Basic Tai Chi Positions

Some Different Basic Tai Chi Positions

Although there are different schools of tai chi that emphasizes speed or kinds of movements, almost all of the schools base their movements on different basic tai chi positions.  By learning different basic tai chi positions, you learn the basics of all the other movements to follow.  The absolute basic position is to stand straight up with your head facing forward and your body weight evenly distributed.  The other different basic tai chi positions will then flow from the initial standing up straight posture.

Pouncing Tiger Or Cat

This has different names.  You flow from the basic standing position into that of an aggressive cat.  Your arms reach up in front of your face or neck as claws and one knee is raised, leaving only the tiptoes on the ground or floor.  You then repeat this many times.  This is one of the easiest and most fun of the different basic tai chi positions, especially for those of us who grew up with cats and kittens.

High Horse Stance

This is done all in the legs and knees and your center of balance.  Your arms can stay motionless at your sides.  For those who think that in riding a horse, hands holding the reins are necessary, they actually are not.  The best riders in the world leave their hands at their sides and steer the horse entirely with the legs and shifts of their body weight.  Anyway, you begin at the standing position and then flow into a spread legged crouch, where you are mimicking sitting in a saddle.  If you really want to mimic, balance on the balls of your heels, but for tai chi this is not necessary.

The Crane

Cranes of all kinds served as great inspiration for all of the martial arts and tai chi.  Most positions called “the crane” look pretty much alike, even in different basic positions of tai chi.  If you ever see A&E’s biography of Bruce Lee, he does a crane in a three piece suit for a casting audition.  In tai chi, usually the arms are still but sometimes they are raised to the sides like a crane spreading its wings.  Begin in the standing position, then flow your left knee up hip level (or as high as you can) with your toes pointed to the ground while simultaneously sinking down on the right leg, so it is bent like an elongated “z”.  This is one of the most graceful of the different basic tai chi positions.

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