Chen Style Taijiquan Form variations

zzj

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Hi MT, I'm new to the forum and also new to my martial art, Chen Style Taijiquan.

I am fortunate enough to be learning from one of Zhu Tiancai's sons for about 6 months so far, however, I have noticed that the various masters (The Great 4: Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xian and Zhu Tiancai. Also Others like Chen Xiaoxing etc.) execute their forms differently (from watching youtube clips). I was wondering how this could be, given that they pretty much learned together under the same teachers.

The differences I'm talking about are not only variations in movements, such as additional small circles or change of stance etc, but also the overall feel, for example Chen Xiaowang moves in a more linear fashion it would seem, when compared to Zhu Tiancai. I'm wondering if such differences may suggest that the transmission of the forms from generation to generation may vary significantly and that CHen Style Taijiquan may not be as 'unchanged' through the years as some people have suggested. Also, as a student of the style, should I be concerned that what I am learning could be a deviation from the Official Family Line (Chen Xiaowang)?

There's probably no right or wrong here, but I would like some opinions from those more experienced than me.
 

blindsage

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There are variations in every generation despite people's protestation to the opposite. The difference's you see may be due to differences in what was taught to individual students, the perception and practice of individual students, modifications made later based on personal practice and experience, etc. If your teacher understands the principles involved, has the skill to express those principles and is good at teaching them, then you have nothing to worry about. Chen Xiaowang's form is modified (waiting for the protests), Feng Zhiqiang's form was modified, your sifu's form is modified. These arts are dynamic not static and the mythology of 'pure' transmission from the ancients is just that, mythology.
 
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zzj

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Chen Xiaowang's form is modified (waiting for the protests), Feng Zhiqiang's form was modified, your sifu's form is modified.

True, my teacher's (not sifu because I have not been accepted as an official disciple yet) form is also slightly different from his father's. I was more concerned about the underlying principles described in the below video (at 12:02) about the importance of practicing in a circular path, he goes on to demonstrate how beginners would tend to practice in a more flat path (at 12:26), which looks more like what Chen Xiaowang would do.



Chen Xiaowang's form.. a more 'flat' path at 0:48?



Maybe it's just more subtle than what I can see, as a total beginner and all, but it did raise a bit of concern in my mind.
 
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cloud dancing

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Hello ZZJ,
Something I seen on all forums.there are those whose ego demands they attack. w/o reason nor warning so enjoy what you are learning.I've been practising and still learning tai-chi for more than 42 years,Yet on forum.the Experts/You know they studied pert/got degrees in PERT/worked as PERTS and now retired and EX-PERTS want me to BELEIVE I'm so dumb that i've never realy REALLY studied tai-chi.
Uechi ryu master George Mattson ,who brought Uechi to the USA WROTE OF HOW blind repetition depresses him.The idea that somehow since one master did technique 5 this way then everyone must blindly follow is foolish.Arts always changes/as does spelling when i try to type. I learned hwa yu Tai-chi in the 70's and chen Man Cheng style 89-2003. When I practise box 4 corners or "Fair lady Weaves at Shuttles" for me it has become 4 repetitions/not just one/ and each one is different. Doing Step back to repulse monkey ,I go down,where Chen moved up.It's over tiem finding own balance.Each of the Yang Master's sons differed in style.But are the basic principles still the same?Yes of course or it would cease to be tai-chi.feel free to ignore what so -called Experts have to say about YOUR LIFE
Now when examining the flow of chi and geng/within inside the body/always remember that F = M x A
and when the exerted /released force of body fluid expelled from the body,is measured as to how far it reaches up a given stick,before it falls back down and gets the persons fingers wet=results WILL ALWAYS BE THE SAME.
so enjoy.if you feel the chi and over time the principles are second nature then you will be enjoying taichi.
differences within the basics will always exist.But it's the years o practise and practise that allow these differences to exist harmoniously within each style.I was years on chen ssu chen[pulling silk,or hold ball left to right] before seeing how many variations of these simple 4 moves are possible.Now it can be 4 moves or 8 or 12 yet still it is chen ssu chen.Grab throw or block and finger tip strike, then throw . Many times what is so simple becomes multi variations within style and many masters will wait for you to see this for your self.thank you for the very fine dvds o chen style I've given over 12,000 hours to study of I Ching .There's much of tai chi and life to be learned from this one book.Small suggestion for reading.also Yellow Emperor's Classic on taichi.
LIGHT DESTROYS DARKNESS/LAUGHTER DESTROYS EGOES.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Hi MT, I'm new to the forum and also new to my martial art, Chen Style Taijiquan.

