by Steven Howland
One of the questions I get frequently is about the different Tai Chi Styles. There are three main schools of Tai
Chi; Yang, Sun and Chen. Yang style is the most common form practiced, but Chen and Sun Styles have
increased in popularity in recent years. All the styles are named after the family
Yang style, named after Yang Lu Chon (1799-1872) is was brought to the US by Cheng Man Ching, the subject
of the upcoming documentary at Amherst Cinema, and it’s popularity spread from there. It’s what most people
think of when they hear the word Tai Chi and it is a wonderful form with endless learning possibilities, including
the solo form, two person forms, cane form, sword form, and long stick from. There is too much to say here, so
if you want you can find more reading at http://www.beginnerstaichi.com/yang-tai-chi.html
All Tai Chi is, of course, characterized by the slow, fluid movements and meditative energy. The differences
brought to the form by Chen Style, from General Chen Wanting, are the balance of fast and slow, hard and fast
movements that make the self-defence aspects of Tai Chi more visible. It is a more demanding physical style.
Sun Style, from Sun Lu-tang, moves Tai Chi more toward the internal and health related aspects. It is done with
a higher stance, less kicking and punching, and more built in QiGong (more on that later).
More reading about Chen and Sun style is at http://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/comparing-chen-and-sun-styles/
In our classes at the Shelburne Falls Yoga studio we are practicing a modified Sun Style that is design to get at
the core health benefits of Tai Chi and be simple and fun to learn. But a nice thing about this form as an
introduction as it is just the opening to a whole big world of Tai Chi. I began with this style and have gone on to
study both Yang and Chen styles. They are all fascinating and endless pools of learning.
Join us anytime and at any level
Steve Howland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tai Chi for Health
Shelburne Falls Yoga Studio
Thursdays: noon to 1