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.
According to a recent interview with Senior Beijing Wrestling and Sanda Team coaches, pushing hands is a modern sport and creation.It has minimal to do with the yin and yang theory in a historical sense. In the late 1970s, confrontational push hand sports were developed, and by 1980s- standardized. Pushing is the most popular technique in the modern Chen sport. Using one or both hands to push the other side out of the venue. In regards to factual Chen Taijiquan training in feudal times- this style of push hands is a new concept.
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.
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.