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太極拳的起源與體用

太極拳武術溯源於道家,道家修道首重靜心養性。 為避塵囂,多隱居深山峻嶺,渺無人踪之地。而地處荒僻,運輸不易,補給困難,營養缺乏。加以氣候環境惡劣,野獸侵襲,體質素弱者,更易患染疾病,而醫療缺乏,乃發展適合需要之武術,作為強身健體之需與抗拒野獸之用。

在唐朝時代(公元六一八-九零七)道家經有動作柔和的武術存在 。著名的有許宣平的三十七勢。

宋末元初時期(公元一二七九)有武當丹士張三丰,精研太極哲理,並不時觀察龜鶴等動物的生活形態,探究其適應自然之能力與壽命較長的原因,終於有所發現和理解,遂演繹太極拳。

拳用太極作名稱,是受到太極的理論影响。

太極的含義十分廣泛,是代表整一的大全,無所不包。道家名之曰「道」。

太極的本體,具有截然不同性質的兩個部份,一部份稱作「陽」,另一部份稱作「陰」。並把自然界的森羅萬象歸納起來,統攝於陰陽兩屬性中。

易經繫辭傳說:「易有太極,是生兩儀,兩儀生四象,四象生八卦」。

這是太極理論的宇宙觀。太極是超邁於時空的條件先天地而存在的。宇宙的建立是太極中「陰」、「陽」兩種不同性質的力,即所謂兩儀,在互相作用,發生變化和運動。繼發展構成宇宙的條件,即所謂四象。四象即是老陽少陽,老陰少陰。老陽老陰代表無機物質,少陽少陰代表有機物質。因老陽老陰不能變,不能變則不能生長。少陽少陰能變,則能生長。再發展了天體(乾)和地球(坤),光與電(震)和空氣(巽),水(坎)和火(離),高山(艮)和河海(兌)。由於存在了上述八種條件,然後孳生了植物,動物以至於人類的進化(剛柔相摩,八卦相盪)。

宇宙萬物既是由陰陽的發展而來,故此任何事物皆有陰陽。哲學上的精神與物質,動物界的生與死,地球上的南極與北極,一日間的晝和夜,物理學上的正與負,都是由陰陽的變化而來。

陰陽是對立的,又是在對立中統一的。兩者既互相聯系,又互相影响,在「順」的條件下,陰陽互相作用,衍生事物;在「逆」的條件下,互相排拒,破壞事物。並不斷循環,不斷變化。這種變化發展到了極點。必然又回復過來向相對的一方發展。這種發展是往復不斷的。宇宙萬物同是循此規律發展,所以年月有季節的變化,由春天的暖和到夏天的炎熱,由秋天的涼快到冬天的寒冷,再由冬天回復到春天。日由晝的光明轉移到夜的黑暗,再由夜回復到晝。植物由開花至結成果實,再由果實中的種子萌芽生長直到再次開花。動物由上一代延續至下一代,等等不斷的循環,作螺旋式推進的…

太極拳的呼吸方法

練太極拳時能夠做到精神集中,姿態柔和,身手圓活,步馬鬆沉,這是由於呼吸暢順所致。故此練拳時,呼吸宜自然,不可有絲毫牽強之處,才是練太極拳之正道。

人體器官中的心臟和肺臟都是毫不休止,不斷活動的,為健康着想。運動時不可令心肺負坦過劇,一般運動以橫向擴張的呼吸方法為標準。若此,當吸氣時,肺部就必須逼開胸腔的肌肉和骨胳,以增加吸氣量,但肺部因此所受壓力無形加重,容易導致疲勞。譬如一部汽車,當開動後常是在山道斜坡滾動,汽車的機件必定較易耗損耐,用的時間亦將縮短。練太極拳不採取這種方式,因為這種方式對中年人尤其是老年人,甚不適合。太極拳對呼吸有其獨特而自然的方式。

