The Chen family-style (陳家、陳氏、陳式 太極拳) or Chen-style Taijiquan is a Northern Chinese martial art and the original form of Taiji. Chen-style is characterized by silk reeling (纏絲勁; chán sī jìn), alternating fast and slow motions, and bursts of power (發勁; fa jin).
Traditionally, Taijiquan is practiced as a martial art but has expanded into other domains of practice such as health or performances. Some argue that Chen Style Taijiquan has preserved and emphasized the martial efficacy to a greater extent.
There are five major Taijiquan styles: Chen (陈式), Yang (楊式), Wu (吴式), Sun (孙式), and Wu (武式, a different Chinese character from the other Wu Style). The two most important styles are often considered to be the Chen Style and the Yang Style. The Chen Style was the original Taijiquan style that gave rise directly or indirectly to all other Taijiquan styles. The Yang Style is the most practiced style in both China and the world today.
There are basically three differences between the Chen Style and the Yang Style: Speed of movement, force of movement, and the “Silk Cocoon Reeling” (纏絲功) feature of the Chen Style.