13 Postures: An Introduction to T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Gong (Taijiquan and Qigong)









Song of the Substance and Function of the Thirteen Postures

The thirteen basic postures must never be regarded lightly. The original source of their meaning is in the waist.

In changing and turning from substantial (Yang) to insubstantial (Yin) and vice versa, one must pay close attention; ch'i will circulate throughout the entire body without the slightest hindrance.

Inwardly tranquil, one responds to a forceful action while maintaining an unruffled attitude. Manifest your inscrutable techniques to accord with an opponent's changing actions.

Pay special attention to your every posture and seek out its hidden meaning, then you can acquire this art without exerting excessive effort.

Pay attention to your waist at all times. When the abdomen is completely relaxed, the ch'i will soar up (and circulate through the entire body).

When the lowest vertebrae are plumb erect, the spirit of vitality reaches to the top of the head. When the top of the head is held as if suspended from above, the whole body feels light and agile.

Examine and investigate carefully and thoroughly. Whether bending, stretching, opening, or closing, let it take its natural way.

To enter the gate and be guided onto the correct path one requires verbal instruction from a competent master. If one practices constantly and studies carefully, one's skill will take care of itself.

If one asks about the correct standard of substance and function, (the answer is that) the mind and ch'i direct, and the flesh and bones follow.

Carefully examine what the ultimate purpose is--the enhancement of longevity, rejuvenation, and immortality.

The Song of the T'ai Chi Thirteen Postures contains 140 Chinese words. Each one is genuine and true doctrine which explains fully and without reservation the meaning and purpose of T'ai Chi. If you do not seek carefully in the direction indicated above, your time and effort will be spent in vain and you will have cause to sigh with regret.