Chenjiagou 1981

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Chenjiagou 1981

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 22, 2019 8:40 am

(Use Google translate.)

Shot in 1981 by a Japanese team this is probably the first video documentation made after the end of the Cultural Revolution.

https://www.tai-chi-lyon.fr/articles-ta ... 6YsDpFoq_g

If you read the history of suppression of Chen Taiji, first the civil war with the Chens on the losing side leading to executions, then again with the Great Leap Forward, and finally again under the Cultural Revolution it's surprising it was still there in the 1980s.

http://www.taipinginstitute.com/compone ... en-village

(Not sure of the accuracy of this report, but it *sounds* about right).

The New Large Frame of Taijiquan returns to Chenjiagou

Today's what he could call mainstream Chen Style Tajiquan is derived mostly from the teachings of two key teachers that originated at Chenjiagou but resided elsewhere. These were Chen Fa'ke (1887-1957) who brought Chen Style Taijiquan to Beijing in 1928 and Chen Zhaopei (1893-1972) brought Chen Style Taijiquan to Nanjing in 1930 (originally was in Beijing then invited Chen Fa'ke to take over) and taught for over eight years.

In 1958, Chen Zhaopei whom resided in Zhengzhou at the time visited Chenjiagou for Chinese New Year. It was his first time back in decades. Chen Zhaopei whilst advanced in years (65) felt that it was a shame that there were no longer any practitioners in Chenjiagou. He was saddened that there were no successors in the birthplace of Taijiquan and no serious practitioners left in Chenjiagou. It was a difficult decision because at the time both his wife (second wife) and son (whom had a good job and family in Zhengzhou) were against him returning to Chenjiagou. He also had to retire from his work (Flood Control Committee) earlier foresaking an increase in his pension. Chen Zhaopei however against all odds felt a sense of responsibility and returned to the Chenjiagou during his retirement years. Unfortunately this was not going to be an easy quest for there were still a number of CCP initatives that impacted the ability to propagate and teach Taijiquan during those years. The Great Leap forward was distracting and in 1966-1976, The Cultural revolution saw the repression of traditional teachings including martial arts. Facilities were closed down and practitioners were prosecuted. Chen Zhaopei was said to have been persecuted by the red guards and even attempted suicide during those years. His legs were injured for almost two years and had to use a stool/walking assistance during the time. Much of the training had to be conducted in secret and many elements (eg weapons) a challenge to practice in confined space so mostly only the laojia yi lu was taught. After Chen Zhaopei's death, Chen Zhaokui (Chen Fa'ke's youngest son) continued teaching at Chenjiagou. The local secretary of the CCP for Wen County, Zhang Weizhen also invited Feng Zhiqiang to teach. Feng Zhiqiang visited three times for short intensive teaching sessions.

As a result the teachings at Chenjiagou were distinguished into the old (Chen Zhaopei's) and the new (Chen Zhaokui's) frame of practice. The Taijiquan practiced by the older generations would find a new home in Xi'an and become known as Chen Small Frame Taijiquan. Whilst the descendants of Chen Fa'ke would derive a number of different versions of Taijiquan practice (sometimes called Beijing Chen Style Taijiquan) including Li Jingwu, Lei Muni, Tian Xiuchen and Feng Zhiqiang amongst others.


Chen Zhaopei was said to have been persecuted by the red guards and even attempted suicide during those years. His legs were injured for almost two years and had to use a stool/walking assistance during the time.
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed May 22, 2019 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby robert on Wed May 22, 2019 10:25 am

GrahamB wrote:(Not sure of the accuracy of this report, but it *sounds* about right).

It doesn't ring true to me. The french article talks about small frame. Chen Fake and Chen Zhaopei are not part of that lineage. It was being passed down throughout the 20th century.

Chen Qingzhou (1934-2015) trained with his father Chen Wufang. His father was not high level so he became a disciple of Chen Zhaopei and was teaching after one year of study with him. I suspect he was not the only person whose father knew the art, but wasn't a master. Chen Zhaoxu, Chen Fake's son (CXW & CXX father), went back to Chen village to teach and was teaching there around 1944-1954. Chen Fake was not the only 17th generation family member to be considered a master.

17th Generation

Chen Fa Ke (1887-1957) son of Chen Yan Xi, and the great grandson of Chen Chang Xin. Perhapshis greatest contribution to martial arts was his creation of the "xin jia" branch of Chen family Taiji, which he taught from 1940 to his death in 1957. He co-founded the Capital Wushu Association of Shanxi with Hu Yaozhen (Xingyi instructor of Feng Zhiqiang). Chen Fake taught a number of students, among them his second son, Chen Zhao Xu, his third son Chen Zhao Kui, Chen Zhao Pei, Feng Zhi Qiang, Gu Liu Xin, Liu Rui Zhan, Tang Hao, Li Jin Wu, Li Mu Ni, Hong Jun Sheng, and Tian Xiu Chen.

Chen Deng Ke teacher to Chen Xiao Pei, after leaving Chenjiagou he taught in the Shanxi-Gansu region

Chen Zhuang Yuan (1877-1949) taught in Hunan. and was instrumental in the preservation and publishing of a book by his uncle, Chen Qi.

Chen De Yu

Chen Bao Ju student of Chen Yan Nien, Chen Yan Xi, and Chen Fa Ke, he taught in Xian, Zhengzhou, Nanjing, and Jiangxi.

Chen Guo Ying

Chen Shou Li student of Chen Fa Ke. He is noted by author Xie Jun Sheng as one of the last known practitioners of the original 13 posture sets of Chen Wang Ting. Xie notes meeting him in Xian in 1973, when Shou Li was driving a pedicab, and over 80 years of age.

