Founders of Taijiquan
Taijiquan is a major division of the traditional Chinese martial art of wushu. It derived its name from the philosophical term "taiji" that first appeared in The Book of Changes written anonymously during the Zhou Dynasty (11th century -- 221 BC): "In all changes exists taiji, which causes the two opposites in all things. The two opposites cause the four seasons, and the four seasons cause the eight natural phenomena." Here the eight phenomena denote the heaven, the earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountains and lakes.
Chen Wangting, Father of Taijiquan
There are different assertions as to who was the father of taijiquan. But it is generally believed that the honour should go to Chen Wangting who lived in the 16th century. Although nothing was known about the exact date of his birth and death, it has been confirmed that he belonged to the ninth generation of a Chen family in Wenxian County, Henan Province. According to the local chronicles, he served as a royal guard in his home village in 1641 and retired after the fall of the Ming Dynasty three years later. In an essay written in his declining years he said, "Now I am pining away in old age, my only companion being a book written by Huang Ting. I study the martial art when I am in the doldrums and do some farm work in busy seasons. Sometimes I beguile my leisure with teaching my disciples and my children and grandchildren, no matter what they will become-dragons or tigers." It was in the 1770s that Chen evolved five taijiquen routines, a changquan (long-range boxing) routine in 108 forms and a paochui (cannon boxing) routine.
In creating taijiquan, Chen Wangting was greatly influenced by Qi Jiguang(1528-1587), a famous general in the imperial army, who compiled 16 popular routines in his Boxing in 32 Forms as a textbook for military training. Out of these forms Chen assimilated 29 into his taijiquan sets, in a style distinctively his own. He expounded the essential points in a ballad composed by himself for easy memory, laying down the basic theories that are still generally accepted today.
In the following three centuries, the second, third and fourth taijiquan routines and the changquan set in 108 forms worked out by Chen Wangting gradually fell into disuse, while the cannon routine became the second routine of the present-day Chen school of taijiquan. The first taijiquan routine branched into the "old frame" and "new frame" during the 14th generation and later on, into the Yang, Wu,(武), Sun and Wu(吳) schools.
Chen Xin (1849-1929), Exponent of the Chen School
Taijiquan was invented by Chen Wangting and passed down to later generations of his family by word of mouth. There were little or no writings about it. Chen Xin, who belonged to the 16th generation, was both a man of letters and wushu expert. He decided to record the movements and explain them in written form as an authentic document for future followers.
In his childhood Chen Xin took a great interest in the new-frame taijiquan, invented by his grandfather's brother Chen Youben. But he did not achieve much as his father intended him to be a scholar. Neither did he go far in his academic pursuits; he was just a gongsheng, almost on the bottom rung of the literary ladder. It was in his later years that he devoted himself to a serious study of taijiquan. He spent 12 years writing the Taijiquan of the Chen School with Illustrations, in which he described the correct postures and movements and explained, from the philosophical and medical points of view, how to govern "external force" with "internal force."
The manuscripts, in more than 200,000 words, were completed in 1919, when Chen Xin's health was sinking rapidly. Having no son to inherit them, he called in his nephew and said to him "Pass these on if they're worth passing on; burn them up if they aren't." It was not until 1932 that the manuscripts came to light, and they were published next year in four volumes -- as the most original and complete book on the orthodox school of taijiquan.
After Chen Xin, the most outstanding exponent of the Chen school was Chen Fake(1887-1957). He was invited to Beijing in 1928 and lived there until his death, teaching the old-frame routine handed down from his great grandfather Chen Changxing.
진씨태극권 노가식(老架式)은 중국 하남성(河南省) 진가구(陳家溝)의 진씨 제14세조 진장흥(陳長興)에 의해서 창안된 것이다. 그는 선대 9세조인 진왕정(陳王廷)이 창편(創編)한 태극권5로(太極拳五路), 포추1로, 108세 장권1로(百八勢長拳一路)를 기초로 하여 그 정수만을 골라 오늘날 유행하고 있는 노가1로(老架一路)와 노가2로(老架二路)를 만들었다.
노가1로(老架一路)는 전체적으로 자세나 동작이 시원스럽고 넓게 진행되며, 보법(步法)은 경령온건(輕靈穩健)하고 모든 동작이 허리를 주축(主軸)으로 하여 신체의 모든 부분이 일관되게 움직이도록 해야 한다.
노가2로(老架二路)는 일명 포추라고도 하며, 강함을 위주로 운용한다. 그러나 강한 가운데 부드러움이 깃들어 있어 강중우유(剛中寓柔)의 권법이라 한다. 수련은 송활탄두하고 완정일기(完整一氣)하여야 한다. 신가식(新架式)은 중국 하남성 진가구의 진씨 제14세조 진장흥의 전통적인 노가 계열에 속하는 태극권으로서 제17세조인 진발과 대사에 의해 창안된 것이다. 진발과 대사는 근대 진씨태극권을 확립한 대표적인 인물로 고향을 떠나 북경에서 30여 년 동안 태극권을 지도하였다. 만년에 이르러 그는 집안 대대로 내려오는 권법의 기초 위에서 자신이 그 동안 체험적으로 얻은 경험과 제자들을 가르치며 실천하여 모든 교학의 내용을 정리하고 집대성하여, 신가 1로와 신가 2로를 새로 창편하였다. 그는 여생이 다할 때까지 자신이 창조한 신가 투로에 끊임없는 수정과 보완을 가하였으며, 이 작업은 대를 이어 계속되어 마침내 그의 아들인 진조규가 이를 정형화하여 오늘날과 같은 형태의 투로가 완성되었다.
신가2로(新架二路)는 일명 포추라고도 하며, 다른 투로(套路)에 비하여 투로의 형식이 훨씬 복잡하게 구성되어 있다. 신가2로(新架二路)는 신가 1로와 달리 채(採), 열(列), 주(肘), 고(靠)의 사우수(四隅手)의 기법을 위주로 하고, 붕(掤), 리(履), 제(擠), 안(按)의 사정수(四正手)의 기법을 보조로 삼고 있다.