Two weeks ago, one of my students asked me a very unusual question: what tai chi style are we practising? It is not unusual because there are no styles in tai chi, but because people rarely ask. That is why I often take for granted that my students either have this knowledge or are not interested. I may drop in a sentence here and there when there is a class starting in a new territory, but all in all, I often try to get my students physically moving from class one and maybe forget to explain the most essential thing: where what we do in House of Movement comes from.
There are five main tai chi styles:
Yang Style, including Cheng Man Ching style
House of Movement and Devon Tai Chi Centre students are learning #Chen Style tai chi. Chen style is the most traditional tai chi style. It originated in the Chen Village (Chenjiagou) which is the birth place of tai chi. The founder of Chen Style tai chi is believed to be Chen Wangting (1580–1660). As you can see, it has a long history.
The Chen style was kept secret within the Chen family for many generations until the knowledge was passed on to Yang Luchan, founder of Yang Style tai chi. Yang Luchan brought tai chi to Beijing where it became very popular.
Nowadays, the most popular tai chi style is the yang style. It is the 24 short form yang style that most Chinese people practise everywhere in China.
I started my tai chi journey with wu style and yang style. What I loved about the Chen Style was the circularity of its movements, with energy spiralling in and out of different parts of the body. I also loved the ritual that our Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei (19th generation inheritor of the Chen family and 11th generation direct-line successor of Chen Style Taijiquan) follows in his teachings and both Nick and I imitate at the end of our classes. We always thank our masters for all the knowledge passed on to us.
Your tai chi lineage comes directly from the birth place of tai chi and one of his inheritors, Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Grandmaster Liming Yue is an indoor student of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, and Sifu Nick Taylor of Devon Tai Chi Centre too. My teachings come to you directly from workshops that I have attended with Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, my regular workshops with Grandmaster Liming Yue who runs the Tai Chi Centre in Manchester and some corrections and gentle encouragement from Nick. I have been doing tai chi regularly since 2006 and I became a teacher in 2010.