I practice with a small class in Arlington, MA. I began studying Yang style tai chi chuan in the Fall of 2007. The particular branch I study comes down through Hsuing Yang Ho and is a small class of which I am one of the newest members. The curriculum I’m learning consists of the basic long form, followed by single-hand push hands, then two-hand push hands, da-lu, and san shou. There is also a weapons curriculum, but at my stage I’m not really thinking about that now–maybe later. I’m trying to avoid the pitfalls I had when I began aikido and got frustrated watching people doing advanced weapons when I wasn’t ready. Our website is found here, and members of the club teach the beginner’s class to tai chi chuan at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.
Tai chi chuan has changed how I look at martial arts and has been a great check to my aikido practice, as much as aikido has provided a solid base upon which to build my tai chi chuan practice. Being older that aikido, tai chi chuan has a more literature associated with it, and because it is usually practiced these days as a “mind-body” exercise, there is a growing amount of academic literature being written about its benefits. Much of the scientific research into tai chi chuan is new and limited in scope, the results have been promising enough that it seems more and bigger scale research will happen. This make tai chi chuan, I believe, not only the most practiced Chinese martial art in the world, but probably the most vigorously researched martial art in the world. I hope that this academic and scientific research will ultimately lead to more research into the benefits of martial arts as a whole.
Yang style tai chi chuan is a direct descendant of Chen style tai chi chuan and one of the five major styles. Chen style is the oldest and Yang style the second oldest.