taiqi
Posts

  • Chen Taiji Video

    Here is a video that Chen Jia posted on her Wechat feed. It features the four current masters of Chen Style Taiji, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, Chen Ziqiang, and Su Jianping. It’s beautifully shot, but the music is horrible. The song, I believe, was written for this video. I will have a translation here in a bit of the song, just for kicks.

    For my take on Chenjiagou, the village where this style originates, check out “The Birthplace of Chen Style Taiji.”

    August 31, 2014 • Kung Fu People, Kung Fu Places, Video • Views: 4092

  • Taiji vs. Muay Thai (incl. Video)

    taiji vs. muay thai

    The other day I wrote a story for Fightland about an interaction I had had with Chen Jia, the Taiji Princess I’ve mentioned here before. It was about a fight her master’s brother, Chen Ziqiang, was setting up with Thai fighters. I spent an hour telling her how bad the idea was.

    I reenacted that for the Fightland story, and then went on to hijack Prof. Ben Judkin’s essay on taiji and Taoism as symbols in a marriage of convenience, to link the idea of Chinese patriotism to Taoism/Taiji and through that find some explanation for what I considered to be an absurd, misguided macho ploy. I ended the story by saying I was happy the fights did not take place, because I didn’t want to see taiji sullied.

    But in fact, the fight did go down. Last September in Jiaozuo, Henan Province, just a few hours from Chenjiagou Village and the Shaolin Temple.

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    April 22, 2014 • Modern Kung Fu, Video • Views: 12529

  • The Birthplace of Chen Style Taiji Quan

    Chinese Martial Arts

    A billboard of Chen Xiao Wang and sons in Chen Jia Gou

    Last month I went to Chen Jia Gou, just outside of Zhengzhou, Henan, to visit the birthplace of Chen Style Taiji Quan. I went with Chen Jia, a young lady who studies under the style’s current, most famous master, Chen Xiao Wang. She also opened her own school in Shanghai.

    Every year in March, Chen Xiao Wang takes time out from his travels around the globe to return home and pay respects to the temple, school, and village where he was born and raised. Students from around the country – and the world – come to Henan during the last week in March to join him, participate in seminars, and train with other taiji enthusiasts.

    My primary interest in traveling out here was to learn more about Chen Jia, more about her master Chen Xiao Wang, and to take a good look at a “birthplace” of a style. I know Chen Jia, and consider her to be a very sincere and talented martial artist, and in conversations we had we often spoken of the level of “realness” in martial arts these days. We talked of the rise of Wushu – the competition style Wushu – and the decline in students of what we both understood to be real kungfu.

    It’s easy to agree on a definition when you agree with the person you speak to. So much can be left unsaid. Hence the trip: I wanted to see what was real in Zhengzhou and what Chen Jia considered to be real kungfu.

    I was, in all, pleasantly surprised.

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    April 18, 2013 • Kung Fu History, Kung Fu People, Kung Fu Places, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 21822

  • Dichotomies and Princesses

    The last remaining gate of Hong Yan Temple, which housed the secrets of Emei Kungfu. There were once 48 gates, according to legend, and hundreds of monks.

    I recently traveled to Emei, again, and to Shanghai to meet with a disciple of Chen-style Taijiquan, Chen Jia. There were some highlights that I will try and talk about below, but what these trips also did for me was help crystallize the framework for this story I am writing.

    One thing that has come clear to me over the past few weeks (and years actually) is that 武术 is so deep and so broad that I have literally no hope of understanding a large portion of it unless I dedicated myself to a life of scholarly research – and I actually just imagined finding Ming Dynasty contemporary accounts of the training that mountain-bound monks did in preparation for battle with rebels, and I literally teared up. What a beautiful thing, an old text illuminated again … but I digress.

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    December 12, 2012 • Kung Fu History, Kung Fu People, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 3437