Statue of Chen Wanting
Chenjiagou, Henan, China
|Died||1660 (aged 79–80)|
|Other names||Chen Zouting|
(founder of Chen-style)
|Notable students||Chen Suole (陈所乐),
Chen Ruxin (陈汝信)
Chen Wangting (1580–1660) was a Ming Dynasty general who founded Chen-style t'ai chi ch'uan, one of the five major styles of the popular Chinese martial art. Sometimes called Chen Wang Ting or Zouting, he devised the Chen family-style of t'ai chi ch'uan in his home of Chenjiagou, Wenxian county, Henan province after he retired there following the fall of the Ming Dynasty.
During the Ming Dynasty, Chen served as Commander of the Wen County garrison, and was distinguished for his protection of merchant caravans in Henan and Shandong. After the Ming Dynasty ended and the reign of the Qing Dynasty began, Chen's military career was effectively over, and he retired to the family settlement.
Influence on t'ai chi ch'uan
Whether or not Chen invented the earliest form of t'ai chi ch'uan is in dispute. Traditional folklore and many lineages name the semi-mythical figure of Zhang Sanfeng, a Taoist monk, as the progenitor of the art.
Two widely-documented theories of Chen's martial arts work exist: the first is that he learnt his arts from Wang Zongyue and the Wudang tradition developed by Zhang Sanfeng. The second theory — the one accepted by the Chen family, and supported by historical evidence — is that he combined his previous military experience and the theories of Jingluo and Daoyin with the popular teachings of Qi Jiguang. His complete work contained five smaller sets of forms, a 108-move Long Fist routine, and a Cannon Fist routine. Chen is also credited with the invention of the first push hands exercises. Chen also practiced a few Shaolin forms, and some historians postulate that Shaolin arts also had a significant influence on his t'ai chi, though none of the Taoist influences on Chen family t'ai chi exist in the Shaolin tradition.
T'ai chi ch'uan lineage tree with Chen-style focus
- This lineage tree is not comprehensive, but depicts those considered the 'gate-keepers' & most recognised individuals in each generation of Chen-style.
- Although many styles were passed down to respective descendants of the same family, the lineage focused on is that of the Chen style & not necessarily that of the family.
- Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semi-legendary figures in the lineage; while their involvement in the lineage is accepted by most of the major schools, it is not independently verifiable from known historical records.
- Gaffney, David; Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim (2001). Chen style taijiquan. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-55643-377-1.
- Kiew Kit, Wong (2002). The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Practice. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8048-3440-7.
- Henning, Stanley (1994). "Ignorance, Legend and Taijiquan". Journal of the Chen Style Taijiquan Research Association of Hawaii 2 (3).
- Guang Yi, Ren (2003). Taijiquan: Chen Taiji 38 Form and Applications. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8048-3526-8.