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Tai Chi Styles
introductions to other styles and aspects beyond the Yang From

Tai Chi Walking

 

Every martial art system has its own unique way of walking, which is designed to help the student perform the particular discipline in the best possible way.

General guidelines

Your walk should be performed in slow motion with every momentous step being carefully balanced - just like walking on thin ice. You should feel that you are almost lifting yourself off your feet; that you are as light as you can be and that it is only your feet that can tell you if it is safe to go forward. All movements should be slow and at a smooth pace, with no pause between the steps. This develops a sense of secure balance, and gives a deep sense of being rooted. However. your body weight should be shifted from one foot to the other in a very distinct movement, but not clumsy or stiff. This assures not only stability of the body but agility during changing of steps. Also, it reduces the possibility of muscle cramps and general tiredness in the legs. You must walk like a kitten, light yet firm. Your torso should stay upright without any bobbing of the head and shoulders. This is determined by maintaining a constant knee bend throughout the steps. The knees act like the shock absorbers on a car. When you walk you look forward and downward, not staring but focused and aware. Hold both arms out away from your sides - it will help for finer balance. The position of the legs will determine the expression of the posture.

Before you start

Before you start walking gently shake your arms and let them hang loosely by your sides for a few minutes. Stand with your heels together and the toes turned slightly outward. Sink your knees downward and allow your body weight to be evenly distributed through both feet. Breathe slowly and naturally into the lower abdomen.

Tai Chi Walking

1. From the starting position, move the right leg forward and slightly outward. Place your right heel only onto the ground. Without shifting your balance leave your body weight in the left leg.

2. Gradually shift your body weight into the right leg, letting the sole of the right foot contact the ground. with the right knee slightly bent (the knee no further forward than the toes) begin to straighten the left leg.

3. Slowly begin to raise your left heel off the ground. Move your left foot (lift the foot, do not drag it) to a position beside your right foot. Keep the left heel up.

4. Move the left leg forward and slightly outward. Place your left heel only onto the ground. Without shifting your balance leave your body weight in the right leg.

5. Gradually shift your body weight into the left leg, letting the sole of the left foot contact the ground. With the left knee slightly bent (the knee no further forward than the toes) begin to straighten the right leg.

6. Slowly begin to raise your right heel off the ground. Move your right foot (lift the foot, do not drag it) to a position beside your left foot. Keep the right heel up.

7. Step forward with your right foot again to continue walking.

Note
When walking backward it is the toes of your foot that make first contact with the ground.



The Tai Chi Turn

1. Begin to step forward with your right foot but keep your body weight in the left leg.

2. Pivot the right heel inward at an angle of forty- five degrees.

3.Transfer your body weight into your right leg. At the same time twist your hips anti-clockwise to follow the direction of the right foot.

4. Pivot the left heel outward through one-hundred and eighty degrees.

5. Turn your body even further so that you are facing the way you came.

6. Transfer your body weight into your left leg and continue walking.

 

 
You should feel that you are almost lifting yourself off your feet; that you are as light as you can be and that it is only your feet that can tell you if it is safe to go forward. All movements should be slow and at a smooth pace, with no pause between the steps.
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