Chen Family Taijiquan Small Frame

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Martial arts is a treasure of the Chinese people, a precious cultural heritage. Taijiquan is an exotic flower in the Chinese treasury. Based on celestial motion, yin-yang, and dialectics, and blending tu na (breathing), mechanics, medicine, aesthetics, biology, and other sciences into one, it has become a complete athletic system of alternating fast and slow, complementary hard and soft, spiral silk-reeling, storing and releasing, and skillful boxing. Its practice has persisted for a long time. During times of war, it was used to repel invaders, protect homes and defend the country. In times of peace, it was used to maintain battle readiness and protect social order. Moreover, it has the magical effect of maintaining the health of the mind and body, protecting against and healing illness, and prolonging life. For these reasons, it is cherished by the people of China and admired by people the world over.

Chen Family Taijiquan is the creation of the 9th generation ancestor of our Chen line, Chen Wangting (also known as Zouting). For over 300 years, it has been passed down through the successive generations of the Chen clan, and has a glorious history.

I was born in 1919 in the birthplace of Taijiquan – the village of Chenjiagou in Wenxian, Henan Province. From early youth, I was a disciple of 16th generation successor Chen Delu and studied martial arts and Large Frame from him. Later, I learned Chen Family Small Frame from my father Chen Honglie. Then I studied all sorts of weapons from my uncle , Geng Zhankui. And I had the benefit of the personal guidance and teaching of Chen Xin, Chen Chunyuan, Chen Fake, Chen Kezhong, Chen Zhaopi and other famous practitioners. In my life, I have been engaged in education for over 40 years, and have studied the martial arts for two-thirds of a century.

Chen Family Taijiquan is a kind of ancient folk boxing. Its method of transmission - following ancient precepts, passing from teacher to disciple, and the practice of passing secret teachings from a teacher to a single disciple - has cast a veil of mystery over it, hiding it from the people, and causing students to thirst for it and seek it out. Moreover, in the last hundred years, there have been few books about Taijiquan, especially about Chen Family Small Frame. With the exception of 16th generation Chen Xin's “Illustrated Manual of Chen Family Taijiquan”, 17th generation Chen Ziming's “Essentials of Taijiquan”, and recently my disciple Fan Chunlei's “China's Renowned Boxing”, there has been nothing. In today's period, with society advancing, the economy developing, and people paying attention to health, this veil of secrecy limits the transmission, enhancement, and development of Chen boxing. As children of China, the Chen Family descendants felt deeply troubled about this. In middle age, I had aspirations of seeking out and collecting the materials which have had an influence on me and dreamed that one day I would arrange them into a book to contribute to society. Unfortunately, during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, with the family under attack, 10 years of painstaking effort were for naught. I was demoralized and could only teach school and boxing and make no further inquiries! In 1978, with the victorious convening of the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party, it was like the Spring rains. From here, the nation and the people took the path of vitality and development. And I, following the martial arts, traveled all over the country, traveled overseas, and resolved to serve the country. I retired in 1982, and in 1984, with the energetic support of many concerned followers of Taijiquan in the province and the cities, I established the “Cui Hua Martial Arts School of Xi'an, Shaanxi” and have devoted the last twenty years to the dissemination of Chen Family Taijiquan. During breaks in my daily boxing lessons, the Taijiquan students gathered together often asked me, “Teacher, you are already a 'national treasure'. You have been passing on in their entirety the Chen Family traditions of Large and Small Frame, and the various weapons. You have been teaching boxing for 60 years. Why don't you write of your experiences in practicing Taijiquan and leave a little something for those who come after you?” Their enthusiasm, sincerity, and the expectant looks in their eyes encouraged me and moved me, and caused me to once again bestir myself. And so, with this body of advanced years and lofty goals not my own, I fulfill a long-cherished wish and gather together a few crumbs for the reader, offering these humble remarks to spark abler discussion by others. In this endeavor, I know I am of limited skill, the book has some slips, and mistakes are unavoidable. I hope that distinguished teachers and practitioners of Taijiquan will make corrections! And indeed, take this opportunity and resolve to join hands and work together to spread Taijiquan to the world for the health, happiness, and longevity of the people.

Chen Liqing
In the ancient of City of Xi'an
May, 2005

[translated by: John Warriner, Tucson Taiji All errors of translation are mine. Please feel free to contact me with any corrections. ]