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The origin of Tai Ji is unclear because it is based on ancient Chinese philosophies that promote health and longevity. Exercises based on these philosophies can be found in texts dated as early as the 4th century B.C. and throughout recorded history.

These texts included publications such as Six Animal Play, Thirty-Seven Postures and Small Nine Heaven to mention a few; however, the best known theories about the origin of Tai Ji did not surface until the Song (960-1126 A.D.) and subsequent Dynasties.

Although many subscribe to the theory that either the Daoist priest Zhang San-Feng (Song Dynasty) or the writer Wang Zong-Yue (Ming Dynasty) created Tai Ji, by far, the most popular theory involves a military officer by the name of Chen Wang-Ting from which the Chen Tai Ji style is named after (end of Ming Dynasty and beginning of Qing Dynasty).

Many attribute the Chen Tai Ji style as the source for the other major four Tai Ji styles known today. This theory has also placed the name of Chen Village on the map for popular places for martial artists to visit.

Chen, Yang, W'u, Sun and Wu are the most popular styles of Tai Ji today, Yang being the most widely practiced. In an effort to promote Tai Ji throughout China for health and exercise, many Tai Ji masters worked together to standardize and simplify the traditional Yang style long form.

The end result was the creation of the Simplified 24 Posture Yang style in 1956. The 48 Posture form was later created in 1976.

These sequences were compiled with many of the more complex and repetitive movements removed to make them easier to learn but still maintaining the martial spirit of the traditional long form.



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