Archive for Postures

Tai Chi 13 Postures – A Quick Guide

When it comes to the fundamental practices of Tai Chi, it all comes back the the 13 postures. The Tai Chi 13 postures consist of 8 forces, or "expressions of energy", and 5 steps, or "directions of movement". The first 4 energies are thought of as the "primary forces" and are known as peng, liu, ji, and an. They are used in Tai Chi to enhance internal energies. The second 4 energies are also important, but are less common. They are known as cai, lie, zhou, and kao. Let’s take a closer look at the 8 forces and 5 directions of Tai Chi.

The 8 Energies of Tai Chi:

1) Peng – Peng is the force that puts a curved barrier between you and your opponent. In Tai Chi, you use peng to feel, or listen to, the force of your opponent. In this force, your body is placed in a way that repels any incoming force, warding it away. When one standing in the correct peng posture, it is almost impossible to move them.

2) Liu – Liu stands for "leading the opponent’s force into emptiness" and is the force that causes them to lose their balance by redirecting their force away from the center to the side.

3) Ji – Ji requires both hands and arms to work together. It is thought of as the action of squeezing your force into a small area of your opponent. Ji is directed forwards, toward your opponent.

4) An – The fourth of the Tai Chi 13 Postures is An. This is when you gather your power, and then redirect it towards your opponent to drive them away. Power for this force comes up from the earth and through the legs.

5) Cai – Sometimes referred to as "large roll back", Cai is when you use your hands and fingers to pluck or pull. Like Liu, Cai is used to lead your opponent off balance.

6) Lie – Lie is a force that causes your energy to split into two separate directions. It is often used to break the hold that your opponent has on you.

7) Zhou – Zhou is the force where you use your elbow to strike your opponent. This strike throws your opponent off balance and prevents them from controlling your elbows.

8) Kao – This is when you use your shoulder, combined with your full body force, to defend against an opponent. This will knock your opponent off balance, and prepare you for any attack they may make.

The 5 Steps of Tai Chi:

1) Jin Bu – The first of the 5 steps in the Tai Chi 13 postures is Jin Bu. This step involves pushing your momentum forward.

2) Tui Bu – Tui Bu is when you retreat backwards, opening up a space for your opponent to fall into when overextending.

3) Zuo Ku – This involves stepping and kicking to the left.

4) You Pan – This involves stepping and kicking to the right. It helps you to gain an advantage in your position and avoid any incoming forces.

5) Zhong Ding – Also know as "Central Equilibrium", zhong ding is when you maintain your center position. This represents the balance of ying and yang around the center, and is the primary direction of the 5 steps in Tai Chi.

The Tai Chi 13 postures are the fundamental practices of Tai Chi. If you are new to Tai Chi, these 13 postures may sound intimidating. Just remember that no one masters these postures overnight and everyone will learn them at their own pace. If you train with the TCSociety regularly, you will be surprised how quickly you will catch on!

How to Earn a Tai Chi Certificate

Tai Chi is a form of martial art that takes years to learn. But once you have learned about the art, you may want to take things one step further and earn a Tai Chi certificate. In order to earn Tai Chi certification, you must first become a student of Tai Chi yourself, partaking in formal Tai Chi classes for several years. Once you have demonstrated your knowledge of the art, you must then demonstrate your understanding and expertise by teaching such classes for yourself. Let’s take a closer look at Tai Chi certification including who qualifies for it, as well as where you can go to earn it.

In order to qualify to earn a Tai Chi certificate, one must demonstrate over 2, 000 hours of class time and practical experience. These hours must be recognized and documented by a Tai Chi master in a registered school. While certification is not always necessary to teach Tai Chi, it can definitely be beneficial in attracting students to your class, showing them that you are in fact a reputable Tai Chi master who has extensive knowledge surrounding the form of martial art. In order to qualify for certification, you may also be required to pass a written exam regarding the history and health benefits associated with the art of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Certification Los AngelesThere are many different schools that offer training and education surrounding the art of Tai Chi. In these schools you will learn about the technique of Tai Chi, the history of Tai Chi, and the philosophy surrounding Tai Chi. Most schools will also teach its martial applications. In order to pass certification, a student must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the different Tai Chi forms, showing that they understand how to perform the movements, postures, and applications properly. Many Tai Chi courses also include classes that teach students how to run their own Tai Chi programs, as well as how to market their school.

