What Style of Tai Chi to study?

I have been asked by several people what style of Tai Chi do I teach and what style should I study? I teach the Yang style of Tai Chi; the short form and an intermediate form. My teachers are no longer in the area where I live so I too will need to find another teacher. I try to practice my forms everyday but it is not always convenient to do so.

There are four major style of Tai Chi as it was explained to me. The Yang Style which is the most popular style taught. It has many variations even in China. Each variation has similarities but also distinct differences. Emphasizes large and medium type movements.

The Wu Style of Tai Chi is the second most popular and has three variations. There are strong differences between them derived from the founder, his son and grandchildren. It was created from the Yang style and emphasizes small compact movements.

The Chen Style is the original form of Tai Chi from which the Yang style was developed. The Chen style alternates between slow movements with short, fast, explosive ones. It is physically demanding is difficult for elderly people and those with injuries. It’s physical difficulty and athletic type moves are more appealing to younger people.

The Sun Style is the fourth major style taught and is noted for it’s smooth flowing movements. It has gentle postures and high stances which eliminates some of the deep stances and crouching of the other forms.

The advice I generally give to people is to go and watch a class. See if the style that is being taught resonates with you. Also talk to the instructor and see what kind of feeling you get from them. And lastly talk to the students and see how they like the class and the teacher. If you don’t feel good about it then that particular style and teacher may not be for you!

Do your research and when you find the style that fits you and your personality you will find all the joy and benefits that many others enjoy!