I am fortunate enough to be learning from one of Zhu Tiancai's sons for about 6 months so far, however, I have noticed that the various masters (The Great 4: Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xian and Zhu Tiancai. Also Others like Chen Xiaoxing etc.) execute their forms differently (from watching youtube clips). I was wondering how this could be, given that they pretty much learned together under the same teachers.

The differences I'm talking about are not only variations in movements, such as additional small circles or change of stance etc, but also the overall feel, for example Chen Xiaowang moves in a more linear fashion it would seem, when compared to Zhu Tiancai. I'm wondering if such differences may suggest that the transmission of the forms from generation to generation may vary significantly and that CHen Style Taijiquan may not be as 'unchanged' through the years as some people have suggested. Also, as a student of the style, should I be concerned that what I am learning could be a deviation from the Official Family Line (Chen Xiaowang)?

There's probably no right or wrong here, but I would like some opinions from those more experienced than me.

Simple answer, the same my taiji shifu gave when asked a similar question.

No two people are exactly alike therefore how can their form be exactly alike.
 

Xue Sheng

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Chen Xiaowang's form is modified (waiting for the protests),
OK...WHAT!!! How DARE you say such a thing :uhyeah:

Actually, even though that is true, he could legitimately say, by his order in the lineage, that his is right and all others are modified...he is the current head of Chen Family Taijiquan...but then I seriously doubt he worries about such things

Feng Zhiqiang's form was modified

Modified so much he made his own style...that even the Chen Family recognized... Feng was pretty high up there with the Chen family
 

oaktree

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Hi MT, I'm new to the forum and also new to my martial art, Chen Style Taijiquan.

I am fortunate enough to be learning from one of Zhu Tiancai's sons for about 6 months so far, however, I have noticed that the various masters (The Great 4: Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xian and Zhu Tiancai. Also Others like Chen Xiaoxing etc.) execute their forms differently (from watching youtube clips). I was wondering how this could be, given that they pretty much learned together under the same teachers.

The differences I'm talking about are not only variations in movements, such as additional small circles or change of stance etc, but also the overall feel, for example Chen Xiaowang moves in a more linear fashion it would seem, when compared to Zhu Tiancai. I'm wondering if such differences may suggest that the transmission of the forms from generation to generation may vary significantly and that CHen Style Taijiquan may not be as 'unchanged' through the years as some people have suggested. Also, as a student of the style, should I be concerned that what I am learning could be a deviation from the Official Family Line (Chen Xiaowang)?

There's probably no right or wrong here, but I would like some opinions from those more experienced than me.
Hi my teacher is one of Chen xiaowang disciples.
Before that he trained with Chen zhenglei and has hosted seminars
With Chen Xiaoxing and Chen bing.
Everyone is different has different ideas so in their
Forms it will show. I think Chen taijiquan is always evolving,
New routines are created such as the ones created by the great 4.
I think a lot of how things are done are the characteristics
Of each with their own signature on it. Chen xiaowang has a lot
Of that. I dont think you need to be concerned with
Not training directly or indirectly with any of
The chen family anymore then yang stylist need to.
Personally i would just train your teacher is top
Of the line instruction regardless.
 

oaktree

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What is the yellow emperors classic on taichi?
I know there is the neijing but i dont recall any chapter
Called taichi. Would be interested to know.
 

