THE ORIGIN OF CHEN TAI CHI
SNAKE. CRANE. EAGLE. TIGER.
Chen tai chi is based on scholars in ancient China watching the movement of Snake and of Crane, specifically the coiling of snakes and the stability of cranes. Chen’s strikes are derived from the actions of Eagle and Tiger. the Eagle for grasping and the Tiger for rushing. This is why it utilizes combinations of slow and fast movements; but always, with the objective of remaining rooted in any movement or action. Chen combines Northern and Southern Chinese arts with the joint flexibility of the Indian martial systems, plus Mongolian wrestling methods. Members of the Chen family were regularly employed as bodyguards of merchants on the Silk Road; and, so were exposed to the martial traditions of many cultures along the Silk Road, and they incorporated them into a synthesis. This was the livelihood of the Chen Clan.
Today, Chen’s main purpose is medicinal. Traditional Chinese medicinal doctors, as well as many orthopedic pain specialists in modern medical practice, prescribe practicing Tai Chi for its curative properties. Chen, because it is the oldest form of tai chi, is the system most often being prescribed. Regarding its martial attribute, Chen practitioners regularly perform very well against Thai boxers; so whether one studies Chen for health and for medicinal purposes, or solely for its martial skills; or for both, Chen is proven to be effective. So one can never go wrong by studying Chen tai chi.
The Yin – Yang symbol, as adopted by Chen tai chi as being most representative of the art is that of Lai. In this way, the emergence of tai chi from wuji is clearly illustrated, as is the emphasis upon dynamic spiraling movement. Chinese philosophy understands wuji as the void or nothingness, from which tai chi ( the yin and the yang ) emerges and returns to.
In Lai’s diagram this is signified by the central circle within the symbol. Yin and yang rotate, while the core remains still.