Its November 2000, and the first snows have just arrived.

What is Chen Village Tai Chi?

Chen Village Tai Chi is simply what they practice in Chen Village, the birthplace of Tai Chi. In the village itself they practice the Tai Chi of Chen Changxing as handed down to his great grandson Chen Fake and taught to the current generation of Chen Village masters by Chen Fake's nephew (Chen Zhaopei) and his son (Chen Zhaokui). Chen Changxing is important because he revised the original Tai Chi style, and famously taughtYang Luchang. Chen Fake is important because in latter years he also further revised Chen Changxing's Tai Chi, though his revisions are kept as a distinct sylabus. He is also the Grandfather of current masters Chen Xiaowang and Chen Xiaoxing.

Tai Chi is a continuous flowing sequence of postures. Each individual postures a practitioner adopts is called a frame (jia). Different styles of Tai Chi are named after their different postures or frames. For this reason, what Chen Zhaopei taught, which is representative of Chen Fake's early years and is basically Chen Changxing's original form, is called old frame (lao jia). What Chen Zhaokui taught,is representative of Chen Fake's later years and contains Chen Fake's modifications, is called new frame (xin jia). Old frame is what you learn first, and new frame is usually learned as an advanced variation of old frame.

In addition there have been some simplified exercises created to aid beginners, namely silk reeling exercises, the 19 step form and the 38 step form. Oh, and there is the 56 step standard international competition form. The syllabus in total consists of the following:

  • Standing Meditation (Zhang Zhuan)

  • Silk Reeling Exercises (Chansi Gong)

  • 19 step form (Shijiu Shi)

  • 38 step form (Sanshiba Shi)

  • Old frame first form (Laojia Yilou)

  • Old frame second form (Laojia Erlou)

  • New frame first form (Xinjia Yilou)

  • New frame second form (Xinjia Erlou)

  • Single Sword (Dan Jian)

  • Single Broadsword (Dan Dao)

  • Pear Blossom Spear - White Ape Staff (Li Hua Qiang - Bai Yuan Gun)

  • Spring and Autumn Big Broadsword (Chun Qiu Dadao/Guandao)

  • Double Sword (Shuang Jian)

  • Double Broadsword (Shuang Dao)

  • Double Hooks (Shuang Gou)

  • Double Mace (Shuang Jian)

  • 13 Long pole (Shi San Gan)

  • Two sectioned pole (Saozi Gan)

  • 56 step standard competition form (Wushiliu shi Guojia Guiding)

  • 5 type of Pushing Hands (Tui Shou)

  • Pushing Hands for competition

  • Free fighting (San da)

This is what is practised in Chen Village, and has spread out to the near by town of Wenxiang, the rest of Henan, China, and the World. In adjacent villages, there are other variations that are practised: small frame (xiao jia ), 'thunder' frame (hulei jia), Zhaobao frame (from Zhaobao Village).