Styles of Tai Chi
Shaolin Kung Fu Guan

There are five major styles of Tai Chi Chuan, each named after the Chinese family from which it originated. Chen style of Chen Wanting (陳氏) Yang style of Yang Luchan (楊氏) Wu or Wu/Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu Yuxiang) (武氏) Wu style of Wu Ch'uan-yü (Wu Quanyuo) and Wu Chien-ch'uan (Wu Jianquan) (吳氏) Sun style of Sun Lutang (孫氏). While each style has its own characteristics, the principles remain the same. The Yang style is the style responsible for Tai Chi’s global popularity due to its health and relaxation benefits.

陳氏 Chen Tai Chi

Chen Style Tai Chi (Taijiquan) was created in Chenjiagou Village, Wenxian County, Henan Province, China in the late Ming Dynasty, almost 400 years ago, by the 9th generation Chen family member; General Chen Wangting. Following a decorated military career General Chen retired to Chenjiagou where he began formulating an internal martial arts that incorporated the wisdom of the ancient Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang, with specialised breathing techniques, and a profound understanding of the internal energy meridians "jingluo" used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Such was its intrinsic power that the art was only passed from master to student in great secrecy and remained hidden for almost 300 years within the village. It was not until the 14th generation of the Chen family (around 120 years ago) that Grandmaster Chen Changxing taught the art to Yang Luchan, a household servant. Yang Luchan (founder of Yang Style Tai Chi) was the first to take the art away from the village and quickly his reputation spread throughout China as an unbeatable Kungfu master using this fascinating art. Chen Tai Chi is characterised by its deep stance and fast and slow movements.

楊氏Yang Tai Chi

Yang Tai Chi was created by Yang Lu Chan a servant and student of Chen Chiang Xing. Yang Lu Chan was the first non Chen Family member to study Tai Chi. Yang style is characterised by slow continuous movements with medium level stances. Yang eventually established a school of Tai Chi in Beijing and taught Tai Chi to the Imperial court and became known as 'Yang the Unsurpassed'

孫氏Sun Tai Chi

Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932) learnt taiji from the Hao Wei Chen. He developed a new style by combining taiji principles with his knowledge of Bagua Zhang and Xingyi Quan. Sun's taijiquan teaches high-standing posture and emphasis on opening, closing and active stepping. Sun Tai Chi is the last of the 5 styles of Tai Chi to be created. Within each turn of the body, there is an "opening" and "closing" action. This is why the style is often called Open/Closing Taijiquan. 武氏

Wu Tai Chi

The Wu Family style of Tai Chi originated with Wu Quan-yu, a student of both Yang Lu-chan, the founder of the Yang Style of Tai Chi, and his son, Yang Pan-hou. He was Manchurian by race and worked as a bodyguard in the Imperial Court in Beijing. Because of his skill in it and his renown, he did much to popularize Tai Chi Chuan. It is said that the smaller movements and more restricted style of the Wu Form (in comparison with the Yang Style) has its origin in the elaborate and restrictive clothes of the Imperial Court. In order to be able to practice combat in this apparel the movements of the original Yang Style had to be modified somewhat.

吳氏Hao (Wu) Tai Chi

Wu Yu Xiang (1812-1880) was a native of Yung Nien, the home County of Yang-style founder, Yang Lu Chan. He later went to Chen village to study with Chen Qing Ping of Zhao Bao Village. This style is characterized by compact, rounded, precise, and high standing postures.

Dongyue Tai Chi

Dongyue or East Mountain Tai Chi was created by Professor Men Hui Feng and his Wife Professor Kan Gui Xing. It was revealed to the world in 2000 atop Mount Tai Shan and was part of the millennium Broadcast. Dongyue Taijiquan is made up of liu pai (6 systems) of Chinese Martial Arts. These being Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua, Baji, Chuo Jiao, Fanzi aswell as combines both Professor Men Hui Feng’s and Professor Kan Gui Xing’s lifetime of experience.

Wu Dang Tai Chi

The Sage Zhang Sanfeng created Tai Chi 13 postures such as: holding the ball, single push, split post, cloud hand, yielding postures etc. These postures have very strong practical application, also combining with Tuna, Caibu, Hun Yuan Zhuan, 3 different Taoist internal cultivation methods to train eight extraordinary channels and the five organs. 13 Postures became a treasures of Wu Dang mountain.

Standardised Tai Chi

Standardised Tai Chi was creatred to promote Tai Chi to everyone. Standardised Tai Chi routines are the most commonly practiced forms in the world today. Through standardisation Tai Chi can be practiced by everyone and in a shorter amount of time than the traditional versions.

  • Yang 24 Step
  • 42 Combined Form
  • 32 Tai Chi Sword
  • 42 Tai Chi Sword

These modern versions of T'ai Chi Ch'uan have since become an integral part of international wushu tournament competition, and have been featured in several popular Chinese movies starring or choreographed by well known wushu competitors, such as Jet Li and Donnie Yen. There are standardised forms for all of the officially recognised Tai Chi styles which can be utilised for competition purposes or for general practice.


Tai Chi also practices with weapons and are seen as an extension of the body. Utilising Weapons also increase concentration and develops further muscle tone. Some of the Weapons practiced in Taiji are:

  • Jian
  • Dao
  • Gun
  • Qiang
  • Fan
  • Double Fan
  • Kwan Dao (Da Dao)
  • Double Jian
  • Double Dao
  • Long Gun
  • Dagger
  • Disjointed Staff

Like many Chinese Martial Arts there are more Weapons than listed however they all utilise the principles of Tai Chi regardless of the style.