Cloud Hands

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Mind/Body Movement Art


Taijiquan Essentials
T'ai Chi Chuan Movement Principles

Michael P. Garofalo

Essentials       Links       Bibliography       Quotes


January 1, 2007


(Note: T'ai Chi Ch'aun Essentials will be published in installments in this Cloud Hands webpage
beginning in January, 2007.  It will be published in its entirety by December, 2010.)

© Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2007
By Michael P. Garofalo, All Rights Reserved.




T'ai Chi Ch'uan Principles
Essential Ideas for Correct Taijiquan Practice
Bibliography, Links and Resources


Alphabetical Index to the Cloud Hands Website    

Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.  Volume One: Tai Chi Theory and Tai Chi Jing.  
By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Boston, Massachusetts, Yang's Martial Arts Academy,
YMAA, 1986.  Glossary, 276 pages.  ISBN: Unknown.  

The Art of War.  By Sun Tzu.  Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Illustrated edition.
Shambhala, 2004.  224 pages.  ISBN: 1590301854.

Beyond the Closed Door: Chinese Culture and the Creation of T'ai Chi Ch'uan
By Arieh Lev Breslow.  Almond Blossom Press, 1995.  399 pages.  

The Bodhisattva Warriors
.  The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the
Buddhist Martial Art within India and China.  By Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio (Terence Dukes).
Boston, MA, Weiser Books, 1994.  Index, bibliography, extensive notes, 527 pages.
ISBN: 0877287856.  MGC.  

Chan San-Feng: Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, Classics.  By Michael P. Garofalo.

Chen Style Taijiquan:  Bibliography, Links, Quotes   

Cheng Man-ch'ing (1901-1975)   Links, bibliography, a list of the movements in
the 37 movements short form of Master Cheng, quotations, and notes.  

Chinese Philosophy and Tai Chi Chuan.   By Dan Docherty. 

Cloud Hands Blog: Qigong, Yoga, and Taijiquan.  Often includes Taoist and Buddhist
quotes, poems and commentary.

Confucius (K'ung Fu-tze)   

The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation.   By Tsung Hwa Jou.  Charles E. Tuttle, 1998.
3rd Edition.  233 pages.  ISBN: 0804813574.  An outstanding textbook on Tai Chi Chuan.
All styles are introduced and explained.  A very informative introduction to the philosophy
and practices of Tai Chi Chuan. 

Drawing Silk: A Training Manual for T'ai Chi.  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Guilford, VT, Deer Mountain 
Taoist Academy, 1988.  Reading lists, lists, 128 pages.  MGC.  No ISBN given.  Numerous
classics and Taoist tales and lore are included in this text.  

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path.  By Bhante
Henepola Gunaratana.  Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2001.  Index, bibliography,
268 pages.  ISBN: 0861711769.  MGC.  A clear and insightful commentary on the
Eightfold Path of Buddhism.  Refer also to the Eight Precepts.

The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition.  Translated and edited by
Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo; Martin Inn, Robert Amacker, and Susan Foe.  Berkeley,
California, North Atlantic Books, 1979, 1985.  100 pages.  ISBN: 0913028630.    

The Essence of T'ai Chi.   By Waysun Liao.  Boston, Shambhala, 1995.
Shambhala Pocket Classics.  162 pages.  ISBN: 1570620393.   

The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition
.  Translated and edited by
Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo; Martin Inn, Robert Amacker, and Susan Foe.  Berkeley,
California, North Atlantic Books, 1979, 1985.  100 pages.  ISBN: 0913028630.    

The Five Character Secrets of Li Dongfeng.  Translated by Paul Dillon.  Santa
Rosa, CA, Great Achievement Enterprises, 1996.  67 pages.  No ISBN.  MGC.  The 
Taoist sage Chen Hsi I (c 906-990) is reported to have created the Liuhebafachuan
(Six Harmonies and Eight Methods Boxing) form while living near Mount Hwa
(Hwa Shan) in the north central province of Shasi.  In later years, Li Dongfeng
supposedly found manuscripts by Chen Hsi-I, The Five Character Secrets.
Liuhebafa Five Character Secrets.  Translated with comments by Paul Dillon.
Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2003.  168 pages.  11 illustrations.  
ISBN:  1886969728.  

