The Ten Principles of Taiji Practice

No matter what form of taiji you practice the ten basic principles remain the same and, once learnt, form a helpful guide to perfecting your movements.

Even if you don’t (yet!) practice taiji, the principles can be thought of as exercises for posture, balance and co-ordination. On the spiritual side, they will help you to relax and find inner calm.

In our workshops, we will be using taiji moves to explore the principles. If you already practice, you can choose, from your own form, which moves to use, if, for example, you are having difficulty with one in particular. If you’re not familiar with any moves, don’t worry – we’ll teach you a few to play with.

  1. The Head is naturally suspended from the Crown Point
  2. Relax the Chest and open the back
  3. Relax the Waist
  4. Differentiate between Substantial and Insubstantial
  5. Relax the Shoulders and Sink the Elbows
  6. Use the Mind not Strength
  7. Unity of the Upper Body and Lower Body
  8. The Unity of Internal and External
  9. Continuity without Interruption
  10. Stillness in Motion

These points are neatly expressed in Sifu Dan Docherty’s book The Complete Tai Chi Tutor.

With thanks to Barry McGinlay of Tai Chi Life for showing me how simple but how important these principles are.