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Part 2: The Martial Arts Practiced In The Chen Villiage

The Sung Tai Zhu Quan Connection

Tang Hao was the first to write that Chen Wang Ting invented Taijiquan by integrating 29 of the 32 postures of General Qi Ji Kwang. In chapter 3 we have already ascertained that Gu was wrong about the origins of Taijiquan, here we will see how the 32 postures of General Qi fits into the picture as a basis for the development of Chen Taijiquan.

General Qi was a general during the Ming dynasty who compiled a book on effective war techniques called the "New Book Recording Effective Techniques" (Ji Xiao Xin Shu). In it he had sections of strategy, weapons usage, unarmed combat and other aspects of war. In the section on unarmed combat he recorded the names of 16 extant empty hand martial arts and took note of what made effective boxing. He also recorded 32 boxing postures. Gu was the first to assume that these 32 postures were an amalgam of the most effective techniques of the 16 listed fistic forms. For many decades, this was the accepted truth because of his reputation as a Taijiquan historian. Unfortunately he was wrong.

Based on the above assumption, Gu had posited that Chen Wang Ting had developed his Taijiquan from General Qi's form which supposedly consisted of the best techniques from the 16 extent fistic arts during the Ming dynasty. An impressive pedigree. With a closer examination of the postures and their listing we discover something else.

In 1918, the Shanghai Da Shen Bookshop published a book called the `Boxing Canon' (Quan Jing) which was at that time one of the more complete books on the many aspects of boxing. Inside it was included drawings of the original 32 postures of Sung Tai Zhu Chang Quan (First Emperor Of Sung's Long Boxing). Upon closer examination, it was discovered that these 32 postures were identical (there were some variant readings where similar sounding words were used in place of each other though without losing the meaning of the posture name) with the 32 postures in General Qi's book. General Qi had listed the 32 postures of Sung Tai Zhu Quan as the first in the list of the many fistic forms he mentioned.

A parallel comparison of the drawings and names of the 32 postures shows that they are in fact identical. A posture listing of both sets are as follows:

The 32 Postures 1n General Qi's Book

1) Lazily Arranging Clothes

2) Golden Chicken Stands On One Leg

3) Pat Horse

4) Bending Single Whip

5) Seven Star Fist

6) Repulse Riding Dragon

7) Sweep Leg And Empty Bait

8) Hill Fairy Stance (qiu liu shi)

9) Repulse Thrusting Attack

10) Ambush Stance

11) Casting Away Stance

12) Pick Up Elbow Stance

13) Speedy Step

14) Chin Na Stance (Grappling Stance)

15) Middle Four Level Stance

16) Subduing Tiger Stance

17) High Four Level Stance

18) Repulse Insertion Stance

19) Well Blocking Four Levels

20) Ghost Kick Foot

21) Pointing At Pubic Region

22) Animal Head Stance

23) Spirit Fist

24) Single Whip

25) Sparrow Dragon On The Ground

26) Rising Sun Stance

27) Goose Wings Fold Body

28) Riding Tiger Stance




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