YANG STYLE (楊氏) Tai Chi
The traditional routine taught by Yang Style is based on the first routine of the Chen Style. The most obvious differences are the slower, steadier pace and the different types of stances. Yang style stances use a straighter rear leg and square the hips more with the weighted leg. The movements show more forward power and less lateral power than the Chen Style.
The differences have led some to suggest that Yang Luchan modified his style to accommodate the royalty he taught it to. However, Yang also taught to military officers and other martial artists.
The postures in Yang Style also tend to be higher than those of Chen Style. However, there is a fair amount of variation in the way that Yang style is performed today, including the height of the stances.
Yang style taijiquan (Tai Chi) is the most popular style of tai chi in the world, and may be the world’s most widely practised martial art style. The exact curriculum may vary from school to school, however.
There is also a difference between what is referred to as Yang style taijiquan, and the Yang Family Taijiquan. For more on this difference see an article by Sam Masich at www.sammasich.com.
The Yang Family Taijiquan as it is known today, is the style which comes from Yang Chenfu (1883-1936), who is said to be the “finalizer” of the style. Yang Chenfu had thousands of students over a 20 year period, and as a result he made the art extremely popular. It is mostly thanks to him that taijiquan is as popular throughout the World as it is today. This style is easily recognizable for its large postures, gentle movements, and even pace, and while there may be minor differences is choreography amongst the students of Yang Style, the essential form is fairly standardized.
At the core of Yang style taijiquan is the solo routine usually called the “long form” (changquan) or the “one hundred eight” (108) for the number of movements in it. (The actual number of movements in the long form may vary depending on how they are counted. The number 108 has cosmological significance to both daoists and buddhists, and may be one historical reason for counting the movements this way. Nowadays, the number is entirely a matter of tradition, not of symbolism.)
In addition to the traditional long form, there are many modern simplified routines based on the traditional one. In 1956, the “24 form” was created as a simplified “version” of Yang style taijiquan and became part of China’s national fitness program. Since then there have been many other short forms created based on the long form, including the Cheng Manching 37, at least two different “Yang style 16 forms,” the “10 form” (also called the “8 form”) and the Yang style 5-section routine.
Following is a list of some of elements of the “Traditional” Yang Style Curriculum. This list is based on a list presented by Sam Masich, one of North America’s leading authorities on Yang Style Taijiquan. Items with an asterisk (*) are his innovation.
Few teachers offer this complete curriculum. In fact, it is safe to say that most teachers do not teach half of this material.
- Zhan Zhuang (Standing post)
- Stance and posture training
- Taiji qigong (tai chi chi kung)
- *Taiji breath placement
- Taiji gongli (strength, flexibility, and conditioning)
- Solo Empty Hand Routine
- 108 posture taijiquan solo form.
Tuishou (pushing hands)
- Basic 1-8 exercises.
- Four Hands (peng, lu, ji, an)
- Fixed Step
- * Eight directional changes
- Fixed step Freestyle
- Follow step,
- Cover step
- Circular step
- * Moving step leg changes
- Moving step freestyle
- Dalu (big pull back) (Zai, lie, zhou, kao)
- Diagonal orientation
- Square orientation
- Variations and freestyle
Sanshou (Free Hands)
- Martial Applications of the solo form.
- 88 movement Yang Style applications routine
- * Fighting range theory and training
- Sparring with Tuishou
- Free sparring.
- Taiji Dao (Sabre)
- Fu Zhongwen version
- Chen Yenlin version
- *Sabre sparring drills
- Eight-movement two-person sabre routine
- Sabre sparring
- Taiji Jian (Straight sword)
- Fu Zhongwen version
- Chen Weiming version
- Two-person drills
- Fencing and free-sparring
- Taiji Qiang (Spear)
- Solo spear training
- Two-person binding spear training
- Other Weaopons Routines
- “Gun” (staff)
- Weiminggun (cane)
- Shan (Fan)
- Double Dao (Sabre)
- Double Jian (Sword)