Chen Taichi

Chen Taichi is an internal Chinese martial art, founded by Chen Wang Ting (陈王廷), of the Chen Jia Gou village (陈家沟) in Henan Province in China, at the end of the Ming Dynasty (approximately 1600 A.D.). At its core is the practice of sequential dynamic movements that combine softness within hardness, and slow motion with fast motion. The movements always adhere to the philosophical theory of Yin and Yang – moving in a balanced and natural way. Chen Taichi has key skills based on Silk Reeling techniques - Chan Si Gong (缠丝功), and Power releasing techniques (发勁) – Fa Jin. The body is required to be relaxed, centered and upright. Movement is rooted in the foot, allowing energy to be issued through the legs, pivoting at the waist, up through the spine, and with shoulders and elbows relaxed, finally coming to the tips of the hands and head – all in one harmonies motion. The seven principle energies are spiraling, twining, twisting, folding, leaping, jumping and explosive releasing.

Health Benefits

All health benefits from practicing Yang Taichi also apply to practicing Chen Taichi. Here are some recent medical research findings by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's Chen Taichi student, Dr. Shin Lin, Professor of Cell Biology at University of California Irvine:

  1. Muscles, tendons, and Balance

    Dr. Lin and his colleagues have shown, using sophisticated measuring techniques, that slow movement trains those leg muscles that are important for balance. This is one explanation for the efficacy of taichi in reducing falls in the elderly.

    There is a "Yin/Yang" when it comes to muscle: Muscle contains both slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. Slow muscle fibers are used for sustained contraction, and fast twitch fibers are used for rapid contraction. These fibers are innervated by slow and fast motor neurons. Failure to use muscle fiber results in loss of those fibers within 10 days. Fast fibers deteriorate more as we age. When we are holding static postures, we are exercising the fast twitch fibers.

    Clinical trials have shown taichi to be better than resistance training in prevention of osteopenia (bone mineral density lower than normal, a precursor to osteoporosis). Part of this was due to the fact that subjects did not comply with the study protocols if they were in the resistance group. Professor Lin points out that the way we step and move during Chen taichi has a resistance (weight bearing) component.

    A 2008 meta-analysis concluded that taichi was the best activity among those tested for lowering blood pressure. Taichi ranked first among many activities including Trancendental Meditation, yoga, qigong, and other such activities.

  2. The Immune System

    In a controlled study with patients with the Zoster virus (shingles), the treatment group practiced taichi. The antibodies of the taichi group increased significantly. Then a vaccine for Zoster virus was given to both groups. The vaccine helped both groups, but it worked better for the taichi group.

  3. Serotonin levels

    Serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction and other things. Although our brain contains 100 billion neurons, there are only 250,000 serotonin receptors.

    A study with cats found that repetitive motion increased serotonin levels (think silk reeling — repetitive motion) as did deep breathing. While cats go through their famous grooming activities, their serotonin levels skyrocket. (That is probably why they groom... It feels good!)

  4. Deep rest and stress relief

    This study was done with people doing standing meditation. Components of the brain EEG’s were independently analyzed. The standing meditation was found to increase all the major brain waves: Alpha (indicating calm), Theta (indicating deep rest) and Beta (indicating mental alertness). At the same time, the measure of oxygen consumption in the forebrain was decreased compared to a non- meditative state, indicating calmness and rest, while remaining alert without burning a lot of oxygen.

  5. Blood flow

    We cannot measure qi, because it is an abstract, non-scientific term. However, ancient Chinese medical literature gives us some very important clues:

    "Blood is the mother of qi": Where the intention goes, so goes the qi, and so goes the blood

    Using laser doppler flowmetry, cutaneous blood flow was measured at the lou gung point. Blood flow increased while doing single hand reeling, and increased more when coordinated with breathing.

