Archive for Tai Chi – Page 2

The “eight powers” of Tai Chi Chuan

The animation presented below is meant to illustrate the eight ways of power to be demonstrated in Tai Chi. In Chinese, these are called the ‘ba men’ or “8 gates.’ Here, I’ve attempted to show these 8 different styles that make up 8 of the ’13 Postures’ of tai chi chun. If you have questions, please contact, or TC.

You can see the trigrams for these 8 movements here, and in the animation:

peng ☰
liu ☷
ji ☵
ahn ☲
tsai ☳
lieh ☴
zhou ☱
kao ☶


Tai Chi Lessons – Getting Started

Considering taking up Tai Chi? If so, you are making a great decision. There are many benefits that come along with Tai Chi and Tai Chi lessons. Not only is Tai Chi great for your health, but it is also teaches you to cope with stress and to defend yourself in dangerous situations. But upon entering your first Tai Chi class, you may feel a little bit intimidated. Here is some valuable advice to help you prepare for your first few Tai Chi lessons:

1) Do not be intimidated by the language

When you enter a Tai Chi class, you will hear a great deal of terms and phrases that you have probably never heard before. For example, there are names for different types of Tai Chi, as well as different movements involved in Tai Chi. Do not be overwhelmed when you hear these. As you continue on in your lessons, you will eventually catch on. If you have any questions, save them for the end of class and do not hesitate to ask your instructor.

2) You should always check with your doctor before beginning classes

Whether you are looking into beginning Tai Chi or any other form of exercise, you should always check with your doctor before beginning. Tai Chi is a very safe form of martial art, but can be dangerous when combined with certain physical conditions. If you suffer from musculoskeletal issues or any other medical condition, always be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning classes.

3) Observe a class before you participate

The best way to learn Tai Chi is by observing first. When observing Tai Chi you will be able to see the teacher in action, take in the type of feedback given, and experience the different levels of the art form. This will help to give you a better idea as to whether you will actually be comfortable taking a class, as well as what a class generally entails.

4) Get to know your instructor

One of the best things that you can do to increase your comfort level in class is get to know your instructor. Understand how they operate and ask questions. Feel free to ask about their history in Tai Chi and their level of knowledge. There is really no standard or licensing to become a Tai Chi instructor, so you will want to do all of your research to verify that the instructor you have is reputable.

5) Dress in comfortable clothes

When you perform Tai Chi, you want to make sure the clothes that you are wearing are comfortable. These clothes should be loose-fitting and should not restrict your motion. As for shoes, you may choose to wear comfortable flexible shoes, or go barefoot. This will also depend on the instructions of your teacher.

Use the tips above to help you find a good instructor and to ensure that Tai Chi is the right option for you. Once you have determined that it is something you can and want to do, watch a class to get a feel for the environment. Finally, step into the class and gauge your progress. You may feel slightly overwhelmed to begin with, but you will catch on quickly!

Tai Chi for Beginners

Tai Chi is an art form that has been learned for many years. But what exactly is Tai Chi? What benefits does it hold? And what are the different styles? Let’s take a look in this Tai Chi guide for beginners.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a form of movement. It is often recognized when people are seen doing a series of silent, fluid, slow-motion movements. And despite the fact that Tai Chi looks like a form of meditation, it is actually a form of martial art. Many people use Tai Chi as a form of self-defense. Others use it for stress management and better health.

To many, Tai Chi is referred to as the “perfect exercise”. This is because it can be performed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels. In addition, the injury rate of Tai Chi is low, but the health benefits are high. For those who don’t use Tai Chi as exercise, many use it as a form of martial art, performing it as an act of self defense.

What benefits come along with Tai Chi?

There are many benefits that come along with the practice of Tai Chi, but there are three main motivations for it’s use, let’s take a look:

Health benefits:

Anyone who practices Tai Chi will reap the benefits in terms of health. Tai Chi helps to exercise muscles and stretch all parts of the body. In return, the fluids within our body can flow better and we can feel healthier. In addition, Tai Chi also promotes balance and coordination.

Stress reduction:

Tai Chi is a great practice for stress relief. This is also a great health benefit, because stress is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, and other health conditions. Through the practice of regular Tai Chi, you can learn how to deal with your stress in a more positive manner, reducing the effects that it has on your health and wellness.

Self Defense Benefits:

Among other things, Tai Chi is also a form of martial art. When practicing Tai Chi, you learn a solid basis of self defense skills. Not only is martial arts training a good thing to have in unexpected circumstances, but it is also a great workout and training session for your body and your muscles.

What are the different styles of Tai Chi?

Currently, there are four major styles of Tai Chi. Included within these are Chen, Yang, Wu, and Hao. Let’s take a look at each:

  1. Chen Tai Chi – This is the first type of Tai Chi ever known. This style of Tai Chi is characterized by slow and explosive movements. There is a great deal of coordination required for this style, so it can sometimes be difficult for beginners to grasp.
  2. Yang Tai Chi – This style of Tai Chi was actually derived from Chen. It is not the first developed style, but it is the most popular style today.
  3. Wu Tai Chi – This is known as “third generation Tai Chi”, developed from the Yang style.
  4. Hao Tai Chi – This is the least popular style of Tai Chi and is not commonly practiced anywhere in the world – even China.

Start looking for Tai Chi schools in your area today to determine which style is best suited to you!

Another Computer Generated Tai Chi Demo

Below is a version of the Carnegie-Mellon Tai Chi form applied to two separate virtual characters.

The motion has not been cleaned, but the concept is there. You can see our “black and white” character performing the set, and the inset is a take on the Super-Goku character from the popular cartoon DragonBallZ. Enjoy!

