Yang's Ten Important Points

  1. The head should be upright so that the spirit can reach the head top. Do not use strength, or the neck will be stiff and the breath and blood cannot flow through. It is necessary to have a natural and lively feeling. If the spirit cannot reach the head top, it cannot raise.
  2. Sink the chest and pluck up the back. The chest is depressed naturally inward so that the breath can sink to the tan tien. Do not project the chest. The chi gets stuck there and the body becomes top heavy. The heel will be too light and can be uprooted. Pluck up the back and the chi sticks to the back. Depress the chest and you can pluck up the back. Then you can discharge force through the spine. You will be a peerless boxer.
  3. Relax the waist. The waist is the commander of the whole body. If you can relax the waist, then the two legs will have power and the lower part will be firm and stable. Substantial and insubstantial change, and this is based on the turning of the waist. It is said that the source of the postures lies in the waist. If you cannot get power, seek the defect in the legs and waist.
  4. Differentiate insubstantial and substantial. This is the first thing of all in Tai Chi Chuan. If the weight of the whole body is resting on the right leg, then the right leg is substantial and the left leg is insubstantial, and vice versa. When you can separate substantial and insubstantial, you can turn lightly without using strength. If you cannot separate them, the step is heavy and slow. The stance is not firm and can be easily thrown off balance.
  5. Sink the shoulders and elbows. The shoulders will be completely relaxed and open. If you cannot relax and sink, the two shoulders will be uptight. The chi will flow them up and the whole body cannot get power. "Sink the elbows" means the elbows go down and relax. If the elbows raise, the shoulders are not able to sink and you cannot discharge people far. The discharge is close to the broken force of the external schools.
  6. Use the mind and not force. The Tai Chi Chuan classics say, "all of this means use of mind and not force." In practicing Tai Chi Chuan the whole body relaxes. Do not let one ounce of force remain in the blood vessels, bones, and ligaments to tie yourself up. Then you can be agile and able to change. You will be able to turn freely and easily. Doubting this, how can you increase yourself?
    The body has meridians like the ground has ditches and trenches. If not obstructed, the water can flow. If the meridian is not closed, the chi goes through. If the whole body has hard force and it fills up the meridians, the chi and blood stop and the turning is not smooth and agile. Just pull one hair and the whole body is off balance. If you use mind not force, then the mind goes to a place and the chi follows it. The chi and the blood circulate. If you do this every day and never stop, after a long time you will have real internal force. The Tai Chi Chuan classics said that when you are extremely soft, then you become extremely good in Tai Chi Chuan skill and has arms like iron wrapped with cotton and weight is very heavy. As for those who practice the external schools, when they use force, they reveal force. When they do not use force, they are too light and floating. Their internal force is external and locked together. The force of the external schools is easily led and moved and not to be esteemed.
  7. Upper and lower mutually follow. The Tai Chi Chuan classics said that the motion should be rooted in the feet, released through the legs, controlled by the waist and manifested through the fingers. Everything is the same. When the hands, waist and feet move together, the eyes follow. If one part does not move, the whole body is disordered.
  8. Inside and outside coordinate. In the practice of Tai Chi Chuan the main thing is the spirit. Therefore, it is said that the spirit is the commander and the body is subordinate. If you can raise the spirit, then the movements will be naturally agile. The postures are not beyond insubstantial and substantial, opening and closing. That which is called open means not only the hands and feet are open, but the mind is also open. That which is called closed means not only the hands and feet are closed, but the mind is also closed. When you can make the inside and outside become one, then it becomes complete.
  9. It is mutually joined and unbroken. As to the external schools, their internal force is the latter heaven brute internal force. Therefore, it is finite. There are connects and breaks. During the breaks, the old force is exhausted and the new force has not yet been born. At these moments, it is very easy for others to take advantage. The Tai Chi Chuan use mind and not force. From beginning to end it is continuous and not broken. It is circular and again resumes. It revolves and has no limits. The original classic said that it is like a great river rolling on unceasingly and the circulation of internal force is like pulling silk. They all talk about being connected together.
  10. Seek stillness in movement. The external schools assume jumping about is good and they use all their energy. That is why after practice everyone tire. Tai Chi Chuan uses stillness to control movement. Although one moves, there is also stillness. Therefore, in practicing the form, slower is better. If it is slow, the inhalation and exhalation are long and deep and the chi sinks to tan tien. Naturally there is no injuries practice such as engorgement of the blood vessels. The learner should be careful to comprehend it. Then you will get the real meaning.
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