 

Resources

Books and Videos for Purchase

Books and Videos on Chen ZhengLei's site

Follow Online: Chen Taichi Warmup Exercises

Guidelines and References

Mastering Chen Taichi

First, faithfully follow the practice principles:

  1. Practice Taichi principles and theory, not brute force.
  2. Practice cultivating and preserving energy from your core, not from your arms and legs. "By cultivating the roots, leaves grow stronger. By refilling the source, a stream becomes longer."
  3. Practice posture (head upright, torso lively, and lower body solid and steady), not just movements.

Second, establish 5 spirits:

  1. Respect
  2. Confidence
  3. Determination
  4. Perseverance
  5. Patience

Third, follow 3 primary elements:

  1. Find a qualified, capable Taichi teacher, skilled in techniques and proficient in theory with rich teaching experience.
  2. Be willing to learn and keep and open mind.
  3. Diligently practice everyday.

Relax to gain power! Go slow to become fast!

Original Text

首先遵守三項練功法則

  1. 練理不練力
  2. 練本不練標
  3. 練身不練招

第二樹立五"心"

  1. 敬心
  2. 信心
  3. 決心
  4. 恒心
  5. 耐心

第三具備三要素

  1. 師資
  2. 天資
  3. 苦練

Chen Taichi Practice Guidelines

The Head:
kept erect
Shoulders and Elbows:
relax and sink
The Chest and Back:
empty and relaxed
The waist:
the energy must sink
The Abdomen:
relaxed
The Buttocks:
spread slightly to the rear
The Groin:
be rounded, empty, relaxed and lively
The Palm:
the thumb and the little finger are close to each other, while the index, middle, and ring fingers are all bunched slightly to the rear

Energy is rooted in the feet, issued through the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifests itself in the hands and fingers.

  1. Be familiar with the set of forms. All postures should be clearly executed
  2. Adjust your body mechanics, relaxing the whole body
  3. Open up energy channels, directing internal energy
  4. Combine form and energy, like a circle with no end
  5. Connect movements throughout the whole body, unifying internal and external reciprocally
  6. Maintain a stable foundation, with substantial internal energy
  7. Develop an acute sense of touch, knowing both yourself and the opponent
  8. React to your opponent with the right timing and right position
  9. Keep your body like gunpowder, ready to be set off with one move
  10. Strive for limitless change, appearing and disappearing at will

Chen Old Frame 1

  1. Beginning Form
  2. Pounding the Mortar
  3. Lazily Tying Ones Coat
  4. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  5. Single Whip
  6. Pounding the Mortar
  7. White Crane Spreads Its Wings
  8. Diagonal Posture
  9. Holding Up the Knee
  10. Stepping to Both Sides
  11. Diagonal Posture
  12. Holding Up the Knee
  13. Stepping to Both Sides
  14. Cover Fist and Punch
  15. Pounding the Mortar
  16. Break through the Back
  17. Blue Dragon Flying Out of the Water
  18. Pushing with Both Hands
  19. Fist Under the Elbow
  20. Stepping Back and Whirling the Arms
  21. White Crane spreads Its Wings
  22. Diagonal Posture
  23. Turning Back with Arms Twining
  24. Cover Fist and Punch
  25. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  26. Single Whip
  27. Waving Hands Like Clouds
  28. Patting the Horse back
  29. Slapping the right foot
  30. Slapping the Left foot
  31. Kicking with the Left Heel
  32. Walking Forward by stepping to Both Sides
  33. Punching Toward the Ground
  34. Turning and Kicking Twice in the Air
  35. Protecting the Heart with the Fist
  36. Whirlwind Kick
  37. Kicking with the Right Heel
  38. Cover Fist and Punch
  39. Small Grab and Hit
  40. Protecting the Head and Pushing the Mountain
  41. Six sealing and Four Closing
  42. Single Whip
  43. Forward Technique
  44. Back Technique
  45. Part the Wild Horse Mane
  46. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  47. Single Whip
  48. Jade Maiden Working her Loom
  49. Lazily Tying Coat
  50. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  51. Single Whip
  52. Waving Hands Like Clouds
  53. Swing the Foot and Drop Down
  54. Golden Rooster Standing on One Leg
  55. Stepping Back and Whirling the Arms
  56. White Crane Spreads Its Wings
  57. Diagonal Posture
  58. Turning Back with Arms Twining
  59. Cover Fist and Punch
  60. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  61. Single Whip
  62. Waving Hands Like Clouds
  63. Patting the Horse Back
  64. Reverse Sweep with Right Leg Crossing
  65. Punch Toward the Crotch
  66. Ape Picking Fruit
  67. Single Whip
  68. Dragon Rolling Downward
  69. Seven Stars step Forward
  70. Stepping Backward into Riding Stance
  71. Turning Around and Sweeping with Both Legs
  72. Cannon Right Overhead
  73. Pounding the Mortar
  74. Closing Form

