• The Beginning of Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan)

    The beginning of Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan)
    Raise Hands
    Play Guitar
    Grasp Birds’ Tail
    Single Whip
    Slant Flying
    Raise Hands
    White Cane Spreads its Wings
    Brush Knee and Push (four times)
    Play Guitar
    Step Forward & Punch
    Push Forward
    Carry Tiger to Mountain
    Cross Hands

  • Basic Theory of Yin and Yang

    The Taoist philosophy of change ascribes any alteration in nature to the interplay of Yin and Yang. These are two complimentary opposites, which cannot exist without the other. They have various attributes, which characterize them. Yin is described variously as negative, soft, yielding, abyssal, dark, cold, receptive, resting, empty; whereas Yang is positive, hard, pushing, lofty, bright, hot, creative, working and full. They are used merely as descriptions of state, not as judgments of a condition. Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) is the physical manifestation of the philosophy of change as applied to body movements, therefore some parts of the body are described as Yin in some forms or postures, and Yang in other postures. The process of change is symbolized in the diagram below. In this figure Yin is portrayed as the dark area, and Yang as the light area. Each area contains within it the element of change; i.e. there is always some ‘Yang in the Yin and some Yin in the Yang’.

  • The Alternation of Yin and Yang

    Throughout the series of movements of Gong Yi Taijiquan you will frequently alternate between Kung Pu (forward stance) and Cho Toei (back stance). Conceptually Kung Pu is Yang whilst Cho Toei is Yin. The constant interplay between Kung Pu and Cho Toei is therefore an interplay of Yin and Yang which is the essence of Gong Yi Taijiquan

  • Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) Walking

    Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) walking is intended initially to teach the beginner how to achieve simple separation of the complimentary elements of the Yin and Yang using the shifting of body weight into the legs.

    1) Adopt a parallel stance, feet about one foot length apart.
    2) Bend the knees slightly and tuck in the pelvis so that the weight sinks into the lower half of the body.
    3) Shift all the weight in to the right leg. This leg is now the Yang leg.
    4) Step out with the left heel- without moving the hips. This leg bears no weight and is the Yin leg.
    5) Put the left toe down, without allowing the left hip to ‘float’ or come forward.
    6) Shift the weight from the right leg into the left leg. Do not allow the knee to extend beyond the tip of your toe. Keep the back heel (right) on the floor. Stretch the right leg- don’t allow the knee to bend. Maintain a consistent line in the back all the way up the length of the back. Hold this posture for a count of 10.
    7) Relax the right leg by: Tucking under the pelvis so that the torso becomes upright, and the head is pointing forward, chin tucked in. This in turn will cause the back heel to be raised from the floor, and can be aided by allowing the knee to drop slightly.
    8) Step through, bearing ALL the weight on the left leg.
    9) Step out with the right heel. Repeat as from 5) but from the right then left hand side. After several steps (as many as space or inclination permit) the process is reversed.
    11) With the weight disposed on the forward leg (Yang), shift the weight back onto the back (Yin) leg. Yin and Yang have now changed.
    12) Bring up the toe of the Yin leg (the forward leg).
    13) Tuck under the pelvis so the torso becomes vertical.
    14) Raise the Yin Leg a few inches off the ground.
    15) Relax the foot of the Yin leg, so the sole is parallel to the floor.
    16) Relax the knee, and push the heel of the Yin leg back (i.e. the reverse of stepping through)
    17) Place the foot of the Yin leg down. This should go down ‘as one piece’, on the sole, rather than on the toe or the side. Hold the posture for a count of 10. Repeat as from 11) until you are back where you started from..

  • Points to Look Out For

    Try to commit the weight 100%, to ensure proper separation of Yin & Yang.
    Step through rather than round.
    Do not bob up and down as you step, in other words do not extend and contract the Yang leg.
    When walking backward do not cross your own centerline, i.e. the feet should remain parallel to one another (one foot apart).
    Make sure you achieve a proper stretch of the extended leg, without over stretching it and introducing tension.
    Keep the back heel down; this ensures the development of a good stretch in the calf muscles.
    Do not let the knees collapse in i.e. towards one another NEVER extend the knee beyond the toe.