太極拳出於道家,道家有「龜息」方法,這是仿效龜的呼吸而來。龜的身體因有硬殼圍裹,呼吸時肺部不能橫向擴張,只能向下伸展,但呼吸却反為均勻而深長,行動緩慢,但壽命却極長。由是引起修道之士觀察研究,至於有所發現及發明,並於創作太極拳時受到影响。

太極拳注重動作柔和,呼吸自然之原因,是仿效這種長壽動物柔緩而自然的呼吸功能。

練太極拳日久,呼吸自然達到柔緩深長,至於整體協調。體內器官亦產生共鳴狀態,當呼吸之間,橫膈膜自動順隨着肺部之呼吸而活動,吸氣時,橫膈膜自動向胃腸部位壓下,肺部因而得以向下伸展,增加吸氣量;呼氣時肺部收縮,橫膈膜自動回復上挺,一壓一挺之間,有助肺部呼吸。同時由於橫膈膜有節湊之活動,因而幫助胃腸器官連帶活動,使胃腸內血管之血液流暢,營養輸送,更形足夠,身體因而更為健康。這種呼吸方式前人稱為「氣沉丹田」。

練太極拳能達至身心舒暢,體魄日健,益享嘏齡,盍由於此。

太極拳慢練與不用力的原因

練太極拳為什麼要慢與不用力?

因慢練能使動作與意識協調;不用力則動作柔和,筋肌放鬆,更為適合身體的需要。

太極拳在運動時,要求動作與意識協調,故揭示「動中求靜」。在運動中如心緒不寧,則動作易亂,難有進境。慢練不致引起緊張,故心意定靜。練之日久,意與形合,由是而身心舒泰,增進健康。

不用力則筋肌與神經放鬆,身體在柔和的運動中,使血液循環流暢,新陳代謝作用加速,全身細胞皆呈現活躍狀態,體內器官更為健全。由於筋肌舒鬆關係,使全身各個關節轉動靈活,漸次達到手足俐落,步履輕快,身法便捷的良好狀態。

老子曰:「剛易折,柔恆存」。柔靱的物體通常都較堅硬的物體不容易碎裂或折斷。慢練與不用力更能使身體柔鬆,健康更佳,不易衰老。同時更能適應技巧的鍛鍊,身手如要快捷,則必須具有快捷的條件,身體柔鬆,關節轉動靈活,是鍛鍊身手快捷的條件之一。一條柔軟的繩索比堅實的木棍,轉動起來,速度更快。在自衛上言,對手攻勢發動於先,自己應付於後,以速度論,己居下風,身手倘不能具有更快速度,則無從應付。慢練與不用力是鍛鍊身手快捷的基點,求快應從基點練起。鍛鍊有成,則動作技巧而靈敏,達到意之所指,手足已至之速度,在應變之時快捷如意。故此練太極拳宜慢與不用力,然後始能領略技巧和有所進步。

怎樣練好太極拳

太極拳是強身健體,調和氣血,修養身心的良好運動。初學者須留心練習,始有興趣與裨益。茲將應注意之處分述如下:

外表姿態:每次練拳之前,當先作遍體鬆弛及心境平靜的準備,拳勢開始之後,動作要柔緩,更要保持鬆靜的狀態及呼吸的自然,力避矜持態度,方能輕靈舒適,圓轉如意,如此便易漸入佳境。

精神方面:太極拳是精神與肢體合而為一的運動,所以首先要不強用力,純以意行,譬如兩手上舉,並非兩手徙自上舉,而是意使之緩緩上舉,意不停則身手不停,意之所至則身手隨之。練拳愈多,更易純熟。如是久之則呼吸隨之深長,精氣神亦隨之增長。

在初練太極拳的時候,對自己所練習的姿勢是否正確,頗不容易判斷,有時更會感到無所適從,其實太極拳有幾個屬於原則性的要求,如果了解和遵循這幾個原則去做,用心學習,絕無有不正確之理的,茲簡述如下:

