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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 3 - Part the Wild Horse's Mane (left)





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 3 - Part the Wild Horse's Mane (left)





Parting the Wild Horse's Mane is sometimes called "Reach for the Mail and Pet the Dog" or "Throw the Frisbee."
This is the part of the routine that introduces us to the Bow Stance and forward stepping.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 2 - Preparation and Commencement





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 2 - Preparation and Commencement





The first movements of the tai chi routine are often glossed over or even partly discarded as being incidental. But there is much that can be benefited by paying close attention to the important details of these opening moves.

This is where Wuji (Wu Chi) becomes Taiji (Tai Chi).
This is where we first address the important principles of posture and alignment in tai chi:
Head balanced as if suspended from above.
Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows.
Sink the chest and "raise" the back. (Relax the ribcage without slouching.)
Relax the waist.
Relax the hips, knees, ankles and feet.
Relax the joints and let the thighs do the work.
.... more



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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 1 - Introduction





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 1 - Introduction





The 24 form was created in 1956 in an effort to make tai chi more accessible to the masses. It was extremely successful and became part of the Chinese National Fitness Program.

Today this routine is taught all over the world in schools, spas, church basements, community recreation centres, hospitals, yoga studios and martial art schools.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 7 - "Play Guitar" or "Right Hand Strums the Lute / Pipa"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 7

"Play Guitar"

or

"Right Hand Strums the Lute / Pipa"






Play Guitar is another empty stance like White Crane Spreads its Wings, but the empty foot rests on its heel this time.
Important points include the proper alignment of the hips with the weighted leg, and the bending of both legs.
The name "play guitar" misleads some people to believing that the hands should be farther apart. For this reason, right hand strums the lute is a more appropriate translation. (Play the Ukelele would bring the hands too close to the body.)

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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 6 - Brush Knee and Push





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 6 - Brush Knee and Push





Brush knee push is another bow stance like Part the Horse's Mane. However, this time we have the opposite hand forward. This means that the waist must twist a little more than in Part the Horse's Mane. It also means that the bow stance must be wide enough to accommodate the proper alignment and expression of energy.


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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 5 - White Crane Spreads its Wings





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 5 - White Crane Spreads its Wings





White Crane Spreads it's Wings is sometimes called "Stork Cools its Wings" or "White Goose Spreads its Wings" or "Bigbird Waves Goodbye to Mr. Hooper."
This is the introduction to the empty stance with the empty foot on the toe.
It also involves counter twisting of the waist. This should be done carefully so as not to twist the knee.

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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 4 - Part the Wild Horse's Mane (right, left)





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 4 - Part the Wild Horse's Mane (right, left)





Continuing from the first "part the horse's mane", this section introduces the forward stepping of the Yang style tai chi.

The footwork in modern simplified routines like the 24 form is a bit different from the traditional routines. There is more back and forth shifting in the new routines. In fact, some schools emphasize that there should be no shifting back when the toe is turned out. But this "ding ba" method is physically and technically challenging for beginners
There is some debate as to why the simplified routines do more shifting. Some insist that it is a simplification and that it is meant for "hospital tai chi." Others disagree. It is a very interesting discussion which we won't get into it here.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 11- Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 3 "Ji" and "An" aka "Squeeze" and "Press"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 11

Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 3

"Ji" and "An" aka "Squeeze" and "Press"





The translations of "Ji" and "An" are sometimes mixed up. Both are sometimes called "Press". The difference is that Ji is like a wine press, while "An" is like pressing a button.
Ji is also called "Cram" or "Squeeze".
An is also called "Push"

"Ji" is a cramming energy. The energy comes from the two sides and joins in the middle like two tributaries becoming a great river. The energy still comes from the feet. But it is directed by the inner forearms.
"Ji" always follows "Lu" in some way. It is said that "Lu" without "Ji" is a waste of "Lu".

"An" is like pressing a button. It is also like setting something aside or pushing it to the back of a shelf.

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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 10 - Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 2 "Lü" aka "Roll Back"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 10

Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 2

"Lü" aka "Roll Back"






"Lu" or "Roll Back" as it is also known, is considered yin compared to "Peng". While Peng is the quality that uproots the opponent's energy like water supporting a boat, "Lu" is like the rolling of a boat upon the waves. The character for Lu contains the idea of boat shoes. So you can think of your arms acting like the legs of a person standing in a canoe. They support the weight but are flexible and agile, allowing the body to remain balanced without using force.

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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 9 - "Ward Off" aka "Peng"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 9

"Ward Off" aka "Peng"





"Peng" is an onomatopoeic expression which translates into English as "Boing", "Bump" or even "Peng." It describes the buoyant energy that protects a body which is relaxed and properly aligned. Peng is seen here as an action. But it is really an internal power ("jing") or quality "gong" that is developed through consistent practice. When peng is properly manifested, any external force applied to the expert's body will seem to float and fail to uproot its target.

When performing "Peng" or "Ward Off", it is important to stay relaxed and pay attention to the proper alignment of the arm with the rest of the body. Feel the connection to the ground. Do not think about pushing anything away with the arm. The power of peng comes from the legs. The direction of the peng comes from the waist and hips. The expression is in the round and relaxed arms.

Under no circumstances should you try to increase the tension in your shoulders or arm.

Peng is a shape. It is not a block.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 8 - Step Back to Repulse the Monkey





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 8 - Step Back to Repulse the Monkey




This is the first movement in the 24 form tai chi that involve pure backward stepping.
It is called "Step Back to Repulse the Monkey"
or
"Step Back to Repulse Like a Monkey"
or
"Retreat to Repulse the Monkey"
or
"Retreat step and Reverse Reeling Forearms"
or
.....

