Chen Taijiquan Pole

Research by
Michael P. Garofalo

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Chen Style Taijiquan Pole


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Chen Style Taijiquan Spear

Chen Style Taijiquan Staff

CZL Chen Taiji 13 Pole.  Instructions by Chen Jenglei.  2:42 min, UTube. 

"Cultivating Jin with T'ai Chi Spear."  By Gerald A. Sharp.  T'ai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Volume 27, No. 2, April, 2003, pp. 40-47.  Includes many photographs.  

Farruggia, Carmen    Teaches the Chen family Taiji (in the Chen Qingzhou lineage) in Sacramento, CA.  Many thanks to Carmen for sharing information and teaching me about some of the essential concepts in Chen style Taijiquan, and helping me learn Old Frame, First Form, long pole, and Taiji Ball.  
Sacramento Tai Chi and Qigung   "Our research includes Yi family Taiji and Qigung, the Chen family Taiji (Chen Qingzhou lineage), and Meihuazhuang (plum flower post) Yan Zijie lineage."   

Internal Power Training with Bare-Hand, Staff and Equipment.  Performance and instruction by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  Instructional videotape, 90 minutes, color.  Traditional Chen Village.  Capital District Tai Chi and Kung Fu Association of New York.  Albany, New York, CDTKA, 2002.  MGC. 

List of Movements, Chen Pole, 18 Movements

See Also: Staff Practices.  Chen style Taijiquan uses a long wax wood pole, from 8 to 10 feet in length (pole or spear) for internal energy work.  They also use a short staff, which is is around 4 feet in length, and a medium staff which is about 6 feet in length.  They favor a staff made of wax wood that is more flexible, can be shaken, and is also popular with wushu practitioners; rather than the stiff white or red oak hardwood staff.   They often bang the staff or pole on the ground for dramatic effect, and this act works well with wax wood or bamboo long staff or pole.  An oak or ash staff is inflexible, can't vibrate or shake well, and is more likely to splinter or crack with this kind of whipping to the ground motion.  

Pear Flower Spear and White Ape Staff: Names of the Postures of the Chen Taiji Spear/Staff Routine

Staff Weapon Taijiquan (All Styles) 

Taiji Single Broadsword and Taiji Pole.  Demonstration and instruction by Chen Qingzhou.  Instructional DVD.  49 minutes, color.  ISBN: 7887212545.  Chinese narration with Chinese or English subtitles.  ISRC: CN-M23-04-0060--O/V.G8.  Published by People's Sports Video Publishing House.  Includes instructions on the Chen Taijiquan 18 movement pole form.  MGC. 

Using the Pole to Integrate the Body.  Interview with Chen Zheng Lei, by Marvin Smalheiser.  Translated by C. P. Ong.  T'ai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Volume 27, No. 2, April, 2003, pp. 14-19.  



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Long Pole Form - Chen Taijiquan
18 Movements


I used Chen Qingzhou's demonstration and instructions as the standard, i.e., "Taiji Single Broadsword and Taiji Pole.(DVD)"  Carmen Farruggia watched and corrected my performance of the form.

The Taiji Pole used by Chen Qingzhou appears to be about 10 feet long, made of waxwood, and about 3/4" in diameter.  The pole is quite flexible so as to be able to shake or vibrate in some of the aggressive movements. 

The sources for the names of the movements are taken from: a)  Chen Qingzhou's "Taiji Single Broadsword and Taiji Pole.(DVD)", b) from a list provided by Carmen Farruggia, and c) my own mnemonic phrase.   



1.  Standing Posture of Taiji Pole  (a)
     Commencement Posture  

Stand at attention with the pole along side the right side of the body.  Hold the pole in the right hand at about waist height.  Face N12.  Step out a half step to the left.  With some force, with the right hand only, lift the pole (really toss the pole up) so that you are holding pole with the right hand about waist height.  Hold near the bottom of the pole.  Draw the left had briskly up to the side of the body, at chest height, and make a fist with the left hand.  Both hands are about at chest height.        

2.  Twist and Thrust Pole 
     Spiral Forward Thrust 
     Stepping, Twisting, and Thrusting the Staff Three Times to the Left 

Move the pole move down to left side and grab the pole with the left hand palm up.  At the same time, turn the torso to the left and step out fairly wide with the left foot towards W9 into a lower horse stance.  The right hand holds the pole with the palm facing down and the left hand with the palm facing upward.  The arms are wide while holding the pole, and torso facing N12.  Thrust the pole forward with considerable force as you simultaneously and quickly step forward with the right foot and stamp the right foot, with the right heel alongside of the left heel, twisting the torso to face W9.  The hands move closer together as you thrust the pole.  Both feet are kept flat on the ground.  Look to W9, thrust to W9.  The pole should be at about chest height and as level as possible.  Use the waist to drive or thrust the pole.  Move in direction of W9.  

Repeat a second time.  Step out with left foot (toe points to W9) into a horse stance, separate hands and grip pole with a wide grip, then vigorously and quickly twist the body as you move the right foot to stamp on the ground next to the left foot, driving the pole to W9 at chest height with the hands closer together on the pole. 

Repeat a third time.  Step out with left foot into a horse stance, separate hands and grip pole with a wide grip, then vigorously and quickly twist the body as you stamp the right foot to next to the left foot, thrusting the pole to W9 at chest height with the hands closer together on the pole. 

At the end of the thrust the hands are at one end of the pole, close together.  The idea is to get maximum extension of the pole, attacking at one point with the end of the pole.  Long pole weapons often had a spear point on the end.   

When using a waxwood pole, you can get quite a bit of "shaking" in the end of the pole with powerful twist thrusts.  Use the power of the waist to drive the pole.  Chen style Taijiquan really emphasizes this shaking or vibrating power. 

3.  Twist Reversal and Shake Outward
     Spiral Outward Shake


4.  Silk Reeling Winding, Double Crossing

5.  Tap the Pole

6.  Three Shakes on the Right

7.  Turn Around, Diagonal Thrust

8.  Entice the Snake Out of the Cave

9.  Lead with the Left, Shake with the Right

10.  Lead with the Right, Shake with the Left

11.  Three Continuous Shakes  

12.  Pole Presses the Snake  

13.  Three Shakes on the Left  

14.  Golden Pillar Pierces the Sky  

15.  Point to the Moon  

16.  Dispatch Three Armies with One Sweep  

17.  Bounce Back, Spiral Thrust  

18.  Closing Posture







  "The Chinese word gun (棍 pinyin głn) refers to a long Chinese staff weapon. It is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the spear, saber, and the sword, called in this group "The Grandfather of all Weapons".

There are various kinds of gun and these include (from olden days): Monkey Staff (猴棍), Biangan (鞭杆), Mad Demon Staff (瘋魔棍), Tianqi Staff (天齊棍), Staff of Five Tigers and Goat Herds (五虎群羊棍), Nunchaku (二節棍), Taiji Staff of Thirteen (太極十三杆), Taiji Quarterstaff (太極大杆), Taiji Staff (太極棍), Staff of Eight Trigrams and Seven Stars (八卦七星竿), Staff of Eight Fairies (八仙棍), Flail (槤枷).

The types of gun normally used nowadays for exercises and competitions are the bailangan (白栏杆) and the nangun (
南棍)."  -   Wikipedia Gun (Staff)






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© Michael P. Garofalo, 2007, All Rights Reserved

This webpage was first published on the Internet in April of 2007. 

This webpage was last modified or updated on April 1, 2012. 


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