In Taijiquan, as in other martial arts and health disciplines such as qigong and yoga, the teaching lineage is considered very important. It is the top masters who set the standard and break new ground, constantly improving their art and keeping it evolving while passing on the best-proven methods to their students.
Taijiquan was created by Chen Wangting during the Ming Dynasty and was practiced only within the Chen family for two centuries before other styles began to be derived from the original Chen style. In the last two centuries taijiquan has spread throughout the rest of China and thence worldwide. Chen Family Taijiquan has been continually refined over these four centuries, maintaining the original values and constantly improving techniques and thus tends to be the style towards which practitioners, from the wide variety of schools now practicing taijiquan, gravitate.
Currently the best regarded taijiquan master is Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, the “keeper of the style” for Chen Family Taijiquan, which means that he is regarded by the Chen family as the best of our time and has been entrusted with bearing the standard for Chen Taijiquan.
Master Chen, a direct descendant of Chen Wangting and native of Chenjiagou, the Chen family village, has acquired his peerless reputation not just through the many Chinese National and international competitions he has won and honours bestowed upon him by numerous organisations, but chiefly through the excellence of his Taijiquan skills and the powerful efficacy of his teaching over the last few decades. He is not just highly regarded in Taijiquan circles, but also by aficionados of other martial arts and Qigong worldwide, and truly exemplifies that added dimension that makes a true Grandmaster.
Master Chen has taught tens of thousands of students in many countries and a place in his classes is much sought after. As a result many teachers base their teaching on the few days of study each year with Master Chen that fuels their daily training.
At the beginning of the nineties, Master Chen moved to Sydney, where he taught for most of the year, while gradually increasing his international classes. Chief Instructor, Master Martin Grunseit, was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, taking the intensive seminars, then later, weekly classes, often two per week with Grandmaster Chen. These classes were small and generally only had about twenty or so students. Later, as the time Chen Xiaowang spent in Sydney dwindled, Martin was able to organise small, weekly private classes for a few of his students and a couple of his fellow teachers, as well as some retreats where Chen Xiaowang was the guest instructor. It was a wonderfully valuable experience and the 14 years of detailed training enables Martin to give a faithful transmission of Master Chen’s
With Master Chen’s heavy schedule currently in Asia, The Americas and Europe, often in very large classes, Martin has continued studying with his son, Master Chen YingJun, whose intensive training over the last couple of decades will likely see him become the next standard-bearer, and has helped Martin to keep advancing his skills and knowledge.
Master Martin Grunseit was first asked to teach by Howard Choy of the Sydney Tai Chi and Qigong Centre in 1992, teaching classes at the Mandarin Club Sydney, UTS, the Sydney Community College, Australian Acupuncture College and many other organisations. At first he taught Yang Style Taijiquan and Lohan Qigong before concentrating on Chen Family Taijiquan from 1995. With 24 years experience of teaching students from teenagers to those in their nineties, he now teaches mostly private classes and enjoys the great satisfaction of passing on the wonderful benefits of Taijiquan.