ZHENGZI Tai Chi – 鄭曼青
(Cheng Man Ch’ing Style)
Zhengzi tai chi is named for its creator, Zheng Manqing 鄭曼青 (Zhèng Mànqīng) (Cheng Man Ch’ing) (July 29, 1902 – March 26, 1975).
Zheng was a teacher of art and poetry in Beijing and Shanghai. He was also formally trained in traditional Chinese medicine. When he was in his twenties, he began learning tai chi in order to aid his recovery from a severe case of tuberculosis.
Zheng had learned tai chi at an early age. But from about 1930 until 1936 he learned Yang style tai chi from Yang Chengfu (1883-1936). It is widely accepted that Zheng was the ghost writer for Yang’s second book, which was published in 1934.
While teaching tai chi in Sichuan during the Japanese-Chinese war, Zheng developed a 37 posture routine which would later become known as the Cheng Man Ch`ing short form.
Zheng moved to Taiwan in 1949 and to New York City, USA in 1964. He was one of the first to teach tai chi openly in the USA.
Zheng’s short form is what he is most known for in the West. It contains most of the movements of the Yang style long form. But unlike the long form, it contains almost no repetitions. This allows it to be performed in about ten minutes instead of the twenty to forty minutes usually required for the long form.
One obvious characteristic of the style is the loose and relaxed manner in which the hands are held, combined with less extension and flexion of the wrist and fingers. This small and loose version is sometimes called “willow style” by Yang stylists. Some of the the characteristic methods of moving the body and feet are sometimes (though rarely) seen in Yang style.
Here is a short excerpt of Cheng Man Ching explaining Chi circulation to students. These videos are excerpts from “The Master Tapes” a 4 DVD set of Professor Cheng teaching form, push hands, sword and Chi from http://www.chengmanching.com- highly recommended!