Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yang's Ten Important Points (part 1)

From the Essence of Tai Chi Chuan:

Yang's Ten Important Points with commentary by Chen Wei-ming

1.  The head should be upright so the spirit can reach the headtop. (Don't use strength or the neck will be stiff and the chi and blood cannot flow through. It is necessary to have a natural and lively feeling. If the spirit cannot reach the headtop, it cannot raise.)

2.  Sink the chest and pluck up the back. (The chest is naturally depressed inward so the chi can sink to the tan tien. Don't project your chest: the chi gets stuck there and the body becomes top-heavy. The heel will be too light and can be uprooted. Pluck up the back and the chi sticks to the back; depress the chest and you can pluck up the back. Then you can discharge force through the spine. You will be a peerless boxer.)

3.  Relax the waist. (The waist is the commander of the whole body. If you can relax the waist, then the two legs will have power and lower part will be firm and stable...It is said, 'the source of the postures lies in the waist. If you cannot get power, seek the defect in the legs and waist.")

4.  Differentiate insubstantial and substantial. (This is the first thing of all in Tai Chi Chuan. If the weight of the body is resting on the right leg, then the right leg is substantial and the left leg is unsubstantial and vice versa. When you can separate substantial and insubstantial, you can turn lightly without using strength. If you cannot separate them, the step is heavy and slow. The stance is not firm and can be easily thrown off balance.)

5. Sink the shoulders and elbows. (The shoulders will be completely relaxed and open. If you cannot relax and sink, the two shoulders will be 'uptight.' The chi will follow them up and the whole body cannot get power. 'Sink the elbows' means the elbows go down and relax. If the elbows raise, the shoulders are not able to sink and you cannot discharge people far. The discharge is close to the broken force of the external schools.)

Observe these principles of Tai Chi Chuan when performing your Sanchin. Feel how accurate these teachings are. I will finish this in some upcoming posts.

Hands palm to palm,


  1. This is an interesting read. About 2 months ago I started Wing Chun Kung Fu training and the most difficult part for me has been the ability to relax. While it takes constant effort to achieve what should be natural some relaxation must be happening, the many years of back problems are leaving and energy seems to be slowly returning. My Sifu has recently recommended me to start training Tai Chi, your post also inspires me to consider that.

  2. Best wishes on your training Bill...relaxation is key to managing pain as well.