Pao Quan (cannon fist) in Cha Quan family has “Third Form Pao.” Some others have three different sets: “Third Form Pao,” “Sixth Form Pao” and “Ninth Form Pao.” Sifu Han taught the Third From Pao Quan. Pao Quan initially might be called “Pau Quan” (running fist) because it uses the “xing bu” step to run back and forth.
Sifu Han recalled the first time he demonstrated Pao Quan in Nanking, the capital city of Republic of China: It was in an outdoor basketball court with a night lighting system. He run over the entire court with “xing bu” and impressed everyone in the audience.
The movements in Pao Quan are obviously derived from Tan Tui. It is the advanced training after Tan Tui because some movements are exactly the same as Tan Tui and some are expanded or modified from Tan Tui. Of course, Pao Quan has many new movements not found in Tan Tui.
It was said that there were ten forms in Cha Quan. Some others added one minor form to each major form and made total of twenty forms. In addition to Tan Tui and Pao Quan, Cha Quan family also had Tui (leg form) Quan, Mai Fu Quan, Hong Quan, Baqua Quan, (different from bagua zhang) etc. By adding various weapons, solo practice and sparring, countless forms emerged!
The major problem with these forms is that their techniques are parallel to each other and therefore there is no sequential advancing order among them. It is easy to fall into the trap of accumulating many forms without really improving the techniques to a higher level. It then becomes a test of memorizing capability rather than advancing one's wushu skills.
Among the many Cha Quan forms, the most popular one is the “Fourth-Line Cha Quan” and that’s the one taught by Sifu Han. It is obvious that the Fourth-Line Cha is one level above the Third Line Pao. Many Cha Quan movements are indeed derived from and more advanced than Pao Quan.
Good Tan Tui training includes “standing stances" – that is, to hold every posture. Especially important is holding the “suspended leg” (kick) for every “springing leg” move. Pao Quan focuses on “xing bu,” a straight-line bow-and-arrow walk with the center of gravity at the front. Cha Quan focuses on “za bu,” a 40/60 walk on a curved path with the center of gravity at the back.
It was generally believed that Cha Quan is named after its originator, Chamier. It is also possible that Cha Quan emphasizes the use of “za bu” (i.e., branching step) and so it is called “Za Quan” (Branching Fist). For example, Tan Tui (Springing Leg) is named for its emphasis on the “springing leg.” Another example is Pau Quan (running fist), named because of the emphasis of running in this form. Therefore, it seems quite logical that the names of these forms are based on the most crucial function of the leg.
Tan Tui has one movement for each command. It requires full attention and has strict rules to follow. Pao Quan has several movements for each command. It requires good connection and fluidity between movements while developing variation in its tempo. Cha Quan has no fixed rhythm. It all depends on the practitioner’s understanding, interpretation, and skills to present the form.
In conclusion: Tan Tui has clear rules and standards, like the standard script of Chinese calligraphy. Pao Quan is flexible and full of variations, like the semi-cursive script of Chinese calligraphy. Cha Quan connects many movements and postures. Cha Quan’s lines are curved and circles evolve into more circles. It is like the cursive script of Chinese calligraphy. Let’s emphasize furthermore: the “standing stances” in Tan Tui is like a point, the “xing bu” in Pao Quan is a straight line, and the “za bu” in Cha Quan is a curve. That’s why Chinese wushu contains Chinese calligraphy and vise versa.
Although Sifu Han compiled ten forms of training materials, he gave up some of them in his later years. Surprisingly, the first one he stopped teaching was Tan Tui. Why? Sifu Han said, “Students don’t practice!” “They quit if the progress is too slow!” “No students can endure the lengthy, plain and tough training!”