Rochester Chen Style Taijiquan

Pear-Flower Spear and White Ape Staff of Chen Family Taijiquan (Li-Hua Qiang Jia Bai-Yuan Kun)

  1. Ye Cha (Night Ghost) explores the sea
  2. Full martial flower
  3. Mid-level horizontal thrust
  4. Three swift thrusts
  5. High-level horizontal thrust
  6. Rolling up the beaded curtain backwards
  7. Lower-level horizontal thrust
  8. Downward thrust
  9. Black Dragon presents its claws
  10. Step forward and downward thrust (same thrust as 8)
  11. Sweep the floor to thrust
  12. Side block
  13. Two hits forward
  14. Yellow Dragon nods the shaft
  15. Horizontal circle swing
  16. Half marital flower
  17. Blocking thrusts at waist level
  18. Turn around, half martial flower
  19. Pressing snake to the ground
  20. Tilt the spear
  21. Downward thrust (same thrust as 8)
  22. Two covering thrusts
  23. Wave banner and sweep to left
  24. Spear point to the sky
  25. Wave banner and sweep to right
  26. Iron ox plows field
  27. Turn around, half martial flower (18)
  28. Dripping water thrust (Downward thrust, 21)
  29. Two covering thrusts (22)
  30. Ride dragon thrust
  31. Step forward and part grass to look for snake
  32. White ape steps back and looks for spear
  33. Black dragon turns around and enters den
  34. Take back the pipa
  35. Two hits forward (13)
  36. Wave banner and sweep ground
  37. Mount Tai crushes egg
  38. Turn around, half martial flower (18, 27)
  39. Cat springs on mouse (Horizontal thrust 3)
  40. Thrust from left
  41. Thrust from right
  42. Turn around to deliver thrust
  43. Heel kick
  44. Single hand thrust
  45. Full martial flower (2)
  46. Er Lang carries the mountain
  47. Turn around, half martial flower (18, 27, 38)
  48. Lower side thrust (31)
  49. Turn around, half martial flower (18, 27, 38, 47)
  50. Falcon diving on quail (19)
  51. Left sweeping thrust
  52. Heel kick
  53. Downward thrust (8)
  54. Full marital flower (2, 45)
  55. Er Lang carries mountain (46)
  56. Half martial flower (16)
  57. Fair Lady threads needle
  58. Jade Lady works shuttle
  59. Assassin’s Thrust
  60. Turn around and hit
  61. Full martial flower (2, 45, 54)
  62. Protect the knee
  63. Two covering thrusts (22, 29)
  64. Black Dragon sways its tail
  65. Forward hit
  66. Forward hit again
  67. Thrust to left (11)
  68. Block to right (12)
  69. Half martial flower (16, 56)
  70. Old man fishing (17)
  71. Turn around and downward thrust (52 and 53)
  72. Finish 

Visit the International Chen Style Taijiquan site (Ren Guang-yi) for a video of the Chen Village spear form.

Notes on Posture Names

Ye Cha: The Chinese term “ye cha” translates to “night ghost.” The symbol of the night ghost is a forked weapon. Another possible meaning of this term comes from Indian Buddhism, where Ye Cha is a particular immortal being. The Indian name spoken to a Chinese speaking person may have been interpreted as a Chinese term. “Ye cha” is sometimes referred to as a flesh-eating demon. I do not know if that translation relates to “night ghost” or the Buddhist immortal.

Yellow Dragon: “Dragon” is often associated with something royal, and yellow is the royal color of China. “Yellow Dragon” would signify a very strong “royal” aspect. In martial arts forms, this may signify a move require high level skill, such as sticking to the opponent's weapon.

Black Dragon: Something very evil and fierce. In the form we attack someone that is attacking us while we retreat. Another common term for fierce and evil is “black tiger” as in “Black tiger steals the heart” in Hung Gar, and “black tiger sits in the cave,” in Kwun Wu Sword. “Tiger” often has a more youthful energy than “dragon.”

Green dragon (Ching Dragon): In this form seems to refer or something long like a snake. Also refers something like a sea snake that moves smoothly and has great potential lying just beneath the surface ready to manifest at the appropriate time.

Blue dragon: There is no blue dragon in Chinese martial art names. That is, there is no “NAM” dragon in Chinese literature; there is only “Ching” dragon. Ching is the light fresh green of fresh budding leaves. “Blue” may be a translation in which the translator thinks blue is this color. The Chen style move is “ching lung chut sui,” which is “green dragon out of the water,” The green dragon refers to a fish that looks like a sea snake. The image is a snake-like green thing vertically sliding out of the water, relatively abrupt, silent, and frictionless.

