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Five Styles of Tai Chi

T'ai Chi (Taijiquan in pinyin or t'ai chi chuan in Wade-Giles) has five styles:

Sun is the youngest style: about 200 years old. It focuses on inner energy movement called Neigong and uses small steps in a circle. Bagua is a Sun technique.

Wu is slow and uses a forward leaning stance

Wu Yuxiang or Wu Hao has small , tight movements. The hands are never crossed and do not stretch beyond your toes.

Yang is slow and has circular movements. It's the most popular and best known style in the West. It is used for health and as moving meditation.

Chen is the oldest Tai Chi style: about 400 years old.  It uses slow/ fast (yin/yang) moves with kicks, jumps and punches. I think it is the best fighting style of the five because it is dynamic. You use the energy and momentum from your opponent to defeat him therefore you don't have to be big or strong to do it like in some other martial arts forms.

I learned this style from my uncle.


xiaomei xiaomei 26-30, F 3 Responses Mar 11, 2009

Your Response


xiaomei,Thank you for your informative story. I am interested in learning Tai Chi at some point here in the near future. I am a practitioner of Wing Chun gung fu. It seems to me form your explanation, Chen style is most similar to Wing Chun. (Are you familliar with Wing Chun?) Wing Chun was developed by a Shaolin nun and, as tradition holds, was mastered by Yim Wing Chun, a small woman who passed it on. Wing Chun focuses on doing everything as simply as possible. Economy of movement and energy and using the opponent's momentum and strength to defeat him... As you said, Yang style is most well known and is the style I was looking into. But now I will look into Chen style Tai Chi.Thank you.

That's true. Both Neigong and Waigong types of Qigong are in all martial arts. Some work from the inside out and some from the outside in. Like Bagua which has small, repeating outer movements. While doing these the flow of inner energy becomes calm and controllable. Then it can be directed outwards.

I was learning Wu Hao style for a while but found it rather restrictive after having practiced karate for years. There is, I think, neigong in all forms of martial arts, if you find a knowledgeable and skilled enough teacher to train with. And often, those inner skills aren't revealed until you've reached a high rank in the physical training. I think they should be taught from the beginning.<br />
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BTW, I don't think you have to be big and strong to do karate. Well, maybe not big..