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Taiji Quan

Taiji Quan Styles

Introduction Yang Style

Different styles of Taiji Quan

There are at least 3 different theories about the existence of Taiji Quan, but non of these can be verified. Without much doubt there are a number of similarities that can be determined.

  • Scriptures about breathing techniques and qi-circulation that resemble the internal practices of what today is known as Taiji Quan, are to be found from the fourth century B.C.
  • During the Ming-Dynasty (roughly from the 14th until the 17th century) the name Taiji Quan appears for the first time. In this period the different existence theories are situated, which does conclude that this merger of wushu and Taoistic philosophy are at least 300 years old.
  • The oldest and most martial style is the Chen style. It is known for low stands, whirling energy and a wide variety between supple and soft on one hand, and explosive on the other hand. This style was created by the Chen family in Chen village, were it was handed over from father to son for 14 generations.
  • With the 14th generation there is a split. Chen Chang-Xing continues the "Old Frame Styles" and passes, according to the ancient tradition, his knowledge to his family and next of kin, but also to a number of "outsiders" among which Yang Lu-Chan who, as his name betrays, is the founder of the Yang-Style.
  • At the same time, Chen You-Ben develops the "New Frame Style" In the tradition that results from this, we get Wú Yu-Xiang, that next to his own tradition came in contact with the handover form Yang Lu-Chan and from this cross-pollination develops the Wú style.
  • After a few generations of Wú style, it is the teaching of Sun Lu-Tang that gives rise to the existence of the Sun style.
  • Finally there is the Wu style: A separation of the Yang style trough the son of Yang Lu-Chan (Yang Ban-Hou). He only took "the small frame" from his father and passed this knowledge to Wu Quan-You. This lineage, that initially stayed within the Wu family, has developed a training method and a large number of routines that they taught as a pleasant and coherent whole. This style is very popular in certain areas and The Netherlands has the privilege to have an excellent teacher, that is sifu Ma.

In general it is accepted that there are 5 traditional Taiji Quan styles in China, Chen, Yang, Wú, Sun and Wu. Of these styles it is without a doubt the Yang style that is the most practiced and widespread, also outside China. This style has on its own three traditions of training methods, which made it the reason to the frequent creation of new (younger) styles.

The variety in styles and performance of the routines is great. This does not only count for the Yang style, but also for the others of which the characteristics can differ greatly, depending on the region or influence and interpretation of a remarkable teacher. Within certain boundaries these differences are generally accepted. In any case they're based on the principle that everyone respects his teacher and consequently the lineage where he to belongs and tries to practice and transfer his tradition as good as possible.