Ian Sinclair instructs.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 15 - High Pat on Horse





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 15 - High Pat on Horse





"High Pat on Horse" or "High Mounted Scout" suggests the image of a person sitting high in the saddle, holding reigns in the left hand and patting the horse's neck with the right hand.

The challenge of this movement is to maintain a good empty stance with the hips turned to the right leg while the upper body twists to the left. The twisting of the waist may feel a bit like wringing a towel.


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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 14 - Cloud Hands ("Wave Hands Like Clouds")





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 14

Cloud Hands ("Wave Hands Like Clouds")





"Cloud Hands" or "Wave Hands Like Clouds" is one of those movements which seems complicated to students when they first learn it, but then seems very simple and easy. It is also a very beautiful movement and often becomes a favourite movement of students.

Cloud hands can be seen as a complete exercise in itself. When done correctly, Cloud Hands engages every joint in the body and helps to move every part of the body within its ideal dynamic range.

When practising this movement, be sure to apply tai chi principles. Every part moves, but no part moves out of alignment. The knees, for instance, should continue to point in the direction of the toes.

This means that the hips must relax and respect the alignment of the knees.

Also, the waist must twist thoroughly, with the "ming men" open and the small of the back relaxed. If the back is tense, the waist will not twist completely.

The shoulders must sink, and the elbows must drop. Let the arms be carried by the waist and hips. Do not try to do too much with the arms.

The vast number of applications of this movement leads some to claim that this one movement can be a martial art unto itself.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 13 - Single Whip





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 13 - Single Whip





Single whip represents "Lieh", the sideways or rending energy of taijiquan. It is also one of the most recognizable postures in tai chi.
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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 12 - Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 4 "peng" "Lu" "Ji" "An" on both sides.





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 12

Grasp the Bird's Tail - Part 4

"peng" "Lu" "Ji" "An"

on both sides.


"Grasp the Bird's Tail on Both Sides"

Now that we have learned Peng, Lu, Ji, and An ("Ward Off", "Roll Back", "Press", and "Push") it is time to put it all together and do them all on both sides.

Most of the traditional routines only do "Grasp the Bird's Tail" on the right side. Sometimes they do it 13 times on the right and not once on the left. This general symmetry is another one of the reasons for the popularity of the 24 form.

24 Form Tai Chi Lesson 12 - Grasp the Bird's Tail on Both Sides










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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 19 - "Snake Creeps Low" aka "Squatting Single Whip"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 19 - "Snake Creeps Low"

aka "Squatting Single Whip"





Take it easy with this one. Don't try to go too low. Get accustomed to the basic choreography before trying to go lower.






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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 18 - Turn and Kick with Left Heel





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 18 - Turn and Kick with Left Heel






Turn and Kick with Left Heel partially mirrors the movement "Kick with Right Heel".

It is shown in this video with a review of the preceding movements "High Pat on Horse", "Kick with Right Heel", and "Double Wind Pierces the Ears".

As with the previous kick, it is important to not kick too high. While it is good to be able to kick as high as your head, that it is not expected of everyone.

In tai chi competition, one should be able to kick at least as high as the waist, and you may get more points for kicking higher than your head. You may, in fact, lose marks is you cannot kick very high. But you will lose more marks if you fall or lean over trying to kick higher than you are able.

It is more important to maintain proper alignment and good tai chi principles. Do not compromise your balance and internal power in the attempt to appear more flexible than you are.






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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 17 - Double Wind to the Ears





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 17 - Double Wind to the Ears






"Double Wind to the Ears" is also called "Strike Ears with Both Fists".
The choreography is self-explanatory, except that it should be pointed out that in tai chi, we strike to the opponent's ears. There is no "Kamikaze Tai Chi".

As far as the martial application of this movement, striking to the opponent's ears is only one of the possibilities. The martial applications of tai chi movements is seldom to be merely taken literally.


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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 16 - Kick with Right Heel





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 16 - Kick with Right Heel





"Kick with Right Heel" is the first of the kicks in the 24 form.
If you have trouble with your balance, you can put your hand on the wall or a chair for support. Don't try to kick too high in the beginning but keep your body upright and maintain tai chi principles of alignment.

Kick slowly and see if you can hold the kick in position for 3 - 10 seconds.


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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 24 - "Fan Through the Back"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 24 - "Fan Through the Back"












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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 23 - "Needle to the Bottom of the Sea"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 23 - "Needle to the Bottom of the Sea"












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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 22 - "Fair Maiden Weaves the Shuttles"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 22 - "Fair Maiden Weaves the Shuttles"





Take it easy with this one. Don't try to go too low. Get accustomed to the basic choreography before trying to go lower.


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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 21 - "Snake Creeps Low" aka "Squatting Single Whip" and "Rooster Stands on One Leg"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 21 - "Snake Creeps Low"

aka "Squatting Single Whip"





Take it easy with this one. Don't try to go too low. Get accustomed to the basic choreography before trying to go lower.






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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 20 - "Snake Creeps Low" aka "Squatting Single Whip"





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 20 - "Snake Creeps Low"

aka "Squatting Single Whip"





Take it easy with this one. Don't try to go too low. Get accustomed to the basic choreography before trying to go lower.






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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 26 - "Apparent close and counter with push."





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 26 - "Apparent close and counter with push."



This is almost the end. Just one or two more moves, and you will have learned the entire 24 posture tai chi routine.

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24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi) Lesson 25 - "Turn, chop with fist, twist step, deflect down, step forward, parry, and punch."





24 Posture Taijiquan (24 Form Tai Chi)

Lesson 25 - "Turn, chop with fist, twist step, deflect down, step forward, parry, and punch."



I guess that by the time the creators of this tai chi routine got to the end of the form, they had run out of poetry.
The name is quite descriptive, however. One might even wonder if any other instruction is necessary.










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