Zhaobao t'ai chi ch'uan
|Zhaobao t'ai chi ch'uan
|Also known as||Zhaobao taijiquan
|Date founded||late 16th centuary|
|Country of origin||China|
|Founder||Jiang Fa (蒋法)|
|Arts taught||T'ai chi ch'uan|
|Ancestor arts||T'ai chi ch'uan|
|Descendant arts||Wu (Hao)-style taijiquan|
|Practitioners||Xing Xihuai (邢喜怀),
Zhang Chuchen (张楚臣),
Chen Jingbo (陈敬伯),
Zhang Zongyu (张宗禹),
Zhang Yan (张彦),
Chen Qingping (陳清苹)
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Zhaobao taijiquan (pronounced jao-bao) (Chinese: 趙堡忽靈架太極拳) is a style of taijiquan that is often considered to be a modern style, but actually has a strong documented lineage that confirms its authenticity as an ancient style of taijiquan and as a true transmission from Jiang Fa.
Form and Characteristics
The main set of Zhaobao Taijiquan, or Zhaobao Jia, consists of 108 movements in the big frame and 75 refined movements in the small frame progressing in difficulty. Great emphasis is placed on Yi (mind/intent) in Zhaobao training. Like many other styles, Zhaobao Jia can be practiced at three heights, each providing a different degree of complexity. Generally students begin with the Middle Frame (Ren Pan Jia), progress to the Low Frame (Pan Gong Jia) and end with the High Frame (Da Li Jia).
Zhaobao Taijiquan's practical applications rely heavily on spiral uprooting techniques controlled through the use of Qinna, often followed with the use of sweeps or trips to bring the opponent to the ground. Flowing and coordinated the techniques conform successfully to the basic tenets of the T'ai ch'i ch'uan Classics.
Zhaobao Taijiquan also has its own Neigong system based on traditional Daoist practice that enables the practitioner to develop the required physical and mental skills needed for successful mastery of the art.
History and Lineage
The Zhaobao Taijiquan style shares many similarities with Chen-style taijiquan, and this commonality is considered by the school to be the manifestation of influences introduced by a member of the famed Chen family- Chen Qingping. He learned Zhaobao Taijiquan, which he taught to many disciples including He Zhaoyuan and Wu Yuxiang. The result of this influence means that the Zhaobao Taijiquan style is often considered by observers to be simply a recent off-shoot of the Chen style. But actually the style has a much longer history and retains many unique qualities based on traditional Taijiquan theory and practice, clearly differentiating it as a complete and separate system of practice. See lineage diagram below.
Zhaobao Taijiquan is not a family style (although there exists the He Family off-shoot) and has traditionally been passed down from master to chosen disciple. The Zhaobao name is given to the style as a way of honouring the village in which the art was kept for many centuries; Zhaobao Village in Wenxian County, Henan Province, China.
According to the style's tradition, Chen Qingping was the 7th generation master from the time that the grand master Jiang Fa brought the style taught to him by Wang Zongyue to the local area in Wenxian County.
Zhaobao Taijiquan's lineage down to Chen Qingping is as below:
T'ai chi ch'uan lineage tree with Zhaobao focus
- This lineage tree is not comprehensive, but depicts those considered the 'gate-keepers' & most recognised individuals in each generation of Zhaobao.
- Although many styles were passed down to respective descendants of the same family, the lineage focused on is that of Zhaobao & not necessarily that of a 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.
|Solid lines||Direct teacher-student.|
|Dot lines||Partial influence
|Dash lines||Individual(s) omitted.|
|Dash cross||Branch continues.|
2nd gen. Zhaobao
3rd gen. Chen
3rd gen. Zhaobao
4th gen. Chen
4th gen. Zhaobao
5th gen. Zhaobao
c. 19th century
6th gen. Chen
Chen Small Frame
6th gen. Zhaobao
7th gen. Chen
7th gen. Zhaobao
8th gen. Zhaobao
9th gen. Zhaobao
10th gen. Zhaobao
- Peng, Wen. Zhao Bao Tai Chi Kung Fu, USA Tai Chi Culture Association. ISBN 978-0615255668
- Zheng, Wuqing. Wudang Zhaobao Taijiquan Small Frame, Da Zhan Publishing Company, Taiwan. ISBN 957-468-163-7 (only available in Chinese)
- USA Tai Chi Culture Association Includes history and lineage of Zhao Bao Tai Chi
- Chenstyle.com This resource guide to Chen and related styles has a description and short video of middle frame Zhaobao Jia
- A guide to the history, lineage, contents and description of Zhao Bao Taijiquan