How To Do Tai Chi

How to do Tai Chi, the following passage is a translation of the TaiChi classics which is supposed to be the blue print for how Tai Chi should be practiced, Tai Chi it would seem has got a master with no name because not one person that is alive today can honestly say that they are the true descendant of the alleged founder of Tai Chi Zhang san feng who is said to have lived in the mountainous region of Wudang, it is said that his disciple was called Wang Zongyue and it is he that is supposed to have written down how Tai Chi is supposed to be practiced, according to some scholars Zhan Sanfeng didn’t invent Tai but it was he that was the inventor of the internal that is supposed to power Tai Chi, the form and the moves in Tai Chi have come about because each person that has read the written works of Wang Zongyue. The way that these instructions are written suggests that there are no forms in Tai Chi only intent and that the moves should flow without pre thought or prearrangement. It tells us that the “I” is the master.

Zhang Sanfeng is said to be the author of this passage on the origins of the origin of Tai Chi there was no mention of Tai Chi when Zhan Sanfebg was alive so it would seem that his invention was mental awareness and and good body mechanics combined to create a focused human being with the potential to be good in combat. It is internal development that he was more concerned with.

Zhang Sanfeng

Zhang Sanfeng

In motion the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts of the body linked
as if threaded together.

The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited,
The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered.

The postures should be without defect,
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment;
in motion the Form should be continuous, without stops and starts.

The chin [intrinsic strength] should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.

The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can grasp the opportunity of favorable timing
and advantageous position.

If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.

All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention],
not external form.

If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.

If the I wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.

Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.

Insubstantial and substantial
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.

The whole body should be threaded together
through every joint
without the slightest break.

Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.

Peng, Lu, Chi, An,
Ts’ai, Lieh, Chou, and K’ao
are equated to the Eight Trigrams.
The first four are the cardinal directions;
Ch’ien [South; Heaven],
K’un [North; Earth],
K’an [West; Water], and
Li [East; Fire].
The second four are the four corners:
Sun [Southwest; Wind],
Chen [Northeast; Thunder],
Tui [Southeast; Lake], and
Ken [Northwest; Mountain].
Advance (Chin), Withdraw (T’ui),
Look Left (Tso Ku), Look Right (Yu Pan), and
Central Equilibrium (Chung Ting)
are equated to the five elements:
Fire, and
All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures

Wang Zongyue


“The strong defeating the weak
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities
and not of well-trained techniques.”
This is on of the biggest clues that the art should be without pre thought

T’ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [Formless Void]
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.

It is not excessive or deficient;
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.

When the opponent is hard and I am soft,
it is called tsou [yielding].

When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up,
it is called nian [sticking].

If the opponent’s movement is quick,
then quickly respond;
if his movement is slow,
then follow slowly.

Although there are innumerable variations,
the principles that pervades them remain the same.

From familiarity with the correct touch,
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength];
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.

Without long practice
one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi.

Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.

Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir].

Don’t lean in any direction;
suddenly appear,
suddenly disappear.

Empty the left wherever a pressure appears,
and similarly the right.

If the opponent raises up, I seem taller;
if he sinks down, then I seem lower;
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long;
retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.

A feather cannot be placed,
and a fly cannot alight
on any part of the body.

The opponent does not know me;
I alone know him.

To become a peerless boxer results from this.

There are many boxing arts.

Although they use different forms,
for the most part they don’t go beyond
the strong dominating the weak,
and the slow resigning to the swift.

The strong defeating the weak
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities
and not of well-trained techniques.

From the sentence “A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds”
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.

The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people,
how can it be due to swiftness?

Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and
move like a turning wheel.

Sinking to one side allows movement to flow;
being double-weighted is sluggish.

Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent,
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.

To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.

To adhere means to yield.
To yield means to adhere.

Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.

Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.

Understanding this you can say you understand chin.
After you understand chin,
the more you practice,
the more skill.

Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind.
Gradually you can do as you like.

Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others.
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far.
It is said, “Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray.”

The practitioner must carefully study.

It would have been nice to have seen what these old masters made of the Tai Chi that we see today, would they be impressed or embarrassed at how masters try to translate what they believe Tai Chi to be. Where they worthy back then of all the praise that they get now or were they shunned and thought of as basic martial artists, with pure theory and no combat experience. Where they the conscientious objectors of their day hiding in mountains and only showing what they could do to a handful of gullible travelers?

As far as we can tell the master in this video called Chen Xiaowang is the living descendant of the student of the founder’s top student Wang Zonyue. He is the master of masters a grandmaster of chen Tai Chi his ancestor is said to be Chen Wanting the student that learned the art from master Wang Zonyue who invented Tai Chi forms because before that Zhang Sanfeng created internal alchemy for fighting