The origins of Taijiquan (or Tai Chi Fist) are often attributed to one Zhang San Feng (a Daoist of either the Twelfth or Fifteenth century depending on the source) who created the Art after witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane (I’m sorry but I have to say this is baloney!). Although there is evidence that Zhang San Feng actually existed, there is no historical evidence to support the claim that he had anything to do with the creation or practice of Taijiquan.
These stories were popularised in the early part of this century and were the result of misinformation and the desire to connect the Art with a more famous personage. All various styles of Taijiquan which are in existence today can be traced back to a single man, Chen Wang Ting, a general of the latter years of the Ming Dynasty. Chen was a native of Chenjiagou, Wen County, in Henan Province. After the fall of the Ming (about 1644) and the establishment of the Qing Dynasty, Chen Wang Ting retired to Chen Village after he failed in advancement of his military career due to the change of Dynasty. He started to compiled what he had learnt, practiced and combining his experience in the battle fields into an uniquired form of martial art what we knew today as Tai Chi Chuan.
Evolution of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Fist)
Originally, the Art was only taught to members of the Chen clan until a promising young outsider named Yang Lu Chan was accepted as a student in the early part of the Nineteenth century. After mastering the Art, Yang Lu Chan (nicknamed “Yang without enemy” as he was reportedly a peerless fighter) modified the original Chen style and created the Yang style of Taijiquan, the most popular form practiced in the world today. Wu Yu Xiang learned from Yang Lu Chan and a variation of the original Chen form from Qing Ping (who taught the ‘small frame’ version of Chen Taijiquan) and created the Wu style. A man named Hao Wei Zhen, learned the Wu style from Wu Yu Xiang’s nephew and taught the style to Sun Lu Tang, who in turn created the Sun style (Sun was already an established master of Xing Yi Quan and Ba Gua Zhang when he learned Taijiquan. He combined his knowledge of the other arts when creating his style). Yang Lu Chan had another student, a Manchu named Quan You, who in turned taught the Art to his son, Wu Jian Quan. Wu Jian Quan popularized his variation of the Yang style, which is commonly referred to as the Wu Jian Quan style.
In recent times (this century) there have been many other variations and modifications of the Art, but all may be traced back through the above masters to the original Chen family forms.
Chenjiagou Taijiquan Training
Chenjiagou ( Chen Village ) Taijiquan (or Tai Chi) is an ancient art passed through the generations in a little village called Chenjiagou in Henan Province, China. It is imparted through a holistic, comprehensive 3 – tier training framework that aims to teach the practitioner to foster unity in,
- strength and motor skills ( External ) ,
- Inner balance of the body ( Internal ) , and
- mental discipline via focus and intention( Spiritual ).
Chenjiagou Taijiquan is a traditional martial art which helps the practitioner reap, not only self – defence reflexes , but , it also engenders significant health benefits. In order to maximise the benefits to students , the ancient art is taught by qualified Chenjiagou Taijiquan Instructors, using a graduated , streamlined training structure to guide a student ‘s progression in the art.
Grandmaster Zhu has specially choreographed a foundational set of routines which essentially trains all major body muscle groups . Each set of joints in the body is gradually exercised and warmed up to move a student into the next set . This is how Tai Chi builds up flexibility and expands the range of motion in the joints . Stepping techniques are taught to train a student how to handle weight shifts to build body consciousness, build up lower body strength and improve balance. Further , a student is taught how to use relaxation together with their body shifts so that they move in balance . This is how the feel for body balance is imparted . Throughout each Chen Tai Chi routine , a good body posture is required to maintain an unbroken body line to facilitate the flow of Qi . Building up a smooth flow of Qi in the body will keep a person in very good health, and provides a natural, mental alertness without a person having to rely on pills. The training routines in Chenjiagou Taijiquan are suitable for practice across all age groups . The routines can be practised at different stance levels and can be adjusted for complexity depending on the general fitness level and motor coordination of the student. There are various programs available for Beginners , Intermediate , Advanced and Instructor level participants.
Grandmaster Zhu Tian Cai is a renowned 19th – generation successor of Chen Style Tai Chi, and is one of the ” Four Great Grandmasters from Chenjiagou village , where modern Tai Chi originated 300 hundred years ago . He is well-liked for his willingness to share his secrets of Tai Chi practice with students . He has more than 50 years of teaching experience and has developed a easy to follow coaching system that has inspired thousands of students globally.