History of Chen

Chen is the oldest and original style of Tai Chi, dating back possibly as far as the 14th century, when Chen Bu is said to have settled in Chen village (Chenjiagou) bringing with him a family martial arts tradition.

Confucius Institute: Chenjiagou (Chen village)

Confucius Institute: Chenjiagou (Chen village)

Seventeenth century documents make reference to the influence of Chen Wang Ting (1580-1660) in the development of a distinctive internal approach to martial arts that eventually gave rise to the various modern styles known collectively as Tai Chi.

The teachings of Chen Tai Chi were kept strictly within the family until the early 19th century. Chen Changxing (1771-1853) was the first Chen master to accept an outsider as a student; this was Yang Lu Chan, who eventually became the founder of Yang-style Tai Chi.

In the early 20th century, Yang-style Tai Chi became widely known in China, while back in the village, Chen remained obscure. Then in 1928, Chen Zhaopei was the first to bring Chen-style instruction to Beijing. He and his uncle Chen Fake soon established the Chen tradition as a leading style of Tai Chi.

Chen Tai Chi, along with many other Chinese traditions, was suppressed during the Cultural Revolution, but was restored to national prominence in the late 1970s and 1980s. International interest in Chen Tai Chi has been growing since the early 1980s with the support of the Chinese government.

Chen Fake’s students included Chen Zhaukui (1928-1981), who was in turn the teacher of Cheng Jincai, with whom Master Gohring studied.

For more detail, visit the Wikipedia page on Chen Tai Chi and chenfamilytaiji.com. The China Tai Chi Guide offers great, up-to-date information about Chen village for anyone who might contemplate going there to study.

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