TaiJi Principles

These pages contain comments based on the study of Cheng Man Ching Yang style short form as approved by his teacher, Yang Cheng Fu, the last great Yang master.

The professor (Cheng Man Ching) was accorded one of the highest honors that Chinese culture can bestow, that of being a "master of 5 excellences." He was a great painter, calligrapher, physician, poet, and tai chi master.

Ben Lo, a highly respected student of the professor and teacher of highest reputation, worked with several other well-respected people to translate many of the writings referred to as the Tai Chi classics. Although many people talk about tai chi, an essential part of coming to know tai chi is studying the classics. You may not understand many lines without years of study. No matter, read and contemplate!

Ben found a few essential themes that pervade the teachings. He has described the 5 principles, 4 of which are applicable in many forms, and the 5th only in the Cheng Man Ching form (beautiful ladies hand.)

These principles are:

1. Relax

This is the most important principle, and is one that can never be fully mastered, since you can always relax MORE! This word in Chinese means relax, loosen, slacken, let go, etc. Its character contains the ideas of rootedness and resilience.

2. Upright Body

3. Turn from the waist

4. Differentiation of yin and yang

5. Beautiful ladies hand

Careful study of these principles is mandatory to successful practice. TaiJi is NOT about choreography, it is the application of principles to guide the movements. Without such practice, the internal changes cannot unfold.

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