The Foundation of Taijiquan.   By Ma Hong.  Translated by Tu-Ky Lam.  21Kb.

Green Way Blog  Often includes Taoist and Buddhist quotes and commentary.

Instant Tao: Tai Chi Chuan Discourse and Canon.   By Dan Docherty.  
ISBN: 01816474135.   

Lao-tzu's Taoteching.  Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes selected commentaries 
of the past 2,000 years.  Mercury House, San Francisco, 1996.  184 pages.  
ISBN: 1562790854.  MGC.  

Liuhebafa Five Character Secrets.  Translated with comments by Paul Dillon.
Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2003.  168 pages.  11 illustrations.  
ISBN:  1886969728.  

Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty.  By Douglas Wile.  State University of
New York Press, 1996.  ISBN: 079142653X.  Index, charts, bibliography, 233 pages.  The
most detailed and scholarly account of Tai Chi Chuan classics available.  Analysis and
translation of many new texts.  Outstanding contribution!  

Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.  Bu Fu Zongwen.  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Berkeley,
California, North Atlantic Books, 1999.  Glossary, bibliography, 226 pages.  Translations
of many Tai Chi classics are included, with commentary, on pages: 180-218..  

Meetings with Master Chang San-Feng.   By Mike Garofalo. 

101 Reflections on Tai Chi Chuan
.  A Motivational Pocket Guide for Tai Chi Chuan.  
By Michael Gilman.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publication Center, 2000.  114 pages.
ISBN: 1886960868.  MGC.  

Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.
By Geogre Lakoff and Mark Johnson.  Basic Books, Perseu Books, 1999.  Index,
bibliography, 624 pages.  ISBN: 0465056741.   MGC.  "The mind is inherently 
bebodied.  Thought is mostly unconscious.  Abstract concepts are largely 

The Power of Ch'i.  An introduction to Chinese mysticism and philosophy.  By Michael Page.
San Francisco, Thorsons, Harper Collins, 1988.  Index, 128 pages.  ISBN: 1855383632.  MGC.

Qigong: Links and Bibliography     

Scholar Boxer: Chang Naizhou's Theory of Internal Martial Arts and the Evolution
of Taijiquan.  By Chang Niazhou.   Translation and commentary by Marnix Wells.
North Atlantic Books, 2004.  200 pages.  ISBN: 1556434820.  Chang Naizhou,
1724-1783.  The book includes photographs and illustrations.   MGC.  

Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life.   By Deng Ming-Dao.  Harper
San Francisco, 1990.   Index, bibliography, 351 pages.  ISBN: 0062502328.  MGC.  

A Source Book in Indian Philosophy.  Edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles
A. Moore.  Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1957. Index, bibliography,
appendices, 684 pages.   ISBN:0691019584.   

Staff Weapons   Links, bibliography, quotes, notes.

A String of Pearls.  108 Meditations on Tai Chi Chuan.  By Michael Gilman.
Port Townsend, Turning Point Press, 1996.  103 pages.  ISBN: 0965216403.  MGC.  

Sun Style Taijiquan:  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes   

Sword (Jian):  Links, bibliography, quotes, notes. 

Sword Practice Principles.  By Mike Garofalo

T'ai Chi According to the I Ching:  Emobodying the Principles of the Book of Changes.
By Stuart Alve Oson.   Inner Traditions, 2000.  240 pages.  ISBN: 0892819448.

T'ai Chi Ch'aun Classics.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele based upon the
translations of the Classics found in: The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition
This webapge is mirrored elsewhere.  

