An Abstracted Chen Taiji from WuTan

Tony Yang does WuTan Chen Taiji

Tony Yang does WuTan Chen Taiji

After years of holding up my nose and only deigning to teach Taiji Long sets, I finally recognized the advantages of using a short set.

In my case, because I had definite ideas especially for instructor convenience, I developed my own. As I tinkered and researched I found some sets more appealing than others. The Cheng Man Jing, for instance—and with apologies to our friend Terry Dunn— just doesn’t do it for me. Neither do most of the mainland forms. On the other hand I think Lee Ying Arng’s short set was a work of still unidentified genius.

I also like this “abstracted” form originating with Liu Yun Chiao, and shown now through Tony Yang. The reason is simple, the essence of the Chen has been retained. It also has an interesting story with widely divergent characters such as Chen Fa Ke, his father, Du Yi Tze, Liu Yun Chiao and a mysterious Zhao Bao stylist. How many degrees of separation is that?

One Response to “An Abstracted Chen Taiji from WuTan”

  1. Bob Figler says:

    Thanks for the post. There are 3 levels to the abstraction with an introduction or variation-on the postures. Primarily fajin is expressed in the 2nd and 3rd levels. This first level has no expression of fajin and has the feel of Yang’s taijiquan.

    There is usually some controversy regarding this take on traditional Chen’s taijiquan and it is said to have been heavily influenced by the jiben gong of bajiquan. How could it not be especially among students of Liu Yunqiao and our obsession with da qiang training. However, I don’t know of any explicit baji add-ons in the forms.

    With regard to short sets, I speculate that it was a preference of Liu Yunqiao. For example, bajiquan has relatively short sets but can be easily linked into larger sets [Xiao baji -> da baji -> liu da kai]. That linkage is a real killer form. LOL

    I always like to note that these abstractions were developed long before Chen taijiquan hit the global scene and I believe it was a sincere effort on the part of Liu to preserve the traditional art given the state of affairs between Taiwan and the mainland during the 1970s. I still wonder what the older style of Chen’s taijiquan really looked like. Seeing the similarity between the half horse/half bow stance of bajiquan and the deep stances of the photos of Chen Fake makes me wonder about the expression of Chen Fake’s art.

    When you get those clippings of Chen Fake copied onto dvd, let me know so I can advance order. LOL


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