What I like about Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is that even when we practice different forms and squabble over how to do them correctly, the underlying principles are the same for everyone. The 10 Tai Chi principles are the very basic principles. And they are the same for EVERYONE practicing Yang style Tai Chi.
These Yang style Tai Chi principles where transmitted orally from Yang Chengfu (楊澄甫; 1883-1936) to his student Chen Weiming (陈微明; 1881-1958). And luckily, Chen Weiming wrote down the principles and they where then published in the book “T’ai-chi ch’üan shu” (The art of T’ai-chi ch’üan; 太 極 拳 術) in 1925.
One of the most-known forms is probably the Yang style Tai Chi 108 form. And to make it confusing for us pracitioners, it has many names: Tai Chi 108 form, 105 form, 103 form, 85 form, 150 form 94 form, 88 form or just: Tai Chi long form.
The number actually depends on how you count the different moves. My current teacher counts the Yin-Yang-phases and says that there are 169 phases! So I guess one could call the long Yang form the 169 form, if he wanted to. Or if you count repeated movemens just once (e.g. “repulse monkey”), you end up with a lower movement count.
Most people know about Tai Chi (also Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan) because they have seen some old Chinese people moving slowly in a park in a documentary about China. But what about a Tai Chi documentary? Once you a are biten by the Tai Chi bug, you want to know more about the art, the history, the background.
I spent many Saturday nights watching one Tai Chi documentary after the other (poor me 😉 ). Thus now I can tell you what they are about and which I liked the most!
According to my Taijiquan styles survey, the Cheng Manching 37 form is one of the most practiced forms. I guess that is because Cheng Manching (also Zheng Manqing, 鄭曼青, 1902-1975) was one of the first to bring Taijiquan to the West. And many of his students are still active, teaching, and writing books.
There are a lot of Cheng Manching books – some written by the Professor himself, others by his students and some translated even after his death.
(Just in case that you don’t know yet: Cheng Manching (also Zheng Manqing) was a student of Yang Chengfu. Moving to New York in 1964 he is considered the one who brought Taijiquan to the West. He taught until his death in 1975. As some of his students are still alive and actively promoting his Tai Chi in the USA and all around the world, his 37 postures form is still very popular.)
Because there are so many books available, I decided to devide them in books written by Cheng Manching himself, by his students and by others.