More Tai Chi CG demos from B dub on Vimeo.

Names of Tai Chi Forms in English and Chinese


Below are the text version of the three sections of the TCSociety Yang classic form. They are listed in Traditional Chinese characters, Pinyin pronunciation, and English. Special thanks to Caroline Pan for her help in the translation and compilation of these PDF files:

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD – Section One – Tai Chi Form Names

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD – Section Two – Tai Chi Form Names

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD – Section Three – Tai Chi Form Names


PDF viewers:


Carnegie-Mellon Tai Chi Form

This ‘form’ was salvaged from a motion capture library I found earlier this week. The library is apparently a collection of data sets recorded in 2008.

No information is given in regard to the identity of the performance artist. The person is doing what appears to be a Yang style form, beautifully. The file name was listed under filename 12_04

Subject #12 (tai chi, walk)

12_04 tai chi

The motion has not been cleaned! What I can see is that Carnegie-Mellon’s motion capture equipment is wildly accurate. That also indicates that what you are seeing is a very accurate depiction of the movement. Then consider the stability through the main frame of the body.

It is possible to view something like this on your own computer by downloading the FBX file, Quicktime and a plugin for Quicktime that allows you to open FBX files. Contact Brian if you are interested.

“FBX for QuickTime Viewer” plugin:


Carnegie-Mellon Graphics Lab Motion Capture Database
full file listing with descriptions, word processor format
v1.00 last update July 20, 2008

Compiled from the individual CMU index files by B. Hahne

Tai Chi Helps Parkinson’s Patients

NPR’s Patti Neighmond did a story on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about the possible benefits of Tai Chi to Parkinson’s Patients balance. The study was lead by research scientist Fuzhong Li, who himself is a Tai Chi practitioner. Tai Chi has already been shown to increase balance in the elderly.

Listen to the story:

In the study, Li divided Parkinson’s patients into three groups. One group did resistance training with weights. Another, stretching classes. And the third took up tai chi. Each group participated in a 60-minute class twice a week for six months.

The group who practiced Tai Chi had greater strength, better balance and fewer falls than the other two groups.

That led to significantly fewer falls for patients in the tai chi group. Maricle says that before tai chi, she would lose her balance eight to 10 times a day. Now it hardly ever happens. She recently even saved herself from what would have been a sure fall before tai chi. It was raining and dark, and she tripped on the curb as she got out of her car. She was able to hop onto the curb and steady herself.

“That would have been a fall for sure six or eight months ago,” she says.

Researchers don’t know exactly how tai chi works to restore balance. UCLA psychiatrist and brain scientist Michael Irwin says it may work by literally re-training areas of the brain that control movement.

“There’s a memory component of our nerves, and they’re receiving signals from our body all the time that are integrated by the brain,” Irwin says. “And it may be that what happens with tai chi is that it’s bringing awareness of the brain to these areas of the body” — thereby strengthening those areas of the brain.

You can read more at Tai Chi May Help Parkinson’s Patients Regain Balance

Fight Science For Tai Chi Chuan

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

This is really cool video series from A Tai Chi master competes, and wins against several physically superior opponents. It is like the American show, Fight Science, but specifically for Tai Chi. It attempts a scientific analysis of the techniques of Tai Chi Chaun. It is in Chinese, those of you who speak Chinese will get most most out of it. If you don’t speak Chinese, like me, the visuals were informative and helpful. Also, there are historical dramatizations of Yang Lu Chan that are pretty entertaining. Enjoy!

notes from essentail taichi workshop

If you missed today’s Tai Chi Qi-Kung  workshop with TC,  I’ve made some notes and transcribed them here.

I will not cover any of the movements or hand motions, but I am creating some notes on the ordering. In the Vimeo video link below you can see a visualization of the order of the meridians to be combined with the breathing. The video plays a little fast, as this is a prototype animation- just pause the video when needed.
An expanded version of the following animation (including the movements) will be presented in future editions. For now, please enjoy:

The ordering is like the list below. Color emphasis added is similar to the acupuncture mannequin TC presents:

1. Gall Bladder
2. Liver
3. Lung
4. Large Intestine
5. Stomach
6. Spleen
7. Heart
8. Small Intestine
9. Bladder
10. Kidney
11. Pericardium
12. Triple Burner

The above five colors are also the colors of the Wu Xing:

, Yellow, Green, White, and Blue (sometimes represented as Black).
The pattern to these colors can be discovered on the Wikipedia link –  The Wu Xing

As TC mentioned ‘water’ and ‘bodies of water,’ you can think of the colorization (wu xing) to determine the flow of those rivers based on wu xing cycles…

…learn more at the next workshop, Chi Kung Workshop #2.

LA Tai Chi Workshop Reminder: Breathing and Qi Flow in Meridians

In Tai Chi Chuan, self defense is the application, Chi Kung is the internal power house for all stances. They must be together to make your practice efficient. Your ability will be greatly improved if you can control your Chi flow.

breathing and Qi flow in meridiansIn these workshops you will learn the concept of Chi and understand its flow in our body. Furthermore, you will learn ways to build up your Chi, and ways to circulate it inside, and how to direct it for applications.

There are three workshops in three Sundays. You may take all three to achieve better results or you may just choose the one interested you. As I always emphasized, you must understand the logic of Tai Chi to make it alive in your mind. then it will stay with you and last for your lifetime.

Topic: Breathing and Qi Flow in Meridians

Date: January 22, 2012, Sunday

Time: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Tuition: $70 (or $180 for all three sessions)

Location: Yahoo Center (2425 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, Ca 90043)/ Entrance of underground parking is on

Colorado Ave near Cloverfield)

Click Here for more details.



Tai Chi does A Life Good