Taijiquan (Wade-Giles: t'ai chi ch'uan; pinyin: tài jí quán) is an Internal Chinese Martial Art characterized by it's slow flowing movements and foundation upon Taoist philosophy and principles.
The most popular and commonly accepted legend regarding the origin of Taijiquan is that of the Zhang Sanfeng legend. Which simply states that a Taoist priest named Zhang Sanfeng had originated Taijiquan, as well as the "internal" school of boxing.
However, the Zhang Sanfeng legend has been disputed by historians.
One such historian, Stanley E. Henning, found that the Zhang Sanfeng legend had undergone three different versions. The first version (prior to 1669) claims that Zhang was a Taoist immortal. The second version (after 1669) claims that Zhang originated the "internal" school of boxing. The third and final version (post 1900) claims that Zhang originated Taijiquan.
The earliest reference attributing "Zhang Sanfeng" to having any involvement in the Chinese Martial Arts dates back to a book titled, Epitaph for Wang Zhengnan by Huang Zongxi, that was published in 1669.
Chen Style Taijiquan
Founded by Chen Wangting, it is the oldest style of Taijiquan.
Yang Style Taijiquan
Founded by Yang Luchan, it is the second oldest style of Taijiquan.
Wu/Hao Style Taijiquan
Founded by Hao Wei-chen, it is the third oldest style of Taijiquan.
Wu Style Taijiquan
Founded by Wu Quanyuo, it is the fourth oldest style of Taijiquan.
Sun Style Taijiquan
Founded by Sun Lu-tang, it is the fifth oldest style of Taijiquan.
Ranks and Progression
Taiji is not usually ranked.
Ignorance, Legend and Taijiquan by Stanley E. Henning