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#431445 - 02/02/11 07:35 AM Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences
Dobbersky Offline
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Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
All,

What are the actual differences between Chen, Yang & Wu Styles of Tai Chi Quan. Plus others that I can't think of. I see the forms on You Tube, I have a Wu Style Taichi Book and a Chen Style Taichi Book and the lineage all points towards Chen, but they all look same.

Thanks
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#431457 - 02/06/11 10:23 AM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Dobbersky]
Prizewriter Offline
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Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
I've only done some Yang and a short Wu form, so I'm hardly an expert. I'll do my best anyway.

This cannot be stated enough: Taijiquan is a feeling art, not a visual art (unless you want to do a Wushu competitional Tai Chi form). So simply looking at forms won't give you much of an answer.

That said did you not notice different stances in forms? Generally Chen features lower stances and big movements, Yang is more upright than Chen, Wu has a lot narrow stance and favours a leaning posture.

Be careful about the videos you are watching. A lot of Taiji videos online are of dubious origin and generally poor quality.
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#431460 - 02/07/11 11:06 AM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Prizewriter]
Dobbersky Offline
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Much appreciated Sir,

I agree it is an internal art but some of the forms look virtually identical and as the styles are all suppose to be generated from the Chen family I was wondering why the Family names etc used for Yang and Wu if it is actually Chen but the form's stances are different? With Karate Forms even though some are different they still use the same name, for example Bassai via the Wado Version against the Shotokan version or the Korean TSD version, its still called Bassai.
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

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#431462 - 02/07/11 04:20 PM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Dobbersky]
Prizewriter Offline
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Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Dobbersky

It's hard to say. For a start there is a lot of debate about what exactly Chen Wangting knew and who had taught him. You have to consider as well that many teachers like Sun Lutang had extensive training in arts like Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, and what in Sun Taijiquan can be called Taiji and what can be called Xingyi or Bagua is very complicated to grasp.

Another point to make is that apparently a lot of what is taught as modern Chen, Yang and Sun Taiji was only codified and developed at the start of the 20th century.

Case in point: One of the most common forms taught in Yang classes is the so called 24 form. This form only came in to existence in 1956, having been knocked together by 4 Tai Chi teachers at the governments request:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_Form_%28Simplified_Form%29_T%27ai_Chi_Ch%27uan

A lot of what is shown and taught as Taiji today in the West (heck, even in China) may be as little as 100 or even 50 years old. Where it came from and what influenced it are complicated and detailed questions I'm afraid I can't really answer.

In conclusion, I would say that to suggest all Taiji is essentially Chen taiji may be an over-simplification. Classifying something as Chen or Yang may not make much difference anyway. Regardless of style a good Taiji teacher is a good Taiji teacher, and they are incredibly rare in the West.
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#431468 - 02/08/11 12:30 PM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Prizewriter]
Dobbersky Offline
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Registered: 03/13/06
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Totally agree with you there, I read too that it takes years before the applications ae taught to a TaiChi practitioner. So the Arts Of Chin Na are quite rare too.

Thank you for answering my questions
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

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#431516 - 02/13/11 06:35 AM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Dobbersky]
Prizewriter Offline
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Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
No worries. You touched on something which irritated me about a lot of Taiji teachers... all this "it takes 10 years to master Taiji" nonsense. I know good Taiji classes that teach applications and Push hands from more or less the first class. I actually find the portrayal of Taijiquan as some sort of esoteric system to be quite harmful. Sure it takes a lot of practice and has a steep learning curve, but if you've got a good teacher and you make the effort you can see results pretty quickly and I've yet to hear any good explanations as to why you shouldn't learn applications/push hands relatively soon after training.
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"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#431573 - 02/18/11 03:09 AM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Prizewriter]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
I hate that whole 'ten years' thing too... the trouble in the taiji world is that most of those teaching 'martial' taiji are nerds whose most brutal fight had is was usually with their little sister or on Street Fighter so you end up with dubious stuff to say the least. Last night I only taught applications in both the beginner and advanced classes. Once you actually show people how the powerful aligned 'shapes' of taiji fit into head butts, shoulder barges, elbows and cutting strikes you see that it is more or less a brawling art. It can really help to put some spunk into a beginners practice.... from day one.

Also I think the whole 'Chen is this' and 'Yang is that' is a mute point because of the points Prizewriter has already mentioned. We are so far from the source now. Even in my case, my instructor studied directly under Mae Lee Yang, Yang Chen Fu's grand daughter so you could say I'm as close to the source as I'm ever likely to get. BUT to say that I'm studying the original Yang system is stupid, and actually very untaiji. We have no idea of what changes have been made as the system was past down through the generations. And also would you want to study a form that hasn't been improved for 200 years?

Taiji is a dynamic art and one that should improve with each generation - actually each time you practice! We utilize as much sports and medical science theory into our lessons as we do the classics. To deny knowledge is about the most undynamic thing you can do... and not taiji. wink
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#432631 - 06/03/11 03:02 PM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Gavin]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I suppose the basic difference is the "silk-reeling" motion which Chen makes a great deal of.

re 10 years. My sifu wouldn't teach me application of technique until he felt my moves were good. We eventually spent time doing push hands. I would have preferred a couple of direct application lessons because I would have understaood the move more. I'd trained for a couple of weeks with Brendan Burnett in south England and he taught apps early on (at least demonstrating what the moves were for).

After 5 years I felt it was a bit weird that if I ever had the misfotune to be attacked, I'd have to use TKD, even tho' I hadn't trained in it for over 5 years.

I don't train TC anymore.
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#432633 - 06/03/11 07:07 PM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: trevek]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
I can relate Trevek. I was told the same thing by a Taiji teacher. Learn the forms first, improve your body skill, then come the apps/push hands. So I knuckled down for about 6 months. I noticed nobody was doing any apps or push hands in the class. I asked one senior student who had been training for almost 5 years had he ever done any apps/push hands. He said he had not. I left the class a short time later. Didn't think it was worth the money.

A while later, I was talking to another Taijiquan teacher. He said he knew my previous teacher and had actually TAUGHT the guy. Turns out my former teacher had about 3 years of training and what he had been shown in applications or push hands could be documented entirely on the back of a stamp.

The problem with Taijiquan is it is traditionally sooo very esoteric that it is hard to know who is genuine and who is feeding you bs. If you want to see if a teacher has the goods or not, you can't because "you're not ready for it yet" or "you're chi isn't strong enough".

I honestly felt no benefit from the Taijiquan I did. To be fair I did learn some Qi Gong during my Taiji study which seemed to benefit me. I think it is hard to find people who a)have genuine knowledge of the martal aspects of Taijiquan b) can transmit that knowledge in a practical way.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#432641 - 06/04/11 12:45 AM Re: Chen, Yang & Wu Styles Differences [Re: Dobbersky]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Dobbersky:

I'll stick with the gist from C.W. Nicol's classic book "Moving Zen". Nicol one day witnessed a Tai Chi demonstration of incredible power early one Sunday morning and spoke with his teacher about what he had seen.

Essentially his teacher (T. Nakayama ?) suggested that for human beings Kara-te was best... for super humans beings perhaps Tai Chi, and that some Tai Chi teachers may be just that...

As for what you truly see watching/learning Tai Chi either on the web or elsewhere. Myself I find it madness, insanity literally. I am thankful the Okinawan kata are not cyclical, endlessly circular in the way Tai Chi seems... very identifiable, and not remotely confused for more than a second or two at most.

I like the straight lines, pretty distinct, very linear movements thanks.

jeff

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