Chinese conventional kung fu has very
abundant content, and Tai Chi Chuan is one of the most important
branches, and it is famous all over the world for its efficiency
Tai Chi Chuan is called Chang Chuan at early time, for its uninterrupted movements while practicing.
As to its provenance, someone says it was created by Zhang San Feng, who is a Wu Dang Mountain Taoist in early Ming and late Yuan dynasty. But it is widely recongnized by current Wushu circle that it is created by Chen Wang Ting, a kung fu master of Chenjiagou, Henan province in late Ming and early Qing Dynasty.
Tracing the origin of TaiChiQuan, we must mention Qi Ji Guang, who was a general of Ming Dynasty. He absorbed 16 kinds of famous folk kung fu actions and created 32 Form Fist Techniques for training his soldier.
Half century Later, Chen Wang Ting, the 9th offspring of Chen Family, created Tai Chi Chuan which combined 29 forms of 32 Form Fist Techniques by Qi Ji Guang and the 108 form TongBi Chang Chuan handed down from his ancestors, also absorbed the soul of Chinese Qi Gong and Chinese Medicine Theory. And then Tai Chi Chuan came to its being and has been providing very wonderful function and efficiency for fight and health or self-protection.
Chen Wang Ting not only created Tai Chi Chuan, a combination of Kung Fu and Qi Gong and Chinese Medicine Theory, but also created the "Push Hand" which is a fighting sport. 'Push Hand ' contains seizing, control, tumbling, throwing and striking etc. and it is very powerful in attack and fight.
Master Chen Chang Xing, the XIV offspring of Chen Family, was also very unique and innovative in the reforming of TaiChi Chuan. He inherited and developed the TaiChi Chuan of his family. It was Chen Chang Xing who created Tai Chi Chuan of what it is like today. Now, it is called Chen Form Da-Jia Tai Chi Chuan that contains two routines .Routine one of Chen Form Tai Chi Chuan focuses on softness, rigidness in softness. Its movements are spreading, powerful, continuous and steady. Routine two focuses on rigidness. Its movements are complicated,quick, compact and very powerful.
Another important master to be mentioned is Chen You Ben who is Chen Chang Xing's brother. He created another Chen Form Tai Chi Chuan(now, it is called Chen Form Xiao-Jia Tai Chi Chuan). He abandoned some very difficult and powerful movements of his family Tai Chi Chuan. He changed his movements from power launching to storing power for attacking. Chen You Ben kept practicing Tai Chi Chuan for lifetime, and he could fight against a mad bull to save a man from danger when he was 80 years old. His secrets for keeping health are "keeping exercising Tai Chi Chuan for 30 years, no eating enough for 30 years, self-amusing for 30 years, sleeping alone for 30 years."
During one hundred yeras after Chen Wang Ting's death, Tai Chi Chuan is Chen familial kung fu. Because in old Chinese conventional family, kung fu could not be taught to non-familial people, even the daughter of the family. But this tradition was broken by Matser Chen Chang Xing ,since he had taught Yang Lu Chan, another very important Tai Chi Chuan master in Chinese Kung fu history. Later, Tai Chi Chuan was developed to Yang Form, Wu Form, Woo Form, Sun Form Tai Chi Chuan and spreaded to all over the world.
Yang Lu Chan is the most important people about Tai Chi Chuan phylogeny. The story of Yang Lu Chan learning Tai Chi Chuan is very famous in China. Then, he was a counterjumper in Chen family herbal medicine shop at his hometown YongNian County, HeBei Province. Later, he was sent to ChenJiaGou,WenXian County,HeNan Province ,hometown of Chen family, for his brightness, hard working and honesty. Chen Chang Xing was teaching Tai Chi Chuan at ChenJiaGou then, and Yang Lu Chan was very eager to learn Tai Chi Chuan from Chen Chang Xing. But he could not realize his dream because of the severe familial restrictness. SoYang Lu Chan began to learn Tai Chi Chuan in his own way by peeping and listening carefully while Chen Chang Xing was teaching his student, then he practiced and exercised alone secretly. Then by then, his skill improved to a certain extend.
