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Fighting spirit

Updated: 2013-03-28 10:16
By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily)

Fighting spirit

Chen Xiaowang, a 19th-generation inheritor of Chen-style tai chi, leads his disciples in Beijing. Cui Meng / China Daily

A tai chi master has struggled to promote the martial art overseas and has won more than 300,000 disciples in 40 countries. Deng Zhangyu reports.

Many foreigners believed Chen Xiaowang was insane. Some even stopped to ask if he needed help when they saw him practicing tai chi in airports decades ago.

"Many people overseas aren't familiar with the martial art," Chen explains.

"Some foreigners even thought tai chi was a Chinese cuisine."

Chen has traveled the globe, teaching and promoting tai chi, since the 1990s, when he became one of his homeland's greatest champions. He has earned more than 300,000 disciples in 40 countries.

Chen's fighting style was developed by his family 19 generations ago. It was popularized in China in the early 20th century by his grandfather, Chen Fake.

"My energy is limited," he says.

"So, I instruct my apprentices and help them spread Chen-style tai chi around the world."

His disciples have opened tai chi studios in 120 German cities and towns. Chen's oldest disciple is a 103-year-old American.

Chen innovated upon his family's traditional tai chi by developing a simplified version for mass consumption, called the "nine-posture Chen-style".

Fighting spirit

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