The recommended books for Yang Style Taijiquan are:

 Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan by Fu Zhongwen

  

 Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan by Yang, Jwing Ming

  

 The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan by Wong, Kiew Kit

  

 Tao of Tai Chi Chuan by Jou, Tsung Hwa

  

For Chen Style Taijiquan, and for Yang students as well, the following books are excellent:

 Tao of Tai Chi Chuan by Jou, Tsung Hwa

  

 Chen Style Taijiquan by David Gaffney and Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim

  

 Lost Tai-Chi classics from the late Ching Dynasty by Douglas Wile

  

 Taijiquan Theory of Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming by Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming

  

 The Illustrated Canon of Chen Family Taijiquan by Chen Xin, translation by Oleg Tcherne (751 pages)

  

 The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo, Lien-Ying, translated by Guttmann

  

TAI CHI CHUAN (TAIJIQUAN)

This link takes you to a VIDEO taken of me performing part of the first section of the Yang Style Long Form of Taijiquan.   This was filmed over ten years ago.  I will post a more up to date video later this week.

 

QINNA (JOINT SUBMISSIONS)

 

This link is a VIDEO of me demonstrating some Qinna techniques from Tai Chi on Mixed Martial Arts fighter Diego Sanchez a couple of years ago in San Diego, CA at the ARENA, which at the time was where Diego was training.  These techniques come from the Tai Chi form.

 

TIPS ON PRACTICING TAI CHI CHUAN (TAIJIQUAN)

SUSPEND YOUR HEAD FROM THE CROWN

 

SINK THE CHEST AND PLUCK THE BACK

 

RELAX THE WAIST

 

DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN SOLID AND EMPTY

 

SINK THE SHOULDERS AND ELBOWS

 

USE THE POWER OF THE MIND AND NOT STRENGTH OR FORCE

 

     COORDINATION OF THE UPPER AND LOWER BODY

 

EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL COORDINATE

 

POSTURES MUTUALLY JOINED AND UNBROKEN

 

SEEK STILLNESS IN MOVEMENT

 

Spend at least a few minutes in the WUSHI posture that precedes the form.  During this posture you align your posture, calm your spirit and empty your mind.

 

Ideally spend an hour or more in this position.  

  

Many people start their Taijiquan practice with only a second or two in the beginning position, which is too short a time.  It is very difficult to get into the right mindset and have your body and mind ready to begin Taijiquan if you spend only a few seconds in preparation. 

 

If you spend a minimum of five minutes in this position, while evaluating the important points, then you will receive noticeable benefits.

 

Focus on the following points while standing in the beginning posture:

 Foot position

  

 Balance point on the feet (should be centered, not towards the balls of the feet, not towards the heels. However, realize that the heel and balls of the feet play an important role in being centered.   Now if one gently lets the balance shift in the following pattern:

  

    a.    center of the feet

    b.    a little towards the balls of the feet

    c.    center of the feet

    d.    a little towards the heels of the feet

    e.    center of the feet

 

In other words, gently shift the weight forward and backward while being aware of the central neutral position.    If you do this for five or ten minutes while spending at least ten seconds at each stage, like a slow motion rocking of the body, you will learn a lot about your balance as well as experience some excellent Qi flow in the lower extremities.   Now, back to the points that you should focus on while standing in the beginning posture.

 

 The head should feel as if it is rising without using your muscles.    Relax your neck muscles and imagine that your head is filled with helium.    You will feel the top of the spine gently straighten out as you become more adept at this adjustment.

  

 Tuck the pelvis

  

 Root with the lower half of the body

  

 Rise to the heavens with the upper half

  

 Align your skeletal structure so that you require the least amount of muscle to maintain this  posture and position

  

 If/when you feel stress in any part of your body, then visualize your breathing to be flushing and cleansing this area.

  

 Breathe from your lower Dan Tien

  

 Do not let your breathing rise up in the chest

  

 Relax your body and mind

  

 Use mirrors or glass to see your reflection, or film yourself to check your posture.

  

 Be aware of the Qi coming from the earth as well as the Qi falling from heaven

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POINTS TO REMEMBER WHILE PRACTICING TAI CHI CHUAN

 

 relax the mind and body/correct the posture/strengthen the intent and spirit

  

 proper alignment

  

 correct balance

  

 step lightly like a cat

  

 only step as far as you can sink (in other words don't fall onto each new step)

  

 if you can only sink a little, then take small steps

  

 balance and being centered is more important than how far you can step

  

 root to the ground and stretch to the heavens

  

 let the body move the hands

  

 root with the legs and feet/direct with the waist/manifest through the hands

  

 thinking leads to feeling

  

 be able to use left and right side of brain (analyze it then feel it)

  

 make the move yours (feel what is happening / be conscious of what is real)

  

 take the toughest movement and embrace it until it becomes your favorite technique

  

 tuck the pelvis / stretch the head upwards like a string pulling up the head from the center

  

 hollow the chest and pluck the back

  

 keep the six main bows alive and strong (legs, arms and torso/back)

  

Focus on the first seven movements of the form, with emphasis on the postures of the four cardinal directions:

 

 Peng (Ward off)

  

 Lu (Roll back)

  

 Ji (Press)

  

 An (Push)

  

These movements are often referred to as "The circle within the square". The circle intersects with the square at the four cardinal directions, north south east and west.

 

On a later lesson we will cover the four diagonals:

 

 Tsai (Pull down)

  

 Lieh (Split)

  

 Chao (Elbow strike)

  

 Kao (Shoulder strike)

  

These four movements are often referred to as "The square within the circle".   The square intersects with the circle at the four diagonals, north east, south east, north west and south west.

 

Within all of these 8 movements exists the property of PENG.   This quality one can see in nature as in the springiness of a branch on a tree.     PENG is not rigid, but is rather like a spring that becomes loaded when intersecting with the energy of others, and can expand outwards with great power once released.

 

The five bows of the body, arms, legs and trunk/back use the quality of PENG.

 

The 13 original Taijiquan Postures is a very old form that represented the following postures and concepts:

 

The four primary postures:

 

 Peng (Ward off)

  

 Lu (Roll back)

  

 Ji (Press)

  

 An (Push)

  

The four corner postures:

 

 Tsai (Pull down)

  

 Lieh (Split)

  

 Chao (Elbow strike)

  

 Kao (Shoulder strike)

  

The five directions:

 

 Forward (Advance)

  

 Backwards (Retreat)

  

 Look left

  

 Beware of the right

  

 Center (Equilibrium)

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The majority of Taijiquan postures use the concepts and postures of the original thirteen postures.    Understanding the  original thirteen postures can help lead to mastery of Taijiquan.