One night some years later, the secret was discovered by Chen Chang Xing when Yang Lu Chan was practicing Tai Chi Chuan. According to the tradition of Wushu circle, it is a very fearful mistake and tobu to learn kung fu of others secretly. And the learner would be abolished kung fu from his body if he is lucky, even be killed if he is unlucky. But Chen Chang Xing did not do that, because he was kindheart and inspired by Yang Lu Chan's diligence and honesty. And so, he accepted Yang Lu Chan as his student. Since then, Yan Lu Chan followed Chen Chang Xing and learned Tai Chi Chuan seriously for 18 years , and finally he realized the soul and essence of Tai Chi Chuan.
When he was finished apprenticeship, Yang Lu Chan went back to his hometown to teach Tai Chi Chuan . Later, he was recommended to the Royal Palace to teaching Tai Chi Chuan , and he had been named 'Yan Wu Di' which means he was the man who can defeat anybody because of his excellence in Kung Fu.
Then, the firearm appeared, and kung fu master thought kung fu must be reformed to the effect of keeping health, enhancing body immunity, extending life and fighting. Most of Yang Lu Chan's students were of noble birth. So he amended Tai Chi Chuan he learned from Chen Chan Xing to Tai Chi Da-jia that abandoned some difficult actions like jumping, stamping etc. in Chen Form Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Xiao-jia is soft in action and easy to learn. Then his noble students could easily learn Tai Chi Chuan even in their long gown for the purpose of enhanceing his body immunity, health care and extending life. Later, Yang Lu Chan's offspring formatted the Tai Chi Xiao-jia and formed Yang Form Tai Chi Chuan of today.
In those years, while Yang Lu Chan was teaching Tai Chi Chuan at his hometown, YongNian HeBei, he had taught Wu Yu Xiang, the son of a landlord, who admiredYang Lu Chan very much. Later, Wu Yu Xiang finished propaedeutic and he thought the master reserved and underdo. So, in 1852, he went to ChenJiaGou for learning Tai Chi Chuan from Chen Qin Ping who was Chen You Ben's student. Chen Qin Ping taught him Chen Form Xiao-jia Tai Chi Chuan. When he finished his learning, he went home and created the Wu Form Tai Chi Chuan that had been amended and was diifferent from Chen Form, Yang Form Tai Chi Chuan. The Wu Form's style is agile and flexible.
Yang Ban Hou, who was Yan Lu Chan's second son, was all the while following Wu Yu Xiang to learn Wu Form Tai Chi Chuan. And later, he finished learning and also amended the Wu Form Tai Chi Chuan to Yang Form Xiao-jia Tai Chi Chuan. Some years later, he taught it to Quan You who was manchu, and Quan You taught it to his son Jian Quan, and Jian Quan renamed to Woo Jian Quan. Woo Jian Quan also amended the Tai Chi Chuan he learned and formated to Woo Form Tai Chi Chun.
Sun Lu Tang is creator of Sun Form Tai Chi Chuan. He was very accomplished in Eight Diagrams Palm and Xin Yi Chuan early, and so he was famous in Kung Fu group. He loved Tai Chi Chuan and wanted to learn it, but no one was willing to teach him. One year in early 1910s, he met Hao Wei Zheng, Wu Form Tai Chi Chuan master who was ill then. Sun took care of Hao Wei Zheng generously. When Hao Wei Zheng recovered, he taught the Wu Form Tai Chi Chuan to Sun Lu Tang. Later, Sun Lu Tang created Sun Form Tai Chi Chuan from The Eight Diagrams Palm , Xin Yi Chuan and Tai Chi Chuan.
In 1949, PRC (The People's Republice Of China) was founded. For helping all people to learn Tai Chi Chuan and enhancing fighting and keeping health, the government formatted the standard 88 form, 48 form, 24 form, 12 form, 8 form, 4 form Tai Chi Chuan etc.
Today, Tai Chi Chuan is very polular all over the world for its good efficiency for health and fittness or fight.