Er Lang Stories:

Er Lang was supposed to have special vision, like a third eye intuitive vision.  This might be way some Er Lang moves are used as false retreats and the back is temporarily toward the opponent.

He was the second son (literally from the name) of a famous general. Er Lang, himself was famous for defeating the Monkey King and became deified.

His father is Lau yin Cheung a scholar. His mother Holy Mother of Mount Hua . She was condemned for this unlawful human-goddess marriage and sealed under Mt Hua. Thus when Er Lang grew up, he used an axe to chop open the mountain to save his mother. This is a well-known story and leads to a common name used in many martial arts. “Er-Lang splits Mt Hua” connotes strength. Another common move is “Er Lang carries the Hill” [eh-lang dam san]. In “Journey to the West,” he did fight the Monkey King to a draw. The goddess Guanyin used a vase, and Lao Tsu used a metal ring to strike the Monkey king, which enabled Er Lang to defeat him. It is interesting to note that Er Lang’s weapon was a broad bladed spear called “3-spike, 2-blade spear,” The spear move may get its name from the use of this weapon.

Er Lang was the son of Li Bing builder of a famous architectural miracle, a wonderful water dam, around 200BC. It is still in existence in West China and is a tourist attraction. This Er Lang may not be relevant to our spear moves.

Eh Lang Man is a very famous old MA style, older than Chen Taiji In this style you would see an interesting oblique slant, similar to Wu taiji. It is supposed to be very graceful.

Tai Gong Goes Fishing: Tai Gong was a famous sage that was known for fishing with a straight hook. When asked “how can you catch a fish with a straight hook,” his reply was “ the fish that is willing will bite.” It is a funny story that leads to a common tease in China, that is, when you see someone fishing you call them “Tai Gong.” For us, does it mean that we are simply in a posture that looks like we are fishing, or does it mean that we are fishing for our opponent to willingly bite into our hook?

Fair Maid Threads Needle: This indicates a very careful concentration and looking at something, like you were going to thread a very fine needle. The move occurs before a rapid advance, which you would not want to undertake without a careful examination.

Jade Girl Works at Shuttles: “Jade girl” indicates a maiden so fair that her skin is like white jade. She is more mythological than a fair maiden. Most “Jade maiden” moves that I know of involve a very quick advance, almost like a mythological being floating in a cloud. Jade Maiden” also refers to a slender teenage girl. In Chinese the age is considered to be 12 to 14. The image is a bit shy, light, agile, and graceful.

Mount Tai: A famous mountain in Shantung province. Tai shan (mountain) is regarded as the “heaviest” of the 5 big mountains in central China. The others are Hua (mentioned above) of the west, Hang of the south, Hang of the north, and Zong of the central (site of Shaolin Temple).

Pipa: a musical instrument like a lute. It is held nearly vertical in the front midline, one hand up at the narrow part, one hand low at the strings. “Play the pipa” or “take the pipa” usually has a portion that looks like holding this instrument.

Technical Notes

The martial flowers are intended to ward off or attack two opponents that have you surrounded, one in front and one behind you. In actual usage the opponents might be in different positions and you would adjust your flowers accordingly. Have the spirit of defending/attacking the front and back simultaneously. Very rapid changes in attention and stance are needed.

When starting a martial flower you often attack the front with the but of your spear. A good target is the opponent’s lead hand. It is closer than their head.

Horizontal thrusts often have a slight upward tilt. They are more difficult to block when they possess this tilt. Try your resisting a push down on your spear with and without the tilt and compare the difference in your strength.

When your spear is used in a defensive block try to get your hand parts (fingers, palm) on the side of the spear that is not taking the impact.

When thrusting far forward to end with both hands extended, note that the spear is weaker if you end with your right fist in your left palm. Try to end the thrust before one goes into the other.

Flower terminology - Flower movements refer to circling of the spear to slip away a attacking weapon and also to attack and defend to the front and rear.  A similar term is used for other weapons.

Full Martial Flower: Seems to indicate spear circling while body turning 360  degrees L then 360  degrees R

Half Martial Flower: Seems to usually indicate spear circling while a body turning  360 degrees R

Turn Around, Half Martial Flower: Seems to indicate a body turn 180 degrees R plus 360 degrees R

Ending positions of flowers:

    - Horizontal for horizontal thrust

    - Pointed down for downward thrust

    - Held up to be slapped down

Many thanks to the friends that provided translations.