Chen Old Frame 2

  1. Beginning Form
  2. Pounding the Mortar
  3. Lazily Tying One’s Coat
  4. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  5. Single Whip
  6. Raise Left Knee, Chop down with Hands Twice
  7. Leap Step, Protect Heart With Fists
  8. Raise Right Knee, Chop down with Hands Once
  9. Advance and Twist Step
  10. Pound the Mortar
  11. Break through the Back
  12. Strike the Groin
  13. Chop with Fist
  14. Turning the flowers Wave Arms
  15. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  16. Strike Waist with Elbow
  17. Upper and Lower Arms Wave
  18. Fair Lady Works at Shuttles
  19. Ride on Dragon’s Tail
  20. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  21. Wrap the Firecrackers
  22. Beast Style
  23. Break the Frame
  24. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  25. Straddle the Tiger
  26. Push with Palm
  27. Yellow Dragon Stirs the Water
  28. Left and Right Kick
  29. Both Hands Chop with Right Knee Lifting
  30. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  31. Sweep Kicks on Both Sides
  32. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  33. Overall Canon Fists
  34. Cover Hands, Strike with Fist
  35. Down Strike, Under Strike
  36. Front Strikes with Both Hands
  37. Turn Head, Strike Chest with Fist
  38. Changing Steps with Fist Strike
  39. Strike Waist with Elbow
  40. Strike with Elbow
  41. Down-up to Truck Canon Elbow Strike
  42. Turn around Body with Both Elbows Strike
  43. Pounding the Mortar
  44. Closing Form

Chen Single Broadsword

  1. Starting Form
  2. Heart-protecting Broadsword
  3. Green Dragon Comes out of Water
  4. The Wind Scattering the Broken Flowers
  5. The white Cloud Right over Head
  6. Black Tiger Searches the Mountain
  7. Suqin Carries the Sword on His Back
  8. Golden Cock Stands on One leg
  9. Roo and Close to the Coming Force
  10. Horizontally Cut the White Snake’s Waist
  11. Three Rings Surrounding the Sun
  12. Dispel the Clouds and See the Sun
  13. Beat Grass to Look for the snake on the Left
  14. Beat Grass to look for the snake on the right
  15. Green Dragon Comes out of Water
  16. The wind Scattering the Broken Flowers
  17. The Wild Goose Inserts Golden Wings
  18. Yecha Searches the Sea
  19. Turn Over Body Leftward to Cut
  20. Turn Over Body Rightward to Cut
  21. White Snake Splits out Its Tongue
  22. Holding the Moon in the Arms
  23. Finishing Form

