D2- Orange

Warm Up

Do the same Qi Gong exercises as before.


One of the great secrets of Tai Chi is that it is the shifting of weight between stances that gives us great power. As such stances are given much attention and practice is imperative. Here is what Yang Chengfu said about stances and posture:
“These thirteen points must be attended to in each and every movement. One cannot neglect the concept of these thirteen points within any of the postures. I hope that students will be cautiously attentive, and test and verify these in their practice.”
  1. Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows
  2. Contain the chest and pull up the back
  3. Chi sinks to the dantian
  4. Intangible energy lifts the crown of the head
  5. Loosen the waist and kua (hips and thighs)
  6. Distinguish empty and full
  7. Upper and lower follow one another
  8. Use mind intent, not strength
  9. Inner and outer are united
  10. Intention and chi interact
  11. Seek stillness in movement
  12. Movement and stillness are united
  13. Proceed evenly from posture to posture
That is a lot to keep in mind, so each time you go through a form, pick one or two aspects to focus on, and in time you will have them all. The basic stances in Tai Chi are as follows:

Begin/End Stance
Start with your feet together, legs and spine erect. Head suspended from the crown, and tailbone tucked under the spine. We will return to this position at the end of the form.

Middle Stance (Horse Stance)
Feet are more than shoulder width apart, knees are bent, back is straight.

Front Stance (Bow and Arrow Stance)
Feet are shoulder width apart, and one step is taken forward with one foot. The front knee is bent, the back leg is straight.

Back Stance
Just like the Front Stance, but the weight is on the back foot. Back leg is bent, front leg is straight. The "rocking motion" associated with Tai Chi is the shifting of weight between a Front and Back stance.

Rear Stance  (T Stance, or Empty Foot Stance)
In this stance all of your weight is on the rear foot, knee slightly bent. The front leg is also slightly bent, and the front foot is only lightly touching the ground.

To practice these stances, use them as part of your Tai Chi walking drill. Pick a stance and each time you step forward, assume that stance.


After stances, breathing is the most critical part of Tai Chi. It is the meditative part of the martial art, and also lends you great power as you synchronize your breathing with your movement. If you have never done meditative breathing before, I recommend the following drill to get you started:

Box Breathing
Imagine running your hand along the sides of a square in front of you. As you go along each side of the square you will do one of the following:

Side 1- Breathe in
Side 2- Hold breath
Side 3- Breathe out
Side 4- Hold out

Start with a 2 second count per side, then slowly lengthen it out to 4 or 6 seconds per side. This is a great exercise to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Tai Chi Breathing
Once you have that mastered, you will want to move on to Tai Chi breathing. All you have to do is eliminate the hold between breaths. So a 4 count would be "Breathe in, 2, 3, 4, Breathe out, 2, 3, 4." Add this to your Qi Gong, walking drill, and for each movement of your form, and you will begin to notice a change in your energy and concentration. As you progress in Tai Chi, try to go for a longer count, 6, 8, 10, or even 12 seconds.

Your First Form: Bafa Wubu

Let's review the standing form with proper stances and Tai Chi breathing.
  1. Commence Form
  2. Ward Off  (Left)
  3. Roll Back (Right)
  4. Press (Left)
  5. Push (Left)
  6. Pluck (Right)
  7. Split (Left)
  8. Elbow (Left)
  9. Shoulder (Right)
Then repeat on the opposite side.

Moving Form

Once you have that mastered, move on to the second half of the form with moving foot work. Notice the importance of shifting weight between the feet with each movement. Once you have the order memorized, focus on the 13 points emphasized by Yang Chengfu.

Combat Applications

Before I say anything about how these moves can be used in combat, please be aware that these are for self-defense, not attacking someone. They are for getting someone out of your space, not attacking someone else's space. I want you to know from the beginning that these are self-defense movements and should not be treated lightly.

Commence Form
Often considered a "throwaway move" this movement can be used to block a punch or kick from either side.

Ward Off
Used to clear a block or attack the torso.

Roll Back
Allows you to pull your opponent off balance if they are grabbing you, or to dodge a punch.

Also called "Pierce" can be used to lock the opponent's wrist, jar them off balance, and body check them.

Pretty obvious, when combined with a proper stance you can put a lot of distance between yourself and your opponent. Often used at the end of other attacks.

Similar to Roll Back, but you grab your opponent, can also be used to lead into a throw.

The hardest to master in my opinion, used to break your opponents stance or structure so you can deal a blow.

Strike your opponent with your forearm and elbow. Can target the face, chest, or torso.

Can be used to check your opponent or (in the correct stance) throw them.

Cool Down

Stand like a tree as before. If you can, try to hold each pose for 45 seconds to 1 minute.