belongs to Chen Village's Old Frame tradition as represented
in the mainstream "Zhaokui Line." This Line
also encorporates the "New Frame" routine
as taught by Chen Fake in his later years.
In the world of Chen style TaiChi (to say nothing
of other Taichi styles) there are many "flavours"
and traditions. The following chart gives an abbreviated
summary of the situation and there is a brief commentary
(1) Origin of 5 main Tai Chi Styles.
(2) Origin of the 2 lesser-known sub-styles of Chen
(3) Origin of the 3 traditional learning Patterns/Frames.
(4) Our Club's Chen Style "Zhaokui Line"
of the 5 Tai Chi Styles:
In the beginning Chen Family style of Taichi was held
secret. Therefore it was relatively homogenious -
though it actually appears to have evolved considerably
over time. The Chen family soaked up anything that
was useful in promoting their prowess in defending
the village or working as bodyguards for merchants
Yang Luchan came on the scene two Traditions had recently
developed within the Village: Large Frame and Small
Frame. These signify different practice methods for
learning what is basically still the same Chen style
first big split-off came when an "outsider"
learnt the style, adapted it and spread it throughout
China. This was Yang Luchan and his variation was
so different as to become a new style altogether -
it was called "Yang Style." The other three
types of TaiChi we know today (Sun, Wu and Woo styles)
again split off from Yang style.
Around the time of Chen Youben, and Chen Chang Xin,
two subvariants of Chen style sprang up in villages
close to Chen Village: Zhaobao and Hu-Lei (Thunder)
Styles. These are still considered Chen style even
though they are not mainstream and are not practised
by the Chen family. Their genealogy is not recorded
on the above chart.
Training Form Traditions:
Chen Village training has for many years been divided
into two closely related traditons: Big Frame
and Small Frame. Big Frame tradition is by
far the most widely practiced while Small Frame is
still somewhat "secret" - it is very difficult
to do and probably worth teaching only to the highly
experienced and talented.
The Big Frame tradition is what most people would
understand when talking about classical Chen style
TaiChi. The quintessential big Frame training form
(for beginners and masters alike) has always been
the Old Frame patterns (of which there are
legendary Chen Fake (who taught in Beijing from the
1930s) in his later life transformed Old Frame into
an additional set of patterns which became very popular
in Beijing and are now known as New Frame (or
Small Frame if you live in Beijing). This got "exported"
back to Chen Village as well.
with those trained by the old Masters in the classical
Old Frame there are regional sub-variants. The mainstream
is probably that deriving from Chen Fake's son (Chen
Zhaokui) and his nephew (Chen Zhaopei). These two
almost singlehandledly taught Chen Village's 19th
generation crop of new teachers - including the famous
"Four Tigers" who have been vigorously promoting
this tradition around the world from the 1980s.
the increasing international popularity of individual
Chen Masters who emigrate overseas (as opposed to
the Chen Village as a cohesive group) fragmentation
is beginning to occur within the Old Frame tradition.
Only time will tell if Chen Village international
connections and influence is strong enough to hold
that delicate balance between preservation and evolution.