carrying the burden of taiji legacy
by C. P. Ong, Ph. D.
The only thing memorable was the humdrum.
The days were always he same. If anything, long. Nothing much of note ever
happened growing up in Chenjiagou (the Chen Village) in the early 1950s.
One day, eight-year-old Chen Xiaowang found himself surrounded by commotion.
Wherever he turned, the Village was abuzz with how the "little ninth uncle"
dealt a stupendous martial feat on his burly older nephew. They were talking
about his father's remarkable hidden "jin" or force. Though filled with
pride and excitement, he did not feel it was anything special, as there were
abundant tales of his forbears' skills in taijiquan. Moreover, his grandfather,
Chen Fa-ke was already a living legend in Beijing at that time. The incident
nevertheless left an inspirational mark on him and thrust on him the taiji
legacy he was born into. The illustrious masters of yesteryears and their
lore that he had heard so much about suddenly seemed less remote. He resolved
to scale the heights of the past masters.
Some twenty years later, Chen Xiaowang, by now quite accomplished, was
still intrigued by his father's hidden jin that threw someone bigger in
size over ten feet up. He was not satisfied with the witnesses' accounts
of how the jin worked. So in 1977 he went to see Chen Lizi, the person who
had suffered the throw, to find out first-hand about the incident.
The Prank on the "Little Ninth Uncle"
The event occurred in 1953 when Chen Zhaoxu,
Chen Xiaowang's father, was in his early 40's. Although Chen Lizi was older
than Chen Zhaoxu, he was of a generation younger. He would thus address
the latter as "little ninth uncle." As it turned out, Chen Zhaoxu was attending
a ceremony for a group of visiting Chen descendents whose forebears had
left the Village a few generations ago. They had come to pay respects to
their ancestral home and to re-establish their lineage. The gathering took
place at the home of Chen Lizi's family, as it was one of the few houses
large enough to accommodate the many guests.
Now, accomplishments in taijiquan skills are things that the Village
folks talk about, just as you would talk about great sports plays. Chen
Xiaowang's father's taiji skill was already well known at that time. But
only a few had actually seen his skills, since he did not take any students.
Chen Lizi, himself a taiji practitioner, was piqued by this mysterious reputation.
As Chen Zhaoxu was greeting one of the guests, Lizi, close behind, could
not resist his penchant for mischief. He furtively closed in, unceremoniously
grabbed hold of Zhaoxu's right arm, locked the wrist and upper arm, and then
teased, "Little ninth uncle, if someone came from behind and held you, what
w-?" Before he could finish, he was thrown three meters up. As Lizi's head
came crashing down, Zhaoxu extended his arm in time and caught his shoulders,
saving him from injury. "Are you looking to kill yourself?" Zhaoxu chided.
The visitors were visibly shaken by the commotion. The local guests,
also taken aback, were nonetheless delighted by such a treat of martial
feat. The seasoned observers did not see Chen Zhaoxu betray any martial maneuver.
They were amazed. The nephew was larger and of stronger build. They did
not expect that such a throw could be executed in the tightness of the hold.
So the feat of the hidden jin was instantly broadcast to the entire Village.
It is now said in Chenjiagou, "If not for the prank that Chen Lizi played
on his little ninth uncle, Chen Zhaoxu's skill might not have been revealed."
Anatomy of the Throw
Chen Xiaowang caught up with Chen Lizi
and asked him for a first-hand account of the incident. The latter recalled
his mischief. He was locking the uncle's arm from behind. In the next instant
he went blank, and found himself landing safely in the uncle's arms. Hearing
the admonishment, he realized he had done something he should not have done.
Chen Lizi demonstrated the same hold he had used on Chen Xiaowang. The son
figured that his father must have changed the direction of the attacker's
grappling force, causing the latter to slip and lunge forward. His father's
upper arm -- catching the prankster's body -- gave out a short burst of
twisting force. The force must have then sent Chen Lizi's body flipping,
feet up and hitting the ceiling.
