张三丰 Zhang Sanfeng
1. How did Tai Chi begin?
There are two theories
Around the Yuan and Ming Dynasty - Chang Sanfeng - about 600-700 years ago lived in Shaolin Temple and went to WuDang Mountain and created Tai Chi. He saw a crane fighting with a snake. The crane was always hard. The snake would yield and follow the crane and did not resist and so he didn't lose his life to the crane. Hard was controlled by soft.
Created by Chen Family about 300 years ago by Chen Wangting.
2. How many styles of Tai Chi are there and what are their differences?
There are 5 different styles of Tai Chi that are connected with each other. Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu and Sun styles. All 5 styles are connected together; their outside movements are a little different but inside the energies are the same.
Chen Style - is fast and slow combined together with some jumping and stomping movements. Old form and cannon fist was created from the 17th generation.
Yang Style - Yang Luchan learned the old form/frame from the Chen family. Yang movements are slow, even, gentle, big and large. Yang Luchan learned from the 14th generation Chen family member.
Wu/Hao Style - The 1st Wu style came from Yang and Chen styles and is slow, smooth, and small and the posture is high. Wu Yuxiang learned from Yang Banhou, 2nd generation Yang family member, and then learned from Chen Qingping, 14th generation. Wu/Hao is a smaller frame.
Wu Style - 2nd Wu style comes from Quanyu who learned from Yang Banhou. They lean their body to the side but when they lean they think about being straight. Wu learned from Yang Banhou. Later in age Banhou's frame became smaller.
Sun Style - learned from Hao Weijian. Their movements combine 3 styles of Tai Chi together, Wu, Hsing-I and Bagua.
3. Who created each of the 5 styles?
Chen was created by Chen Wangting
Yang was created by Yang Luchan
Wu/Hao was created by Wu Yuxiang
Wu was created by Wu Jian Quan or Wu Quanyu
Sun was created by Sun Lutang
4. Who did the creators learn from?
Yang Luchan learned from Chen Changxin
Wu Yuxiang learned from Yang Luchan, Yang Banhou and Chen Qingping
Wu Jianquan learned from his father, Quanyu
Sun Lutang learned from Hao Weijian
5. Sometimes Tai Chi is referred to as the Long Fist. What is the meaning of Long Fist?
In the Tai Chi form the energy is continuously moving - no stopping. Like clouds moving, water flowing - it never stops.
With other forms of martial arts the meaning is the form is fast, movements are large but with Tai Chi it means that the energy continues like water, like clouds.
6. What is the difference between Internal and External martial arts?
With external martial arts one must be harder and stronger than their opponent in order to overcome the opponent.
Internal martial arts include Tai Chi, Hsing-I, and Bagua. We train to use soft ways to make body soft, follow opponent's energy. Like cotton - yielding. Inside and outside are coordinated together.