practising irrespective of age or gender.

A famous Taiji expert Chen Chang Hsin (1771-1853) was the fourteenth generation of the Chen family, who wrote the book of Dissertations on Taiji, the Essential of Taijiquan, and combat of Taijiquan.

Based on the techniques passed down by his ancestors, he developed the first and the second routine of Taijiquan, the first routine called "Lao Jia" old frame of Taijiquan and the second routine called "Pao Chui" (cannon fist) which is unchanged to this day. Master Chen Chang Hsin has turned out many good students, The most famous being Yang Luchan, the founder of Yang Taijiquan.

Grand Master Wang Xian Grand Master Wang Xian
(Grand Master Wang Xian)

Master Chen Youben, the fourteenth generation, made some revisions and simplified the movements based on the original routine and did away with some difficult movements which applied more force. The frame was as wide as the old one, then it was called "new frame".
The fifteenth generation Master Chen Chin Ping incorporated the "Shiao Jar" (small frame) style for tighter movements. He thus followed the principle of "not changing original action, by which the names of the original movements were left intact but the postures were altered and circling movements were added to each step.

Thus Chen's Taijiquan has branched into three styles until today:

      1. Chen Chang Hsin's old frame "Lao Jia"
      2. Chen Yu Ben's new frame "Xin Jia"
      3. Chen Chin Ping's small frame "Shiao Jia".

With the passing of time other schools have also developed besides the Chen school. The most important are the Yang, Wu, Sun and Woo Styles Taijiquan. Each one has its own characteristics but the principles remain the same.
Initially Taijiquan was practiced as a fighting form, emphasizing strength, balance, flexibility, and speed.
Through time it has evolved into a soft, slow and gentle form of exercise which can be practiced by people of all ages.
Today many hospitals and health centres use Taijiquan as a treatment for many diseases and as a very effective way of relaxation.

The Characteristics of Chen Taijiquan

Grand Master Wang Xian Grand Master Wang Xian
(Grand Master Wang Xian)

Chen style Taijiquan includes soft and powerful movements based on the principle of "subduing power with softness" and "subduing hard with soft". It is characterised by "Chan Si Jing" reeling - silk energy. The reeling - silk energy, originates from the internal energy "Qi" residing at your waist area "Dantien". The mandatory requirement is that all movements originate from the waist, using the waist as the primary pivotal axis, whether movements need to be executed very fast or very slowly. Another characteristic of Chen Taijiquan is the harmonious balance of contrasting movements. Another distinctive characteristic is the bursts of energy "Fa Jing" when the punches are executed.

Chenjiagou the original place of Taijiquan

Chenjiagou (Chen Village) located in the Qingjeng Ridge east of Wenxian County seat (Henan Province) was named Changyang Village 600 years ago. In the Fifth year of Hongwu during the Ming Dynasty (1372 A.D.), Chen Bo, born in Zezhon (now Jincheng, Shanxi Province) moved his whole family to the north of Wenxian County seat of Hongdong County, Sanxi Province.
Later on, as the Chen family increased in number, Taijichuan has been able to flourish and spread being handed down from generation to generation and for that reason many famous masters have come from Chenjiagou throughout history. Nowadays many people from around the world go to Chenjiagou to study Taijiquan, now this small village has become very famous.

Chenjiagou Chenjiagou

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