Chen Xiaowang confirmed his own analysis of the throw's anatomy when
he spoke to two other persons who also experienced his father's jin power.
Li Junshen and Wang Changtai, both about eighteen then, went to see Chen
Zhaoxu about the incident that the Village was talking about incessantly.
They were most curious and wanted to feel his "jin." Chen Zhaoxu asked
them to hold his outstretched arms as strongly as they could, one on each
side. When they signaled that they were satisfied with the hold, he gave
out a short burst of fajin, sending both of them up into the air. With
the left hand, he caught hold of Li by the front shirt, and seated him
on top of the fire hearth by the side, and Wang on the other hand, seating
him on the table. Chen Zhaoxu had used a short fajin with his upper arms
on the students. It was this same upper-arm fajin that got Chen Lizi.
The ability to react naturally to ward off an attack and at the same
time counter-attack in a real-life unpredictable situation is a highly developed
martial skill. It comes from cultivating the "gong" of the art, and not
just from practicing the techniques. To learn techniques and even be proficient
at them without absorbing-- bodyand mind -- the principle of the art is
not full mastery. Chen Xiaowang had heard often the admonition, "Lian quan
bu lian gong, dao lao yi chang kong" (To train in boxing techniques but
not train the "gong" of the art, till old the gongfu may still be hollow).
Chen Taiji enters the World Stage
In March 1981, a group of Japanese taiji
practitioners descended upon the Chen Village where taijiquan has its roots.
The Village, which had not changed over the centuries, was hardly ready
for the visit, and certainly not ready for the intense onslaught of the
media that came with it. But ready or not it was dragged into the modern
world. Chen Xiaowang's trademark fajin power and qinna (joint-grappling),
and the taiji skills of the other masters, were exposed to an international
audience for the very first time.
In dramatic footage of the preserved tape, four Japanese practitioners
were seen hand-locking the arms of Chen Xiaowang, two on each side. It seemed
that you would need Houdini's magic tricks to escape the human chain on
his arms. But with a short burst of force, which appeared like an easy jerk,
Chen Xiaowang was free and all the handlers were seen falling off from him.
This performance, which included other martial feats, effectively ended the
debate on whether taijiquan was still a form of martial arts. Fame attracts
attention of sorts.
Qinna Test in Singapore
In Singapore, Mr. Tan (or Chen Shilu,
full name in Pinyin), a local boxing master of the Shaolin tradition, had
read of Chen Xiaowang's prowess and of how qinna locks were unable to hold
him. As a qinna expert who had subdued everyone he had tried his skill
on, he was naturally made curious by what he read, and longed for a chance
to test this taiji master. The opportunity came in April 12,1987 when Chen
Xiaowang, representing the taiji school, and Shi Yongshou, the Shaolin,
came to Singapore to conduct a wushu tour in the country, at the invitation
of the Singapore National Wushu Federation (of which Mr. Tan was an official).
To promote the tour, the local TV interviewed the two Chinese masters,
accompanied by Mr. Tan. The masters gave an impressive demonstration, the
fast and dramatic Shaolin, balanced by the graceful and soft appearance
of taijiquan. During the interview, the Singapore master expressed marvel
at Chen Xiaowang's escape from the arm locks of the Japanese students, and
further conveyed his wonder in a manner clearly to invite a demonstration.
Holding back his smile, Chen Xiaowang, taking the cue, gestured to him to
try. Mr. Tan arm-locked him, bending his arm behind his back like a twisted
chicken wing as securely as he could. Chen Xiaowang effortlessly wriggled
his wrist and freed himself. The 103-kg Singapore master was amazed at how
easily Chen Xiaowang undid his qinna lock. To be sure, he tried it four
times, and each time the escape was as easy as the last. Warming up, Chen
Xiaowang then beckoned the assistants there to come forward. Four persons
held Chen Xiaowang's arms, two on each side. They each separately hand-locked
his finger joints, wrists, elbows and upper arms. He did not resist and
allowed each person to muster the best hold possible. Then Chen Xiaowang
gave a short burst of jin from his arms and all the students were thrown
off from him, some falling to the floor. The promoters were delighted with
such a live performance of martial skills on TV. This publicity would attract
yet another encounter.
