Tai Chi Chuan
(Supreme Ultimate Boxing)
Tai-Chi Chuan or TaiJiQuan is the third of the "three sisters" of Neijia, or Internal Martial Arts (Kung Fu) practice. The Neijia School of thought is comprised of Tai Chi (Taiji), PaKua (Bagua) and Hsing I (Xingyi) as primary disciplines.
There are many different styles of Tai Chi Chuan being practiced today. The most famous schools are named for the families which developed them. Chen Style, Yang Style, Wu Style and Sun Style would likely be the most widely recognized by folks today.
Each style of Tai Chi Chuan is distinctly different in flavor and appearance from the other methods, or families, as they are sometimes called.
Chen style is the original method, credited to Chen Wan Ting of Chen village. Chen style is known for its dramatic changes of pace punctuated by vigorous and powerful appearing releases of fah jing energy and occasionally leaping movements. Indeed, some people, if having never seen Chen Style performed, will be swayed into thinking it is not Tai Chi (Taiji) at all. Chen style, when properly taught will place a great deal of emphasis on the usage aspects of the art, in addition to the much touted health benefits.
Yang style, in contrast to the Chen style, is completely smooth and slow in appearance of practice. Its stances are not nearly as deep as the Chen style, and there will be no appearance of fah jing energy in the practice of the Yang style form. The original Yang style is said to delineate from Yang Lu Ch'an, who apparently studied Chen style to learn tai chi and then he or his subsequent generations, for whatever reason, chose to modify the format. Many folks today practice an abbreviated form of the Yang style, known as the Short Form of Yang, introduced to this country by one of the more noted exponents of the style, Cheng Man Ching.
There are two varieties of the Wu style being practiced today. Like the Yang style, one Wu style is smooth and slow in appearance, carrying a much higher stance even than the Yang style, and using an extended bracing posture throughout much of the form. The other Wu style is similar in form, but uses a bit lower basin in the stance and has some mild fah jing releasing present here and there in the context of the practice.
The last style, known as Sun style, is a more recent addition to the tai chi spectrum, contributed by Sun Lu Tang. Many Tai Chi stylists today believe this to be more of a Chi Kung related practice than it is truly Tai Chi Chuan. But, that has not precluded this style from becoming widely practiced in the world today. It is an unusual form, to say the least.
There are several recognized spelling and/or renderings of this arts name. The most common being TaiChi Chuan, from the Wade/Giles, or TaiJiQuan from the newer PinYin system of Chinese phonetics. Other common spellings include the abbreviated Tai Chi or TaiJi. Also, on occasion an apostrophe is added, as in Tai Chi Ch'uanto further emphasize the pronunciation.
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