Pào Chuí 砲捶 – Part 1
When we start learning Chén Style Tàijíquán 陈式太极拳, we normally begin by learning Lǎojià Yīlù 老架 —路 – Old Frame First Form. This form is what the Yáng Style Tàijíquán 楊式太極拳, Wǔ Style Tàijíquán 武式太極拳 ,Wú Style Tàijíquán 吳式太極拳 (this Wu Style is different the other one) and Sūn Style Tàijíquán 孫式太極拳. This is because the founder of the Yáng Style, Yáng Lù Chán 楊露禪 (1799-1872) studied with the 14th Generation Chén Family Master, Chén Cháng Xìng 陳長興 (1771-1853). However, in Chén Style Tàijíquán we have another form which we call Èrlù Pào Chuí 砲捶 – Second Form Cannon Fist. Pao 砲 means Cannon and Chui 捶 means Hammer so it is like a cannon pounding the enemy! This form had been kept within the Chen Family until it was opened 70 to 80 years ago when two very famous and influential master taught this form. One was the 17th Generation Master Chén Fā Kē 陳發科 (1887-1957). He taught Pào Chuí to his students in Beijing in the 1950’s. His form has 70 movements in it and people call this Xīnjià Pào Chuí 新架砲捶 – New Frame Cannon Fist. Chen Fake’s forms were called New Frame as they were a new style of Chén Tàijíquán. At the same time, the 18th Generation Master, Chén Zhào Peī 陳照丕 (1893-1972) taught Pào Chuí 砲捶. Both masters taught in China, to preserve the skill. Today, many people have benefited from the Yīlù, as it is slower, gentler, with fewer fast and powerful movements. The Èrlù is faster and contains more powerful movements than slow and gentle ones.