In order to achieve a Tai Chi certificate, a particular number of hours in formal instruction and practical experience will be required. While this number will vary greatly from school to school, most courses require between 150 hours to 2000 hours of experience for certification. Generally speaking, the more advanced the certificate, the more hours you will need to receive it. Tuition for classes will also vary from school to school, and some courses will require you to pay an annual fee in order to keep your certificate active.

In order to find a Tai Chi program that meets your needs, you will want to take your time and contact several different schools. Ask each school about the courses that they offer and why they feel they are the best school for you. Compare courses and ask about the instructors experience and credentials. There are several different organizations that offer Tai Chi certification including the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association, the American Fitness Professionals Association, and the International Fitness Professionals Association.

Is a Tai Chi certificate the right choice for you? If you want to teach Tai Chi, than certification will go a long way in building your student base. Start contacting different schools today and discuss your future in teaching Tai Chi! Where can you begin? Start here –

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 ☶


The History of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi is a form of martial arts which roots are entrenched deeply within Chinese history. When translated, the term Tai Chi Chuan stands for the "supreme ultimate fist". It can also be translated to "great extremes boxing", "boundless fist", or "the ultimate". Let’s take a closer look at the history of Tai Chi Chuan, as well as where the martial art stands in society today.

Tai Chi – A brief history

Like many other martial arts, the actual roots of Tai Chi are difficult to trace with any level of certainty. With that said, it is believed that the art form dates back to 1300-1400 AD. The original 13 postures of Tai Chi is accredited to Chang San-feng, a monk of the Wu Tong monastery. Whether this individual is historical or fictional, no one knows. As the story goes, the original 13 postures are based on three different factors; the I-Ching, the five elements, and the yin and yang theories. These movements were designed to help strengthen different aspects of the body, promoting health and wellness among those who practiced the art. The idea behind Tai Chi is that it promotes the free flow of the body’s natural energy. Referred to as "Chi", this pathway is believed to be the route to achieving harmony, balance, and better overall health and wellness.

According to belief, Chang San-feng’s student (Chiang Fa) went on to refine San-feng’s movements. And it is these amendments that are practiced within Tai Chi Chuan today.

Tai Chi characteristics

Regardless of the roots of Tai Chi, the characteristics of today are all the same. A soft style of martial arts, Tai Chi places it’s focus on internal power. Many of the forms practiced within Tai Chi are expressed through "katas". Most of these movements are slow moving, but there are also some that are performed at a quickened pace.

The goals of Tai Chi are the same as they were hundreds of years ago. Tai Chi is a form of martial art that teaches individuals to defend themselves – but only in necessary situations. It is also seen as a form of stress relief, as well as an excellent way to improve body strength and increase health and wellness.

Tai Chi Chuan today

There are several different types of Tai Chi practiced today. And while Tai Chi Chuan is not the oldest form of the art, it is the most popular form. There are many reasons that individuals chose to practice this art form. Whether you need to relieve stress, improve health, or learn to defend yourself, Tai Chi is a relaxing art form that is suitable for all ages. When compared to other forms of martial arts, Tai Chi is much gentler on the body, making it more suitable for different age groups and physical abilities.

Before practicing Tai Chi Chuan, be sure to speak to your doctor to make certain that your body can handle it. Once given the go ahead, try a class – you will soon reap all of the benefits that come along with this soothing and relaxing art form.

Hypercubic X-Stance

The ‘basic’ step, visualized as a hypercube:

Hypercubic X-stance from B dub on Vimeo.

Later, it will be possible to visualize movements of the hypercube through 3d space.


Consider postures like 扇通背 shan tong bei (Fan Over the Shoulder)
We continuously move the center to a safe position, while defending the outer perimeter.

8-celled structure

8-celled structure



Hi there!

I just wanted to share a video from my Vimeo collection If you are not aware, there are quite a few videos of Xiong Yang-Ho out there on youTube. Xiong (sometimes spelled ‘Hsuing’) Yang-Ho (sometimes ‘Yangho’) was the first of TC Hou’s tai chi chuan teachers. In an effort for us to see more of the Yang style tai chi form, I have stabilized some of these shaky youTube renditions. The first of these, I did about a year ago. If you haven’t seen it, you can view it here:

This video shows Xiong Yang-Ho’s rendition of the Yang Style “First Set.” The postures demonstrated match our form- ‘Tai Chi Ready’ ( 预备 ) trough ‘Return Tiger to Mountain’ ( 抱虎歸山 抱虎归山 ).

The non-stabilized, original youTube title was:

For more on our lineage, see:
TCSociety lineage