(一)練習太極拳的時候,要注意頭部不可上仰或俯下,上仰或俯下都是錯誤的,應該要「頂頭中正」,即是說頭部與脊柱要保持直綫,如此頭部的位置和重量,都能適當地放在脊柱上,頸部的筋肌就獲得鬆弛的好處。

(二)練拳的時候要注意不可聳起肩膊或突露肘骨,或是把肘關節全部伸盡,這樣會令到姿勢僵硬,轉動不靈活,應要「沉肩墜肘」。如此手部關節屈伸容易而靈活。

(三)練拳時固然要做到整體放鬆,尤其是胸部不可有絲毫的緊張,要以自然之姿態鬆弛胸部和背部,使呼吸舒暢,自然地達到氣沉的階段和動作輕靈的好處。所以太極拳家有「涵胸拔背」的要求。

(四)練拳時腰太硬則變轉方位不易,尤其是未能把腰膂的力量運達於指掌之上;臀部突出,則重心不平衡而姿勢難看,所以要求「垂臀鬆腰」,避免以上的毛病。腰鬆則全身易於放鬆,臀垂則脊柱垂直,故「垂臀鬆腰」,不特腰胯靈活,且可使循環系統暢通,實為養生要法。

(五)太極拳之動作,多是以一足支持重心,動作時兩足互相交替,處處有虛有實,如前腿虛,即後腿實。後腿虛,即前腿實。須要分清楚,不可兩腿同時踏實。「虛實分清」則重心中正,可以支撐八面,而無雙重呆滯之虞,所以練拳時分清虛實是十分重要的。

練拳宜有四多,一曰多練,勤而行之,進境自速。二曰多看,導師教人之時要看,可以增進領悟;別人練拳之時要看,藉以觀摩和吸收別人的長處。三曰多想,宜多加研究以為經驗,藉謀改進。四曰多問,有不明之處,不可囫圇吞棗,稍有存疑,當立刻請教老師,不妨打破沙鍋問到底,直至完全了解為止。能如是即獲益必深。

練習太極拳的好處

生活在都市的人,因工作關係坐多動少,而事務繁忙,情緒緊張;倘若欠缺運動,就會漸次失去健康,處理事務之時,每因精神疲倦,思想遲鈍,致令事務延擱,失去效率。

運動能使人的身體健康。西諺說:「健康就是財富」。中國諺語:「平安是福」。都同樣對健康重視。

太極拳是一種良好的運動,練習太極拳的人,身體健康,精神飽滿,思想敏捷,故處理事務,審度詳確,有條不紊,間接幫助事業的成功。

太極拳的每一個動作都十分優美和富於技巧,在連貫的動作當中,使人身體各部的肌肉和關節,獲得平衡的發展,更令呼吸暢順。從而使橫膈膜的活動能力加強。在人的身體而言,中樞神經系統的健康,亦會影响其他重要器官。在這方面,太極拳對於中樞神經系統的健康,有其顯著的功效。只要在練習時多加注重心境平靜和集中精神於每一動作中,便能使中樞神經系統得到莫大裨益。

同樣地,練太極拳對臟腑,動脈和呼吸系統亦有相同的好處,由於呼吸暢順而橫膈膜活動能力加強,自然地可增進血液循環及使淋巴腺趨於健康。每一動作都能加強靜脈的壓力,而促使血液流向心臟,況且在深呼吸時,橫膈膜的肌肉產生一種按摩作用,因而使臟腑的效能增強。太極拳的另一特點,是其動作與呼吸互相協調。由於呼吸深長令肺部有充沛的空氣,更而使血液循環加速。更重要的是由血管供應至五臟六腑的養料更形足夠。根據上述的因素,對於心臟附近的肌肉,必然有增強的作用,因此太極拳是可以防止各種臟腑疾病的一種有效運動。

