Learning the Chen Style of Taijiquan

Suggestions, Comments, Notes, Research, Progress Reports, Studies, Plans


Notes, Research, and Studies by
Michael P. Garofalo
Red Bluff, California 

Cloud Hands Blog     Chen Blog Posts     Chen Style of Taijiquan     Home



1.  Practice!  More Practice!  Even More Practice!  Then do some more practice.  Continue to practice each day!


2.  A good teacher is essential to your progress in Chen Style of Taijiquan.  I live in a rural area of Northern California, 130 miles north of Sacramento.  There is no Chen Style Taijiquan teacher in my area.  Therefore, being that I am determined to learn Chen Style Taijiquan, I use instructional DVDs and books.  Someday, when opportunities and finances permit, I look forward to direct instruction from a qualified teacher.  Until then, I can make steady progress in studying and learning more about the Chen Style Taijiquan by using instructional DVDs and books. 


3.  In 2011, I studied and learned to practice the short Chen Taijiquan 18 Movement Form created by Grandmaster Cheng Zheng-lei.  I now practice this form on a daily basis.  I learned this short Chen Taijiquan form by using instructional DVD's by Master Jiang Jian-ye and Patrick Martin.  I favor using instructional DVDs where the instructor speaks English, not a subtitled or voice over instructional DVD.  I own and use many books by Grandmaster Chen Zheng-lei, and own and use many of his Chen Taijiquan DVDs.  Also, I have taught 12 people this form, and by teaching you learn even more.  


4.  Starting in 2004, I began to share my research and intellectual knowledge of the Chen Style of Taijiquan with others on my many Chen Taijiquan webpages.  When you share your research and knowledge, it motivates you to improve. 


5.  In October, 2013, I began reviewing and relearning the Chen Saber Form.  This is a 32 movement form.  I practice this form with a broadsword and/or my cane.  (The inside of the crook of the cane is substituted for the curved blade side of the saber, and the long flat side of the cane is substituted for the backside unsharpened side of the saber.)  I am learning this Chen Taijiquan Saber form using the instructional DVD by Master Jesse Tsao.  


6.  Success in the practice of the Chen Style of Taijiquan requires that you be in good physical condition.  I physically condition my body in a variety of ways.  I work on physical conditioning in some way every day.  I lift weights with a bodybuilding routine, walk outdoors, walk on a treadmill or stationary spin bicycle indoors, teach four yoga/qigong classes each week, teach two taijiquan classes each week, and actively garden and work on home improvement projects.  I am in fairly good physical condition for a 68 year old man. 


7.  Chen Taijiquan has a clear recorded history:

"The special nature of Tai Chi Chuan practice was attributed to the ninth generation Chen Village leader, Chen Wangting (陳王廷; 陈王庭; 1580–1660). He codified pre-existing Chen training practice into a corpus of seven routines. This included five routines of tai chi chuan (太極拳五路), 108 form Long Fist (一百零八勢長拳 ) and a more rigorous routine known as Cannon Fist (炮捶一路).  Chen Wangting integrated different elements of Chinese philosophy into the martial arts training to create a new approach that we now recognize as the Internal martial arts.  He added the principles of Yin-Yang theory (the universal principle of complementary opposites), the techniques of Doayin (leading and guiding energy) and Tu-na (expelling and drawing energy), theories encountered in Traditional Chinese Medicine and described in such texts as the Huang Di Nei Jing(《黃帝內經》; Yellow Emperor's Canon of Chinese Medicine). In addition, Wangting incorporated the boxing theories from sixteen different martial art styles as described in the classic text, Ji Xiao Xin Shu(繼效新書; "New Book Recording Effective Techniques"; ~ 1559-1561) written by the Ming General Qi Jiguang (戚繼光; 1528–1588). 

Chen Changxing (陳長興 Chén Chángxīng, Ch'en Chang-hsing, 1771–1853), 14th generation Chen Village martial artist, synthesized Chen Wangting's open fist training corpus into two routines that came to be known as "Old Frame" (老架; lao jia). Those two routines are named individually as the First Form (Yilu; 一路) and the Second Form (Erlu; 二路, more commonly known as the Cannon Fist 炮捶). Chen Changxing, contrary to Chen family tradition, also took the first recorded non-family member as a disciple, Yang Luchan (1799–1871), who went on to popularize the art throughout China, but as his own family tradition known as Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan.  The Chen family system was only taught within the Chen village region until 1928."
Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan - Wikipedia



Chen Wangting (陳王廷; 1580–1660)


8.  I study books about Chen Taijiquan every week.  You can find these listed by title on my Chen Taijiquan webpages.  I own and use many Chen Taijiquan books and media marked with the code VSCL (Valley Spirit Center Library). 


9.  I regularly make posts to my Cloud Hands Blog about Chen Taijiquan.  Look in the right side bar for the Chen Taijiquan subject heading and follow the leads to posts and webpages on the subject.  


10.  As of November, 2013, I am continue my daily practice and study of the Chen Taijiquan Old Frame, First Form, Lao Jia Yi Lu.  Really getting comfortable with the practice of the entire form and gaining a basic understanding of this traditional form is my main learning objective for 2014. 


11.  Go to Learning the Chen Style of Taijiquan




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Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern Central California, U.S.A.
Cities in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City, Orland, Willows, Corning,
Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Tehama, Proberta, Gerber, Manton, Cottonwood,
Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, and Redding, CA, California.


© Michael P. Garofalo, 2013, All Rights Reserved

This webpage was last modified or updated on October 17, 2013. 
This webpage was first published on the Internet on October 1, 2013.   


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