Chen Zheng Lei, featured in the cover article, is one of the “Four Tigers” of the Chen Village, a group of highly skilled practitioners who studied with Chen Zhaopei and Chen Zhaokui, two men who were largely responsible for the regeneration of the Chen style. The other three “tigers” are Chen Xiaowang, Wang Xian, and Zhu Tian Cai.
Born May 17, 1949, he is the 19th generation descendent of the Chen family and the 11th generation successor of Chen style Taijiquan. Currently, he is the vice-president of the Wushu Academy in the Henan Province Sports Commission, which governs millions of sports and martial arts participants. He supervises the activities of 2 million qigong practitioners. Henan is a major center of Chinese martial arts. The province is the origin of such martial arts as T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Shaolin, Tam Tui, Xingyi, and Ta Ch’uan.
Chen Zheng Lei began his raining at the age of eight under Chen Zhaopei and continued with him until Zhaopei died in 1972. The following year he began training under Chen Zhaokui. See the article in this issue on Chen Zhaokui by Cheng Liang Qing.
In addition to various honors and appointments to prestigious positions, Chen Zheng Lei was as two-time national grand champion in the Chinese National Taiji Championships. He was the recipient of the “Golden Lion” Award and twice received the special invitation master performer’s award.
In the classes I visited this past summer, he was very modest and focused, He did not hesitate to demonstrate or explain principles or applications.
When I visited the Chen village in 1983, all the people I met there were very helpful and I had a chance to see Chen Zheng Lei demonstrate the Chen style. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about the Chen style. But in my mind I can still see him performing what I was later told was a combination of the First Routine and the Second Routine.
That he has an agreement with Chris Pei to set up a Chen training center that will be used to benefit all Chen stylists is very good news. A chance to train with him is a very valuable opportunity.
There of lots of stories of masters with relatively little obvious physical strength who can exert extraordinary power. The question is how do you learn to do that. The article by Guo-An Feng on explosive power discusses how to develop it according to T’ai Chi Ch’uan principles. Feng, who studied with Fu Zhongwen in Shanghai and teaches in San Francisco, clearly discusses the problem and the kind of practice required.
Cheng Liang Qing is a longtime Chen stylist who studied with Chen Zhaokui and who writes about his life and his teaching. Chen Zhaokui, son of the famous Chen Fa-ke, is one of the outstanding T’ai Chi Ch’uan masters of this century. Though Chen Zhaokui was short, he could defeat much bigger opponents. Sadly, he had a very hard life and a relatively short one. But as Cheng makes clear, he had a very big impact on modern day Chen style.
There are many T’ai Chi Ch’uan concepts that appear simple but are not. The concept of open and close is one of them. The article by Yue Xian helps explain this concept.
Doug Woolidge, a Wu stylist, teaches Chinese in Western Canada and is translating books in Chinese into English. In this issue, he introduces and interesting chapter of a book that discusses some important benefits and principles of Tai Chi Chuan.
Woolidge said that the author tries to reconcile traditional Chinese conceptions (heart/mind and qi) with the categories of modern scientific thought. Woolidge studied with David Chiu on Vancouver Island.
Dr. David Dai of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, writes about the way that structure and energy function to create strong rooting techniques. He is a 15 year indoor student of the Cheng Man-Ching style, taught by Chen Chu-Kuan and Chen Zheng-hui in Taiwan.