At 5’8”, Tiffany Chen is relatively tall, especially for a Chinese woman. If you see her on street, you may think that she is a model with her slender build and attractive appearance. She has a good sense of humor and a pleasant personality. Nevertheless, you don’t want to mess with her because she is a champion fighter. Inside Kung-fu Magazine (IKF) recently awarded her the Woman of the Year (2011) for lifetime accomplishment.
Even though she is the daughter of Tai Chi Grandmaster William CC Chen, she had freedom to pursue her own hobbies. At age five, she took up ballet, Hula dance, swimming and gymnastics. Later, she learned praying mantis and a double knife form from her uncle, Howard Lee. She started figure skating at age 8 and won three gold medals in regional Figure Skating Competitions at age 11. She added ballroom dancing to the training curriculum to enhance her skating form. One day, she overheard other dancers say that they were looking into Tai Chi to help their movements. Then she realized what she was really missing. In the trailer of the DVD Step by Step Tai Chi with Tiffany Chen, she mentioned that she never gave much thought about Tai Chi until she tried it and then she really “got into it”.
The world renowned Grandmaster Chen is famous for his Tai Chi philosophy which the test of Tai Chi is in fighting. He is equally well known for training world-class champions. With Grandmaster Chen’s sophisticated training system and her hard work, Tiffany entered her first Push Hands competition at age 16, at the U.S.W.K.F. National Chinese Martial Arts Competition in Orlando, FL. As of now, she has won close to 50 gold medals, and several silver and bronze medals for fixed-step, restricted-step, and moving-step Push Hands. Almost half of the titles are from International tournaments. In December of 2004, Tiffany became a certified international judge/referee by the International Tai Chi Chuan Federation in Taipei, Taiwan. This was a great recognition of her skills and knowledge. She was inducted as Hall of Fame as the Best Competitor of the Year in 2004 by Inside Kung-fu Magazine. She earned a master title with her achievements.
In Grandmaster Chen’s studio in Manhattan, students learn not only traditional Tai Chi forms, and Push Hands, they also learn how to fight. The Lei Tai is a raised fighting platform, without railings. A fighter throws punches and kicks at the opponent. He can apply yielding, Chin Na and grabbing techniques. It is a Chinese style of kickboxing. Tournaments are presided over by a referee on the platform and judges on the sides. Fighters would lose if they surrender, become incapacitated, or are thrown off from the stage. The winner would remain on the stage. It is a full body contact sport. Some martial artists consider Lei Tai is a true test of one’s skill level. A Lei Tai warrior needs to utilize his complete understanding of the techniques, movements, rooting, breathing and control of emotions to become a champion. It requires a high-level training of sensitivity and timing. A Lei Tai fighter needs to be calm, focused and relaxed.
Tiffany is a strong lady with determination. She is not afraid to get hurt. She began competing in Women’s Lei Tai San Shou in 2003. She won her first world championship at the 2003 World Kuoshu Women’s Lei Tai Championship in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She was also awarded the tournament trophy for The Best Lei Tai Performance by a Female Athlete. Master Tiffany Chen collaborated with her younger brother Max Chen, another world Tai Chi, Push Hands and Lei Tai champion, and made a teaching DVD The Killer Kickboxing Workout . They share their training secrets in this workout program designed to get people in shape. Their Shan Shou boxing style incorporates wrestling and kicking techniques that quickly build the strength, speed, agility, endurance, and reflexes of a fighter.
Master Tiffany has been assisting Grandmaster Chen in teaching Tai Chi, Push Hands and Fighting for 15 years. She started her own teaching classes since 1999 to individuals, and corporate groups. Born and raised in the U.S., Master Chen is not your traditional Tai Chi master. She is hip and sassy. You can see her fun personality from ABC News Tai Chi Down by the Riverside. The global Tai Chi community considers her to be a role model for the younger generations. With her continuous success, the misconception that Tai Chi is only good for seniors may be eradicated.
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