Tai Chi Chuan 太極拳
Traditional Yang and Chen style
Taijiquan has been practiced by the Chinese for health and
self-defense for many centuries. The study of Taiji gives
the practitioner an excellent method for relaxation and for
enhancing internal energy (氣
Qi). It can be practiced by people of all ages. The practice
of Taiji has been shown to improve one’s health with a
variety of problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis,
asthma, stomach ailments, heart problems, and nervousness.
is a healing/martial art that combines martial arts
movements with Qi circulation, breathing, and stretching
techniques. It utilizes the ancient philosophy of
and the Five-Element theories
for its foundation and
for establishing its training
principles. There are many styles of Taijiquan throughout
China. The five most popular ones are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu-Hao,
and Sun Taijiquan. There are
within each of these Taijiquan styles.
offers classes in Yang 楊
and Chen 陳
The originator of the Yang style
Taiji was Yang Luchan (1800-1873) from Yongnian in Hebei Province. Yang went to
learn Taiji boxing from Chen Changxing in the Chenjia Valley as a boy. When
grown up, he returned to his native town to teach the art. To suit the needs of
common people, Yang Luchan made some changes and dropped some highly difficult
moves, such as force irritating, broad jumps and foot thumping. His son
routine, which was further simplified by his grandson. The
grandson's form of the Yang style Taiji was later taken as the prototype of the
Yang style Taijiquan. Because of its comfortable postures, simplicity and
practicability, this form has become the most popular routine for exercise and
The Yang style Taijiquan features
agreeable movements and actions
combining hardness, softness and naturalness.
Like other styles of Taiji, Yang
style relies on partnered push-hands practice to develop the student's ability
to listen, stick, neutralize, follow, and uproot an opponent. Yang style and its
descendants include weapons training with straight Jian (sword), Dao (saber ),
Gun (staff) and Qiang (spear).
Chen style is the oldest style of Taiji practiced today. It originated in Chenjiagou in Henan province near the
town of Dengfeng (and near the famous Shaolin Temple). It was first taught by
Chen Wan-Ting in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Chen style practice is characterized
by low, powerful stances, by supple whole-body twining and coiling movements,
and by explosive releases of power called fajin.
The Chen style includes two barehand
training sets, usually called Yilu (first set) or Changquan (Long
Boxing), and Erlu (second set) or Paochui (Cannon Fist). Chen
style Taiji also includes Tuishou (push-hands), and numerous classical
weapons, such as Jian (sword), Dao (saber), Qiang (spear),
Gun (staff) and others. All the weapons sets exhibit the characteristic
twining and coiling motions of the Chen style Taijiquan.
The Chen Style Taijiquan falls into
two categories - the old and the new frames. Chen Wan-Ting created the old frame
himself. It has five routines, which were also known as the 13-move boxing. Chen
Wan-Ting also developed a long style boxing routine of 108 moves and a cannon
boxing routine. It was then handed down to Chen Chang-Xing and Chen You-Ben,
boxers in the Chenjia Valley who were all proficient at the old frame. Chen
Fa-Ke created the new frame (Xinjia) in the 20th century and added more details
to the old frames. The present day Chen style Taiji boasts of the Laojia (old
frame) and the Xinjia (new frame).