Chen Xing San (1880-1942) student of Chen Yan Xi and Chen Qi.

Chen Song Yuan

Chen Chun Yuan

Chen Xing Yuan

Chen Zhi Ming son of Chen Fu Yuan, he was a noted teacher and author

Chen Lian Ke student of Chen Yan Nian

Some people are leaving the village, but they aren't all leaving at the same time.

The cultural revolution was a hard time for CMA and Chen Zhaopei and others were persecuted, but I've also seen an interview with Chen Quanzhong that said his practice flourished during that time. Due to the turmoil he was left alone and had plenty of time to practice. He was in Xian. In Chen village many homes have block walls around the yard and afford a lot of privacy.

Just a couple points to consider.
The method of practicing this boxing art is nothing more than opening and closing, passive and active. The subtlety of the art is based entirely upon their alternations. Chen Xin
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby GrahamB on Wed May 22, 2019 10:54 am

/ Thumb up icon of agreement./
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby taiwandeutscher on Thu May 23, 2019 5:13 pm

I always wondered about that Japanese report.
I was in the village in Sept. of 1982, it was a dusty s**t hole, TJQ was hardly alive, and my sources told us, that CXW was traveling, to fill gaps, as he felt his curriculum was incomplete!
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby nicklinjm on Thu May 23, 2019 5:55 pm

Have definitely also heard the story of CXW travelling around China in those years, visiting the living students of his grandfather. The official version is that he met with two of CFK's remaining students in Beijing (one of whom must have been FZQ), but found that none of them had gone beyond his own attainments: https://embracethemoon.com/carrying-the-burden-of-taiji-legacy.

As for what he actually learned from them and what 'gaps' he was trying to fill - think only he himself knows.
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby Bob on Thu May 23, 2019 7:30 pm

Chen Style Taijiquan Paperback – January 1, 1996
by Feng Zhiquang (Author), Chen Xiaowang (Author)

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... 3,200_.jpg

Feng Zhiqiang & Chen Zhenglei at 2:35 mark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn_UlT14O-k

Chen Xiaowang, Feng Zhiqiang and also Yang Zhenduo, Sun Jianyun and Wu Yinghua in the taijiquan section of the documentary.

https://www.spiraltaiji.com/

Last edited by Bob on Thu May 23, 2019 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby HotSoup on Fri May 24, 2019 1:59 pm

Bob wrote:Feng Zhiqiang & Chen Zhenglei at 2:35 mark
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn_UlT14O-k


Not sure it’s Chen Zhenglei, the face is visible better a few seconds through and he looks nothing like him.
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby Bob on Fri May 24, 2019 2:32 pm

Hotsoup - I think you are right! Don't get old LOL
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby robert on Sat May 25, 2019 1:49 pm

I ran across an old interview with CXW and it reminded me of this thread.

"There are about 3000 villagers now," observes Chen. "That grew from 2000. In the past, 80% of the villagers practiced taiji, but now only about 60% of the people practice." The village has only one school - the Chenjiaguo Taijiquan Xuexiao under the direction of Chen Xiaowang's younger brother, Chen Xiaoxing. Beyond that, there are a few scattered private instructors that teach out of their home. "There's also about a 1000 Chen villagers now living in Xian," adds Chen. "We had a big drought. There was no food so many went to Xian." But apart from that, most villagers never leave Chenjiagou.

Let's say he's mistaken and take some more conservative numbers, say the village got down to 1500 people and only half of them practiced taiji - that's still 750 people practicing taiji. Only a small percentage of that will be masters, but still the idea that there were only a few people left to carry on Chen taiji seems absurd.

http://www.kungfumagazine.com/magazine/article.php?article=822
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby charles on Sat May 25, 2019 2:54 pm

Robert wrote:...the idea that there were only a few people left to carry on Chen taiji seems absurd.


From what I've read and been told, in Chen Village, with poverty, reliance on an agricultural economy and government oppression, it seems pretty likely. Many who practice Village style seem to have a vested interest in arguing that the Village had an uninterrupted practice from the founder to today. Many seem to use that argument as validation for what they practice.

True or not, absurd or not, it doesn't really change what people practice today.
Last edited by charles on Sat May 25, 2019 3:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby Steve James on Sat May 25, 2019 6:40 pm

Well, what's the timeline for the demographics. I.e., was there a time when all the people in Chen village practiced tcc (or the Chen martial art)? In YLC's time, for ex., how widespread was the practice? Were all the practitioners doing it for the same reasons (professional, etc)? I dunno. It's always seemed to me that the art was fairly restricted. Why were so many people practicing, if that was the case? When did the reasons change, since few went on to become caravan or personal body guards (afaik).
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Re: Chenjiagou 1981

Postby Bao on Sun May 26, 2019 1:24 am

Steve James wrote:Well, what's the timeline for the demographics. I.e., was there a time when all the people in Chen village practiced tcc (or the Chen martial art)? In YLC's time, for ex., how widespread was the practice? Were all the practitioners doing it for the same reasons (professional, etc)? I dunno. It's always seemed to me that the art was fairly restricted. Why were so many people practicing, if that was the case? When did the reasons change, since few went on to become caravan or personal body guards (afaik).


No one taught in public in YLC's time. It was Yang Cheng Fu who popularized the art. When Chen Fake taught his thing, he taught in Beijing, not in Chenjiagou. People don't realize that the family who taught YLC was a very wealthy family with a high position. They were not "villagers". In China the hierarchy in society has always been very strict. There's no possibility that they would have taught common people outside the family or important friends. YLC's teacher was one of few exceptions who taught a few non-family members. So Chen family boxing has never been a "village style" until recent and has never been practiced by the general population in that area until now.
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