Styles and forms

Header image

Styles and forms

Chen Shi Taiji Quan

Since the original practice of Master Chen Wanting are officially recognized, five schools of Taiji Quan, also every school has several variants, in Chen style  we can at least include:

Laojia 0f  Dajia: Old school of the great chain of Master Chen Chanxing (14th generation). Extensive movements and postures. Great use of Fajing (explosive force

Xinjia of Xiaojia: New school of the small chain of Master Chen Youben (14th generation). Of small circles and elastic movements and limited use of Fajing

Zhaobaojia: From the original Xiao Jia Chen Qingping (15th generation) created a variant, practiced in the village of Zhaobao style also known as He style, or Hejia,  of small and intricate movements.

Huleijia: The style of "Thunder" original of Li Jingyan a student of Chen Qingping, which combined the original Zhaobao, with a style called  Yun Chi Chui, wich was (also nowadays) practiced mainly in the town near Chenjiagou, Wangedun. Jerky movements and spectacular techniques of Fajing.

Xinjia the Dajia: New school of the great chain. Original of  Master Chen Fake (17th generation) this school has big movements, spectacular Fajing techniques and heavy use of Chansijing movements (strength of the silk thread) where Qinna techniques (dislocations) are evident.

Yang Shi Taiji Quan of Yang Luchan

Yang luchan (1799 - 1872)

Also called Yang Fukui, was born in the town of Yongnian, Hebei province. According to the tradition was the first foreigner to be initiated into the practice of Taiji Quan. Yang Luchan would be the creator of what later became the school of Taiji Quan. His fascinating story, and not without controversy, seems taken from a swashbuckling romance.

From humble beginnings and orphaned at the age of ten,  at such a tender age survived working as a servant in the house of Chen Dehu a landlord living in Chenjiagou.At the time Master Chen Chanxin was teaching Taiji Quan in the courtyard of the Chen Sehu's house. During their work Tang Lu Chan often watched fascinated as Master Chen Chanxing taught his classes. Almost a family member he had no big trouble to being accepted as a student. Persevering and especially skillful in the practice eventually became an accomplished expert in Taiji Quan. After the death of Chen Dehu, staying nearly thirty years within the Chen family, and following the death of his master, was sent to his hometown Yongnian. In his farewell Master Chen Chanxing said that as accomplished martial arts expert should not ever fear that he lacked food and shelter.

The building where the pharmacy was located, belonged to the Wu family one of the most influential of Yongnian. It consisted of three brothers  Wu Ruqing, Wu Heqing and Wu Chenqing. Advised by the latter and through a personal recommendation, Yang Luchan went to Beijing and got the job of official instructor's in the personal guard of the court of Prince Tuan. Thereafter Yang Luchan's fame became legendary as a fighter, he faced many challenges without ever leaving defeated, for which he received the nickname "Yang the Invincible" at the same time passed for a person of impeccable moral quality.

Yang Luchan had three children: Yang Banghou (1837-1892), Yang Jianhou (1839-1917) and Yang Fenghou each of whom developed a different style. Yang Banhou developed a chain of closed circles, Yang Jianhou opted for a chain  medium, while Yang Fenghou continued the great chain learned from his father.

Yang Chengfu (1883 - 1936)

Yang Style Taiji Quan is currently the most widely used style, this is due mainly to the figure of Yang Chengfu (1883 - 1936), grandson of Yang Luchan and third son of Yang Jianhou, this practice changed the original, closer to Chen style by eliminating difficult movements or those that could be harmful to the health of the practitioner, such as violent blows on the floor, also slowed ostensibly practice, emphasizing energy and therapeutic aspects of art. The result was a sequence of graceful movements and continuous.

Master Yang Chengfu listed 10 basic principles for practice:


  1. The energy at the top of the head should be light and sensitive (Xu Ling Ding Jing)
  2. Relax the chest and stretch your back (Han Xiong Ba Bei)
  3. Relax the waist and hips (Song Yao Song Kua)
  4. Distinguish between full and empty (Shi Feng Xu)
  5. Sink the shoulders and elbows drop (Chen Jia Zhou Zhui)
  6. Using creative thinking and not muscle strength (Yi Bu Yong Li Yong)
  7. Bind the top and bottom (Shang Xia Xiang Sui)
  8. Join inside and outside (Nei Wai Ziang He)
  9. Linking movements without interruption (Liao Bu Xiang Duao)
  10. Search the calm within the movement (Zhing Qiu Dong Jing)

Also the philosophical aspects as well as special emphasis in the use of relaxation in return for the use of force were exalted. For this purpose, was particularly notable work of Chen Wei Ming and especially Zheng Manqing (1901 - 1975), both graduates of Yang Chengfu.

