Different Tai Chi Styles

There are five major styles of Tai Chi Ch’uan, each named after the Chinese family from which they originated.

The following information numbered 1 – 5 below has been taken from www.wikipedia.org

1. Chen-style

Chen-style of Chen Wangting (1580–1660) was a Ming Dynasty general who founded Chen-style the Tai Chi Ch’uan, sometimes called Chen Wang Ting or Zouting. He devised the Chen family-style of Tai Chi Ch’uan in his home of Chenjiagou, Wenxian County, Henan province after he retired following the fall of the Ming Dynasty

2. Yang-style

Yang-style of Yang Lu-ch’an. Yang Lu-ch’an or Yang Luchan, also known as Yang Fukui (1799–1872), born in Kuang-p’ing (Guangping), was an influential teacher of the internal style martial art of Tai Chi Ch’uan in China during the second half of the 19th century. He is known as the founder of Yang style Tai Chi Ch’uan. This style is the most widely practiced in the western world, particularly the 24 Form also referred to as the Beijing or Peking form.

3. Wu Chien Ch’uan

Wu Chien Ch’uan or Wu Jianquan (1870–1942) was a famous teacher and founder of the neijia martial art of Wu-style Tai Chi Ch’uan in late Imperial and early Republican China.

4. Wu or Wu (Hao)-style

The Wu or Wu (Hao)-style of Tai Chi Ch’uan is a separate family style from the more popular Wu-style of Wu Chien-Ch’uan referred to above. Wu Yu-hsiang’s Tai Chi Ch’uan is a distinctive style with small, subtle movements, highly focused on balance, sensitivity and internal chi development. It is a rare style today, especially compared with the other major styles

5. Sun-style

Sun-style of Sun Lu-t’ang. Sun Lu-t’ang or Sun Lutang (1860-1933) was a renowned master of Chinese neijia (internal) martial arts and the progenitor of the art of Sun style Tai Chi Ch’uan. He was also considered an accomplished Neo-Confucian and Taoist scholar and a distinguished contributor to the theory of internal martial arts through his many published works.

Every one of the above styles has a variety of forms all varying in length and sequence e.g. the Yang style 24 Forms is performed in a sequence of 24 steps or movements. With all Tai Chi styles many of the movements are derived from martial arts attack and defence techniques and from the natural movements of animals and birds.

“While I always practice my Tai Chi with the martial arts applications in mind, I practice to soft slow music complimented by slow and proper breathing so as to enjoy the meditative benefits of this chinese art form”

There are many, many, Tai Chi forms being performed today. To list them all would be of little value on this page. In my experience, particularly in the west, the following forms are more widely promoted and practiced.

  • The 8 and 24 Forms (Yang Style), the 24 form is also called the Peking or Beijing form
  • The 32 and 42 Sword forms (Yang Style)
  • The 42 Competition Combined forms (Chen, Wu, yang and Sun styles) the official 42 competitions Form
  • The18, 19 and 38 forms (Chen Style) These are all short Chen style forms derived from the longer 83 and 74 Chen style forms.
  • The 36 form (Chen style)
  • The 18 and 36 Fan forms (Yang style)
  • The Sun style 73 forms and other “Tai Chi for Health forms” predominently Sun style
  • The longer Chen Style forms Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame, First Routine) and Lao Jia Er lu (Old Frame Second Road) often called Cannon Fist.