An Intrusion boosts the Tour
Two days later, to cap off the official
welcoming, several hundred guests were invited to a banquet to honor the
Chinese masters and their entourage. Among the guests were dignitaries
from the country's sports organizations, local martial arts masters and
aficionados. The dinner went smoothly with the usual long toasts. Just
at the close of the dinner, three of the guests approached the elevated
platform of the honored guests. They openly asked if what they saw about
his martial skills on TV was true. They said that they were longtime judo
practitioners and asked if they could test it. Chen Xiaowang, having eaten
and drunk heartily, was not inclined to oblige but did not know how to decline.
Invoking a well-lined belly as an excuse would be silly. A martial artist
should be ever ready. So he beckoned them to come. Two of them proceeded
forward and were allowed to do twisted chicken-wing locks on each of his
arms behind his back. Without drama, Chen Xiaowang freed his arms. Dismayed
and hardly content with this abrupt and anticlimactic end to their challenge,
they nevertheless bowed to salute and thank the master. But as Chen Xiaowang
turned to return to his table, the third judo person, who was standing
by his side, suddenly grabbed Chen Xiaowang's right arm from behind, and
tried to execute a judo throw on him. The dignitaries and guests were aghast
with their jaws open. In unison they gestured, their eyes glued to the scene.
The admonishment they exclaimed seemed stuck in their throats. In a flash,
to the great relief of the organizers and guests, the attacker was seen
flying and falling several feet away. The anxiety that had built up to a
pitch in that brief moment gave way instantly to a thunderous applause of
approval and appreciation to witness such a real-life martial feat.
Chen Xiaowang had responded with his natural reaction upon feeling a
sharp force tugging to lift him. The sinking of his dantien energy and "kua"
broke the attacker's lifting force and at the same time unsettled the attacker's
center. Then he issued a fajin with the back of his shoulder, which struck
the attacker close behind, sending him reeling to the floor. The adverse
publicity would have doomed the tour had the local judo person succeeded
in throwing the master. The organizers were thus doubly grateful to Chen
Xiaowang for saving the tour and for generating even more media stories. The
attacker, Mr. Lim (Lin Jinping in Pinyin), apologized for the unmannerly interruption,
but was nevertheless thankful to have experienced the efficacy and power
Speaking with fists
Two years earlier in 1985 Chen Xiaowang
had also been put on a spot. That was during his first trip abroad to Japan,
accompanied by Chen Zhenglei and Chen Guizhen. They had just finished dinner
and were by themselves as the tour organizer and the translator had left
a little earlier. As they were leaving, someone approached them in the front
of the restaurant. None of the Chens spoke any Japanese and the intruder
did not speak any Chinese. All they could make out was something about boxing.
From the fighting posture and upheld fists it became clear that he wanted
a dialogue of martial skills. Uncertain of the proprieties of assenting
to what appeared to be a sort of challenge, and unable to communicate, Chen
Xiaowang did the next best thing, holding his arms up in a similar gesture,
intending to elicit a friendly exchange. But a fist flew right into Chen
Xiaowang's face. Chen Xiaowang guided the fist off with his right hand, consciously
holding back an offensive return. The attacker seeing his punch foiled, in
the next instance closed in and followed with what seemed to be a well-practiced
move, an elbow strike to Chen's body. Xiaowang's cultivation of Taijiquan
"gong" came into play. He received the elbow strike with a small rollback
"chan" to deflect it, which weakened and dissipated the impact. At the same
time he issued a burst of offensive "lie jin." As Chen Xiaowang's hands had
remained glued to the attacker's arm, the "jin" caught him and threw him
several feet away, falling face down. Later it was found out that the attacker
was a local martial arts instructor who wanted to test the skills he had
read about. The following year he went to Zhengzhou, China, to seek out Chen
Xiaowang and learn from him.
