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Master Chang’s Treatise on Tai Chi Ch’uan



1. The entire body should be light, alert and limber. Each part should be connected to every other part.


2. The chi should vibrate, like a drum after it has been struck. The shen (spirit) must remain calm, condensed and internally gathered.


3. When moving, do not allow gaps, unevenness or discontinuity; neither over-expand nor cave in.


4. Energy roots at the feet, flows up through the legs, and is developed in the thighs. It is directed from the waist and moves through the back and arms. It functions through the hands and is expressed through the fingertips.


5. From feet to legs to waist, the body must operate as if all the parts were one. In this way, you can freely advance or retreat. Favorable chance (timing) and suitable position (space) can be grasped.


6. Fail to do this and the entire body system will be scattered, confused and disordered. The cure must be sought in an examination of the stance. Correct the problem in the waist and in the legs.


7. Upward, downward, forward, backward, left or right: the same principle of waist and legs applies to all the directions.


8. In all of this, everything depends on subtle intention, not the mere use of external muscles; the essential consciousness, not merely the appearance of the movements.


9. Remember the principle of complimentaries (yin/yang): when you move upward, be aware of down; when moving forward, think of moving back; when shifting to the left side, simultaneously notice the right side. An upward movement must be preceded by a downward one. If the idea is toward moving up, hold the idea of a downward return.


10. In uprooting an object, one has to push down first and the 'root' or attachment will be easily broken, immediately rendering the object free to maneuver.


11. The yang and the yin should be distinctly differentiated. In each and every moment of movement these two factors are involved. Every part of the body has a full (yang) and an empty (yin) aspect. In addition, the body as a whole has a full and an empty aspect.


12. The unity of the body must be maintained, linking all of the parts together without any separation. The movement of the Long Form proceeds moment to moment, never ceasing as the rolling waves of the ocean, or the flowing of a great river.