Modern Taiji & Competitions
Young Chinese wushu athletes usually only practice modern wushu and train for wushu competitions. Of course there are also taiji competitions in China, but the depending on the competition, the forms performed there can be very different from what westerners would imagine. The 24-form and the 42-form are well know, but there are also freestyle forms. The 24-form was made up for competition use by the IWUF (International Federation of Wushu) in 1956 and in 1990 the 42-form was made up (also for competition use). The 42-Form is a mixture of the main taiji styles. That's why many traditional taiji instructors don't like it, when their students want to learn the 42-form. (si shi er shi tai ji quan). Freestyle forms are between 5 and 6 minutes long and include difficulties. You have to make up your own freestyle form and if it is not impressive enough, I mean if there are no extreme stretches etc. you will have no chance to win. Some of the movements remind a lot to rhythmic gymnastics and can't be done without years of intensive stretching. Just like modern wushu, modern taiji can be very bad for the joints. There are also competitions for traditional taiji forms and taiji tuishou (push hands),but hose competitions are not very popular in China and the events are more like gatherings. One of the reasons for this is that modern taiji competitions are usually held together with modern wushu competitions.