Welcome to the Huan Dahai page of 'longhua' old style Chenshi taiji and Jiang style bagua. I learned from Huan Dadai through the 1990s. I don't teach his Chen style to any but my most advanced students, as it is too intuitive and organic to teach easily. Also, I have little material on him, since when we learned at that time we d dn't have movie cameras and all that stuff. But, while I have have had many teachers, I only have one sifu, and I love this Chen style.
Some people have contacted me about Huan Dahai and his Chen taiji and bagua lineages. There are more fellow students out there than I was aware of, and they are often as unaware of each other as I was of them. So, to make a long story short, here are some postings about Huan Dahai, his lineage, and his students who are teaching.
Here is also some information on Su Zifang, who learned Jiang style bagua with Sha Guozheng. Both Huan Dahai and Sha Guozheng learned from Jiang Rongqiao.
I would like to find out more about his Chen taijji lineage. I have researched the people that he told me about, but I don't know much about them. Maybe if we work together we can find out more about this wonderful style. It is the most organic thing I practise, I don't know how else to describe it.
The bagua that sifu taught me is from Jiang Rongqiao, and I have translated a bagua book by Jiang Rongqiao, and put in photos of my martial elder brother, Cai Yuhua.
This is what I know of our Chen lineage.
Starting from Chen Yanxi. He taught his son Chen Fake (1887-1957), and among others, Li Ruidong, Yuan Keding (1878- ?), and Hu Yuchun. Our lineage comes from Yuan Keding. Our branch did not come from the taiji as changed by Chen Fake, but directly from Chen Yanxi. Chen Yanxi is generally thought to have taught at Yuan Shikai's martial academy, so this lineage is clear.
Yuan Keding was from Henan and spent time in Tianjin, Shandong, and Beijing. Yuan Keding was Yuan Shikai's (1859-1916, and the first president of China 1911-1916) son. I'm afraid that Yuan Keding wasn't famous for much of anything but trying to get political power on his father's coattails.
Hui Juan? learned from Yuan Keding.
Li Ruidong was a wushu instructor for Yuan Shikai, and was known for his shaolin, taiji, weapons, and wrestling skill. He learned from Yang Luchan, among others. He was from Wuqing county in Hebei. I think Yuan Keding could have also worked with Li since they both worked for his father.
Huan Dahai learned from his friend Hui Juan? and also from Hu Yuchun (Hui's martial uncle).
I am trying to write a book about our Chen style taijiquan, and Shanghai, and my experiences living and training there. It is taking a long time, and I'm not used to writing, since I have mostly translated up to now. I am trying to write something that is not a normal taijiquan book, and not boring. This is the old teahouse where sifu would go after training.
Our lineage has a taiji changquan routine among its seven routines. The taiji changquan routine flows like a river, just as the old books say. Its power is not quite the same as the Chen taiji power, not a chansi jin. Huan Dahai learned it from Jiang Rongqiao (1891-1974), so I am unclear why it is considered within our Chen style lineage. Jiang Rongqiao learned it from Tang Shilin. I don't know any further up the line. I do know that Jiang Rongqiao learned taiji from Tang Shilin. Just another of those mysteries. My martial brother, Cheng Jiefeng (in the photo), Huan Dahai's eldest apprentice, taught it to me and he allowed me to take photos as he did the routine on a few occasions. I can't put too many photos up online, since he gave me permission to take the photos to use just for my own learning. This is too bad, because Cheng Jiefeng does about the best taiji I've ever seen. This routine feels wonderful, but I haven't taught it to many people, as I feel it is something that needs to be deserved.
As for our baguazhang, that comes from Jiang Rongqiao. This is quite clear, as it is the same as Jiang put in one of his books, and the same as Sha Guozheng teaches the eight palms. Here are some photos of Cai Yuhua, my martial brother, the second highest apprentice of Huan Dahai. He teaches in Switzerland on occasion. I have lost touch with him, so if anyone knows anything about where he is, please email me.
This is our bagua 'sabre'. We learned with whatever came to hand. Sifu carried a cane, although he didn't need it to walk. The rest of us picked up branches.
Links to people who have some contact with Huan Dahai's Chen taiji or bagua lineage.?
This posture is similar to how we do a move in our white swan spreads its wings ('E' = swan, 'He' = crane, an easy switch when transmission is oral). Now, he could be doing another move altogether, and our lineage is not related to Chen Zhaopei as far as I know. But, it is interesting. This image is from Jarek Szymanski, China from Inside. He told me "I met the folk on the picture when I went to Chenjiagou for the first time in July 1991. He was a strange old guy, who insisted on showing me how the real old Chen style TJQ looked like, and do some pushing hand with me. I took several photos of him; however at the time I had no intention of any research and did not ask him about his name, his teacher or lineage. I believe he passed away some years ago." "As far as I remember he was Chen Zhaopei's disciple – he had me take some photos at CZP's tomb. He had the idea that real old frame looked exactly as he did it. By the way if you see the photos of CZP's Bai He Liang Chi in his book they look very much like that guy's posture. The fact is he definitively had some skill and his pushing hands were kind of scary."
Su Zifang is moving to the United States, and there is a possibility that we will be combining our skills to bring out more information on the Jiang style.
Su Zifang won bagua and taiji routines at the China national wushu competitions during the 80s, and was chosen to pose for photos in a number of books. She also won gold in the Asian Games.
She learned from Sha Guozheng for years. Her Jiang style bagua is traditional. She competed in wushu competitions, so has the foundational skills of very strict training, but the eight mother palms are no different from what we learned in the park (except cleaner, a lot more exact, and with the usual slight differences that always occur, as you can see in the photo).
Our teachers, Sha Guozheng and Huan Dahai, both learned from Jiang Rongqiao, so we are cousins. I am looking forward to helping her bring out books and videos on the style. I've already had some fun filling in quite a few missing details from what I learned. Although I am heavily training the Ma Gui lineage now, I appreciate that it is not for everyone, and the Jiang style has something about it that I can't help still liking.