I got a book about Tai Chi now, Yang Tai Chi Chuan, by John Hine.
I find it interesting reading and that the Tai Chi style I am learning is a figure that takes about 15 minutes to do, has 315 moves, and is one figure as a whole. Other Tai Chi forms seem to split it up in different figures, see earlier entry about Tai Chi.
I was reading about Chi and the martial arts, differentiating between 3 internal martial arts:
1) Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi is about deep relaxation of the body so that our energy can flow within the body. Particularly in self defense, you can use an explosive force (Jing) that is soft but with penetrating power.
2) Hsing Yi
For this style you need to be all relaxed and natural. Jing here is more like a piece of bamboo, flexible but with shocking force. Like a cannon ball. The fighting strategy of Hsing Yi is more assertive than of 1) Tai Chi Chuan. Therefore, you could argue that Hsing Yi could be more direct, offensive in use and uses straight and circular punches, palm strikes, elbow, shoulder, head butt, kicking both high and low, and throwing.
3) Pa Kua Chang
The movements here are not as forceful. The footwork and movement is compared to that of a dragon, light as a bird with the elusive quality of a snake. It is more defensive than 2) Hsing Yi, with more foot work in total as it seems. The movement, 8 actions for each 8 trigrams, place the man and his action in context with the cosmos.
Reading through that, I believe that Tai Chi Chuan is the right form for me.
The founder seems to be a Taoist monk, Chan San Feng. Living around 1000 A.D., however the first historical mention of Tai Chi was in the 17th century.
Yang Lu Chan worked for the Chen family and got caught secretly watching and practising their Tai Chi technique. He later founded his own style.
Very interesting stories and insight into the Chinese martial arts history. A pleasure to practise and very good for my health. So killing 2 birds with one stone really, gently of course 😉