The 13 Postures and 13 Principles in Tai Chi Chuan

The 13 Postures of Tai Chi

The 13 Postures is the foundation of Tai Chi Chuan. Without these postures there is neither the Chuan (form) nor the push-hands. These postures were derived from the Eight Trigrams (the first 8 postures – energies) and the Five Elements (the last 5 postures – steps). The 13 postures are:

  1. Peng (ward-off)
  2. Lu (roll-back)
  3. Chi (press)
  4. An (push)
  5. Tsai (pull-down)
  6. Lieh (split)
  7. Chou (elbow strike)
  8. Kao (shoulder strike)
  9. Chin (advance)
  10. Tui (retreat)
  11. Ku (look left)
  12. Pan (look right)
  13. Ting (center)


The 13 Principles of Tai Chi

The 13 principles must execute the mind, chi, and physical movement in one unit. This means that when the mind is focused on a specific area of the body, the chi will flow into that area. When the chi flows into an area, power will follow.

  1. Sinking of Shoulders and Dropping of Elbows
  2. Relaxing of Chest and Rounding of Back
  3. Sinking Chi down to Dan Tien
  4. Lightly Pointing Up the Head
  5. Relaxation of Waist and Hip
  6. Differentiate Between Empty and Full: Yin and Yang
  7. Coordination of Upper and Lower Parts of the Body
  8. Using the Mind Instead of Force
  9. Harmony Between Internal and External
  10. Connecting the Mind and the Chi
  11. Find Stillness Within Movement
  12. Movement and Stillness Present at Once
  13. Continuity and Evenness Throughout the Form

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