The basis of Taiji's Martial Skills
What is this skill to defend and attack
at the same time in a real-life situation? The obvious view is that it
is the conditioned reflex acquired by training at a combination of successive
techniques, like the block-and-punch or kick drills. The skill that Chen
Xiaowang exhibited in the above situations is more than a conditioned reflex.
It is also more than an instinctive skill, as the body and mind are trained
to such an extent that the response to an attack is almost a natural state.
Think of a well-trained body as a basketball. When you strike at such a
body, you cause no more harm than you do to a basketball. The skill of response
is a natural state in this sense, without it doing anything. This pressure-like
body resiliency is only a manifestation of the concept of "peng jin" in a
Let us look at another application of this concept. A taiji master of
sufficiently high level has well-developed "peng jin." When you push at
the body of such a master, it is like pushing against a pressurized ball,
which is changeable. You will find your force dissipating, and unable to
do anything. The master's "peng jin" does two things to your line of force.
First, it weakens the power of your thrust at the point of contact and,
second, redirects your force to the ground. Eight people, one behind another
and pushing, only looks dramatic; but the effect is the same as the front
person's work on the body. Chen Xiaowang can be so cool that -- standing
and keeping balance on one leg -- he takes a drink of water with a free
hand while a hefty guy pushes at him with all his brawny might, as performed
live on TV several times.
"Peng jin" in a taiji body offers a lot more. The peng jin in the master's
arm glues onto an opponent's, binding it like a rubber band, on contact.
It measures the opponent's intent. This "listening" creates a dynamic liveliness
relative to the opponent's actions. With this the master can adjust his
or her own body to impair the opponent's structure. Once the opponent's structure
is compromised, the taiji master can call on his or her arsenal of taiji
techniques to attack the opponent effectively.
The cultivation of "peng jin" in a taiji body is the "soft training"
of internal martial arts or "neijia quan." The deliberately slow movements
in taiji training are but a means to temper the body, and the slowness
is by no means an end in the training. The slow motion allows the practitioner
to discern tenseness and so to avoid it. This gradually rids the body of
"jiang jin" or tense energy when executing movements. The body and mind tempered
by this soft training can deliver force unimpeded through the joints. In
the process, a player will also come to understand "qi" by experiencing
Taiji training endows a practitioner with a calm body and mind - a quietness
that can spring to crisp action in an instant: "Action is born of stillness,
and in the action resides stillness." The trained action of a martial artist
with this calmness has a focused quality, as opposed to being scattered.
This calmness is also the source of the practitioner's sensitivity, which
responds to the slightest tug. Chinese kungfu movies showing a bird unable
take flight from the palm of a taiji master depict this sensitivity.
Because many of the skills of an internal martial artist are invisible
to an untrained eye, and also because their applications are unexpected,
it is easy to ascribe mysterious hidden power to them. There is also a tendency
to exaggerate these skills when they seem unfathomable. However, the mystery
peels away when you undertake a journey in the training and practice of
Chen taiji training is distinguished from
the other styles of taiji by its specific requirement to train the fundamental
"chansi jin" ("silk-reeling" energy). Chansi jin drives the motion in Chen
taiji and is responsible for the art's signature coiling movements. You
have actually come across this central concept in your own martial arts
training. For example, when you block a punch, your intercepting arm turns
a little at the point of contact with the attacking arm to deflect it. This
slight rotation is a use of "chan" or coiling that greatly reduces the impact
as opposed to a straight block. Indeed, the application of chansi jin in
martial arts is as prevalent as the use of the screw in the mechanical world
of leverages. In fact, it can be said that if there is no chansi jin, there
is no Chen Taijiquan. Without chansi jin, there would not be the efficacy
of Taijiquan as a martial art.