由於太極拳給與腹肌一個良好的運動機會,結果消化系統包括胃腸的功能日漸強大,因而可增進食慾和防止便秘等,這功效對老年人尤其顯著。

人的生命自然過程,包括吸入氧氣和其他養料,經過形態的變化後,由血液傳送至身體各個部份。部份吸入的物質,經過某些物理和化學變化後,遂成渣滓而被排泄出體外,這種過程可稱為:「生長過程」,如這種活動停止的話,生命便十分危殆。另一方面,當這種過程在一個不健康的情況下進行活動,其結果亦會引致動脈硬化和其他疾病。而這些疾病尤常見於老年人中。然太極拳能防止這些疾病的發生,觀其原因是太極拳能增強中樞神經系統,幫助血液循環的正常狀況,供應臟腑足夠的滋養品,和改進消化系統等,同時還可保護生長過程的正常活動。

綜合上述所說,練習太極拳是可以防止疾病發生和增進個人體格的健康的。這是一種值得推薦給大眾的良好運動。

太極拳這種具有藝術風格的運動,有很多特點,這些特點對於練習太極拳的人士產生…

Name List of Tai Chi Sabre

Ready style
1. Tai Chi beginning style
2. Grasping bird's tail
3. Brush knee twist step
4. Separating the sabre
5. Dodge and display the sabre
6. Picking a star on the left
7. Advance to tease the genitals
8. Withdraw to divert with the sabre
9. Pierce the heart
10. Hang the golden bell on the left
11. Push open the window to watch the moon
12. Swivel and chop
13. Swivel and tease the genitals
14. Hanging the golden bell on the left
15. Climb the mountain to look into the distance
16. Sparrow hawk turning around
17. Roc spreading its wings
18. Swallow entering its nest
19. Advance and divert with the sabre
20. Stab the face
21. Swivel hiding the sabre
22. Point to the trousers with the sabre
23. Chop the tiger
24. Swallow entering its nest
25. Advance and divert with the sabre
26. Pierce the heart
27. Swivel hiding the sabre
28. Above three opening style
29. Taking off the boots when drunk
30. Lying fish style
31. Cloud sabre and hiding the sabre
32. Stab the face
33. Turn around…

Name List of Tai Chi Sword

Ready style
1. Tai Chi beginning style
2. Grasping bird's tail
3. Golden needle pointing south
4. Passing the sword style
5. Spreading the sword style
6. Hanging the sword style
7. Intercepting the sword style
8. Rhinoceros watching the moon
9. Step up to protect the knee
10. Swivel and dot
11. Turn back and stab
12. Hanging the golden bell upside down
13. Point to the trousers with the sword
14. Male & female phoenix spreading wings
15. Shooting star chasing the moon
16. Li Gwong shooting an arrow at a tiger
17. The wheel on the left and right
18. Fisherman casting his net
19. Spin around and rein in the horse
20. Step up and move towards the door
21. Step back coiled dragon
22. Face to face sword
23. Yellow dragon turning right
24. Pui Kung cleaving a snake
25. Shooting star chasing the moon
26. Li Gwong shooting an arrow at a tiger
27. Embracing the moon
28. Pierce the heart
29. Step back and tease the genitals
30. Tiger lying in front of the door
31. Steersman rowing the …

太極拳發源地武當山名勝

武當山是太極拳派發源地。山在湖北省均縣南,為大巴山脈,盤亘均縣,房維之間,方圓凡八百里,有峰二十七,重巒疊翠,古木參天,俯視猶如綠海,奇巖怪石,深壑幽澗。夏日仰望,白雲朵朵,往來峰帕之間,雄渾氣慨,不亞泰山,不讓五嶽以外名山之美,且為古代隱士修道之所。宋末有丹士張三丰曾隱居是間,研磨太極陰陽之奧蘊,靜觀龜鶴之動態,探究其長壽之原,頓有所得,悟創太極拳法,張三丰曾以單丁殺賊百餘,遂以絕技名於時,後世得傳其太極拳法,由是山與其名益彰焉。