Tai Chi Chuan Discussion   

The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Experience: Reflections and Perceptions on Body-Mind Hamony.
By Sophia Delza.  Foreward by Robert Cummings Neville.  State University of New York
Press, 1996.  Index, 330 pages.  ISBN: 0791428982. 

T’ai Chi Ch’uan For Health and Self-Defense.  Philosophy and Practice.
By Master T. T. Liang.  Edited and with a foreword by Paul B. Gallagher.
Revised, expanded edition, 1977. New York, Vintage Books, 1974, 1977.
133 pages.  ISBN: 0394724615.  

T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Links and Bibliography

Tai Chi Chuan Revelations

T'ai Chi Classics.  By Waysun Liao.  New translations of three essential texts of T'ai Chi 
Ch'uan with commentary and practical instruction by Waysun Liao.  Illustrated by the author.  
Boston, Shambhala, 1990. 210 pages.  ISBN: 087773531X.  

Tai Chi Classics.   Translated by Knud Erik Andersen.  

Tai Chi Classics   31Kb.  

T'ai Chi's Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Art.   By Douglas Wile.  Sweet Chi Press, 
1999.  ISBN: 0912059044.

Tai Chi for Living - Classics     Notes by Jan C. Childress.

Tai Chi Secrets of the Ancient Masters.   Translated by Yang Jwing-ming.   Edited by
Yang Jwing-ming and James C. O'Leary.   Selected readings with commentary on
Tai Chi Treasures.   Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 1999.  128 pages.
ISBN: 188696971X.

Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style: Chinese Classics, Translations, and Commentary.
By Yang Jwing-ming.  Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 2002.  96 pages.
ISBN: 1886969175.

Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu and Li Styles: Chinese Classics, Translations and
Commentary.   By Yang Jwing-ming and Liang Qiang-ya.  Jamaica Plain,
MA, YMAA Publications, 2001.  121 pages.  ISBN: 1886969981.

Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style.  Translated with commentary by Yang Jwing-ming.
Translations and commentary on Chinese Classics.   Boston, MA, YMAA
Publications, 2001.  Index, glossary, 192 pages.   ISBN:  1886969094.
A translation of 49 documents by Yang, Ban-Hou (1837-1892) and by a 
few other Yang family members.  

T'ai Chi Sensing- Hands.  A Complete Guide to T'ai Chi T'ui-Shou Training
from Original Yang Family Records.  Translation and commentary by Stuart Alve 
Olson.  Multi-Media Books, Division of CFW Enterprises, 1999.
Distributed by Unique Publications, Burbank, CA.  First Edition.  280 pages.  
ISBN: 1892515156.  Part of the Cehn Kung (Yearning K. Chen) T'ai Chi 

Sword Practice Principles.  By Mike Garofalo

Tai Chi Theory

Tai Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions.  Compiled and translated by 
Douglas Wile.  Brooklyn, New York, Sweet Chi Press, 8th Edition, 1983.  159 pages.
ISBN: 091205901X.

Taijiquan: Bibliography and Links    

The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation.   By Barbara Davis.  Includes a commentary by 
Chen Wei-ming.  San Franscisco, North Atlantic Books, 2004.  Index,
notes, bibliography, 212 pages.  MGC.  ISBN: 1556434316.

Taijiquan Classics Index

Taijiquan Classics.   Edited and translated by Peter Lim Tian Tek.  This is an 
outstanding and extensive collection of Tai Chi Classics.  

Taijiquan Fundamentals   A variety of useful articles.  

Taoism and Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan

Taoism: Links and Bibliography  

The Tao of the Tao Te Ching.  A Translation and Commentary by Michael LaFargue.
State University of New York Press, 1992.  Bibliography, 270 pages. ISBN: 0791409864.

The Tao of Zen
.  By Ray Grigg.  Boston, Charles E. Tuttle, Inc., 1994.  
Book Sales, 1999.  Notes, 357 pages.  MGC.  ISBN: 0785811257.  

