Thursday, March 4, 2010


[Path to Mastery 3/4/10 – Wk25 D4 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

Principles!  It is the principles that make Tai-Chi what it is.

It was once explained to me that principles are those things that are always true.  Even if the circumstances change, the principle remains the same regardless, such as gravity.  It’s a principle that things will always fall down, not up.    

There are principles that govern Tai-Chi.  Thus, Tai-Chi is not a set of forms.  Tai-Chi is a set of principles.  There are many different Tai-Chi styles, but they all follow the same principles.  You can make any martial art Tai-Chi as long as you use Tai-Chi principles.  Thus, it may look different but in actuality be the same, and it may look the same but in reality be different.

There are many Tai-Chi classics on the principles that govern Tai-Chi.  There are Tai-Chi principles on how to do Tai-Chi, how to learn best, how to cultivate your energy, how to do pushing hands, how to fight, how to cultivate your body, and many more.  

On the whole, there is the self cultivation part of the system, and the interactive cultivation of the system.  For simplicity, we will call it the meditational side, and martial side.  The meditational side would be the Chi-Gong, standing meditation, forms (moving meditation), Nei-Gong (internal cultivation = energy meditation).  The interactive side would be pushing hands, san-shou (free hand 2 person form).      

Now, since Tai-Chi is an energy martial art, how well the energy flows through your body, and how well you can utilize it is the gauge of success.  So, your sense and strength of Chi is your gauge.  By the way, in case you are not familiar with Chi, just replace the word Chi with energy for now.    

If Chi is your gauge, there are 4 areas of cultivation for it in Tai-Chi:
1. Breathing
2. Alignment (posture)
3. Relaxation (state of muscle)
4. Slow Movement (or synchronous movement)

When these 4 areas of cultivation are being done properly, you will know whether you are doing them correctly or not by how well the Chi is flowing and how strong it is.  

I will start covering the principles in each area starting tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:

Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Qi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Qi-Gong)
2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Meditation
4. 7 Basics
5. Basic Form
6. 30 Form
7. 108 Form

Interactive training after we went public with the blog.  
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11)
2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19)
4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)

Non-Structured System: 
6. Introduction (Covered 2/25)
7. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26)
8. Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1)
9. Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2)
10. Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)

Detailed Instructions:
1. Principles (Covered today)
2. Alignment Principles


  1. My latest utube clip:

    I love that there are no hard and fast rules, just principles. There is no air tight situation, every possible thing has some possible permutation that might not fall under the jurisdiction of a rule. Rules leave cracks to fall between but principles can always adapt to be followed.

  2. In some ways principles form the rules but allow you to change the rules at the same time. For example, the form has rules to it that you need to study. Without it , you cannot really be effective. But at the same time, from following the rules , the principles behind it become the source allowing you to change the rules to fit the principles.