該山宮殿、庵堂、巖廟、橋亭,多如泰山;有八宮、二觀、三十六庵堂、七十二巖廟、三十九橋、十二亭橋。從山麓至極峰,約一日始抵,沿途景色如畫,登山道上,名勝古迹,目不暇給。步過真宮、玄嶽門、老君堂、太子坡,然後登劍河十八盆,再過為南天門,進而到達古木幽深,群山拱衛,兩層紅牆綠瓦,飛簷之紫霄宮。宮築於最高之天柱峰,即紫霄峰又名金頂。由此眺望,則聞松風如濤,劍河隨山起伏,曲折盤旋,有若玉帶圍腰。宮之四周石欄干圍繞,石階寬廣,一如北京之宮殿。紫霄宮,被稱為紫霄福地,是一座壯麗之宮殿,為武當山最巍峨寬敞之宮殿也。正殿樑上書有大明永樂十一、十二年聖王御駕敕建字跡。宮外山花吐艷,香溢山谷,每使遊人留連忘返。從南巖沿山路而登出一天門,坡度陡斜。石階凡三百十級,依山鑿成,峭峻萬分。再達三天門,仰首一望,絕壁中有四大字橫書「一柱擎天」,字體雄勁。再攀鐵索沿絕壁而上,驚險萬狀,即為武當絕頂之天柱峰。涼風飄衣,佇立溜覽,但見山河大地,氣象萬千,漢水蜿蜒原野,一覽無遺,頓覺天地間之廣大!

天柱峰頂,有座金光閃閃之太和宮,又稱金殿。瓦、樑、簷、椽、柱、門、壁,全為銅製鍍金。在碧空如洗,陽光照耀,金光四射,眩人目迷,華麗堂皇,妙難言喻。據武當山誌記載:「太和宮在天柱峰之上,明成祖又皇帝創建,冶銅為殿,黃金飾之。」金殿全部結構,無論大小裝飾,悉仿木構建築,殿內立柱十二,柱礎為蓮花形石座,樑柱斗拱及天花藻井,無不精雕細刻,結合之處,有若天衣無縫。殿中鑄有真武帝君、周公、桃花女及武士等銅像,姿態傳奇,栩栩如生。

武當山之名勝,實為自然與人工合成者;緣,明成祖以當時武技著名之武當山張三丰,門徒繁眾,且為武士領導者,特遣姚廣孝親蒞武當,請其護衛永樂皇朝,又命孫碧雲修建山中名勝為壽。故明代之建築,營法之跡,今尚多留是山也。

太極拳發地武當山景色

The Breathing Method of Tai Chi Chuan

As we have seen the origins of Tai Chi Chuan lie in Taoism. The Taoists themselves used a special method of breathing modelled on the respiratory system of the tortoise, whose hard shell limits the outward expansion of its lungs. Its lungs are therefore forced to expand by extending down the length of its body rather than outwards, thus making its breathing deep and harmonious. The tortoise may move slowly, but it lives a long time. This is why first the Taoists and later the founders of Tai Chi Chuan adopted and adapted this breathing method.

Our heart and lungs work incessantly to keep our body alive and in good health. To maintain this state of affairs we have a duty to protect them from too much stress and strain when we engage in exercise. Most forms of exercise require lung expansion when we inhale. This expansion forces our muscles and ribs outwards thus increasing the chest’s capacity to take in air. However, this puts a lot of pressure on our lungs and can easily tire us out. …

The History And Application Of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan was derived from Taoism. The most important practice of Taoism was concerned with tranquillity of mind and improvement of temperament. Since the hustle and bustle of city is unsuitable for those seeking self-discipline, the Taoists had to search for isolated spots where they could lead the life of a hermit. Such spots exist only in the mountains where one finds little or no sound, no sorrow and no movement. But in reality such hermitage is an unsuitable environment in which to dwell. The reasons for this are that the air though fresh, is often foggy; the winds are too strong; transportation of food is difficult making nutrition a bit deficiency. Furthermore, there is a constant danger of being a victim of wild beasts. Also, many diseases when left unattended may cause death. So, many Taoists failed to reach their Destiny - the life of transcendental bliss. Therefore, the Taoists developed techniques of Martial Art in order to gain good health and to protect themselves fr…

