The Sequences of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

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The original eight postures, which came into being some 10,000 years ago, were increased to a total of thirteen when the very first T'ai Chi sequences were formulated. This book still retains the original animal names of each stance, which were first adopted by the ancient Taoists of China, and by the Lee family.

However, when T'ai Chi became more widely known within China, many schools and classes were founded, and their teachers tried to hide the techniques, stances, sequences and sets behind a facade of words, such as "The Crane Spreads its Wings", "Hit the Tiger", and "Brush Knee and Side Step", which enabled them to retain some originality for themselves.

For the benefit of all our readers, including those who are truly interested in and dedicated to every aspect of our Chinese Taoist Arts, we are specifying the ancient animal name of each stance. Here is the more modern description of each sequence of movements, but it is interesting to be aware that even these were devised some 1,500 years ago.

  Sequence Stances in order
  Preparation eagle bear
1 Gather Celestial Energy eagle eagle eagle
2 Play the Guitar dragon monkey dragon
3 Fair Lady Weaving monkey dragon monkey dragon monkey
4 The Crane Exercises its Wings riding horse leopard eagle eagle riding horse
5 Drive the Tiger Away dragon duck dragon
6 Grasp the Bird's Tail cat dragon
7 Brush Knee and Side Step monkey leopard
8 Repulse the Monkey cat dragon
9 The Stork is Aroused crane dog monkey dragon
10 The Double Whip snake leopard
11 The Cobra Unwinds leopard dragon cat dragon
12 The Wild Dog Retaliates monkey dog leopard dragon
13 The Tail of the Peacock cat dragon monkey dragon
14 Brush Knee and Side Step monkey leopard
15 The Edge of the Cyclone monkey dragon cat dragon
16 Single Whip Unleashed duck dragon
17 The Double Whip cat leopard
18 The Playful Dog cat dragon dog dragon
19 Catching the Chickens monkey dragon leopard dragon
20 The Archer Prepares riding horse dragon cat
21 Mount the Wild Horse dog riding horse dragon cat
22 Flexing of the Single Whip dragon cat dragon
23 Repulse the Monkey leopard dragon cat dragon
24 Encompass the East and West cat dragon
25 The Dog Awakens monkey dog
26 Roll and Stretch cat dragon
27 The Five Elements riding horse dragon cat leopard monkey
28 The Double Whip leopard cat
29 Waving the Hands in the Clouds dog duck dragon snake
30 Consoling the North Wind dragon riding horse dragon duck
31 The Leopard Shows Its Teeth dragon leopard dog monkey dragon
32 The Scissors Cut the Silk scissor dragon crane
33 The Archer Releases His Arrow dragon cat dragon
34 Brush Knee and Side Step duck leopard
35 Within the Cyclone cat dragon monkey dragon
36 The Wild Horse Resists monkey dragon crane leopard
37 The Playful Monkey monkey dragon duck dragon
38 The Chickens Become Excited duck dog monkey crossed leg
39 Eight Strands of the Brocade monkey dragon cat dragon monkey dog monkey dragon
40 Enclose the Inner Ch'i Orbit cat dragon monkey
41 Gather Earth's Energy eagle eagle
42 Finish eagle


The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2003 reproduced with permission