Robert De Niro’s girlfriend and mother of his youngest child, Tiffany Chen, is not just a prominent figure in the actor’s personal life but also an accomplished martial arts instructor.
While De Niro’s cinematic achievements are well-documented, Tiffany Chen’s story extends beyond her relationship with the Hollywood legend.
Robert De Niro, an iconic figure in the film industry, has collaborated with renowned directors and earned numerous accolades, including two Oscars and a Golden Globe.
At 80, he has fathered seven children, with Tiffany Chen being the mother of his youngest, Gia Virginia Chen De Niro.
Who is Tiffany Chen Robert De Niro’s martial arts instructor?
Tiffany Chen is a Decorated Martial Arts Instructor originally from Chekiang, China (also spelled Zhejiang), who currently resides in the United States.
She was born into a martial arts family and is the daughter of Grandmaster William C.C. Chen, a prominent figure in the world of Tai Chi.
Beyond being De Niro’s partner, she is a decorated martial arts instructor with a focus on tai chi.
Early Martial Arts Journey
Tiffany Chen was athletic from a young age.
She started ballet, hula dance, swimming, and gymnastics at the age of five, and continued to expand her sporting interests as she got older.
She started figure skating and then ballroom dancing, before deciding that she wanted to explore Tai Chi, her father’s passion.
Aged just 16 years old, Tiffany Chen entered her first push hands competition and made a splash in the martial arts world.
This was in 1994 as cited in an Inside Kung-Fu profile on Chen.
She told Inside Kung-Fu “I never practiced tai chi with the intention of looking to fight. I learned the form, I learned some push hands and then I started competing in push hands”
A decade after she started competing, aged just 26, Chen was inducted into Inside Kung-Fu magazine’s Hall of Fame as Competitor of the Year.
“My plan has always been to learn how to be as great as my father,” Chen told the magazine.
And it looks like Chen is on her way to just that as the competitor reportedly has nearly 100 medals to her name.
Tiffany Chen Martial art styles
Chen has more martial arts styles in her arsenal than just tai chi.
In an interview, Tiffany Chen explained some of the various arts she practices.
She says “Currently, I study Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, Boxing, and San Shou. What is most important to me about these arts is how I’ve been able to learn about myself. Each art helps you look at yourself from a different perspective. Each art has its style and approach but in the end, they all help make you a stronger person. What is most important to me in the process of learning is to find exceptional teachers and healthy learning environments.”
She also does not think any of what she had practiced before (such as figure skating, gymnastics, dancing, etc) influenced her approach to Chinese martial arts.
She feels each art is different, and each teacher is different.
“I approach everything new I do as something new and individual and adapt to where I am. It is not until I get more involved with whichever art I am doing that I start to find similarities or ways of using my knowledge of different arts to complement each other.”
When asked how she prioritizes her training; taiji hand form, sparring, push hands, kick-boxing, etc., she says…
“It depends on what I am doing at the time. If I’m training for a fight, it’s just common sense; you have to prepare yourself for what you are going to be doing. I spar more; I do more conditioning and cardio work. If I’m not gearing up for a fight and I’m teaching more I do less of what I just mentioned and I do the form and push hands more.”
With tai chi being her main martial art style, Tiffany Chen challenges the misconception that tai chi is only for the elderly.
As a young, fit, and active practitioner, she emphasizes the martial aspects of tai chi.
The Influence of Family
Tiffany Chen’s aspiration to be as great as her father, Grandmaster William C.C. Chen, reflects her family’s martial arts legacy.
Her father, a Yang-style Tai Chi ch’uan Grandmaster, has significantly contributed to the promotion of Tai Chi globally.
William C.C. Chen, originally from Chekiang, China (alternatively spelled Zhejiang), currently resides in the United States.
Since the 1950s, he has been imparting his knowledge of Tai Chi ch’uan in various countries, including Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hawaii, and the US.
In 1965, Chen’s father established the William C. C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan in the Chelsea area of New York City.
Revered as one of the foremost living practitioners, he has actively contributed to numerous film projects and video-on-demand initiatives, facilitating the learning of Tai Chi for enthusiasts.
Tiffany’s brother, Maximillion “Max” CJ Chen, is also a dedicated practitioner.
Max Chen, who represented the US team in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, has been a teaching assistant at Grandmaster Chen’s New York City school since 1997.
Tiffany Chen’s martial arts journey, rooted in a rich family tradition, adds a fascinating dimension to her public persona.
Beyond being Robert De Niro’s partner, she stands as a testament to the multifaceted nature of individuals and the importance of recognizing achievements beyond the spotlight.
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