The Essentials of Practicing Tai Chi


Practice making the forms, using the mind to lead the forms, developing softness, controlling the breath, nurturing chi, and developing strength and mien [demeanor and character], each of which is developed from the easiest to the hardest. Learn one form and practice one. One should combine learning and practicing, but practicing is the most essential requirement. Only then can differences be seen. Using the right way to promote circulation of Chi and the flow of the meridians is the fundamental Tai Chi Kung Fu to cure disease, build a sound body, and advance in this art.


I. The internal requirements

1. Cheerful, harmonious, friendly, mentally balanced attitude.

2. Good mental focus; use the mind to lead the moves.

3. A relaxed mind; a relaxed body.


II. The requirements to each part of the body

In general, it is important to extend the joints with every form.

Head: maintain “lifting” the “baihui” point at the crown of the head like a string is pulling up the head, stand upright, maintain the eyes at a natural level, close the mouth slightly,  touch the tongue to the upper palate, and lower the chin.

Neck: maintain a natural upright position; the rotation is flexible and relaxed. 

Shoulders: keep them even, straight, and soft; lower them; do not shrug or push them too far forward or too far backward.

Elbows: keep them naturally bent and low to prevent stiffness. 

Wrists: sink, or collapse, the wrist slightly and in a natural way.

Chest: don’t press the shoulders forward or pull them back; the chest should appear natural.

Back: stand upright with the back centered on an axis; don’t lean forward or backward.

Waist: keep it soft and sink (lower it); rotation should be flexible; don’t use the pelvis. to move the waist; turn the waist according the axis of the body.

Spine: keeps the natural body shape upright and centered on the axis.

Buttocks: push buttocks slightly inward (known as the "hip slide"). 

Crotch: contracts the crotch to disperse the chi and strength to the feet; don’t exaggerate the contraction by leaning backward or forward.

Legs: keep the legs solid, spin lightly and softly, and move smoothly. 

Knees: slightly bent, soft and natural. 

Feet: one foot is empty and one is solid.


III. Daily Guidelines

1. Have a regular and predictable routine.

2. Have a balanced state of mind.

3. Do regular exercise.

4. Eat a reasonable diet.

5. Drink water appropriately.

6. Limit alcohol and quit smoking.