When people speak of Tai Chi, usually they speak of it as a single style, even (in my experience) among those who are knowledgeable about martial arts. At first look, they do look very similar in that they each catalog and teach its techniques through the use of extensive forms practice at slow paces. They seem to have very similar techniques. So what makes one style of Tai Chi distinct from another?


1 Answer 1

  • Chen-style has explosive movements (fajin), jumps, directional changes.. It is the style of Daiji closed to Bagua.
  • The Yang style is more flowing, has bigger and more open postures (longer stances, arms open wider). It has a slow form and a fast form, thus separating concepts that are found together in the Chen forms.
  • Wu style has a higher stances and smaller circles than Yang. It is also sometimes called Hao style.
  • Sun style is in fact a combination of Xing-Yi, Bagua and Wu-style Daiji created by Sun Lu Tang, so it has some properties of each: the more evasive movements of Bagua and the more "martial flavor" of Xing-Yi.
  • Wujian style is very close to the Yang style but has higher stances and a recognizable leaning forward of the torso in most of the movements.

The above is a summary of information found in a compact yet readable manner on this website, which I really recommend as a read on TaiChi, as it has a lot of very good information on Bagua, Xing-Yi, and some fairly fundamental concepts including how to stand / good posture and a page on the philosophy of martial arts.

  • There's also Guan Ping-style, which emphasizes striking. I'm not too sure on the specifics, as my sifu only teaches it incidentally to xingyi and bagua, which is why this isn't an answer.
    – cha0sys
    Jan 5, 2013 at 1:20
  • @chaosys - I'm very curious about that! Would you mind asking your shifu for more information on that style, like its origins, etc?
    – Anon
    Jan 5, 2013 at 2:58
  • Fu style has also gotten more attention recently, arising from Bagua Dragon Palm. This video is the the third generation pure lineage, although hsingyi focusing is considered by many to be the specialty Fu Shen-long, and it was his father Fu Wing-fay who most most advanced Fu tai chi. Here's a video of Liang Yi, a fusion between bagua and tai chi. In the Shen-long video you can see the characteristic waist technique, extension, leg sweeps & kicking in "step back & repulse monkey."
    – DukeZhou
    Dec 15, 2020 at 19:02
  • Note that Fu Zhensong first learned Chen style, and later in exchanged ideas with Sun Lu-t'ang and Yang Chengfu, learning those styles from those masters.
    – DukeZhou
    Dec 15, 2020 at 19:07

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