Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tai Chi Sword Practice

"To tell the quality of a person’s tai chi forms, we need to examine the following: (1) The angles of the body when performing each posture and the transitions between each movement; (2) the pace of the movements; (3) the height of each posture.

A person is considered a good practitioner when he/she can carry out every movement gracefully, with coordination and precision. A good tai chi practitioner keeps the almost same height during the execution of the form. He/she does not bob up and down. The ending form finishes in the place the opening form began. The form is practiced in a constant and regular pace. The movements of the limbs should be coordinated with the waist.

All postures should be erect, coordinated, continuous, flowing, and balanced throughout the forms. The whole body should be relaxed. Each posture demostrated Eight Balances: 1. Top and Down balance; 2. Front and Back blance; (3) Left and Right balance; 4. Inside and Outside balance. These Eight Balances or Harmonies come from Taoism, the foundation of Tai Chi."
- Cheng Zhao, Ph.D, Terre Haute, Indiana, Tai Chi Sword


  1. I've often thought about the height characteristic of training. At first, I felt all postures should be roughly the same height until I did some training in the TT Liang (CMC) camp which noted that a posture could rise/sink roughly 2 inches depending on the application. Ie.. single whip sinks 2 inches at end, "push" rises 2 inches at end.

    Then when I trained in some chen training, sometimes I see a "sink" or "da" in which the body releases tension and sinks a couple of extra inches at the end.

    The above have made me question the importance of same height, but at the same time I still try to practice keeping everything the same height..

    Good post :)

  2. Thank you very much for your cooments. Here is my answer:

    A person's posture height characteristic of training in tai chi should meet the following:

    1. the entire body moves in an integrated, coordinated way;
    2. the whole body keeps in a stable, smooth, and upright way;
    3. the whole body may have slightly ups and downs. The changes are so small that it is not easy to notice for other viewers;
    4. try to send the DanTian Qi (from the core of the body) down;
    5. relax the waist;
    6. the whole body weight sinks to the bottom of the both feet through the bones;

    To have a look of a few tai chi pictures, visit my blog at:



  3. Do these good training directions apply more to the sword than the hand forms? It would seem to me that many postures in, for example, Yang style taijiquan, have different heights: e.g., snake creeps down and reach down and touch the needle at the bottom of the sea are of a different height than white stork cools its wings or cross hands. Sun style taijiquan hand form seems very uniform as to height.

  4. On the topic of practitioner’s position height, I believe that
    the height is not the main focus but is the foundation of which the weight is distributed. Height can be varied based on the practitioner’s comfort and spiritual mindset. Some forms do have obvious ups and downs. But most forms should be performed in an stable and smooth way. Qi is distributed throughout the body supported by the skeletal structure. The muscle is relaxed and the force of gravity from the core is focusing down toward the legs and equally distributed onto the feet. The legs and waist are linked like a spring. At the same time the practitioner can feel the force of the earth reflected back toward the feet, legs, core, arms, and finally to the steady hands. This exchange of force from the practitioner’s body to the earth and back to the practitioner’s body is an integrated system and accordingly the height should be suited for this exchange.

    In Yang style tai chi sword practice, use hand form principles as guidance. The practitioner may have more jumps.

    From Tai_ji_Xin
    Email: taichi.cheng@gmail.com