Structure of Taijiquan (Tai Chi)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Taijiquan involves many things however, there are some key principles for body alignment and basic stance. I will present the most important stance after I have reviewed some of the fundamental principles of taijiquan. Relaxation is an underlying principle, however, relaxation is not quite correct. In Chinese the use the term (放 松 fàng song fong3sung1放fong3 to release; to free; to let go; to put; to place; to let out; to set off (fireworks) 松sung1loose; to loosen; to relax) fang song means to release, to free, to let go and to loosen. The ideal is that we should open the joins and loosen everything. We want all movements to be loose only enough muscle tension to hold the positions and movements and nothing more.

Taijiquan also involves being grounded or rooted. This means sinking your energy into your centre (Dan Tian). Strictly speaking we will focus on the Lower Dantain (the golden stove) which is three fingers below the belly button and located about half way between the stomach and back in the middle of the body. Later we may talk about the middle (the crimson palace – at heart level) and upper dantian (the muddy pellet – third eye). Each of these has a place in our practice of Taijiquan. In the beginning it is enough to think about moving from the lower dantian and sinking your energy there.

Some General rules for practice
1. The head should not turn to one side. Let your eye do the looking keep your nose on the centre line
2. The head should not bob up and down. Keep your knees bent and be sure you are weighted on the standing leg
3. Keep your knees bent but do not allow them to pass the toes
4. Start with higher posture and shorter steps. As you progress you can perform lower postures and longer steps
5. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the elbows below the shoulders.
6. Eyes look straight ahead (unless adjusting for body position to look at the target when the body is turned) and hand are relaxed and natural
7. Backbone is straight and vertical. Think of being lifted from the bai hui point (GV20 Hundred Convergences) and sinking through the Hui Yin (CV 01 Meeting of Yin) located in the middle of the perineum. We can feel like we are stretched between these points.
8. Walk softely and carefully. As you step place your stepping foot empty (so it could be picked up if attacked and transfer the weight after the foot is placed. There are different types of step that we can and will use these will be outline as we talk about the form.
9. Differentiate yin and yang. We should not be double waited except when beginning and ending and briefly during transitions for one leg to the other
10. Maintain equilibrium
11. In attacking forward breath out, in attacking backwards breath in; breath in when lifting up, breath out when placing foot or stepping down
12. Head is suspended from above (see 7 )
13. Qi springs from the feet Yong Quan (KD01 Gushing Spring) in the centre of your foot, is directed by your waist and manifested in your hands (fingers).
14. Practice the form three times. 1) for bones, muscle and sinews, 2) for mind and 3) for spirit.

There are six pairs of balance body parts which are also related to acupuncture Meridiands
1. Hand and feet (Stomach and spleen)
2. Knees and Elbows (Kidneys and Bladder)
3. CV01 and GV20 (Triple Heater and Pericardium)
4. Buttocks and Axilla (Gallbladder and Spleen)
5. Coccyx and back of the Skull (Heart and Small Intestine)
6. Shoulders and Hips (Lung and Large Intestine)
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