I’ve been thinking about the terminology around the ’13’ things in tai chi, variously called ‘postures,’ ‘energies,’ ‘principles,’ ‘gates,’ ‘stances,’ ‘movements,’ ‘techniques,’ ‘kinetic movements,’ ‘tactics,’ ‘powers,’ … Sometimes, in the literature, they mean the same thing, and sometimes different things.
Let’s settle on 8 things relating mostly to arms, and 5 things mostly relating to the lower body. Of course, these are never experienced or used independently in practice.
I’ll post links to more resources from time to time, but for now, if you’re interested in one person’s in-depth discussion of these, particularly from a martial point of view, it’s well worth reading this excerpt from Bruce Frantzis’ book. The Eight Principles of T’ai Chi Chuan.
Understanding something of the martial meaning of the internal and external ‘energetic’ aspects of the postures and movements of tai chi will add depth to our tai chi, even when we practice solely for health, flexibility, relaxation and fun.