T’AI CHI CH’UAN CHING

Attributed to Chang San-feng (est. 1279 -1386)
as researched by Lee N. Scheele

In motion the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts of the body linked
as if threaded together.

The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited,
The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered.

The postures should be without defect,
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment;
in motion the Form should not become disconnected.

The chin [intrinsic strength] should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.

If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.

All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention],
not external form.

If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.

If the I wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.

Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.

Insubstantial [empty; yin] and substantial [solid; yang]
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.

The whole body should be threaded together
through every joint
without the slightest break.

Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.

Peng, Lu, Chi, An,
Ts’ai, Lieh, Chou, and K’ao
are equated to the Eight Trigrams.
The first four are the cardinal directions;
Ch’ien [South; Heaven],
K’un [North; Earth],
K’an [West; Water], and
Li [East; Fire].
The second four are the four corners:
Sun [Southwest; Wind],
Chen [Northeast; Thunder],
Tui [Southeast; Lake], and
Ken [Northwest; Mountain].
Advance (Chin), Withdraw (T’ui),
Look Left (Ku), Look Right (Pan), and
Central Equilibrium (Chung Ting)
are equated to the five elements:
Metal,
Wood,
Water,
Fire, and
Earth
All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures

A footnote appended to this Classic by Yang Lu-ch’an (1799-1872) reads: This treatise was left by the patriarch Chan San-feng of Wu Tang Mountain, with a desire toward helping able people everywhere achieve longevity, and not merely as a means to martial skill.

http://scheele.org/lee/classics.html#songsof8