Traditional Yoga Studies    Manton, California.  An informative and extensive website
with articles, forums, resources, links, and information about a variety of types of 
traditional yoga.   The website provides detailed information about the 800 hour distance 
learning course of traditional yoga studies conduced by the noted scholar and 
author, Georg Feuerstein.    

Valley Spirit Center.   Red Bluff, California.

Vitality, Energy, Spirit:  A Taoist Sourcebook.   Translated and edited by 
Thomas Cleary.  Boston, Shambhala, 1991.  281 pages.

WuWei Foundation: Tai Chi Classics

Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan:  Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Form   

Zhang Sanfeng: Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, Classics.  By Michael P. Garofalo.



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Taijiquan Essentials
Principles for Correct T'ai Chi Ch'uan Practice
Quotes and Information



"Gao Fu, a Chen style master, was asked this question: What makes a T'ai-Chi movement a T'ai-Chi movement?   Her reply
was that if the intent leads the energy and the energy leads the muscles and bones then it's a T'ai-Chi movement. If the mind
goes directly to the muscles and bones, bypassing the energetic level, then it's an ordinary movement. I like this definition
because it's principle-based rather than tradition or form based. It also implies that in order to feel into the inherent balance
underlying the surface of anything (T'ai-Chi means essentially unforced balance) I have to surrender to that holistic body
intelligence that I call "energy". I can't force it or have it on my own terms. I don't make it happen, I allow it to emerge.
I don't train to increase this balance since that is impossible. I train to increase my experience of that balance and innate
intelligence, to give it more avenues through which to express itself and because it's a pleasure to participate in the
movement of the universe.

This is a pretty abstract definition. Practically speaking I would also add that a good T'ai-Chi movement should be rooted
in the feet and powered primarily by the legs. The waist should direct that leg generated power with some degree of turning.
The power should move up the spine and gather strength between the shoulder blades and finally issue out the arms to the
hands. This is easily said, but in practice many T'ai-Chi practitioners end up powering their movements with their waists or
arms. If the waist powers the movement, the root usually ends up being in the pelvic floor instead of the feet. This usually
results in knee problems as the legs are not grounded and end up twisting. If the movements are powered by the arms
one ends up with so-called "local strength". Local strength means the arms move separately from the ripple or wave
of power coming up from the feet and legs. Gao-Fu's definition is profound but general. It implies that in order to improve
my experience of personal and universal balance, not to mention martial ability, I need to stop forcing the muscles and
bones through the use of will power. I need to relax into the "energy" level of awareness and let the muscles and
bones follow."
- Gene Burnett, Questions and Answers




"A good Tai Chi movement should be developed through three stages:
1. From "hard" to "empty": relax the bones, upright postures, reducing the hardness of the body.
2. From "empty" to "having": after reducing the hardness of the body, one gets the softness, then 
relax the muscle and extend the bones, Qi is filled with the body, keep eight balances - Top and 
Down, Left and Right, Front and Back, and Inside and Outside.
3. From "having" to "empty" again: this is called "Hide"."
-   Tai_Chi_Xin   



"Thre are eight forms in Taijiquan.  They are divided into four.  

The first are the eight forms of the basic Zhuang Xing (stances), which refers to a fixed pose
strived by the practitioner: Bow form, Taiji form, Empty form, Horse form, Half Bow and Horse
form, One Leg Standing form, Sitting form, and Low Squatting form.

The second is the basic footwork, which refers to the actions between two forms when they 
are changing.  The are: Interlinked Step, Mandarin Duck Step, Thrusting Step, Dragon Walking
Step, Cat Stepping, Driving Out Backward Step and Toe-In Step.

