Particular features of the Chen and Yang styles of Taiji
The original style of Taiji from which all the others evolved is Chen style. The fundamental principles and goals of Taiji are the same regardless of the style practised. During the history of the art the masters developing Taiji have applied their personal experiences and views, thus giving the different styles their particular characteristics. Below you will find some of the characteristics of the two styles taught in the Baji association: the Chen and Yang styles.
Yang style is without a doubt the most widespread of the Taiji styles. This is most likely because Yang style is well known as an exercise which promotes human health using movements that are easy to learn. On the other hand, Chen style has more clearly preserved the martial aspect, a fact which is readily observed from the style's movements. The movements of Chen style are more detailed, making it more demanding to learn.
The external appearance of the Chen and Yang styles is different both in the path and rhythm of the movements. The movements of Chen style are spiral-shaped and the rhythm follows the slow-fast-slow cycle. The special feature of Chen style is the silk-reeling power which refers to the twisting movement of the whole body.
In contrast, the movements in Yang style are performed with an even speed. The movements are also circular but the silk-reeling power is not externally visible. The internal power generated in Yang style can be described as pulling the silk thread as compared to Chen style's reeling the silk thread.
It is important to note that with both styles one should attempt a slow speed of execution. This is because the training aims at unifying the whole body and the mind and this is difficult to achieve using fast movements.
For those interested in health-oriented training Yang style may be the better choice. For those looking for more complete Taiji training both the Chen and Yang styles, including tuishou pair training are recommended.