Master Zheng Manqing, lawyer and man of deep knowledge on traditional, medicine, calligraphy, painting, music and martial arts practice, hence the nickname he received a master of the "five excellent", it seems is due to him the structuring of the texts of the Yang family

We must also thank the Master Zheng Manqing, the introduction of Taiji Quan in the West, particularly in the U.S., and whose school is now widely available.

 Wu School (Hao) of Wu  Yuxiang

Wu Yu Xiang (1812-1880)

Also called school Hao honoring Hao Weizhen, one of their  more representatives teachers. his lineage comes like the Yang school of the Chen family.

Wu Yu Xiang (1812-1880) was born in Yongnian as Yang Luchan and  started under his thumb the practice of Taiji Quan. After some practice time, he went to Chenjiagou to train with the Master Chen Chanxing.

wu yuxiangStaying at an inn in Zhaobao, a village near Chenjiagou, he heard that Master Chen Chanxing was sick, (in fact died soon after), as advised by the landlord, Wu Yuxiang came to visit Chen Qing Ping that was also teaching in the area. Master Chen Qing Ping was also a member of the Chen family. However, his practice was that of Xiaojia, chen style variant.

According to sources in the Chen family, stood by Wu Yuxiang Chen Qing Ping for a period no longer of three months, after which, he created a variant of the style more closed and elastic  (similar to Xiaojia) without explosive movements, but maintaining some features of the ancient practice, such as jump kicks.

Mandarin of low rank, and therefore counsel member of a bourgeois family, is credited with his two brothers, part of the development of the theory of Taiji Quan, the implications on traditional Chinese philosophy, became thereafter more evident.

This school is still a minority, but as Chen style, is now booming.

Wushi Taiji Quan of Wu Jianquan

Wu Jianquan (1870 - 1942)

The origin of this school is  Wu Jianquan (1870 - 1942), a native of Daqing. He learned Taiji Quan from his father, a military called Quan You of Manchu origin, member of the Shen Ji Ying  (Emperor's personal guard) and  disciple of Yang Banghou, although other versions of Yang Luchan himself.

Wu Jianquan  developed a practice of movements more compact and closed, in which the position of the trunk is slightly steeper than the Yang school, yet retains the same principles of fluidity and continuity characteristic of this latter.

In 1914 in the time of the republic, Wu Jian Quan worked as a martial arts instructor in the school of military defense at the presidential palace and in the Institute of Physical Education in Beijing. In 1928 he became Assistant Director of the Association of martial arts in Shanghai

Wu school today is widespread and is especially popular among overseas Chinese communities.

 Sun Lutang School

Master Sun Lutang (1861-1933)

learned Taiji Quan from Hao Weizhen. Already Master of styles as, Xing Yi Quan and Bagua Zhang, Sun Lutang developed a very dynamic style. As called Huo Jia Bu or structure of living steps "In it is revealed the influence of the styles mentioned above.

His daughter, Sun Jian Jun died recently did a great work of promotion,, thanks to that this style are interwoven with full rights in the family of Taiji Quan


Contemporary Taiji Quan

More recently, at the behest of the government of the Republic of China, have synthesized various forms of Taiji Quan. Some of these forms, smaller, have been created to facilitate the learning of traditional forms, often very long and of difficult implementation.

There are also exercises that unify synthesis of different styles into one form. There are also forms of competition, which meet the criteria for each style, which are regularly included in Wu Shu tournaments.

Finally, we consider the forms that have developed different teachers in each school for pedagogical reasons, and have not been registered officially

In this rare photograph taken in the 70 S. XX  we can find five of the most famous representants of the different styles of Tai Ji Quan. Starting on the right: Yang Zheng Duo (Yang), Wang Pei Sheng (Wu), Hong Jun Sheng (Chen), Feng Zhiqiang (Chen) and Chen Xiao Wang (Chen).