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Tai Chi Techniques

There are five major traditions or schools in Tai Chi. Each of them have been named after the families who either have taught, or are currently teaching it. In addition to these five Tai Chi styles, many schools teach either a hybrid of a few styles, or else an integration of Tai Chi with another martial art discipline.

The Chen style is considered vigorous martial arts training. The most famous teacher of the Chen style was Chen Changking, who taught in the 1800s. Today, direct descendants of Chen are teaching the Chen technique in all parts of the world. The Wu style was created by Quan Wu. This style is characterized by small subtle movements. A major emphasis is placed on balance, sensitivity to your partner and internal force development.

The Wu Yuxiang style, which was developed by Wu Yuxiang is characterized by slow movement and strict footwork patterns. In this style, the chest and body are held upright while the body is in motion. The Sun style was created by Sun Lu-t'ang, who was considered to be an expert on internal martial arts. Small circular movement patterns, high stances and subtle footwork characterize this style.

The Yang style was developed by Yang Luchan in the 1800s. The style is a blend of soft and hard movements. Today, it is the most frequently practiced style of Tai Chi in the world. Yang Luchan was quite successful--he was commissioned to teach his method to the palace guards of the Chinese imperial family. Later, traditional Yang postures were modified by Cheng Man-Ching to make them shorter and simpler, as well as both easier to teach and learn. Cheng Man-Ching himself learned Tai Chi from Yang Cheng Fu, a grandson of Yang Luchan.

Although it is not considered a traditional Tai Chi form, Aikitaiji integrates forms, ideas, and functions from Yang-style short form Tai Chi, Aikido, Hsing-I, yoga, and warm-ups and floor work inspired by Moshe Feldenkrais, a judo master. When Sensei Jack Livingston started studying Tai Chi and Aikido in the 1970s, he found that the two forms "were more remarkable in their common attributes than in their differences." He was inspired by his teachers: Saul Krotki, Dale Gillilan, Rod Kobayashi, Mark Saito, and Ben Lo. We know that you will enjoy Aikitaiji.

Watch video clips of Aikitaiji class to see tai chi techniques integrated into the aikitaiji curriculum.


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