All styles of Tai Chi Chuan today are based on the original 13 Postures. Although today this is the commonly used translation*, 13 Dynamics might be more accurate because it is not a Form consisting of various postures, but the 5 Directional Steps and 8 Energies. Theoretically, the theories of Tai Chi (Yinyang), 5 Element, and Bagua (I Ching) are applied to movement, energy absorption and expression. Certainly each style interprets these foundations in their own unique way, but as a family of martial arts, we share more similarities than differences.
Seeing the similarities between techniques of a Form is the first step in seeing similarities between styles.
Through the generations each lineage holder Master would sets their own Standard of teaching. As choreography, Forms are performed in a specific manner expressing the current Master’s teachings. Master Yang Jun stated, that he was preserving the Standard set by his great grandfather, Yang Chengfu.
There is an expression related to the Long Form, “108 Pearls on a String”. 108 is the number of movements in the Form and the string is the same thread that binds them all together, known as the Kung; the Skill of Tai Chi Chuan that we all strive to internalize into our bodies. A short Form with less choreography allows the student to focus on Kung first. Once sufficient Kung is obtained, learning more moves offers more challenge by applying Kung in a wide variety of ways. We continue to learn, but at a higher level of proficiency. Section 1 of the Long Form teaches all the required fundamentals of Tai Chi Chuan.
The Long Form (103) has been used to create many shorter forms (know as simplified Tai Chi) over the years serving different functions, but all utilize the same Kung.
Kung (10) / 13 / 16 / Essential (22) / Senior (26) / 49 / and 103. The 16 was developed for a university semester and the 49 is used for demonstrations and tournaments because it only take 10 minutes to perform.
*Many translations that were made in the past may not have been the best, but through many years, even decades of common usage, they get established and deeply rooted.
Visit our association at: