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A Site devoted to XingYi (hsingi), BaGua (pakua) and Tai Chi (taiji).

Taiji Body

The Tai Chi (taiji) Body method written by Mike Patterson

The Tai Chi (TaiJi) BODY

Your body must be trained so that it can obey the mind's directives of intention. If you are out of shape, you cannot endure the rigors and demands that your mind requires of it for success. A body that resides in a state of imbalance will get tired too fast to stay ahead of the pack. It will get sick, causing too many days lost from work and career. It will get weak, preventing the ability to continue in the face of adversity.

Your body must be brought into a state of excited balance; alive, vibrant, strong and full of abundant energy, devoid of stagnation and disease. Regular practice of Tai Chi will gradually develop a cohesive strength of all the body's tissues. The immunity system will be bolstered and the structure will become more resistant to damage.

For the practitioner, learning the Tai Chi routine is like learning a self-teaching encyclopedia of proper kinetic motion, and of the correct method of breathing. The Long Form is also a repository of Tai Chi's martial techniques. The central issue in learning to apply Tai Chi technique is the regular practice of the "Chan-Ssu Chin" or "silk reeling energy." One must learn to move the body as a coherent unit by originating all movements from Dan Tien and spriraling this energy outward to all arm and leg movements.

Regular practice of "Chan-Ssu Chin" will gradually develop the ability in the practitioner to adhere to these principles intuitively and directly. After a time, the practitioner be able to engage in a self-study of how the Tai Chi routine explicitly and systematically demonstrates the myriad possibilities that exist.

A easy example of Tai Chi's cohesive body mechanics is found in the posture "Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar", where the descending fist strikes the open palm as the foot stamps on the ground. An archetype of complex circularity can be seen "Hand and Arm Covering Fist." Here the left control arm, the torso, the right arm and the fist are all wound together, bringing the control arm out while the right fist is brought back beside the right ribs, "covered." The coiling kinetic energy is then released, like an arrow from a bow, drawing the control arm (bow) back while the right fist (arrow) spirals forward with all the energy of the unwinding torso in it.

The possible combinations in the long form are seemingly endless owing to a large variety of kicks and punches that go to varied and vigorous degrees. From leaping into the air with a 360 degree twist to going all the way to the ground with a full frontal leg split. Other segments of the Chen tai chi routine are composed of slow, moderate movements with occasional explosions of fast "shaking" movements, whose outer purpose may seem obscure to the non-initiated. Never-the-less, within the body, the principles of Chan Ssu-Chin are being applied and adhered to invisibly.

Coordinating breathing with the movements is a study in itself. There are two types of breath control applied to tai chi practice, matched and un-matched breathing. Matched style breathing is for development of martial power and ability. Its basic rhythm is emphasized quite well in Posture four, "Six Sealings and Four Closings", which appears seven times in the long form routine. In this posture, the hands are brought down and out from behind the ears during a slow exhalation, after having first performed a redirective motion during the inhalation. Performance of matched breathing is feasible only after the practitioner has sufficient understanding of the applications of the form. Prior to this stage, practice of un-matched breathing is advised. This style is simply one of breathing fully and deeply at no predetermined point of the form regardless of technique. Simply find your own natural rhythm and relax throughout the practice session.

The concept of "Double weighting," is largely misinterpreted by most modern practitioners as the balancing of the body's weight between the two legs equally, or 50/50. Actually, the practitioner becomes "Double weighted" at the time when he/she can no longer maintain a proper connection to the ground and has lost the ability to Fah Jing, or issue energy. This condition would then make a quick and powerful response impossible.  It should be obvious that a 50/50 weighted condition will occur in the routine at all points where there is a transitional stage between two postures.

The routine makes frequent and clear shifts of motion from vigorous to soft, soft to quick, slow to powerful and relaxed to firm, making it possible for a student to observe and gain a gradual awareness of the many varieties of change between yin and yang, empty and full, and how they are efficiently made.

In the style of the first Lu (routine), the body must lead the hands. All motion must originate from Dan Tien, coiling and uncoiling in a thoroughly connected manner. The practitioner must forget about using the arms and any localized muscular strength and allow the hands to follow the spirals generated by the body. In this way the practitioner will attain the ability of continuous cyclical change. This will in turn make the emergence and wane of Yin and Yang in the body more apparent.

Following is a list of the posture names of the first routine of the Chen Style method of training the body.

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The first Lu (form) of

Chen's TaiChi Chuan


The complete listing of postures of the first routine follow below.

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  1. Preparing Form
  2. Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar
  3. Grasp Sparrow's Tail
  4. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  5. Single Whip
  6. Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar
  7. White Crane Spreads Wings
  8. Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
  9. The First Closing
  10. Kick forward and Twist Step
  11. Second Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
  12. The Second Closing
  13. Kick Forward and Twist Step
  14. Hand and Arm Covering Fist
  15. Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar
  16. Chop Opponent with Fist
  17. Bending Back and Shoulder Strike
  18. Blue Dragon Flies Up From Water
  19. Push with Both Hands
  20. Change Palms Three Times
  21. Fist Under Elbow
  22. Step Back and Whirl Arms on Both Sides
  23. Step Backward and Press Elbow
  24. Middle Winding
  25. White Crane Spreads Wings
  26. Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
  27. Flash the Back
  28. Hand and Arm Covering Fist
  29. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  30. Single Whip
  31. Waving Hands like Clouds
  32. High Pat on Horse
  33. Rub With Right foot
  34. Rub With Left foot
  35. Kick with Left Heel
  36. Kick Forward and Twist Step
  37. Punch of Hitting the Ground
  38. Jump and Kick Twice
  39. Animal Head Posture
  40. Hurricane Kick
  41. Kick with Right Heel
  42. Hand and Arm Covering Fist
  43. Small Grasp and Hit
  44. Cover Head and Push Mountain
  45. Change Palms Three Times
  46. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  47. Single Whip
  48. Forward Trick
  49. Backward Trick
  50. Part the Wild Horse's Mane On Both Sides<
  51. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  52. Single Whip
  53. Shake Both Feet
  54. Fair Lady works at Shuttles
  55. Grasp Sparrow's Tail
  56. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  57. Single Whip
  58. Waving Hands like Clouds
  59. Shake Foot and Stretch Down
  60. Stand on one leg on Both Sides
  61. Step Back and Whirl Arms on Both Sides
  62. Step Back and Press elbow
  63. Middle Winding
  64. White Crane Spreads Wings
  65. Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
  66. Flash the Back
  67. Hand and Arm Covering Fist
  68. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  69. Single Whip
  70. Waving Hands like Clouds
  71. High Pat on Horse
  72. Cross Hands and Sweep Lotus
  73. Punch Opponent's Groin
  74. White Ape Offers Fruits
  75. Six Sealing and Four Closing
  76. Single Whip
  77. The Dragon on the Ground
  78. Step Forward With Seven Stars
  79. Step Back to Mount the Tiger
  80. Turn Around and Sweep Lotus
  81. The Cannon Right Overhead
  82. Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar
  83. Closing Form