Three Principles of Movement in Taijiquan

1- All movements are rooted in the feet, initiated from the legs, controlled by the waist, and formed by the hands.

All movements begin in the lower limbs and rooted in the feet. Then weight can be changed properly from one leg to the other. The motion of the knees should be coordinated with the feet. After the motion of the lower limbs is completed, the waist should rotate to make the arms and hands move. The movements of the limbs should always be led by the waist while moving as a single unit.

2-The mind produces internal movement -while internal 
    movement produces external movement.

Taijiquan is an internally and externally regulated martial art. The internal energy or "Qi" is produced in the Dan Tian. From here, it spreads to the limbs. The movement of Qi is directed by the mind and regulates such functions as breathing and blood circulation. Taiji should be practiced by leading with the mind and not the muscles.

3- Movements of the upper body and lower body are 
     coordinated and are circular.

The whole body moves as a single unit. When one part moves, everything moves. All movements are on a curved path making each movement circular.

Six Main Requirements of Taijiquan

1- Keep the head erect, concentrate and relax the mind

The head should feel as if suspended from above. The muscles should not be tight nor totally relaxed.

2-Sink the shoulders and elbows

The entire body must be curved. This is done by relaxing and extending the shoulders, empty the chest, and expanding the back while keeping the lower back naturally straight. The elbows should not be held tightly against the body, but relaxed downward.

3- Empty the chest and expand the upper back

This means to relax the solar plexus which will naturally let the Qi sink to the Dan Tian. This emptying of the chest should be coordinated  with an automatic expansion of the upper back. This expanion is a direct balance of the chest relaxing and should not be over extended.

4- Sink the Qi to the Dan Tian

This can be acheived by relaxing the Jian Jing (shoulder well), Qu Chi, Zhong Fu Qi Men, and Zhang Men points to the Dan Tian. You will automatically feel a drop in tension to your lower limbs. 
(see Chen Acc. Points page)

5-Keep the spine straight

The waist should always be relaxed. This will allow the spine to turn like a shaft. If you are required to lean to the left, right or forward, the requirement is to keep the spine straight while leaning from the waist. The waist should feel like it is relaxed sitting into the hip sockets. The lower back should be kept naturally straight.

6-Distinguish clearly between Yin & Yang

Taijiquan is known as a martial art incorporating the theory of Yin & Yang. This serves as a basic principle. Raising and lowering, opening and closing, advancing and retreating, left and right, forward and back, storing energy and releasing energy, fast and slow, all these are examples of Yin & Yang in Taijiquan. This principle applies to every part of the body. Clear distinction between Yin & Yang must be adhered to.

Taijiquan Principles