Kung Fu-Tai Chi
Martial Art for Health

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              The SyllabusTaiChi

Chi kung

Lohan hands: Lifting the sky (for vitality), pushing mountains (internal force) and carry the moon (long life)

Standing qigong (Structural integration, internal alignment, centeredness and stillness)

One finger shooting zen (internal force and resilience)

Tai chi chuan

37-step short form (set of continuous postures) - Cheng Man-ch’ing Yang Style tai chi chuan or taijiquan. The main objective of this practice is to grasp the tai chi principle and to cultivate it at a deep level. The postures benefit health by balancing the mind and body.

Kung-fu-sparringPush hands

The purpose of this practice is to apply the tai chi principle while interacting with a partner. This practice develops your ability to sense your partner’s balance, an awareness of your own centredness, the ability to yield, to follow your partner to a point of strength, and to apply soft power.

Sticky hands sparring

Similar to push hands with strikes added.

Tai chi boxing 

The purpose of this practice is to apply the tai chi principle while moving freely, delivering and defending strikes and kicks against a partner or on a bag. This practice develops timing, spacing, positioning and application, all of which build confidence.

All practice is followed by chi flow (Swaying Willows in the Breeze). This practice releases any tension that may have built up during the practice. This is where clearing of blockages takes place. Chi flow spreads the benefits of the practice throughout the body, accelerating learning and health benefits.

The chi flow is immediately followed by standing meditation. This practice concentrates the chi in the body to the level of the cells and bone marrow. This is where sustained health benefits and internal cultivation are attained.


37 Step Tai Chi Form

  1. Wuji – N
  2. Lifting water – N
  3. Ward off – N
  4. Grasping sparrow’s tail (ward off, roll back, press, push) – E
  5. Single whip – W
  6. Raising arms – N
  7. Pull down – N
  8. Shoulder strike and elbow strike – N
  9. Crane spreads wing – W
  10. Brush knee – W
  11. Play the lute (followed by brush knee) - W
  12. Step up, parry, punch, palm under elbow, push – W
  13. Cross hands - N
  14. Embrace tiger, return to mountain (followed by grasping sparrow’s tail and single whip) - SE
  15. Fist under elbow - W
  16. Repulse monkey x5 – all W
  17. Diagonal flying – NE
  18. Cloud hands x5 - N
  19. Single whip – W
  20. Snake creeps down – W
  21. Golden rooster on one leg (left then right) – W
  22. Separate and kick knee (right then left) – W
  23. 180 anti-clockwise turn, separate and heel kick – E
  24. Brush knee x2 (left then right) - E
  25. Low punch - E
  26. Grasping sparrow’s tail - E
  27. Single whip - W
  28. Lady weaves shuttles x4 - NE, NW, SW, SE
  29. Ward off - N
  30. Grasping sparrow’s tail - E
  31. Single whip then Snake creeps down - W
  32. Step up to seven stars - W
  33. Ride tiger to mountain - W
  34. 360 clockwise turn, lotus kick - W
  35. Shoot tiger - W
  36. Step up, parry, punch, palm under elbow, push – W
  37. Cross hands and close - N
  38. Chi flow
  39. Standing meditation



About the Tai Chi form

Tai chi was originally developed by combining kung fu combative techniques with chi kung exercises. These techniques were then practiced to cultivate chi (internal energy). Chi kung is the art of managing one’s energy to achieve good health and internal strength.

Wuji is the natural state occurring before one begins practising the form. Start by smiling from the heart. This calms the emotions, releases tension and initiates a chi kung state of mind (calm & relaxed).

What does this mean? The mind is without thought. The intent is without motion. The eyes are without focus. The hands and feet are still. The body makes no movement. Yin and yang are not yet divided. The chi is united and undifferentiated.

Moving from Wuji stance, yin and yang become apparent. Breathe naturally and without sound. The body remains upright; do not lean forward, backward, or to the sides. All movement is led from the waist and the strength returns inward. The intent leads the chi as the waist maintains a downward pressing energy. The feet feel the press of gravity as the dantian (the area below the navel) gathers.

When the arms rise the body will have a natural internal rising (lightness) and as they sink the body concentrates heaviness. Both rising and falling of the arms press through the feet.

The head presses upward. The shoulders remain relaxed. The heart is smiling and empty. The chi flows and sinks to the dantian, and the structure of the body presses down through the feet. All structures are stacked above the feet. 

When in the postures, the body has a feeling of sitting (like a semi squat) while maintaining an overall lightness and agility.

Remain in one. The body is integrated; there is agreement between feet, waist and arms. The mind is settled as the spirit leads the body. There is motion without effort. The opposite of being in one is to be double weighted. Double weighted is when part of the body bears weight to the ground independent of the feet. This can be done by leaning or the weight is thrown ahead while stepping. The less apparent way of being double weighted is when the arms or any structure’s weight do not fall through the body to the feet. To be in one, the weight of all body structures must be redirected to bear down through the feet to the ground.

The practice of internal martial arts is based upon the balance of opposite movements and flows of intent.

These are some of the points to bear in mind when practicing the form, to grasp the principle of tai chi.