Tai Chi Chuan: National 24 Form Taijiquan Style

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National 24 Form Taijiquan

Also called: Standard Simplified Taijiquan Version, 24 Movements, 1956, Yang Style Taijiquan
24 Short Form, Simplified Tai Chi, Standard Beijing Taijiquan 24 Form, Chinese National 24 Form Taiji

A brief history

Chen Chang Xing (1771-1853) developed the Chen Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) Old Frame, First Routine. He taught the Chen Style Taijiquan to Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872), who developed the Yang Style of Taijiquan. The grandson of Yang Lu Chan, Yang Cheng Fu (1883-1936) modified and popularized the Yang Style Taijiquan, and published a number of books on the subject in the 1930's.

In 1956, the National Physical Culture and Sports Commission of the People's Republic of China, under the leadership of the Taijiquan Committee Chairperson, Professor Li Tian Ji, developed standardized and simplified versions of many T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) forms. Professor Li Tian Ji (1914-1996) led the development of the 24 Taijiquan Form and the 32 Sword Taijiquan Form as well as many other standardized Taijiquan forms, and he is called by many "The Father of Modern Taijiquan."

The Standard Simplified Beijing 24 Taijiquan Form was based on the Yang Family style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, as epitomized by Yang Cheng Fu. The 24 Taijiquan Form could be performed in 4 to 8 minutes, and consisted, as would be expected, of 24 movements, although some of the movements have two or three parts. The 24 Taijiquan Form eliminated some of the movements that are found in the Yang Style Taijiquan 108 long form such as the Sweeping Lotus Kick, Step Up to Seven Stars, Snake Darts out its Tongue, or Carry the Tiger to the Mountain. The short 24 Taijiquan Form also greatly reduced the number of times that some movements are repeated in the Yang Style 108 long form such as Grasping the Sparrow's Tail, Waving Hands Like Clouds, Left Ward Off, or Single Whip. The traditional Yang Style Taijiquan long form has 108 movements (postures or parts).

The Standard Simplified 24 Taijiquan Form, the short form, could be taught fairly quickly to students of various ages in physical education programs. The brevity of the form appealed to students of all ages. The short form could be done by large groups of people in rows since the movement choreography is in straight lines. The short form provided a standard form for use in some competitions. The new short form was less physically demanding than longer forms and other Tai Chi styles, and appealed to older beginners. It provided a good introduction to the basic elements of the Yang Family Taijiquan long form. When done properly, the short form can exemplify grace, beauty, and many fundamentals of the art. For these reasons, the Standard Simplified 24 Taijiquan Form has become quite popular and is now taught, practiced and played all over the world.

Forty years ago it was difficult to say whether the Standard 24 Form or the Cheng Man-Ch'ing 37 Form were the most popular in America. Professor Cheng's form, his inspired teaching, his many accomplished students, and his amazing push hands skills, all definitely sparked very sophisticated writing on the subject and intense commitment to his form; and his 37 short form was the most popular in America before 1977. Now, students have ready access to many more English language books and instructional media (DVDs and VHS videotapes) about the Standard Simplified T'ai Chi Ch'uan 24 Form, and instructors teaching the 24 Taijiquan Form are quite common in America. Since both forms use Yang style postures and skills, a few Yang style Tai Chi practitioners and teachers can do both the 24 and 37 forms, as well, of course, as the Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan 108 long form. However, in my opinion, the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form, in the Yang Style, is now the most popular Tai Chi form practiced in America and around the world.

Other shortened versions of T'ai Chi Ch'uan long forms are also practiced. A 48 movement Yang short form is also popular in China. The Chinese National Wushu Association has developed a 42 movement Yang style competition form. The Chen style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan also has 11, 18, 19, 36, 38, 56 movement short forms, as well as a Chen competition form of 56 movements. Both an 11 and 35 movement version of the Sun style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan also exist.

I first learned the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form in 1986, and have enjoyed practicing the form since then. To assist others in learning this popular Taiji form, I've prepared this webpage and provided many tools and suggestions for learning the 24 Taiji Form. I also enjoy practicing the Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Movement short form created by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.

This webpage was first published on the Internet in 2001. It is one of the more popular webpages on the Cloud Hands website. In 2009, this webpage was served to over 86,000 persons. I made an effort to significantly upgrade the quality of this webpage in 2011, and develop it to the quality of my 32 Taiji Sword Form webpage.

My very best wishes to you in your study and practice of the popular and delightful Standard Tai Chi 24 Form.
From Mike Garofalo, here at the Valley Spirit Center in Red Bluff, California, on April 4, 2016,

The 24 forms pictured

There are many different naming conventions associated with the different postures of Tai Chi. Most are simply differences in the Instrucor's background and practice. Others are the result of combining multiple actions into a single posture, and the resultant desire to provide a simplified or shortened name for the posture.

24 Formsr

Tai Chi as taught at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Instructor - Jennifer A. Berlet - from the Baird Wellness Center at the Masonic Village
  1. Preparation - Facing North
  2. Part the Wild Horse's Mane - Left, Right
  3. Step forward, White Crane Spreads Its Wings
  4. Brush Knew - Left, Right, Left
  5. Step forward, Play Guitar
  6. Repulse the Monkey - Left, Right, Left, Right
  7. Left Ward Off, Grasp the Bird's Tail, Rollback, Seal and Push Chi
  8. Turn East, Right Ward Off, Grasp the Bird's Tail, Rollback, Seal and Push Chi
  9. Single Whip to the West
  10. Wave Hands Like Clouds - three times
  11. Single Whip to the West
  12. High Pat on Horse
  13. Gather, Right Heel Kick
  14. Strike to Ears with Both Fists
  15. Turn Counter Clockwise and Left Heel Kick
  16. Left Snake Creeps, Pheasant stands
  17. Right Snake Creeps, Pheasant stands
  18. Step forward, Fair Lady Works with Shuttles - Right and Left
  19. Pick up the Needle at Sea Bottom
  20. Fan Through Back
  21. Turn West, Deflect, Intercept, and Punch
  22. Withdraw and Pushing Chi
  23. Return the Tiger to the Mountain, Wu Chi
  24. Closing

The flow of the 24 positions is demonstrated in the following front and rear video sequences.
Instructor - Jennifer A. Berlet - from the Masonic Village, Baird Wellness Center.

NOTE: Jennifer names the positions as she performs them, however, the audio is very low level, most easily heard with earphones.
NOTE ALSO: this video demonstration is performed in an accellerated manner - taking approximately two minutes and 30 seconds.
In practice the form should be performed much slower, with mindfulness, taking approximately six minutes to complete.

Front view

Rear view

Jennifer's Last Class

Other videos

Assorted demonstration videos of the National 24 Form Tai Chi collected from YouTube.