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Chen Wangting

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Title: Chen Wangting  
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Subject: T'ai chi ch'uan, Zhang Sanfeng, Yang Chengfu, Chen-style t'ai chi ch'uan, Wu Chien-ch'uan, Hao Weizhen, Sun Lu-t'ang, Yang Jianhou, Wu Kung-i, Yang Pan-hou
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Chen Wangting

Chen Wangting
Statue of Chen Wanting
Born 1580
Chenjiagou, Henan, China
Died 1660 (aged 79–80)
Other names Chen Zouting
Nationality Chinese
Style Chen-style taijiquan
(founder of Chen-style)
Notable students Chen Suole (陈所乐),
Chen Ruxin (陈汝信)

Chen Wangting (1580–1660) was a Ming Dynasty general that founded Chen-style t'ai chi ch'uan, one of the five major styles of the popular Chinese martial art. Sometimes called Chen Wang Ting or Zouting, he devised the Chen family-style of t'ai chi ch'uan in his home of Chenjiagou, Wenxian county, Henan province after he retired there following the fall of the Ming Dynasty.

Military career

During the Ming Dynasty, Chen served as Commander of the Wen County garrison, and was distinguished for his protection of merchant caravans in Henan and Shandong.[1] After the Ming Dynasty ended and the reign of the Qing Dynasty began, Chen's military career was effectively over, and he retired to the family settlement.

Influence on t'ai chi ch'uan

Whether or not Chen invented the earliest form of t'ai chi ch'uan is in dispute. Traditional folklore and many lineages name the semi-mythical figure of Zhang Sanfeng, a Taoist monk, as the progenitor of the art.

Two widely-documented theories of Chen's martial arts work exist: the first is that he learnt his arts from Wang Zongyue and the Wudang tradition developed by Zhang Sanfeng.[2] The second theory — the one accepted by the Chen family, and supported by historical evidence[3] — is that he combined his previous military experience and the theories of Jingluo and Daoyin with the popular teachings of Qi Jiguang.[4] His complete work contained five smaller sets of forms, a 108-move Long Fist routine, and a Cannon Fist routine. Chen is also credited with the invention of the first push hands exercises.[1] Chen also practiced a few Shaolin forms, and some historians postulate that Shaolin arts also had a significant influence on his t'ai chi, though none of the Taoist influences on Chen family t'ai chi exist in the Shaolin tradition.[2]

Chen Wangting's next well-known successor was the 14th generation Chen Changxing (1771–1853), who was the direct teacher of the founder of Yang-style tai chi chuan: Yang Luchan.

T'ai chi ch'uan lineage tree with Chen-style focus


  • This lineage tree is not comprehensive, but depicts those considered the 'gate-keepers' & most recognised individuals in each generation of Chen-style.
  • Although many styles were passed down to respective descendants of the same family, the lineage focused on is that of the Chen style & not necessarily that of the family.
  • Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semi-legendary figures in the lineage; while their involvement in the lineage is accepted by most of the major schools, it is not independently verifiable from known historical records.

Solid linesDirect teacher-student.
Dash linesIndividual(s) ommited.
Wang Zongyue*
Dash crossBranch continues.
Dot linesPartial influence
/taught informally
/limited time.
Chen Wangting
Jiang Fa
Chen Ruxin
2nd gen. Chen
Chen Suole
2nd gen. Chen
Chen Dakun
3rd gen. Chen
Chen Dapeng
3rd gen. Chen
Chen Guangyin
3rd gen. Chen
Chen Shenru
3rd gen. Chen
Chen Xunru
3rd gen. Chen
Chen Zhengru
3rd gen. Chen
Zhang Chuchen
3rd gen. Zhaobao
Chen Shantong
4th gen. Chen
Chen Shanzhi
4th gen. Chen
Chen Jixia
4th gen. Chen
Chen Jie
4th gen. Chen
Chen Jingbo
4th gen. Chen
4th gen. Zhaobao
Chen Binqi
5th gen. Chen
Chen Bingren
5th gen. Chen
Chen Bingwang
5th gen. Chen
Chen Gongzhao
1715– after1795
5th gen. Chen
Zhang Zongyu
5th gen. Zhaobao
Chen Changxing
6th gen. Chen
Chen Old Frame
Chen Youheng
6th gen. Chen
Chen Youben
c. 19th century
6th gen. Chen
Chen Small Frame
Zhang Yan
6th gen. Zhaobao
Chen Gengyun
7th gen. Chen
Yang Luchan
Chen Qingping
7th gen. Chen
7th gen. Zhaobao
Chen Yanxi
8th gen. Chen
Wu Yuxiang
He Zhaoyuan
8th gen. Zhaobao
Zhaobao He-style
Chen Fake
9th gen. Chen
Chen New Frame
Feng Zhiqiang
10th gen. Chen
Tian Xiuchen
10th gen. Chen
Hong Junsheng
10th gen. Chen
Chen Zhaokui
10th gen. Chen
focused on
Chen New Frame
Chen Zhaoxu
10th gen. Chen
Chen Zhaopi
10th gen. Chen
focused on
Chen Old Frame
"4 Tigers"
Chen Yu
11th gen. Chen
Chen Xiaowang
11th gen. Chen
Chen Zhenglei
11th gen. Chen
Chen Xiaoxing
11th gen. Chen
Wang Xian
11th gen. Chen
Zhu Tiancai
11th gen. Chen


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