oaktree

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Hello ZZJ,
Something I seen on all forums.there are those whose ego demands they attack. w/o reason nor warning so enjoy what you are learning.I've been practising and still learning tai-chi for more than 42 years,Yet on forum.the Experts/You know they studied pert/got degrees in PERT/worked as PERTS and now retired and EX-PERTS want me to BELEIVE I'm so dumb that i've never realy REALLY studied tai-chi.
Uechi ryu master George Mattson ,who brought Uechi to the USA WROTE OF HOW blind repetition depresses him.The idea that somehow since one master did technique 5 this way then everyone must blindly follow is foolish.Arts always changes/as does spelling when i try to type. I learned hwa yu Tai-chi in the 70's and chen Man Cheng style 89-2003. When I practise box 4 corners or "Fair lady Weaves at Shuttles" for me it has become 4 repetitions/not just one/ and each one is different. Doing Step back to repulse monkey ,I go down,where Chen moved up.It's over tiem finding own balance.Each of the Yang Master's sons differed in style.But are the basic principles still the same?Yes of course or it would cease to be tai-chi.feel free to ignore what so -called Experts have to say about YOUR LIFE
Now when examining the flow of chi and geng/within inside the body/always remember that F = M x A
and when the exerted /released force of body fluid expelled from the body,is measured as to how far it reaches up a given stick,before it falls back down and gets the persons fingers wet=results WILL ALWAYS BE THE SAME.
so enjoy.if you feel the chi and over time the principles are second nature then you will be enjoying taichi.
differences within the basics will always exist.But it's the years o practise and practise that allow these differences to exist harmoniously within each style.I was years on chen ssu chen[pulling silk,or hold ball left to right] before seeing how many variations of these simple 4 moves are possible.Now it can be 4 moves or 8 or 12 yet still it is chen ssu chen.Grab throw or block and finger tip strike, then throw . Many times what is so simple becomes multi variations within style and many masters will wait for you to see this for your self.thank you for the very fine dvds o chen style I've given over 12,000 hours to study of I Ching .There's much of tai chi and life to be learned from this one book.Small suggestion for reading.also Yellow Emperor's Classic on taichi.
LIGHT DESTROYS DARKNESS/LAUGHTER DESTROYS EGOES.
Dude....you're like in your 8th aura man lay off the taiji. Go take a dollar and make some sense(cents its called a pun)
 

jks9199

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People are different, so their form will often be slightly different, whatever the art for various reasons. There's a story from a style of karate that illustrates one nicely... The students of the style were doing a form one day, and at one point in their form, they took three steps back for no apparent reason. One student asked their teacher why, and was told "that's the way I was taught." They later had a chance to ask their teacher's teacher... and were told again, "that's the way I was taught." They finally got a chance to ask someone very senior in the style -- and they were told "Oh, those steps? They're not part of the form. The old dojo was too small, and if you didn't step back, you ran into the wall."
 

hunyuan24

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Hi MT, I'm new to the forum and also new to my martial art, Chen Style Taijiquan.

I am fortunate enough to be learning from one of Zhu Tiancai's sons for about 6 months so far, however, I have noticed that the various masters (The Great 4: Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Wang Xian and Zhu Tiancai. Also Others like Chen Xiaoxing etc.) execute their forms differently (from watching youtube clips). I was wondering how this could be, given that they pretty much learned together under the same teachers.

The differences I'm talking about are not only variations in movements, such as additional small circles or change of stance etc, but also the overall feel, for example Chen Xiaowang moves in a more linear fashion it would seem, when compared to Zhu Tiancai. I'm wondering if such differences may suggest that the transmission of the forms from generation to generation may vary significantly and that CHen Style Taijiquan may not be as 'unchanged' through the years as some people have suggested. Also, as a student of the style, should I be concerned that what I am learning could be a deviation from the Official Family Line (Chen Xiaowang)?

There's probably no right or wrong here, but I would like some opinions from those more experienced than me.

Here is my personal interpretation - a circular movement is probably easier to help beginners to create the right muscle memory and "induce" the internal energy flow that is required to advance to the next level.

So for a beginner, form is important. But once you've developed and mastered the internal energy, which can flow to wherever you wish, your physical movements become less important, because you no longer need exaggerated external assistance to trigger the internal energy flow. Your mind is leading the energy then, not your arms and legs moving in circles.

It is said that you start practicing Tai Chi with large circular moves. Then the circle becomes smaller. And then you will not see circles at all.

That's why some masters can push people around without showing a lot of physical movement. Forms are becoming less important to them, and when they are doing forms, they can do whatever they like personally. It becomes their personal expression.

But for beginners who are just copying moves, circular moves are easier to get them on the right path.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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