Zhaobao t'ai chi ch'uan
|Also known as||Zhaobao taijiquan
|Country of origin||China|
|Famous 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)
|Ancestor arts||T'ai chi ch'uan|
|Descendant arts||Wu (Hao)-style taijiquan|
|Part of a series on|
|Chinese martial arts (Wushu)|
|List of Chinese martial arts|
|Wushu in the world|
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 in the late 16th century.
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 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. Proponents of Zhaobao Taijiquan claim that he learned Zhaobao Taijiquan, which he taught to many disciples including He Zhaoyuan and Wu Yuxiang. Nevertheless, Zhaobao Taijiquan style is often considered by observers to be simply a recent offshoot of the Chen style, the theory predominant among historians of Taijiquan. As many other styles not liking to accept the official version, by which Taijiquan was create by the Chens at the Chen Village, adepts of Jhaobao trace their lineage from semy-mythical Zhang Sanfeng, Wang Zongyue, and Jiang Fa (see the lineage diagram below).
But even despite its obvious roots in the Chen style, the style is recognized as a complete and separate system of practice among other styles of Taijiquan.
Zhaobao Taijiquan is not a family style (although there exists the He Family offshoot) and has traditionally been passed down from master to a 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.
- 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