Practical Interpretations of Yin and Yang

The Chinese Lunar Year can also be explained in terms of Yin and Yang. The six Spring and Summer months represent Yang while the six Autumn and Winter months represent Yin. The Chinese Year usually begins at the end of January or beginning of February, which is also the beginning of Spring. Spring and Summer are times of positive growth and activity and so represent Yang, while Autumn and Winter are periods of decline and passivity and so represent Yin. With the help of the hexagrams of the I Ching and the Tai Chi motif let us examine the changes of Yin and Yang that take place during these 12 months. The Tai Chi motifs can be looked at in two ways; at A they represent complementary increases and decreases of Yin and Yang while at B they show how, when either Yin or Yang ascends, the other descends.

This clearly shows the inevitable and continuous nature of the change of Yin and Yang. In subsequent pages we will discover how and why this theory was used to create the martial art we kn…

The Changes of Yin and Yang

Generally speaking, Yin and Yang are complementary opposites and are the two factors which combine to form Tai Chi. Since Tai Chi itself is an abstract concept, the Universe and all the matter in it cannot be understood until after Tai Chi is divided into, and analysed in accordance with, Yin and Yang. Yin signifies softness, weakness, female, stillness, interior, bending, Earth, Moon, night, negative, and the dark side of all matter. Yang signifies hardness, strength, male, motion, exterior, unbending, Heaven, Sun, day, positive and the bright side of all matter.

In a favourable environment Yin and Yang will interact and develop, but in an unfavourable environment they will repel one another and destroy all matter. Yin and Yang counteract and yet interact. When in any one situation their interaction reaches a conclusion, the natural phenomena in that situation will follow a pattern of variation in constant repetition, as is shown in the diagrams set out below. These diagrams, in repr…

From Tai Chi to Pa Kua to I Ching

Tai Chi is a Taoist philosophical concept representing the origin of Heaven and Earth and all matter in the world. The character ‘Tai’(太)literally means ‘Supreme’ while ‘Chi’(極)has the literal meaning of ‘Ultimate’. Tai Chi transcends the limits of both space and time. The Taoists called it ‘Tao’(道), meaning ‘The Way’.

In the Tai Chi motif, the white half on the left side represents Yang while the black half on the right ride represents Yin. The black spot on the white half is the Yin in the Yang; white spot on the black half is the Yang in the Yin.

According to Tai Chi principles, the genesis of the Universe is to be found in the two opposite forces within Tai Chi:- Yin and Yang. They are jointly Known as Leung Yee(兩儀), or Two Basics.

A single Yin line with a single Yang Line are referred to as the Two Basics. The Yin line represents the black half of the Tai Chi motif whereas the Yang Line represents the white half.

The Two Basics interact to produce change and give rise to Sei Jeun…

Pushing Hand of Tai Chi Chuan

Doing the Pushing Hands practice with a partner is the best method of training the Five Strategies and Thirteen Tactics mentioned earlier. This practice will develop the sensitivity of our arms enabling us to detect our opponent’s intentions. It will also help to speed up our own reactions.

Pushing Hands practice is not designed to train us to fight, though it does link the combat strategy and tactics with the practical application of the Hand Form. This training, using a limited number of actions in a limited number of situations, conditions us to respond to our opponent’s movements in a natural way. Only when we have a good understanding of the Pushing Hands should we start to learn the Self-Defence.

The Tai Chi Chuan Classic tells us that once our opponent has just started a move then we should counter him before he can complete the movement. We can only accomplish this if we have attained a high degree of sensitivity which will allow us to detect any such movement. Such sensitivit…

The Methods of Application

The Tai Chi Chuan Classic(太極經) was written during the Ming Dynasty (1363-1662 AD) by a Tai Chi Chuan master named Wang Chung Yueh(王宗岳). In the Classic he discussed the concepts of ‘Tung Keng’(懂勁)and ‘Sheung Chung’(雙重). These are respectively the right way and the wrong way of applying the theory.
a) The Right Way - Tung Keng(懂勁)

