The Thirteen Postures of Tai Chi Chuan

All Tai Chi Chuan practitioners should be knowledgeable of the thirteen postures or movements of the system. All Tai Chi movements are composed of these postures or movements. An excellent book for researching this Tai Chi “technology” is “The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan” by Yang Chengfu (translated by Louis Swain), an excellent online discussion is this discussion by Michael Garofalo, or, of course, by asking about these things from an advanced student or Master Li.

The eight movements are:

  • Ward Off (Peng)
  • Roll Back (Lu)
  • Press (Ji)
  • Press (An)
  • Pull Down (Tsai or Cai)
  • Rend (Lie)
  • Elbow Stroke (Zhou)
  • Shoulder Stroke (Kao)

The five “directions” are:

  • Advance (Jin)
  • Retreat (Tui)
  • Look Left (Ku)
  • Look Right (Pan)
  • Central Equilibrium (Ding)

In order to understand Tai Chi Chuan, a student must understand how these thirteen postures apply to each and every movement.

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