Choosing the appropriate style of tai chi in Charlotte is one of the most important decisions you will make once you decide to practice. Most beginners don’t realize the variety of styles that are available. Even if you’re already practicing a certain style, it helps to know the differences between them because at some point you may also benefit greatly from learning another style.
Essentially, all tai chi styles have far more in common with each other than they have differences. All improve health, reduce stress and help you move more gracefully. All develop chi and use slow motion, flowing, circular movements.
Most practitioners choose to learn based on the quality of the teacher, the convenience of the school and other personal factors. Knowing about the styles boosts your knowledge and guides you to make the right choices.
Each style of tai chi in Charlotte takes a different approach toward the movements of their forms and each style has many variations or schools. Each school is composed of practitioners who follow specific leaders or teachers within the style.
Let’s look at the different styles of tai chi in Charlotte.
Yang style tai chi is the most popular and widely practiced tai chi style worldwide. In England and America, at least 20 main variations of the Yang style exist and in China, there are even more. Each variation has a distinct flavor, looks different from the others and may emphasize different technical points.
Wu style tai chi is the second most popular style. The Wu style was created directly from the Yang and, as such, is the largest variant of the Yang style. However, unlike most traditions in the Yang style, most Wu schools emphasize small, compact movements over large and medium-sized ones.
Chen style tai chi, originating from the Chen village, is the original style of tai chi from which the Yang style was created. Unlike most tai chi, not all the movements of the Chen Style’s first level of training are done in slow motion. The Chen style alternates slow-motion movements with short, fast, explosive ones.
Combination styles of tai chi in Charlotte freely mixes and matches movements from the other tai chi styles as well as movements from other internal martial arts.
If a style is naturally more comfortable and easier for you to learn and remember, you are more likely to finish learning it. That said, the following points should be considered when choosing a style:
The physical coordination skills of the Yang and Wu styles are usually the easiest to learn, the combination styles are in the middle and the Chen style is the most difficult.
If your body is extremely tight and your goal is to get stretched out, the large styles of tai chi will initially work faster, especially for the legs and hips.
For those with a bad lower back or injured knees, forms with higher rather than lower stances are better.
Large styles initially make it easier to develop leg strength because of their longer and deeper stances.
Smaller styles make it easier to access the more internal work tai chi has to offer, including making it easier to work directly with the internal organs.
The slow motion, short-form styles are typically best for people over the age of 50 since they are initially easier to learn. Beginning with a short form and learning a long form later is a less frustrating and easier path for older people to enjoy, absorb and remember their tai chi form of choice.
Deeper, longer stances, more common in large frame styles, can aggravate the knees and back. If your knees are already strong, deeper, longer stances can make your legs stronger at a faster speed. Small frame styles, such as the Wu style, are usually better for upgrading the health of your internal organs.
If you would like more information regarding tai chi in Charlotte – and how it can help you – call our office today to schedule a consultation!