Literally Tung(懂)means to understand while Keng(勁)refers to focused power. The ability to understand and freely apply focused power requires a great deal of thought and practice, and is the stepping stone to mastery. There are three main stages of development we must pass through before we can be said to possess Tung Keng. Firstly, we must through training acquire the ability to detect where our opponent’s Keng lies. Secondly, we must learn how to divert and dilute our opponent’s Keng. Thirdly, we must develop our own Keng to the stage where we can use it to strike decisively at our opponent’s weak points. Once a man has passed through these three stages he can…

Tranquillity in Motion

One of the main reasons for practicing the Tai Chi Hand Form slowly, avoiding the application of brute force, is that we can harmonise our thoughts and actions by moving in a smooth and relaxed manner.
The Taoists said ‘seek tranquillity in motion’. This means that the slowness of our physical movements when practicing Tai Chi Chuan results in peace of mind which enables us to concentrate on performing the exercise to the exclusion of outside distractions. Soft slow practice reduces tension and increases concentration. Thus, over a period of time our physical and mental health will improve.
If we are suddenly attacked, we must be able to react swiftly to prevent our opponent completing his assault. This ability to react swiftly depends upon our body remaining relaxed in such a situation. By constant, soft, slow practice we can make our muscles and tendons relaxed. This will allow our joints to rotate smoothly, making us swift and agile in defence and counterattack.
Lao Tzu said ‘The u…

Self-Defence Techniques of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan Self-Defence Techniques are the practical application of the individual styles of the Tai Chi Chuan Hand Form.

We know that practice of the Hand Form is good for health. Many ‘masters’ have a first-class knowledge of the Hand Form, but little if any knowledge of how to apply the techniques contained therein. It is as if they learn to recite a beautiful poem without being able to understand the words.

Practice of Pushing Hands is not sufficient either, as this is only an exercise to train our bodies and minds in the Strategy of the Five Step Path and the Principles of the Thirteen Tactics. It is a preparatory step to learning the Self-Defence Techniques. Furthermore, in a real fight our opponent will not engage in Pushing Hands with us, but will attack with fist and foot from all directions. If pushing Hands practice was sufficient in itself, what is the purpose of the different styles of the Tai Chi Chuan Hand Form?

What we must do is to learn the application of these st…

Tai Chi Internal Strength

In ancient times, Internal Strength was the first thing a Tai Chi Chuan master would teach his students. It provided them with a strong foundation on which to build the rest of the art. However, as society became more complex and teachers began to depend on Tai Chi Chuan for a living and thus taught more students, it came to be that Internal Strength was only taught to those students who had a sound character and would not abuse or misuse what they had learned. It took time to assess students in this way and so, nowadays, students will normally be taught the Hand Form and Pushing Hands first. Indeed, most self-styled ‘masters’ only know the Hand Form and one or two styles of the Pushing Hands.
Internal Strength is the most important part of the art of Tai Chi Chuan, as well as being the most mysterious and least understood. The creator of Tai Chi Chuan, Chang San Feng, found that skill alone was insufficient especially when facing more than one opponent. There is an old saying in the C…

The Twelve Commandments of Wutan Tai Chi Chuan

The ‘Internal School’ or ‘Soft Style’ of the martial arts known as Tai Chi Chuan has its origins in Taoism. Because Taoism lays great emphasis on education and morality any one who wishes to be a disciple of Tai Chi Chuan and learn the Internal Strength must first take part in a ceremony in memory of the founder, solemnly promising before a portrait of him that he will obey the Twelve Commandments set out below:- You must respect the founder, Chang San Feng, as the art came from him. You must respect your master add disciples more senior than yourself. The relationship between master and disciples is that of father and son. You must strictly control your own behaviour and treat more senior and more junior disciples as older and younger brothers. Your must follow the instructions of your master and practice diligently. You must behave with propriety in public and must not demonstrate the art in public for money. Your must not show the art to outsiders no matter what your level of achie…


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