Tai Chi

Tutors for Tai Chi: Bill and Alex.

History of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

T'ai-chi ch'uan (also spelled taijiquan and taiji chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial art that comes in so many variations that it's often confusing to the layman. Some styles can trace their lineage back to the founding of the art, while others date back to the early part of the 20th century. Some stress competition, while others emphasize health or self-defence. Obviously, without the proper information, choosing the one that is best for you can be a daunting task. This article will present an overview of the major styles of tai chi, and after reading it you'll be able to understand how one style begot another. And you'll be able to more easily choose one that is right for you.

Before examining the many styles and sub-styles of the art, however, it's wise to heed the advice of t'ai chi ch'uan Grandmaster Tchoung Ta-tchen. He insists that all are valid and beneficial to the student as long as the basic t'ai chi concepts are adhered to - even though many teachers proclaim that theirs is the only correct method.

First, the Art

T'ai-chi ch'uan is usually literally translated as "grand ultimate boxing". I see this as meaning, instead of being an immodest title, the "grand ultimate" portion of the name refers to the Chinese concept of the origin of the universe. That is the principle of yin and yang. In fact, the common yin-yang symbol is properly called the t'ai chi diagram. I see t'ai-chi ch'uan being the art of the harmony of yin and yang, in tangible form.

Yang Cheng-fu style

Yang Cheng-fu (1883-1936) was one of the most important historical figures in modern t'ai chi ch'uan. He taught a "Large Frame" t'ai chi form that used slow, smooth, expansive movements. It was often said that he felt like a steel bar wrapped in cotton. Legend has it he was never defeated in combat. Chang Ching-ling an advanced student of Yang Shao-hou also practiced with him and may have helped develop Yang Cheng-fu's skill.

Yang Cheng Fu taught at the Central Kuo Shu Institute in 1926. When he moved south to Shanghai, he modified the Yang form, taking out the fast kicks and the more strenuous movements. He is also credited with emphasizing the health benefits of the art and popularizing it among the educated class. Yang deserved much of the credit for the current popularity t'ai-chi ch'uan and especially of the Yang style. Some claim he taught one art to the public and another to his closest disciples. Though many experts deny this idea. His form is referred to as "Yang Family Style".

At U3A Tai Chi Bundaberg we mainly use the instruction videos of Earle Montague with the exception of a few changes taken from the original Yang Cheng Fu - Tai Chi style Masters like Master Zhao Youbin. I also added two videos of myself (Alex) in the Earle Montague style with these changes included.

Click below for the instruction videos of Earle or the full form of Master Zhao Youbin or Alex.

The "Tai-Chi Applications" button will link you to and explain all the Tai-Chi moves applications. (Copied from the yang-Chengfu book: The essence and applications of Taijiguan.)

You can download any videos or files for offline use if you wish.

Erle Montaigue Tai Chi 3.WMV