In the latest episode of the Tai Chi Notebook podcast host Graham is left all on his own without a guest, so he’s decided to pick up a book and read it to you! He’s gone for The Tai Chi Classic, one of the core works which make up a collection known as The Tai Chi Classics. Graham goes through the text a paragraph at a time and gives his interpretation of what the classic is saying. We hope you enjoy!
The Tai Chi Classic
In motion, the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts linked as if threaded together.
The chi should be activated,
The mind should be internally gathered.
The postures should be rounded and without defect,
without deviations from the proper alignment;
in motion, your form should be continuous, without stops and starts.
The jin should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
expressed through the fingers.
The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can take the opportunity for favorable timing
and good position.
If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.
The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.
All movements are motivated by Yi,
not external form.
If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the yi wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.
Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.
Full and empty
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is emptiness,
there must be fullness;
Every place has both emptiness and fullness.
The whole body should be threaded together through every joint
without the slightest break.
Long Boxing is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.
Peng, Lu, Ji, An,
Tsai, Lieh, Zhou, and Kao
are equated to the Eight Trigrams.
The first four are the cardinal directions;
South; Heaven, North; Earth, West; Water, and East; Fire.
The second four are the four corners:
Southwest; Wind, Northeast; Thunder,
Southeast; Lake, and Northwest; Mountain.
Look Left, Look Right, and
are equated to the five elements:
Taken together, these are termed the Thirteen Postures