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.]
Many modern scholars of Chinese Martial Studies have been puzzled by the feudal origins of Chen Tai Chi Chuan’s- extremely slow style of movement with “sticking and adhering” qualities as world renown. Chen Taijiquan is indeed an ancient system which thrived in the era of knights and shining armor. The modern “slow qigong” Tai Chi training style seems counterintuitive to the essential speed, agility, and power required by the medieval military. The general consensus concludes 1928 Fitness Reform Chen Taiji was inspired by Medieval European Art, depicting “knights fighting Snails in the battlefield”! According to tradition, medieval knights fought snails, symbolically- because snails represented the Lombards, who had become widely despised lenders throughout Europe in the middle ages. [Note: Please do not take this post seriously, and remember… HISTORY IS FUN!]
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.
Chen Taijiquan descended from Ming Dynasty Qi Jiguang’s “32-style boxing method”. Qi Jiguang’s “32-style boxing method” was significantly influenced by Taizu Changquan with feudal Shaolin military origins. Documentation by Chinese scholars reveal before the Republic of China era (1920’s), Chen Taijiquan is labeled as Chen Longfist/ Cannonfist- not Tai Chi Chuan. The modern interpretation of Chen Taijiquan is modified for mind-body and sports in 1928, to adapt to the already popular Yang Style Tai Chi in the capital. Real Chen Taijiquan training has unfortunately diminished with this modification for modern fitness training and qigong practice. The reality, Chen Taijiquan is feudal Shaolin and not Tai Chi. The tortoise speed practice today with over emphasis on rooting and non-dynamic footwork contradicts the very nature of feudal Shaolin Longfist used by soldiers. The fluidity of movements and transitions of feudal Chen Taijiquan is of a faster tempo (which flows the moves) with alternate power generation similar to Bajiquan.