Peking National Style Forms.


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
Reaction score
Terre Haute, IN
Does anyone know where I could find a complete list of forms that are considered part of the National style, often called Peking style or Beijing style? I mean the simplified Yang system with the 24 and 88 step forms and the 42 and 13 step sword forms. My instructor, who recently moved, spoke so little English that I couldn't ask her.

Also, what is the difference between the national style and "competition style"?
Do you just want a list of postures in the forms? I have a number of books on tai chi. I'm pretty sure I have ones containing the 24 and 88 posture forms. I've got a number of other forms in the books I have, too, including competitions forms but they aren't all well described. I know one book just names the postrues and gives line drawings of a person doing the steps; not much to go on. Currently I don't have anything on weapons though, just barehand forms, so I couldn't really help with the sword forms. However, if you wanted me to copy out the list of postures in the 24 and 88 forms I have books on, I could do that for you. I'd guess that names could be translated a little differently, but I would hope that it would at least be close to whatever you learned.
OK, since there's a one hour time limit on editing messages, I have to post a new one. I was just thinking about your question regarding "national style" and "competition style". I am by no means certain, but I'll hazard a guess. I have heard of some forms being standardized by the Chinese government or their main sports authority or whoever does this sort of thing. I think the intent, as far as tai chi goes, was to have a relatively simple form that could be taught fairly quickly and used to help keep the general population in good health. A nationally sponsored exercise program, I suppose. :) I think things like the simplified 24 posture form and the combined 48 posture form are of this type.

Competition forms are ones that I think were standardized specifically for competitions :) so that everyone would be judged on the same thing. Again, I'm not sure, but I thought I read something about forms competitions having a time limit and before routines were standardized, people could take whatever they were learning, say some really long form, and cut it down in some manner to fit the time limit. People could do that in different ways I'd imagine thus making it harder to judge everyone on the same starting point. By having forms that were standardized specifically for competition, you make sure that everyone does the same thing and it's easier to judge who's doing it the best since you don't have to factor in other variables like person A did hard move X OK, but person B did move easy move Y almost perfectly, so who's got more ability? You get the idea anyway. I think there's a combined 42 posture form as well as forms for individual styles of tai chi that fall into this category. I have a book on the competition forms in 4 styles, but don't have anything on the 42 form (yet).

So that would be my guess -- national forms were ones standardized by the government as a sort of health program while the competition forms were standardized probably by some other organization in order to make judging comps easier by giving everyone the same form to perform. I don't know for certain, but that seems to be the division to me. Does that help any?
Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for! I really am not looking for the postures as much as for the comprehensive list of the approved forms:
24 step
88 step
13 step sword
42 step sword
I'm wondering what is included in the national (health and fitness) style, and what is included in the competition style. I know there is at least one fan form for instance.
Oh, I see. Hmm, I don't think I can help a whole lot. All I know is that there are a variety of styles out there and each has its own set of forms. I'm not completely sure how many or which ones have been standardized into the National Style. The 24 and 48 posture forms I mentioned were part of that government standardization if I'm not mistaken. There's also a book called _New-Style Tai Chi Ch'Uan : The Offical Chinese System_ that has an 82 posture form. From what I gather on a quick skim of the sample pages of the book at, this is supposed to be an expansion of the 48 posture form. It doesn't say that specifically, but it mentions the 24 form, a second revision, and that this new one builds from the second one. That second one should be the 48 form if I'm not mistaken. BTW, I don't have this book because it's the only place I've heard of this third standardized form; I'm uncertain on whether or not to trust it as a true source unlike books I have by the China Sports board (or something). I thought the 88 step form was a Yang style one and not specifically a national thing, but I don't really know. It's hard to keep track of all the styles, forms, and number of postures in each. :) I know almost nothing about weapon forms apart from the fact that they exist. I can't really help there.

I thought that the competition styles had elements that were harder or more complex than the national styles. Since as I understood it, this national stuff was done with a health purpose in mind, there's no need to get too elaborate or athletic with it. For competitions though, the athletic stuff is good to have, so it has it and the national ones don't. That's just my guess though, like I said, I'm no expert or anything, I'm just writing based on what I've read and learned so far. As far as competition forms go, I think there's a 42 posture form that combines all the main tai chi styles, taking some moves from all of them. I have the book _Competition Routines for Four Styles Taijiquan_ and it gives a 40 posture Yang form, a 56 posture Chen form, a 45 posture Wu form, and a 73 posture Sun form. Another book that I don't currently have is called _International Wushu Competition Routines_ says it has forms for long fist boxing, southern style boxing, combination taijiquan (I'm guessing that's that 42 posture form), broadsword, spear, straight sword, and staff. Not having it I can't tell you how many postures are in each of those forms, but apparently they're standardized for competitions, too. I may get it at some point, but I'm not in any rush.

I'm not sure how much more this helps, but if others can help out in this thread, I hope they do. If such a list of forms can be made, I'd be interested in having a copy, too. :)
Thanks, this was helpful. It didn't exactly answer the question but it defined the subject much more closely for me.
Yeah, I knew it wasn't really answering your question about a list of officially recognized forms. I thought it might be of some help though, so I figured I'd go ahead and post it. I have little MA experience; a lot of what I know is just from what I've read in books or on the web. Since I don't have tons to go on like some people on the board, I try to contribute when I can. :) You probably want a more reliable source of information than me to help you out. I'm not sure there are lots of people reading the tai chi forum, but perhaps someone more knowledgeable will stop in and help us out.
Arnisador, the 2008 olypics will probably include Combined 42 Competition Forms (also known as The Competition Forms, The 42 Forms and The 42 Steps)
Originally posted by disciple
Arnisador, the 2008 olypics will probably include Combined 42 Competition Forms (also known as The Competition Forms, The 42 Forms and The 42 Steps)

I hadn't heard that! As a demonstration sport, I imagine, but even still that would be neat!
2008 Olympics will include martial arts, and taijiquan is one of those demonstrations. So far, I have heard only about martial arts being demonstration sport but I dont know if they have martial arts for fighting competition? And maybe taiji push hands in the competition? Does anybody know?