Taiji Quan Today

The Tai Ji Quan styles officially acknowledged today are five:

1) the Tai Ji Chen (Chen Wangting, beginning of 1600)
2) the Tai Ji Yang (Yang Lu Chan, 1799-1872)
3) the Tai Ji Wu (of Wu Yuxiang, 1812-1880)
4) the Tai Ji Wu (of Wu Quanyu, 1870-1942)
5) the Tai Ji Sun (Sun Lu Tang, 1861-1933, but he created the Sun style only around 1914)

In the brackets are shown the names of the five official Tai Qi Quan styles and the respective founders, in chronological order.

Chen Taiji works and is characterized mainly by the spiral movements. Its execution is not constant, because it alternates slow, soft phases and sudden explosions of power with very swift and quick motions.

Yang Taiji is mainly based on wide circles of arms and legs, extremely flowing and harmonious movements that are always made at the same speed and should be executed with great lightness, opening the body as much as possible without contractures.

Wu Taiji (of Wu Yuxiang) is marked out by a movement of the hands with small spirals and small circles, short steps mostly rectilinear. There are sudden explosions of power, but the greatest part of the movements are slow and harmonious.

Wu Taiji (of Wu Quanyou) is very similar to the Yang, from which it comes from, but it is marked out by positions of the body more inclined than in the Yang. The speed of execution is constant.

Sun Taiji is very peculiar because, while it is partially similar to the Wu (of Wu Yuxiang), it contains innumerable elements of Pa Kua Zhang ( Boxing of the Eight Trigraphs) and Shing Yi Quan ( Boxing of the Mind’s Form). In fact its founder, Sun Lu Tang, was a great expert of these styles and, combining them together, he created a style of fight that puts together the straight and rectilinear movements of the Shing Yi, some evasive steps of the Pa Kua and the fluid and soft movement of hands of the Tai Ji Chuan. 

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