The basic exercises of chansi gong are beguilingly easy to do. The practice
is nothing like the physically demanding moves of wushu or gymnastics. Anyone,
young and old, can follow the exercises and cultivate chansi jin. However,
its mastery is more elusive, requiring time, effort and patience. The guidance
of an accomplished master is also essential.
Of mastery, Chen Xiaowang, who studied
under his uncles Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui, said that it was only in
his early thirties that he allowed himself attainment of the level, albeit
in a crude form. Earlier his teacher Chen Zhaopi had told him that to progress
further in the art he would need his uncle, Chen Zhaokui, to check his
"quan" (meaning boxing skill in this context although its transliteration
is fist). Then in 1966 the Cultural Revolution came and turned the whole
nation upside down, during which anything of yesteryears' culture was denigrated.
The remote little Village was not spared its ravages. In that period, Chenjiagou
seemed to have lost its soul as taiji practice ceased. It was only in 1973,
after the death of Chen Zhaopi, and after the misguided fervor of the Red
Guards subsided, that he was able to learn from his uncle, Chen Zhaokui.
Of his generation, Chen Xiaowang was considered preeminent in the art
within the local taiji circle. He had no opportunities to exchange his
skills with the outside. In 1977 he was sent to participate in the National
Wushu Competition in Xi'an. Hungry to test his own skills against others,
he engaged in several informal but serious plays with his contemporaries
of other martial systems. Although satisfied with his own effectiveness,
he remained uncertain how comprehensive his own understanding was. He was
pushing at the edge of his own frontier. He felt an overpowering urge to
seek what was beyond, where his father and grandfather had been.
Lonely Quest and Insight
Sadly he could not turn to his father,
who had passed away some seventeen years earlier. He thought of his grandfather's
legendary skills and the burden of his legacy. He decided to seek out his
grandfather's surviving students for guidance and inspiration. In 1978 he
was happy to meet with two of them in Beijing, who were delighted to meet
their master's grandson. From the exchanges he had with them, he could not
discern that they had traversed beyond where he himself had been in the taiji
terrain. He felt disappointment at the prospect that his quest would have
to be a lonely one.
For the next three years he applied himself single-mindedly to refine
his own comprehension of the essence of the art. He searched for some irreducible
concept, a principle that would form the basis of the art, "to which all
the ten thousand techniques would return as one" (wan fa gui yi). When the
realization of the principle dawned on him, he found it was nothing spectacular
or new. Remarkably, it had always been there. He examined and analyzed all
the techniques and skills he knew and found that, without exception, their
efficacy flowed from that single principle. He had experienced its insight.
He remembers clearly this momentous awakening. He had run wildly through
the factory where he worked, looking for his cousin Chen Zhenglei to share
Chen Xiaowang calls this the "Yundong
Guilu" (the Principle of Movements) and expresses it as:
• Yi dantien wei hai xin.
• Yi dong quan shen bi dong.
• Jie jie guan chuan.
• Yi qi guan tong.
• Dantien is at the heart of the body's motion
• Once a part moves, the whole body moves
• Joint by joint energy threads through
• Thus the force transmits unimpeded in one action
To practitioners who have been around, the phrases are nothing new.
You have heard of them or their variants many times before. Like the beguilingly
simple ideas of meditation, their deep meanings sink in only after you
have experienced the insight.
The phrases in the "Yundong Guilu" convey a state of the body to be
maintained during a practitioner's motion. If this state is compromised,
it exposes a weakness in the body that can be exploited. The training in
terms of time and effort (gongfu) to cultivate the essence of an art is
to develop its "gong." The power of this "gong" is referred to as "gongli."
If the level of the "gong" achieved is high enough, it is said that you
have gongfu (the skills you have trained so hard for).
To illustrate some of the implications of "gongli," witness Chen Xiaowang
handling the students at the workshops. He is so at ease in felling or throwing
the students about, like playthings. There is a huge difference in the
"gongli" between him and his students. To see this point, think of yourself
handling a young child. You do not consider yourself challenged in any
way by the child, so your guard is always intact. You can dispose of whatever
the little kid throws at you. In this sense, your "gongli," limited as it
is, is superior to that of the child's. Chen Xiaowang's gongli far exceeds
that of the students. When students test his skills, his dantien balance
is not perturbed, his "Yundong guilu" not violated. So he could literally
play with a student like a little kid.
It is easy to see a breach of this Principle and its ramification. When
struck by a sudden fear, your breath would rise and be arrested in your
chest. This condition, caused by the fear, would be a violation of the Principle.
Take a simpler example. Let someone twist and bend your index finger at
the joint. What happens when it hurts? The pain causes your inside to hollow
as your body rises. You lose your root or your guard. You know how vulnerable
you have become in this off-balance situation. The body state is in violation
of the "Yundong Guilu."
Why is it that Chen Xiaowang could easily free himself from the qinna
locks even by kungfu masters proficient in the qinna art? You might say
he did not let someone twist his index finger. Master Chen Xiaowang, Kam
Lee (a kungfu master from Jacksonville), and the author were discussing "Yundong
Guilu" at lunch, and Kam asked if the Principle also applied in the case
of qinna. In answer, Master Chen let Kam qinna his index finger. Kam bent
and twisted the finger at the joint in multiple directions, trying his best
to hurt him. Chen Xiaowang was not the least affected as his finger yielded
to Kam's efforts like a rubber stub. Then, after a while, he did a counter-qinna
on Kam, forcing him to the ground in pain. Chen Xiaowang's "Yundong Guilu"
remained intact throughout, allowing him to respond accordingly.
"Goujia Gaoji Jiaolian"
Chen Xiaowang, born Oct 20, 1945 in Chenjiagou,
first learned the "laojia yilu" (old frame 1st routine form), the core
routine of the Chen Taijiquan system, from his father when he was seven
or eight. He could not say that he got much then at that young age. However,
he remembers vividly and fondly watching his father practice in those days.
His mother would often ask him to fetch his father for dinner. Patiently
he would wait until his father finished his practice before calling him
to dinner. Unfortunately, his father was swept up in the political turmoil
of the times. He was tortured and imprisoned in 1955 and his health suffered
greatly. He passed away in 1960 at age 48 in dire circumstances, a great
loss to taiji.
The political turbulence and the poverty of the 1950s were not very
conducive to the propagation of Taijiquan. The tradition of the art, however,
was not entirely lost, as there were always some master-practitioners in
the Village. It was not until 1958 that Chen Zhaopi, Chen Xiaowang's distant
fifth uncle, returned to the Village and sparked a taiji renaissance. Chen
Zhaopi had been away for some thirty years, teaching in Nanjing and elsewhere.
After Chen Zhaopi died in December 30, 1972, Chen Zhaokui, the third son of
Chen Fa-ke, came to the Village to further raise the level of skill among
the burgeoning young masters in the Village. Most of the currently-known Chen
Taiji masters were trained by one or both of these two Chen 18th generation
patriarchs. They include the now renowned "Four Great Jingangs (Diamonds),"
Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xi'an and Zhu Tiancai.
In the late 1970s, the reform policies of Deng Xiaoping improved dramatically
the livelihood in China. The Chenjiagou taiji practitioners shared in the
better conditions. The revived wushu sports, which include Taijiquan, became
better organized at the local, state and national levels. Wushu practitioners
also began to be recognized as professionals under the employ of the government
as coaches, judges and administrators of the sport. In 1989, in an effort
to streamline the teaching professions in the arts and sciences, three main
categories were instituted. The highest level was "Guojia Gaoji Jiaolian"
(National High-Scale Coach). This official title accords instant recognition
of achievement for the holder in his or her field of endeavor and a professional
status. In the first year of its establishment, the awards were limited
to two for each province. Henan Province, the most populous province with
over 90 million, was allocated two such positions in Wushu; one was given
to a Shaolin master in Luoyang, and the other to Chen Xiaowang.
