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TSAILIFO CHUAN, OR CHOILIFUT.

 

This is one of the well known styles of wushu. However, outside of China it is not in Beijing, but in Cantonese variant of the name of the style - choilifut.

 

The creator of this style is Chen Cheng (1805-1875) who came from Xinhui county, Guangdong province. According to the family chronicles, Chen started Chen Yuanghu - according to the style Fotszya-tsyuan - "the style of the Buddhist school.

 

He was considered the "internal" style, as much emphasis was placed on mastering special exercises aimed at regulating energy in the body. Here Chen Heng also studied the principle of a short sharp blow with a hopping - a "piercing blow", which later became an important part of tsailifo-tsyuan. There was one more element unusual for southern styles in fotszya-tsyuan. It included a lot of kicks and even jumps, while the famous styles from that province of Guandun, for example, khuntszya-tsyuan and lijia-tsyuan, practically did not have in their arsenal jumps Chen Chen Heng was so carried away by the studying wushu that soon he was considered the best fighter in the district. He was even offered to start teaching himself. However, the death of his father and the devastation of his family forced him to leave his native village. In search of work, he traveled through most of Guangdong province, famous for its wushu masters.

 

Finally, fate brought him together with Li Yushan, who was nicknamed the Diamond Li for the amazing strength of his body. Li himself learned from the founder of the lijia-tsuan ("Li family style") monk Li Yanqai. At first, Diamond Li was very wary of Cheng, because he could not understand why he, who was already a fairly good wushu expert, would want to repeat his training. But six years of joint training demonstrated to Diamond Li the purity of Cheng Heng's intentions, and the stern old man fully conveyed to him the techniques of the school and even called him his successor. This was quite unusual, as Chen did not belong to the Li family.

 

It was from lijiaquan that powerful amplitude forearm blows, sweeping fist blows and most palm strikes came into the Tsailifo style. In Lijiaquan it is believed that only the palm provides a sufficient energy release. A common saying in this style is that "one palm strike beats three fist strikes".

 

After six years of training, Diamond Li himself took his follower to another famous teacher who lived in the same Xinghui county, the monk Cai Fu. The style he taught was called Cai Jia Quan, "the style of the Cai family." In this, Caijia Quan is characterized by long forearm strokes and low, stretched stances, and is similar to Lijia Quan. At the moment of a forearm strike, the arm almost completely straightens at the elbow and the forearm strikes the opponent like a club, which is called 'long forearm'. At the same time, the school Tsai Chia, under the influence of local martial traditions, began to use and short blows from a short distance, and protection against blows with the legs and hands fighters performed through a sharp blow on the attacking limb with the elbow, which led to its fracture.

 

Thus, Chen Heng mastered three styles - Fojiaquan, Lijiaquan and Tsaijiaquan, and he was considered the successor of the school in all three. His fame reached such heights that in his young age he was appointed by the imperial decree to be a senior instructor of local troops in wushu, a very honourable position in those days.

 

In the process of teaching Chen Heng considerably changed styles, which he mastered. His brainchild, called tsailifo-tsyuan ("choilifut" in a Cantonese dialect) in memory of the sin schools in which he was taught, became not a simple mechanical union of numerous techniques, but an integral, independent style which was considerably superior in its effectiveness to all its predecessors.