Styles of Tai Chi

Traditional Chen Style Tai Chi

Traditional Chen Style First FormChen Style Tai Chi

Chen style is the oldest Tai Chi form and retains a strong martial arts quality. The style is characterized by varying opening and closing circular movements executed at different heights and speeds, including explosive expressions of force. This form is suitable for those who want a medium to high intensity exercise as well as an introduction to the harmonious interplay of hard and soft and the ongoing spiraling (or “silk-reeling”) motions that are fundamental to Chen Style Tai Chi.

Chen Style Second Form (“Cannon Fist”)

The second Chen style form (also called “Cannon Fist”) is quite demanding and requires learning to balance very vigorous and very soft, relaxed movements. It is based on the first form, but adds more difficult motions such as jumping, rotating, hitting, and moving energy sequentially from your center through your limbs. It is suitable for those who want a more challenging medium to high intensity exercise.


Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi

Traditional Yang Style Long FormYang Style Tai Chi Sword

Yang style is the most popular Tai Chi form in the world today and can be practiced by people of all ages. It is characterized by slow, graceful, opening and closing movements carried out at a smooth, even pace. It’s suitable for those who want a low to medium intensity exercise that improves balance, flexibility, and coordination while strengthening the body and improving internal circulation.


Yang Style and Chen Style Sword Tai Chi

Each sword form is based on movements from its respective Tai Chi style but presents the challenge of gracefully executing those movements while handling the straight sword. The extra weight of the weapon and complexity of the moves require a high level of relaxation as well as body and mind control in order to keep the form soft and flowing. Both are medium to high intensity exercises.


Push Hands (Tui Shou)

Push Hands (Tui Shou) is an exercise performed by two people who wish to improve their Tai Chi skills. Practicing the Tai Chi solo form teaches one to remain balanced, focused and relaxed while in motion, but only through the practice of Tai Chi Push Hands does one improve these abilities while in physical contact with another human being. To be balanced and relaxed while in contact with another person who is moving is a difficult task. Attainment of this ability opens the door to mastery of martial skill through Tai Chi Chuan.

Push Hands provides Tai Chi practitioners with a format to test and improve upon their relaxation, flexibility, timing, balance, and poise while in contact with another person. Push Hands also provides a gentle way to “compete” with other Tai Chi practitioners without the risk of injury. There are many variations of this exercise, each with its own particular benefits.


San Shou

San Shou is a Chinese hand-to-hand self-defense system and combat sport. Not seen as a style itself, rather it is considered as just one of the two components of Chinese martial arts training and is often taught alongside with taolu (forms) training.

As a sport, San Shou is practiced in tournaments and is normally held alongside taolu events in wushu competition. For safety reasons, some techniques from the self-defense form such as elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks, are not allowed during tournaments. Competitors can win by knockout or points which are earned by landing strikes to the body or head, throwing an opponent, or when competition is held on a raised platform, pushing them off the platform.

Fighters are only allowed to clinch for a few seconds. If the clinch is not broken by the fighters, and if neither succeeds in throwing his opponent within the time limit, the referee will break the clinch.


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