Chen Style Tai Chi

Chen Style Tai Chi is considered by many to be the oldest form of Tai Chi although the historical accounts of Tai Chi claim that it came from Wu Tang (pronounced Wu Dong) mountains.

Chen Style is typically characterized by lower / deeper stances than most publicly demonstrated Tai Chi and by its expressive Fa Jing explosive movements that are rather large and obvious expressions of explosive power release and that are also more obvious in terms of how they would be used to defend yourself in a serious fighting situation. Chen style tends to be more noticeably winding than a lot of other Tai Chi styles. This winding action is Silk Reeling or Jian Si Jing and is one of the jings or skills that is taught quite early in Chen style and that help the practitioner to build up the spring loaded energy that is helpful to release good explosive fa jing movements.

The exact origin of Chen style is unclear but it traces back to the 1600’s in Chen Village. According to one student of mine the original Shaolin Temple is less than one day’s walk from Chen Village and there is likely some (possibly a lot of) influence but the Chen Villagers and senior masters of the art generally hold that there Tai Chi has not had any Shaolin influence. The 4 other most popular Tai Chi styles today (Yang, Wu, Wu and Sun) can trace their lineages back to Chen style.

There are quite a few different Chen style Tai Chi routines including Old Frame, New Frame, Big Frame and Small Frame as well as a Cannon Fist form that tends to emphasize the explosive Fa Jing. In the training process Chen style tends to emphasize the self defense to beginners a lot more than the other Tai Chi styles do and there is constant contention between Tai Chi stylists as to who actually has the better self defense and who has the better health systems.

This is Part 3 of 5.

  1. Tai Chi Styles
  2. Martial Tai Chi
  3. Chen Style Tai Chi
  4. Yang Style Tai Chi
  5. Wu Style Tai Chi


  1. Thank you for writing this series of posts, Sigung! It is very interesting.

  2. but why is chen tai chi so obvious, arent you just giving yourself away

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