We practice this style for its acrobatic and artistic properties. Modern Chang Quan is codified from several styles of Northern China with common characteristics. It is a gymnastic and graceful style characterized by fast and ample movements, very low positions and airy jumping. The movements of this style require both high flexibility and good tonus to be perfectly achieved.
However you don’t need to be super flexible or be able to jump very high to start. On the other hand you will have to look for a good balance between softness and tonicity to perform the Taolu (forms) properly, and also feel good in your body.
The name “Chang Quan” is quite old, but several styles without any connection to the original one have the same name. There is a Chang Quan created by the Emperor Song Taizu (927-976), from which some styles claim to emerge. More recently, a Chang Quan was developed and taught at the Central Wushu Institute in Nanjing .
Even more recently, we find the Chang Quan created in 1956, very popular today. This modern Chang Quan was at the beginning an official synthesis of several Muslim boxing styles related to each other: Cha Quan, Hua Quan, Pao Quan and Hong Quan.
As it is practiced today in competitions, it is more an acrobatic gymnastic than a martial art. This modern Chang Quan is however taught sometimes in the West as an old boxing style.
Traditional exercise: Wu Bu Quan (Five Steps Chang Quan)