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Cha Quan Origins, Techniques and Characteristics

Cha Quan or the Cha-style Chuan is a Chinese martial art. It is popular in north China. According to the chronicle of the Cha-family Chuan, a Tang Dynasty (618-907) crusade went on an expedition to east China. When the army reached Guanxian County in today’s Shandong Province, a young general named Hua Zongqi had to remain behind to recover from a serious wound. When he recovered and re-habilitated, thanks to considerate care by local residents, General Hua Zongqi taught the local people his martial art Jiazi Quan (frame Chuan) in appreciation. Because Hua had good Wushu skills and taught his art very earnestly, a great number of people followed him. Since he could not handle them all alone, Hua invited his senior fellow apprentice Cha Yuanyi from his residence to help him. Cha Yuanyi was proficient at martial arts, especially the body posture Chuan. Cha and Hua stayed together and became esteemed Wushu teachers.

cha quan(cha-style chuan) form

cha quan(cha-style chuan) form

Jiazi Quan had fully extended movements and was called Dajia Quan (big frame Chuan). The body posture Chuan is compact and fast and it was called Xiaojia Quan (small frame Chuan). After Cha Yuanyi and Hua Zongqi died, their followers named the two styles of Jiazi Quan after their tutors in their memory. The body posture Chuan passed down by Cha Yuanyi was called the Cha-style Chuan, while the Jiazi Quan taught by Hua Zongqi was named the Hua-style Chuan.

Later on, the Cha-style Chuan and the Hua-style Chuan were known as one style. Those who were good at Cha-style Chuan were also good at Hua-style Chuan. Subsequently, this style of fist fight became known as the Cha-Hua Chuan.

The Hua-style Chuan has four routines. Three of them are long programs with varied tricks and moves, which are considered the cream ofjiazi Quan.

The Cha-style Chuan or body posture Chuan has 10 routines. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), the Cha-style Chuan divided into three technical schools at Guanxian County and Rencheng County in Shandong Province. The Zhang-style of the Cha-style Chuan, represented by Zhang Qiwei from Village Zhangyin at Guanxian, is fast, agile and compact. The Yang-style of the Cha-style Chuan, represented by Yang Hongxiu from the southern part of the town of Guanxian, is upright, comfortable and graceful. The Li style of the Cha-style Chuan, represented by Li Enju from Jining, is powerful, contin uous and masculine.

Wushu masters Wang Ziping, Chang Zhenfang and Zhang Wenguang, well-known in China, were all experts in the Cha-style Chuan and they have contributed to the dissemination and development of this school.

The characteristics of the Cha-style Chuan lie in the fact that its movements are graceful, comfortable, clear, continuous and rhythmic. The generation of strengths and forces are abrupt, and the use of energy is economical. This style of Chuan stresses the usage of both hands and feet at the same time in executing the movements. Various tricks and moves are combined and linked to facilitate continuous attacks.

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