My reference for these is the Practical Method web site, specifically: http://practicalmethod.com/2008/02/chen-style-taijiquan-practical-method-81-form-names/
Interestingly, I also read here that:
Chen Zhonghua learned this form from Hong Junsheng in 1979. It took him till 1983 to finish learning it.
So four or five years to learn a form is quite OK.
The 81 are divided into 6 sections. The first section is widely known as “The First Thirteen”. It’s harder to name the other sections; you can’t call the second section “The Second Fifteen” or “The Next Fifteen” because you haven’t done the first fifteen yet!
Anyway, here is the list of these 81 moves: form names. I’ve added a couple of other tabs with some other general principles and sayings from a book I recently acquired, “Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method Volume One: Theory” by Hong Junsheng.
Fascinating reading, as is the Wikipedia article, especially when you consider what was going on in China last century. One sentence summary as I understand it: The Chen family version of Taijiquan was created in the undocumented past and only came to be well known when Yang Luchan, a disciple of 14th generation Grandmaster Chen Changxing, started teaching in Beijing; Chen Changxing’s great-grandson, Chen Fake, was Hong Junsheng’s teacher; Hong Junsheng’s taijiquan “is a true copy of Grandmaster Chen Fake’s”, however he modified the style so that every move has practical application. OK, so I cheated the one sentence limitation with semi-colons, but I hope I’ve managed to capture some of the traditional Chinese “semi-paradoxes” there. The other cloudy feature here is the family name Chen which is an extremely common family name. I hope you have a couple of questions by now, at least one of which should be: Do you have to have the family name Chen to be a Grandmaster in Chen Family Taijiquan?
Anyway, the style I am learning is Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. The Grandmaster of this style would then be Hong Junsheng himself, according to the above statement that he modified the “authentic” Chen Family Taijiquan; but on the other hand if you accept that he is in the Chen Family Taijiquan lineage, he was I believe the 18th generation Grandmaster. Probably enough on that.
Of course you can’t actually learn taijiquan from a list of moves or a book of theory. You have to do it, and for that I have the assistance of my Si Fu Gawain Siu and his son Jhung Siu, both disciples of Chen Zhonghua, the translator of the above-pictured book and the current world standard bearer for Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. Incidentally, although Chen Zhonghua also learned from another disciple of Chen Fake, Feng Zhiqiang, and (according to the Wikipedia article), “Through practicing with Feng, Chen experienced a different interpretation of Chen t’ai chi ch’uan”. As far as historical authenticity goes, I will never know exactly how Chen Fake did his taijiquan, and as far as I know there are only still photos of Hong Junsheng in action, but I do have a video of Chen Zhonghua, who visits Perth annually for workshops.