It is easy to mistake the presentation of various accounts as argument.
According to Kennish S. Cohen 1991 there is a Taoist oral tradition that the first taijiquan form was practiced by Chen I Tao Jen, a celibate Taoist priest who lived from 722-480bc
however it is said little else is known about him, but he is credited as the patriarch.
According to this tradition the form and martial art changes gradually as it is passed down through various people, one of whom is named Li Tao Tzu, who resided at Wudang, he is said to have given the art the name Hsien Tien Chun
In this same tradition it is said that on Wudang Chen Hsi-i taught taoist yoga to Huo-lung, who taught Chang San Feng. It is also said that this line of study continued at Wudang until the 1800s.
According to these Wudang Taoist traditions Chen style is nearly independant from taijiquan and the two are little related. According to this Chen style is Shaolin based and goes through Wang Tsung-yueh and Yen Chin-chuan(sic) The former is said to have been taught martial arts by a Buddhist priest and the Wang taught at Chenjiagou village.
So there is an account of the history of the art from Taoists from Wudang that contradicts at least one version of the story.
But where did the idea that Taijiquan originates in Chen village come from?
Why not consider the words of a Chen family member on it?
According to Chen Xiaowang 1991 a man named Tang Hoa was commissioned in the early 1930s by the government to research the origin of Taijiquan. He went to Chen village 3 times, according to Xiaowang and determined that Taijiquan originated from Chen Wang Ting in the middle of the 17th century.
Now consider this, the idea that taiji comes from Chen village comes from the work of a single scholar in the 1930s, the Taoists do not maintain this, the Yang taijiquan practitioners also do not maintain this.
Not all who practice Taijiquan consider Chen style to be taijiquan, but rather a different art that Luchan studied before learning Taijiquan.
According to Cohen, as referenced previously the Wudang Taoist tradition says that Luchan learned from a disciple of Chang Sang Feng. This is also what the Yangs themselves tend to portray and in their linneage charts they don't mention Chen village but do mention Sang-Feng.
According to the Taoist tradition that Cohen shares Yang Luchan was dissatisfied with what he learned from Chen Chen-xing. According to this the Yang style stems from a martial art distinct from Chen village martial arts and originates from Sang Feng. Isn't it interesting that this is very close to what the Yangs themselves claimed?
Lets consider what Wudang martial artists have to say about thishttp://www.taijiworld.com/taiji-qigong/ ... UTANG.html
Dong Kit-yung 1973
Dong Kit-yung is the leader of the Wudang T'ai Chi Ch'uan style which still exists today on Wudang Mountain in China, said to be the birthplace of T'ai Chi
The account shared by this man matches the Taoist tradition rather well:
All forms of modern day T'ai Chi originated from my ancestor's way of the fist as can be clearly seen by looking closely at two of the modern styles, the Chen and the Yang. There is some controversy as to who taught who when it comes to these two forms but it is my belief that the Chen family first of all learned some of my ancestor's forms and then one of the original Yang people firstly learned that form. Then, one of our students, not one of our family members visited the Chen Village and began to teach both the Chen leaders and the Yang visitor. We are told that the Yang visitor became very good at our family form and then left the Chen village returning at a later stage to teach the Chen family his form of T'ai Chi.
But then there is the idea that someone in the Chen family was influenced by older Taoist forms.
According to Chen Xiaowang the documents at Chen village about the founder of the style, Chen Wan-ting was known as a master of martial arts and once defeated more than a thousand bandits. Keep in mind these are the same documents the Scholar Tang Hoa drew from to make the claim that Wang-ting originated taijiquan.
According to Xiaowang Wang-ting himself combined meridian theory with taoist yoga and deep breathing exercises with General Qi Jiguans Cannon Fist writings. This is an interesting claim, it illustrates that Wang-ting needed to learn Tao-yin yoga from Taoists, and this was known to be practiced at Wudang. However the idea that the martial art content was combined with meridian theory for the first time in this tradition has numerous contradictions in terms of historical evidence.
Later according to Xiaowang Chen Chen-xing condensed Wang-tings several fist forms into two sets, which are known as "laojia" to distinguish them from the newer sets created by Chen Fake.
So the notion that Chen style is the original Taiji is inconsistent with what the Taoists, then Yang and the Wudang martial artists say. The idea that Chen is the original source of this art is itself the argument that is in opposition to nearly every account of the art from inside the art itself with the exceptions of the Chens, who openly admit their ancestor incorporated Taoist content into their system, further corroborating the Taoist and Yang claims.
Then there are more accounts to examine, for example Kash 87 relates the idea that Chen Wang-ting based his art on Tai Tzu Chang Chaun, which according to Kash was created in 960AD by Chao Kuang Yin, first Sung Emperor. Yet according to Cohen this is that the Taoists say, that Chen style originates in Tai Tzu Chang Chaun, but that Yang taiji does not. Kash merely repeats the notion that Yang style was created from Chen, but this is not what the Yangs say, not what is taught at Wudang and this is not what the Taoists say.
Rodell 93 relates a story of Zhang Qin-lin and in it mentions the words of T.T. Liang. When asked what made Zhang so strong Liang replied that "He learned something in the mountains from a Taoist"
I am interested in any historical evidences that Taoist taijiquan ancestral martial arts come from Shaolin or Buddhist influence.
I also have not presented my opinion at all in this post, just accounts of others.
The taijiquan i was taught was said to be as much spiritual as it was physical and is religious in some ways, being a method to cultivate and manifest tao in everyday life.