Chenjiagou Village the sacred home of Tai chi
http://www.chinese.cn 14:45, October 14, 2009
An essential part of Chinese martial arts, Tai chi chuan is considered a competitive sport and a great way to get into shape. In 1992, Chenjiagou in central China's Henan Province was recognized as the hometown of martial arts in China. In today's On the Road, our guide Ning Yan will take us to Chenjiagou village, the birth place of Tai chi.
Chenjiagou Village is situated in the central areas of Qingfeng Mountain in Henan Province. The village was originally called Changyang, but had its name changed because Chen Bu, a native of the northern province of Shanxi moved in and settled here. Since almost all the people in the village were his descendents, it took his surname. Also, it is named as "gou" - meaning creek - because there is a long creek extending from the south to the north of the village. With a population of 2,500, people in the village live along the creek and rely on farming.
At the turn of the Ming and Qing dynasties in the 17th century, the ninth generation of the Chen's, Chen Wangting invented a new sport named Tai chi chuan, a slow motion internal Chinese martial art.
The Mandarin term "Tai chi chuan" literally translates as "supreme ultimate fist". It was based on his ancestors' boxing exercise and his knowledge of Taoist breathing exercises. Later, during the 14th generation, Chen Changxing taught Tai chi to his many disciples. Several schools of Chen's Tai chi emerged.
Wang Jingyu is a tour guide in the village. She says Tai chi was based on the creator's knowledge of Jingluo, or the main channels of the human body, in Chinese medicine.
"Tai chi is named so because it is in fact a combination of yin and yang, or negative and positive, two opposing principles of nature in Chinese philosophy."
The Chenjiagou Martial Arts Museum provides enough information about the Tai chi masters over all these years. In the museum, there are exhibition boards with write-ups on different masters. Wang Jingyu explains a painting on which there is a master with countless hands.
"When a trainer's skill reaches a high level, his capability becomes equal to that of a man with a thousand hands. When he is hit by someone, the pressure would be bounced back to the hitter. In this way, one can achieve a lot by doing little."
Over several hundred years since its invention in the 17th century, Tai chi has developed into one of the most popular sports in the country. Every year, a large number of people come to the village either to learn the sport or to admire it.
It is said over 80 percent of the people in Chenjiagou Village are able to do Tai chi. Even little kids can perform some movements. That is why a popular saying goes, "After drinking the water in Chenjiagou Village, you will know how to perform one or two movements of Tai chi."
It is estimated that there are over 80 million people in the world practicing Tai chi and more than 1,000 related organizations have been set up worldwide.
Fifty-five-year-old Bob Heiz is a doctor from the United States.
“When he practice, he makes very much power, but he is relaxed. This makes Taijiquan very different from other martial arts. This is why it’s good for fighting and it is good for your health."
In March 1981, Miura Hideo, director of the Japan Tai chi chuan Association visited Chenjiagou with a delegation. Since then, the village has received more than 100 delegations from 50 countries and regions.
Tai chi is believed to be the safest and one of the most effective methods to keep you fit generally. The sport has been in place for centuries, not only because it is fun but because it's effective - it works!
Source: CRI Online