The Cheng Man Ching Archive

The Cheng Man Ching Archive

The Cheng Man Ching Archive is the backdrop of our daily work. In our Tai Chi Studio workspace, we host a growing collection of media connected to Taijiquan, (Traditional) Chinese Medicine, Chinese philosophy and related subjects.

The sources of the archive are mainly donations from private collections donations as well as systematic purchase concerning modern specialist literature.

Our main interest lies in the roots and branches of Yang Style resp. Cheng Man Ching Taijiquan, more precisely in (re)discovering and portraying its traditional links as well as its modern developments as a living art.

The Cheng Man Ching Archive’s Collection

The main purpose of the Cheng Man Ching Archive is to provide a solid base and a starting point for the research of (Cheng Man Ching) Tai Chi and its changing cultural environment.

Up until today, our collection mainly consists of English and German language media (books, journals, articles, videos), which (still) leads to an emphasis on European and American Tai Chi interpretation and practice.

Key subjects

Cheng Man Ching Archive

The key subjects of the Archive’s collection are the following:

I The practice of Tai Chi

The Cheng Man Ching Archive’s collection emanates from the Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi tradition: Taijiquan hand form, sword form, partner work – Pushing Hands, sword fencing and Chinese boxing / san shou – as well as the medical and philosophical foundations of these arts.

II Tai Chi’s practical and cultural background

In addition to this, the Cheng Man Ching Archive aims to inquire into the wider practical and cultural background of (Cheng Man Ching) Taijiquan and Chinese martial and health exercises with a twofold focus:

  1. Practical exercises, esp. martial practice (partner work and functional movement) – following our credo “form follows function”.
  2. Theory, esp. media exploring historical, philosophical and spiritual connections of the Chinese movement, healing and martial arts. The archive’s main fields of interest in this context are:
  • Chinese Medicine – the classics of Chinese medicine and modern interpretations and developments
  • Western medicine – especially media related to basic anatomy, body and bio mechanics, and functional movement as well as writings on prevention.
  • Tai Chi Classics and general martial theory
  • Chinese Philosophy – especially classic Daoist philosophy and the Book of Changes (Yijing) as well as their modern interpretations


Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System

The Cheng Man Ching Archive is not limited to certain styles, traditions or creeds. We aim to work open-mindedly with all information that presents itself to us. To try to see the big picture is not only a goal for any martial artist, but also a guideline of our work.

Chinese internal Arts and its (distant) relatives
The Archive’s collection also includes media about other styles of Taijiquan and (non-Chinese) martial arts, albeit with a deeper interest in closely Tai Chi-related Chinese internal martial arts like Liu He Ba Fa (waterstyle boxing), Bagua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan.

Historical heros and wise (wo)men
Media in our historical section may range from specialist literature (historical analysis) to pseudo-historical analysis (“storytelling”) all the way up to phantasy-like literary biographies of famous ancestors or contemporary masters. With this wide field of view, we also honour the Chinese sentiment – which has also been known and practiced in many other cultures’ oral traditions – that a good story is always more relatable than a long list of facts.


As part of the Chinese medical and ritualistic heritage, Qigong as a health exercise in its traditional and modern forms also lies within the archive’s scope of interest.

Author: Gabi Kannenberg
Images: Ken van Sickle und Taiji-Forum
German Version of this article
More on Cheng Man Ching Archive: will be published soon!