Chen Single Longsword

  1. Starting Form
  2. Face-the-sun Sword
  3. The Celestial Point a Way Out
  4. Green Dragon Rises from the Water
  5. The Guarding Knee Sword
  6. Closing Door Form
  7. Green Dragon Rises from the Water
  8. Turn Body Over to Hack Sword
  9. Green Dragon Turns Its Body
  10. Oblique Flying
  11. Spread Wing and Nod Head
  12. Beat Grasses to look for the Snake
  13. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg
  14. The Celestial Points a Way Out
  15. Covering and Intercepting Form
  16. An Ancient Tree with Twisted Roots
  17. Tiger Pounces on Prey
  18. Green Dragon Swings Its Tail
  19. Step Backward and Whirl Arms
  20. Wild Horse Jumps over a Gully
  21. White Snake Spits Its Tongue
  22. Black Dragon Swings Its Tail
  23. Zhongkui Raises the Sword
  24. The Arhat Tame the Dragon
  25. Black Bear Turns Back
  26. The Swallow Pecks at the Mud
  27. White Snake Spits Its Tongue
  28. Flying Oblique
  29. Battle of Wits between the Eagle and the Bear
  30. The Swallow Pecks at the Mud
  31. Pluck the Star to Exchange the Plough
  32. Scoop Up the Moon from Bottom of the Sea
  33. The Celestial Pointing a Way Out
  34. The Phoenix Nods Its Head
  35. The Swallow Pecks at the Mud
  36. White Snake Spits Its Tongue
  37. Flying Oblique
  38. Hold the Weighty leftward
  39. Hold the Weighty Rightward
  40. The Swallow Pecks at the Mud
  41. White Ape Presents Fruit
  42. Flowers Falling form
  43. Thrusting Up and Down
  44. Oblique flying
  45. Nezha Searches the Sea
  46. Python Turns Over Its Body
  47. Weituo Presents a Pestle
  48. the Mill Stone Sword
  49. Closing Form

Chen New Frame 1

  1. Beginning Form
  2. Buda Pounds Mortar
  3. Lazy Ties the Robs
  4. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  5. Single Whip
  6. Second-Time Buda Pounds Mortar
  7. White Crane Spreads Wings
  8. Step Obliquely, Twist Step
  9. First Closing
  10. Advanced with Twist Step
  11. Second-Time Step Obliquely, Twist Step
  12. Second Closing
  13. Advanced with Twist Step
  14. Hidden Hand Punch
  15. Third-Time Buda Pounds Mortar
  16. Draping Body Fist
  17. Green Dragon Emerges From the Water
  18. Two-Handed Push
  19. Three-Changing-Palm
  20. Fist Under Elbow
  21. Step Back and Push with Arm
  22. Reverse Step, Press Elbow
  23. Torso
  24. White Goose Spreads Wings
  25. Step Obliquely, Reverse Step
  26. Flash the Back
  27. Hidden Hand Punch
  28. Big Six Sealing, Four Closing
  29. Single Whip
  30. Cloud Hands
  31. High Pat the Horse
  32. Thrust Right Foot
  33. Thrust Left Foot
  34. Turn Around, Left Heel Kick
  35. Advance with Reverse Step
  36. Immortal’s Embracing Grip
  37. Double Kick
  38. Protect the Heart (Beast’s Head Posture)
  39. Whirlwind Kick
  40. Right Heel Kick
  41. Hidden Hand Punch
  42. Cover Head and Push the Mountain
  43. Three-Changing-Palms
  44. Six Sealing, Four Closing
  45. Single Whip
  46. Forward Trick
  47. Backward Trick
  48. Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane
  49. Big Six Sealing, Four Closing
  50. Single Whip
  51. Two Treads
  52. Fair Maiden Works at the Shuttles
  53. Grasp and Tuck Clothes
  54. Six Sealing, Four Closing
  55. Single Whip
  56. Cloud Hands
  57. Drop Both Feet
  58. Split
  59. Golden Rooster Stands in One Leg
  60. Step Back and Push with Arm
  61. Reverse Step, Press Elbow
  62. Torso
  63. White Goose Spreads its Wings
  64. Step Obliquely, Reverse Step
  65. Flash the Back
  66. Hidden Hand Punch
  67. Big Six Sealing, Four Closing
  68. Single Whip
  69. Cloud Hands
  70. High Pat the Horse
  71. Cross Foot
  72. Groin Punch
  73. Apes and Moneys Search for Fruit
  74. Small Six Sealing, Four Closing
  75. Single Whip
  76. Sweep Ground Brocade
  77. Step Forward and Form Seven Stars
  78. Step Back, Straddle Tiger
  79. Turn Around, Spread Arms
  80. Head-On Cannon
  81. Vajra Pounds Mortar
  82. Closing

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