The history of Taijiquan in Henan Province, a lecture by Dietmar Stubenbaum


Dietmar Stubenbaum, an expert on the history and practice of Taijiquan, gave an informative and exciting lecture at the Friedrichshafen Pagoda on Monday, October 2, 2023.

Taijiquan goes back to the Chen clan, who lived in the village of Chenjiagou in Henan province. The clan was founded by Chen Bo, who came from Shanxi Province and settled in the village that was later given its present name. His descendant Chen Wangting from the 9th generation is considered to be the creator of the family martial arts system Taijiquan, according to tradition, although there is no definite proof of this.

Dietmar Stubenbaum has been intensively involved with the history of Taijiquan since the late 1980s. He has carried out a great deal of field research, spoken to numerous people, studied books and records and thus gained a very clear picture of the origins and manifestations of this martial art.

On this evening, he gave us an overview of the various branches of the Chen clan, which has passed down Taijiquan from generation to generation, and introduced us to its current representatives.

He tried to keep his talk as simple as possible, but the many Chinese names were ultimately confusing for many of the audience without any prior knowledge.

To illustrate the history of the Chen clan, the speaker had attached a large ancestral chart to the wall, which consisted of 6 DIN A0 sheets. This enabled the audience to trace the most important people and events in the family history before and after the lecture.

The two types of Taijiquan taught in the Chen Clan are Daja and Xiaojia. Although both types are based on the same principles, they have developed in different directions over time and differ considerably in their execution and underlying theory.

The focus of the lecture was on the Xiaojia family lineages of the Chen clan, which Mr. Stubenbaum presented in detail. He also explained the various manifestations and practices of these lineages using video examples that illustrated the diversity and richness of this tradition.

After the lecture, the participants were able to talk extensively with each other and share their impressions. It was an informative and stimulating lecture, with a successful conclusion.

by Annemarie Leippert

Pictures: Jens Weinbrecht