Taijiquan jing

Taijiquan jing

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

A footnote appended to this Classic by Yang Lu-ch’an (1799-1872) reads:
This treatise was left by the patriarch Chan San-feng of Wu Tang Mountain,
with a desire toward helping able people everywhere achieve longevity,
and not merely as a means to martial skill.


A little more light push-hands balance work, then extensive picking apart of the short empty-hands form. A lot of familiar issues that I still haven’t knocked out, a few new details. My biggest focus is the weight shifts.

Specific notes:

On the opening "finger push"- that push should not be a deliberate and visible push. It is only implied.

More emphasis on the "pull-in" part after the push. Then drop.

Do not let the knee collapse inward on lunges. Take a deeper stance and keep the knee turned out.

The Crane’s neck is not a Shaolin Crane’s neck. Shallower. Like dangling a bell on a thread.

Going into the White Crane- turn left toe *WAY* out.

Step into the front lunge more diagonally. Also more diagonal- the White Crane step, and the "bicycle" steps.

The pull-in and push-out from left to right- pull it to your heart before pushing.

Savor and fully complete the ending poses of each section before rushing on (specifically, Lazily Tying Your Coat. End facing fully forward with a Dragon’s mouth hand on left hip).

Let the arms move the body. Big body move, little arm move. No arm flapping.

Drop the weight more.

Drop shoulders.

Pay more attention to the tilt of the pelvis.

No rising up on the toes. This is happening every time I bring my feet together (damn dance training).

When sweeping and splitting towards the front in lunge, describe a "C"- a little bit of flourish towards the rear- before splitting. The body turns with this as well.

Brushing Twist Step- feet are too linear. Hips should be slightly diagonal to Northeast, but chest should be due North and arms oriented toward Northward opponent. (This feels very odd!)

We talked a bit about our respective ancient-China-setting fiction, and some research details.

Had to ask her to just not mention SK again. Ever. Please.

Discussed how much I miss training striking with a teacher/class, and that I would consider Muay Tai and/or boxing- but part of what I miss about Shaolin is the spiritual aspect, which worked really well with the more sport-oriented BJJ. She suggested (again) her Tai Chi teacher. But Seattle…. the commute….. argh…

CK noted that it has now been 9 years that she has been teaching me.

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