Comparing Yang and Wu Tai Chi Styles

by | Oct 30, 2012 | Tai Chi | 9 comments

In this video I talk briefly about the Yang and Wu tai chi styles and how they came from the Chen village. Tai chi was brought out of the Chen village to Beijing where the form was modified and taught to the emperors guards. In tai chi there are large, medium and small frames, which essentially the is size of the movements. There once was a small frame Yang style but this has been mostly lost because the person who held the lineage committed suicide. The Wu style is a smaller frame of tai chi that is great for those seeking more internal work (neigong), meditators, the aging population and anyone with injury.

In the Tai Chi Mastery program I will be constantly making reference to the Yang style because it is the most popular form, and will also be looking at Chen style from time to time. The beauty of tai chi are its many styles and differentiation – and at the same time they all carry a common tai chi root.

I believe that no matter what style you do, one of the five main styles or another kind, that the most important element is to learn the internal energetics that go into tai chi because this is really what gives tai chi its juice. The internal energetics is why you feel wonderful, more energetic and peaceful after doing a tai chi form.


  1. Alex

    Interesting and informative, as always…

  2. ernie

    …hey great vid, just a question on the comment on the vid and writings above regarding Yang Shao Hou – comitting suicide. If thats true or not is debatable but the fact was he died when he was 68 yes? He must of taught and passed on his style no?…these are slightly offputting..know what i mean..

    a fan!

    • Ed

      regarding yang shao hou style. i question the assertion that this style is “dead” i have been studying this style for more than 4 years from my sifu who is third generation. yang shao hou taught zhang yi and li da mi who taught zhen gu feng who taught liang de hua who is teaching me.

      as i understand it, it is correct to say that nothing has been printed and documented on this style and that wu style is very close. we sometimes refer to the book of wu style by wang peishing and zeng weiqi.

      appreciate comments. thanks.

  3. Robert Brown

    I have had some training in Wudan style Tai Chi that is radically different from the Yang style of Tai Chi that I am currently teaching. The Wudan style has within it some elements of Tai Chi, but also has some elements of Ba Gua also. One feature of the Wudan Tai Chi is that in addition to internal energy, it has more elements that link heaven and earth.

  4. Arthur Roberts

    Most interesting and a shame that it only lasted for 6:51 lets hope you can show it all FOC someday.

  5. Nithun Rakesh

    That was some interesting information about differences between Yang and Wu style and I’ve always wondered about the differences between these two; since in your books, Bruce, I think (if I remember correctly) you mentioned the Wu style was the most energetic style you had encountered. I was puzzled by this initially since I thought yang or chen would have been more energetic but I see it all comes down to the frame size.
    It makes sense now that small frame styles would be more energetic because I think it’s what the classic refer to as being ‘invisible’ where as you refine your chi there is less outward movement and more focus on internal work.
    What about the large frame style that Yang Chengfu taught which is large, is this style more for making you healthy preparing for you to move into progressively smaller frames i.e. medium then small?

    • Robert Brown

      I have been doing Tai Chi for over 25 years and currently teach the Yang Style long form. I have been exposed to the Wu/Hao style a little and did notice the energy there, but actually perfer the Yang style. I think that the energy is there is both styles, but it is more immediately apparent in the Wu style. That being said, the same energy is in the Yang style also, but is somewhat easier to manipulate due to the larger body movements and subsequent slower moves of individual body structure. This only comes from fluid movements and awareness of what is happening derived from long practice. However, with awareness, energy can be played with to whatever intent is the focus of the practicioner.

  6. Steve Solomon

    Very nice presentation, Master Frantzis.
    As someone with 18 years in Wu Hao and Wu styles, I am anxiously awaiting a beginner class on Yang style! It’s nice to hear that they are similar; I was only aware that Yang is more large frame than Wu and Wu/Hao.
    Thank you.

  7. Bobby BHURTUN

    Chi is energy and it moves in waves forms…whatever style of tai all converges to the amplitide of movements..larger it is the less energetics it is..when amplitude is compressed the frequency is accelerated ( simple physics )..thus chi is increased. So why worry about style ??? I learned it from The one and only Shihan Hiroo Mochizuki from Yoseikan Budo..


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