In ancient Chinese sculptures and paintings, most of the Generals were portrayed with a thicker muscular belly- characterized as the waist of a tiger, or ancient military commander’s waist. In modern times, though rare… raw lineages maintain a distinct core muscle control which descends from the Armor dynasties. Under the ancient umbilical is the Dantian, which is regarded as a crucial muscle group for medieval Chinese Knights. A dynamic and thicker waist can provide additional protection of the spine, and auxiliary force to the core muscles. Ancient treatise favors the commander’s waist for generating short-range power and maintaining stability on foot while wearing heavy armor. Armor prevents damage from sabers and polearms, requiring more emphasis on wrestling, balance, and core control for weapons precision. Many conflicts ended with knocking the opponent to the ground and disrupting their Qi with either a blunt weapon (mace), or a short weapon- to penetrate a suit of armor at the seams, or through the visor of the helmet.
The “Lao Jia 74 Routine” is considered the most ancient form in the Chen Taijiquan system- revered for its empty-hand pugilism and push hands sports prowess, in modern Tai Chi culture. Many practitioners today remain skeptical that Chen Lao Jia Yi Lu is the “Sword and Shield” tactics of Ming dynasty treatise, as Taijiquan authorities do not acknowledge this as the factual context of the now perceived unarmed formwork. In the world of FEUDAL ACADEMIA, the fact is removed from fiction- historical accuracy and proper documentation is not a guessing game… The Lao Jia 74 is characterized by the “Horizontal Crab Walk”, the form practice generally ebbs and flows Sideways instead of linear. The sidestepping pattern is the foundation for armored knights in Sword and Shield melee. Linear strikes are well protected by the opponent’s shield, neutralizing the Chen Tai Chi man’s sword thrust. Therefore Lao Jia adapted “horizontal crab walking” with the Sword/Shield strategy, extremely crucial in the medieval era. [Note: there is a misconception XIN JIA YI LU 83 Routine is new, and Lao Jia 74 is old. The Chen Fake/ Zhaokui routine integrates the “unarmed boxing and spear” techniques of Ming dynasty treatise with the Lao Jia shield routine- greatly enhancing practicality for unarmed fighting and modern self-defense.]
Ancient Chen Taijiquan Boxing Treatise reveals that an alternate empty-hand boxing system is supplemented with the Lao Jia 74 Chen Village routine (sword and shield form). The Ming Dynasty boxing of Qi Jiguang has evolved a technique very close to that of modern Sanda- even more similar to Bajiquan. The irony is that most of the Tai Chi masters nowadays have never heard of this boxing, and continue to teach Chen Lao Jia Yi Lu as an empty-hand system. The historical misconceptions are considerable in modern kungfu culture.
Wu Family Bajiquan has also become synonymous with the highest level of Bajiquan in the late Qing era and has a wide influence in the martial arts community in TIANJIN and BEIJING. Tianjin and Beijing, the Beiyang New Army connection- Chen Yu’s great-grandfather (Chen Yanxi) was Chen Taijiquan instructor for six years with the Beiyang Commander- Yuan Shikai. BEIJING GONGFU JIA Taijiquan and Bajiquan share the same approach from the Qing and trace back to the same Qi Jiguang manual. They both contain the “unarmed” boxing methods of Qi Jiguang treatise, instead of pure sword and shield (Lao Jia 74).
Bajiquan and Beijing Gongfu Jia Taijiquan are both Feudal Shaolin strategy descending from General Qi Jiguang treatise. The systems share the fierce close-distance elbow strikes and capturing technique of Qing era bodyguards/militia. Modernization and inaccurate documentation of Chen Taijiquan historical context, has shifted the medieval systems considerably- in the application and form.