The third refers to the eight kicking skills: Chi (separating the wings), Deng (stepping on), Qi (Jumping
up), Bai (swinging), Jie (meetin), Tao (rounding), Chen (kicking back), and Cai (Obligue kick).  Chi 
refers to separating the feet; Deng refers to kicks with the heel; Qi refers to jumping slap kicks; 
Bai refers to sweeping leg breadth-wise; Jie refers to meet the opponent leg with the front sole; 
Tao refers to round the kick from the opponent, kicking from the upper to the lower; Chen refers to kick 
back to the inside between the two legs of the opponent; and Cai refers to the kick breadth-wise 
and downward.

The fourth is Eight Jin in hand techniques, e.g., Peng (warding off), Lu (deflecting), Ji (pushing), 
An (pressing), Cai (pulling down), Lie (slipping), Zhou (elbowing), and Kao (shouldering)."
-   "Jiang Yukun's (-1986) Notes on Taijiquan," Tai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Chuan:
Vol. 30, No. 3, June 2006, p. 22.  




"The catechisms of the kata are not unique to the bugei.  Every Japanese art employs preset patterns given to
initiates to emulate and master.  The practitioner of tea performs a kata of tea preparation with precisely the
same gestures and ritual as were used two centuries ago.  He has learned it exactly from his teacher, who
learned it in his time the same way.  So it is with the kata of the bugei.  Devised by warriors and refined
by their successors, martial kata gradually assumed a fixed form.  The modern bugeisha who assimilates
and exercises them is thus tapping into a deep source of knowledge, a pedagogy that has proven itself in
the firestorm of battle.
Those lacking a firsthand acquaintance with them are unlikely to take such a respectful view of the classical
combative kata.  They will interpret them to be a sterile, mindlessly repetitive imitation with little relevance
to real fighting.  For those not involved intimately with them, the appearance of kata is one of a highly
choreographed ballet, with rigidly set patterns devoid of any creativity or spontaneity."
-  Dave Lowry, Sword and Brush, 1995, p. 28 



“Put everything into the initial connexion.
The posture thereafter must spring from that connexion.
The initial connexion has to be whole-hearted.
What happens thereafter must not be a distraction.
In other words, the heart keeps pumping out that connexion.
The technique is a whisper.
What is completed between you has the feeling of an entirety – of a being.
The responsibility is to be open.

The working of the mind is too slow to deal with real life.
To be sincere in this matter is not a question of thinking about it.
Sufficient practice must be undertaken so that basic body usage is not a grinding problem.
It is impossible to describe how thorough going your dedication needs to be.
What bit of you has the wisdom to know what is unknowable?
There is no mind to deliberate or be backwards.
If there isn’t a feeling of coming home and finding a lively peace within then you are missing the point.

If there is a way of life or living it has to be joining from the heart.
The eyes are so quick to translate your heart feelings.
The ground is a heart platform.
Although important the eyes have to take second place to the heart.
Be open to the connecting of your heart with the other person’s heart.
If the other person wants information about you let them open their heart.
Connecting is not a personal matter.
In any real interchange it is the Third Heart that counts.
Light and embracing, but embracing as a giving from the heart rather than capturing.
And the inspiration of the Third Heart is nutrition for your becoming.
The spirit must be allowed freedom to dart about and tempt the heart at the right moment.
To be a believer is to be a positive being – a believer is someone who is becoming.
Becoming leaves no imprint.
Becoming swallows what is commonly known as destiny.
Spirit is the effervescence of real interest in something other than yourself.

The essence of true destiny is yielding.
The essence of yielding is softness.
The essence of softness is entering.
The essence of entering is welcoming openness.
The essence of openness is heart.”
Grandmaster John Kells, British Tai Chi Chuan Association





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T'ai Chi Ch'uan Principles
Essential Ideas for Correct Taijiquan Practice
By Michael P. Garofalo
Red Bluff, California, 2008


Tai Chi Chuan Sword Practice 

Meetings with Master Chang San-Feng 





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Zen Poetry

Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems

Subject Index to Cloud Hands Website

Sun Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Cold Mountain Sages

The Spirit of Gardening

Walking and T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan



Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung Website


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