The thirteen principles of Tai Chi is derived from the Eight Trigrams 八卦 (I-Ching) and the Five Elements五行.
The first eight principles are subtle energies/forces applied while practicing Tai Chi. They are known as the Eight Gates. The first four are the Four Main Directions while the other four are the Corners.
These eight primary energies form the foundation of every Tai Chi movement and its application during combat. A skilled Tai Chi practitioner is able to manifest any of the eight energies throughout the entire body when required. In combat, the Tai Chi practitioner is able to change from one energy to another in a fraction of a second.
Eight Trigrams 八卦
1. Peng 掤 – Outward Expansion (South/Heaven)
2. Lu 捋– Roll Back (North/Earth)
3. Ji 挤 – Press Forward (West/Water)
4. An 按 – Push Downward (East/Fire)
The last five principles are the five steps (footwork) which are based on the Five Elements. This five steps move the person’s body around smoothly and with stability.
Five Elements 五行
9. Jin Bu 进步 – Step Forward (Metal)
10. Tui Bu 退步– Step Backward (Wood)
11. Zuo Gu 左顾- Look Left (Water)
12. You Pan 右盼 – Look Right (Fire)
13. Zhong Ding 中定 – Central Equilibrium (Earth)
A Tai Chi practitioner develops a refined awareness of subtle energies over years of diligent practice with the assistance of an experienced teacher. The thirteen priciples of Tai Chi are simple concepts which will help a person attain mastery of the body and its energies.
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