  • The Basic Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) Exercises

    A) Arm Swinging. 100 times either arm.
    1) Take up a horse stance; make sure the back is straight and the head erect
    2) Allow the arms to hang in front momentarily
    3) Raise the right hand above the head, palms facing upwards
    4) Drop the right hand, describing a sideways arc in the air and at the same time-
    5) Raise the left hand above the head, describing a sideways arc in the air
    6) The movements should be symmetrical and coordinated. Alternately raise and drop the hands. The joints should be ‘sunk’ and relaxed.B) Hip Rotation. 15 times either side
    1) Take up a parallel stance
    2) With hands on hips step forward with the right leg into a forward bow stance.
    3) Fix gaze on an object in the middle distance. It is important in this exercise that the head move as little as possible.
    4) Open the left hip (i.e. pull the hip forwards). Hold the stretch for a count of 8.
    5) Close the left hip (i.e. pull the hip forwards). Repeat 4& 5 three times.
    6) Let the arms hang. Continue to open and close the hip, but without pausing.
    7) Using the power generated in the hip allow the arms to swing up.As the left hip closes, the left hand/arm comes forward, and the right arm goes back. As the left hip opens the right hand/arm comes forward and the left arm/hand goes back. The front palm should be facing up, the rear palm down.
    8) After 15 of these change stance so that the left leg is forward and repeat the exercise. In this way left and right sides of the hip are isolated and exercised. This exercise is good for general posture since it tones and stretches the oblique abdominal muscles and the longissimus muscles of the spine.
    C) Leg Rotation. 20 times either direction for each leg.
    1) Adopt a one legged stance. Remember to keep the supporting (Yang) leg bent.
    2) Raise the Yin leg.
    3) Relax the knee, and let the lower limb hang. Keep the foot relaxed.
    4) Rotate the lower limb 15 times one way then 15 times the other.Try not to move the thigh, and when rotating the lower limb try to describe large circles in the air with the foot. If your balance is not good, to start with place a chair to the side at arm length away. Support yourself against the back of the chair by using the fingertips only – do not grip the chair. The ability to balance will come with increasing strength in the leg, confidence and familiarity with the exercise.
    5) Repeat the exercise with the leg you have just been rotating for support.
    D) Downward Kicks. 6 with either leg.
    1) Adopt a sitting down stance
    2) Raise the Yin leg, bringing the knee toward the chest, and pulling the toe up as much as possible.
    3) Strike down with the heel, at the same time breathe out through the nose. At the end of the kick, pull the toe back. Repeat the exercise 5 times first with one leg, and then with the other. This exercise does not have to be done quickly, and attention should be paid to balance, stretch in the striking leg, pulling back the toe at the end of the kick, and keeping the knee supporting the leg bent.

  • General Points About Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) Exercising

    The exercises take a few minutes, but make sure you devote those minutes specifically to the exercises. Do not try to fit them in, on the way to doing something else. Always be mindful of what you are doing when you exercise. Listen to your body! If it hurts, beware. There is often some pain involved in exercise, the skill is when to know when you are going too far, and you are not exercising but hurting yourself. The Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) curriculum is both for development of fitness and maintenance of fitness, do not be tempted to overdo it because the exercises seem simple. There will inevitably be protestation from muscles unused for ages, this will usually occur after a period of rest, if it hurts while you are exercising, you are approaching the safe limit of exercise. If the pain is acute and sharp stop and seek advise.

  • Some Specific Points Indicating Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) Exercise Should Stop

    1) Labored breathing (difficulty in breathing).
    2) Loss of coordination (do to dizziness).
    3) Tightness of chest and pain.
    4) Nausea/vomiting.
    5) Irregular heart rate following exercise.
    6) Muscular-skeletal problems aggravated by exercise.

  • You Should Not Exercise Gong Yi Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) If

    1) You have just eaten – allow 2 hours after eating to elapse before beginning exercise. Make sure your energy intake for the day is sufficient.
    2) You are not wearing appropriate footwear – wear slippers .
    3) You are wearing clothing of a heat retaining nature e.g. plastic sweat suits, sauna suits etc.
    4) You are chewing gum – get rid of it first.

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  • Gong Yi Taijiquan Instructor

    Sifu Gordon Ainsley

    I have been studying & teaching Tai Chi Chuan for 30 years. I am certified ...