“At first, we see only the differences, later all we see are the similarities.”
Tai Chi Chuan is Chinese boxing techniques that are performed, adhering to the theory of Tai Chi, expressed as the interconnected and interdependent principles of Yinyang.
Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Hao, Sun, and Li only look different on the outside, but on the inside they are the same fundamental 13 Postures; 5 Element steps and 8 Bagua energies.
Let me elaborate on the logic of the masters.
There is a child’s game called telephone. A phrase like, “the wild pigs ran through the fields of lavender”, is passed silently down the line, as a whisper into the ear of one child to the next. The objective is not to add or delete, but what happens most often, is as each transfer is made, the original message gets more and more distorted. At the end, the majority is lost.
The masters encoded the theory of Tai Chi and its principles into physical Form. After learning the choreography, the real study and practice begins. Through the generations, the form can be changed intentionally, as long as it adheres to theory and principles. In essence, the external physicality can be different, as long as the internal mentality that crafted the outside stays the same. Tai Chi is vast.
Most also don’t realize there are more similarities theoretically between moves, and that what we see are mere variations of the same theme.
To explain this, one day in seminar, Yang Jun Laoshi stated I can change the Form’s Standard today and nothing will change tomorrow. He also stated his intention is to not change, but preserve his great-grandfather Yang Chengfu’s version of the Long Hand Form. Since the founder, each generation choose to change the Form.
Image: The Masters of the 6 Family styles