Although some Chen taiji stylists might
have arrived on U.S. shores earlier, 1988 marked the turning point for
the style here. That was the year Chen Xiaowang, accompanied by provincial
sports officials, came to the U.S. at the invitation of the organizers of
that year's "Taste of China" event in Winchester, VA. The tour also took
them to Tulsa, St. Louis and San Francisco.
Take yourself back to that year, when taiji practice was almost all
Yang school and the Chen style was relatively unknown. In the highlight
Masters' Demonstrations, Chen Xiaowang's beginning slow movements appeared
solid and expected. The first suggestion of things to come was the foot-stomp
of the "Warrior Pounding Mortar" movement that resounded on the basketball
court. Although the movements were mainly done with the familiar slowness,
the postures were decidedly more martial in character. Then he let fly a
punch with a fearsome grunt. It rang out like the crack of a whip, his silk
uniform snapping on his body. The audience gasped as if struck by this "fajin."
The power was self-evident. By this time, everyone was mesmerized, hanging
on his every move. Quickened paces and a few more "fajin" interspersed with
the slow movements. Coming to the end, he launched into a succession of
explosive movements. Sparks seemed to be flying out. Finally he spun half-around
to face the audience as he had started, the rubber sole of the sweeping leg
giving a sharp squeal. Thus he concluded the demonstration to thunderous
applause. This debut opened the floodgates of enthusiasm for the art that
continues to reverberate to this day.
Chen Style Taiji in USA
There has since been a steady stream of
venerable masters from China visiting the U.S. Thanks to them, the level
of practice in the U.S. has risen and will surely, in due course, approach
the standards of the masters in China. The current grandmasters are of the
11th generation, counting from Chen Wangting, the illustrious patriarch
credited with originating the art. The generational nomenclature has become
a source of confusion. The Chen Family Archives refer to this generation
as the 19th generation, and Chen Wangting as of the 9th generation, if one
takes the baseline to the founder of the Village, Chen Bu and the first
There is only one surviving 10th generation master, and that is Feng
Zhiqiang, who still resides in Beijing, China. He was a disciple of Chen
Fa-ke. He last visited the U.S. in 2001. Here are some of the notable 11th
generation masters who have come to the U.S. to promote the art: Chen Xiaowang,
Chen Zhenglei, Zhu Tiancai, Wang Xi'an, Chen Quanzhong, Chen Qingzhou, Zhang
Zhijun and Ma Hong. No doubt more will come in the future.
Chen Style instructors are still in short supply, even in the large
cities. Here are some who are actively teaching (this list is not intended
to be exhaustive): Ren Guangyi (student of Chen Xiaowang) in New York, Cheng
Jincai (student of Wang Xi'an) in Houston, TX, Yang Yang (student of Feng
Zhiqiang) in Champaign, IL, Chen Zhonghua (student of Hong Junsheng and
Feng Zhiqiang) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kam Lee (student of Zhu Tiancai)
in Jacksonville, Yan Gaofei (student of Chen Quanzhong) in Miami, FL, Jin
Taiyang or Kris Brenner (student of Chen Qingzhou and Wang Xi'an), Li Shudong
(student of Wang Xi'an) in San Francisco, and the author (student of Chen
Zhenglei) in Potomac, MD.
Chen Xiaowang now travels around the world
promoting the art through the Chen Xiaowang World Taijiquan Association.
The author organizes his workshop annually in late July in the Washington
DC area, as well as the workshops for Chen Zhenglei, Zhu Tiancai and Zhang
Zhijun. To learn more about the workshop schedules, check www.ChenWangting.com.