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Tai chi training typically uses moving meditation techniques to help practitioners experience better health and greater feelings of well-being. There are several styles of tai chi training. Each style is named after the family responsible for its development. Chen Style is generally considered the oldest form of tai chi meditation, and the one from which the other styles were derived. Sun Style, Lee Style, Yang Style, Guang Ping Style and Eight Diamond Style are the more modern styles of tai chi.
Chan Style tai chi is the most ancient form of tai chi training. Chan Style is believed to have been adapted from the martial arts. It places emphasis on silk reeling movements, jumps, stamps, and low standing postures. Chan Style is said to be the smoothest, most powerful form of tai chi. Other names for Chan Style tai chi include Xin Jia, Lao Jia, Cannon Fist and 18 Movement.
Sun Style tai chi is believed to have been developed by Sun Lu Tang in the early 20th century. Sun Style tai chi training uses flowing backward and forwards movements in conjunction with arm movements. Its standing postures are higher than those used in the Chan Style.
Lee Style tai chi is believed to have been developed by a tai chi master named Ho-Hsieh. Another master, Chan Kam Lee, is believed to be responsible for bringing this discipline to the West. Lee Style tai chi training usually attempts to combine the teachings of traditional Chinese medicine with the teachings of traditional martial arts.
Yang Style tai chi is believed to have been developed by Yang Lu Chan, who lived from 1800 to 1873. Yang Style tai chi is considered to be a more simplified version of the older Chan Style tai chi training. Yang Style tai chi's movements are generally considered to be large, simple, and easy to learn. Yang Style is considered to be the most popular style of tai chi training in the modern world.
Guang Ping Style tai chi is said to form a bridge between the Chan and Yang Styles. Its 64 movements are intended to correspond with the 64 hexagrams used in the I Ching. The Guang Ping Style generally attempts to emphasize the differences between yin and yang.
Eight Diamond Style is believed to have been based on the eight energies that make up the chi, or life force. Awareness of the flow of these energies within the body is considered to be essential to the practice of tai chi. Eight Diamond Style generally uses the same supporting philosophy as martial arts and other styles of tai chi. Eight Diamond Style is widely considered to be a simple and accessible form of tai chi training.