Chen Taijiquan is famous for its fighting skill developed through the empty hand and weapons forms. In addition to this, is the benefit of relaxation and stress relief that training in Taijiquan brings. In fact, true fighting skill cannot be developed without relaxation. From the time of the 14th Generation Standard bearer Chen Chang Xing have been two main hand forms; Laojia Yilu (Old Frame 1st form) and Laojia Erlu (Old Frame 2nd form, also known as Paochui. A long form and a canon fist form.
The 52 movement form comes from Master Michael Tse’s first Taijiquan teacher Master Fung, who was a grand student of 18th Generation Standard Bearer Chen Fa Ke. This form introduces elements of both the long and cannon fist forms..
In more recent years a number of shorter forms have been created to facilitate the learning of the skill. The 19 step and 38 step short forms, from Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang introduce both Laojia and Xinjia elements.
Having a good foundation in the short forms, enables the longer forms to be learned more easily. There are two long forms and two Cannon Fist (Paochui forms). The Old Frame (Laojia) was created by Chen Chang Xing 14th generation, the new frame was created later by 18th generation head Chen Fa Ke. The long form serves to develop the structure, technique and relaxation required to utilise the Taijiquan. Once this has been mastered, the 2nd form, the paochui, seeks to turn all that has been learned into fighting technique.
Of course no fighting style would be complete without weapons, and the Chen family Taijiquan is no different. At the time, these weapons would have been used to defend villages and people, but now they take the Taijiquan to a different level. Training the body in a different way, making it stronger and enabling the spiralling energy to be applied to what ever is held in the hands. Weapons fall into two categories, long and short. The long weapons such as the 13 skill pole. spear and dai dao generate a lot of strength in the body. The shorter weapons such as straight sword and broadsword also develop strength but require flexibility and coordination particularly when you use two weapons at the same time in the case of double sword.
The other element to training Taijiquan is Pushing Hands (Tui Shou). This is the development of fighting skill. There are 5 ways to push hands, from single hand to double, from stationary to freestyle walking. The ultimate aim is to be able to apply the Taijiquan techniques effortlessly, in a relaxed manner to control your opponent.