Frame One (Xiao Jia): -
here to learn more about Small Frame
Small Frame is the least well known of the Chen
routines - yet it may well be the oldest of the
known Chen forms today. This is probably because
Chen Fake, who opened up Chen style to the public
in the 1940s (Bejing), did not publicly teach
Frame Routines represent the second of the two
main surviving Chen traditions of Chen Village.
(The Routines discussed above are collectively
referred to as the Large Frame tradition). The
"small" in Small Frame does not really
refer to the size of external movements - which
can in fact be as big or small as you like.
seems to be some confusion (at least in English)
on historical discussions of these two Traditions.
Some writers seem to also call this "Small
Frame" by the title "New Frame."
This is really confusing because Chen Fake's adapted
versions of the Old Frame Routines (which belong
to Large Frame Tradition) are also known as "New
Frame" to most Western Chen practitioners.
Frame appears to have fundamentally derived from
Small Frame as a quicker/better method for teaching
beginners the difficult art of the "internal
form." Large Frame did this by exaggerating
the circular movements of arms and torso inherent
in Small Frame. This gives beginners a better
"feel" and exercise of those patterns
of body movement that are employed by true inward
form when understanding, sensitivity and body
readiness finally start coming together and "perculate"
up through the body to the first stuttering, awkward
expressions of internal form. At this point comes
"unlearning." Now that the beginner
has a "toe-hold" in the world of internal
form the exaggerated outer form must slowly be
reduced to the much smaller and practical movements
which are the stuff of effective martial arts
Frame's intent is also on reducing the size of
its own circular movements. Nowadays it is seen
as ideally suited for experienced, older practicioners
who have strong experience of the internal form.
They do not need exaggerated outer movements to
"pull out" the internal form because
mastery of it by Mind Intention is now progressing
well. Indeed the goal of this form is said to
be to reduce circular outward form to the point
of invisibility and still retain inner movement!
village TaiChi practicioners tended to stop rigorous
training at about age 60. However they would maintain
their health with Small Frame One which has no
power discharge movements; rather it emphasises
waist movement, internal form and Mind Intention.
The chi is internalised for its noursihing health
benefits rather than externalised for martial
defence. Small Frame was also taught to youngsters
but more for health reasons.
to Chen village one can find a number of sub-Chen
style variations that have evolved from Small
Frame such as "Zhao Bao" and "Thunder
style." Yang Luchan (founder of Yang style)
is said to have based his style on Chen Large
Form. Some subsequent Yang masters were heavily
influenced by this Small Frame as well and developed
styles different from both Yang and Chen.
video Zhu Tian Cai (one of the Four Tigers of
Chen Village) gives a casual demo of this very