Directions and Therapeutic Elements for Learning 10 Forms of Tai Chi
FORM 1. Directions
(1) Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, arms hanging naturally at sides. Look straight ahead (lA).
(2) Raise arms slowly forward to shoulder level, palms down.
The hands do not go above the shoulders and the elbows are held in (IB & lC).
(3) Bend knees as you press palms down gently, with elbows dropping towards knees. Look straight ahead (lD).
FORM 1. Therapeutic elements 3, 4
This "warmup" form begins with nonstressful bilateral stance where all thoughts other than those about movement clear the head. Attention is directed to relaxing all muscles except those of the legs--the feet are to "stick to the ground." As movement begins, concentration is directed to move all four extremities at the same constant speed that begins and ends concomitantly in the arms and legs.
FORM 2. Directions
The body is turned slightly to the left, with left foot at 9 o'clock for a left bow stance. The left forearm and back of hand are at shoulder level, while right hand is at the side of fight hip, palm down. Look at left forearm (2A). Turn torso slight to left (9 o'clock) while extending left hand forward, palm down. Turn torso slightly right while pulling both hands down in a curve past abdomen, until right hand is extended sideways at shoulder level, palm up, and left forearm is across chest, palm turned inward. Shift weight onto right leg. Look at right hand (2B). past face, palm turned slowly outward, while left hand moves in a curve past abdomen up to shoulder level with palm turned slowly obliquely inward (48 & 4C).
FORM 2. Therapeutic elements 1-7
The trunk and head rotate while both feet remain on floor. The arms move in asymmetrical positions so that the center of mass is extended further from left to right due to ann positions. The trunk and head are kept erect so that rotation is around a central axis. The body weight is predominantly on a flexed leg for greater balance and strength mechanism.
FORM 3. Directions
Look straight ahead; face 9 o'clock with weight on left leg in a bow stance and hands forward at shoulder height in a pushing position (3A). Turn both palms downward as right hand passes over left wrist, moves forward, then to the right until it is on the same level with left hand. Separate hand shoulder-width apart and draw them back to the front of abdomen, palms facing obliquely downward. At the same time, sit back and shift weight onto right leg, slightly bent, raising toes of left foot. Look straight ahead (38 & 3C).
FORM 3. Therapeutic elements 1-4 & 7
The body center of mass moves diagonally posteriorly than other forms with a decreased base of support from only heel contact of the left leg, demanding greater balance and strength than the previous form. The trunk rotation is decreased and the arm movement is symmetrical
FORM 4. Directions
Turn torso to the left (10-11 o'clock), shifting weight to left leg. Move left hand in a curve past face with palm turned slowly leftward, while right hand moves up to the front of left shoulder with palm turned obliquely inward. As right hand moves upward, fight foot and left foot are parallel and 10 to 20cm apart. Look at right hand (4A). Turn torso gradually to the right (1 to 2 o'clock), shifting weight onto right leg. At the same time, move right hand continuously to right
FORM 4. Therapeutic elements 1-7
While the legs are symmetrical, weight is shifted laterally. The arms are asymmetrical, the trunk and had rotate with arm movement. Both knees are flexed and weight shifts to the leg on the side to which the arms are moving.
FORM 5. Directions
Turn torso slightly to the fight, moving right hand down in a curve past abdomen and then upward to shoulder level, palm up and ann slightly bent. Turn left palm up and place toes of left foot on floor. Eyes first look to the right as body turns in that direction, and then to look at left hand (5A & 5B).
FORM 5. Therapeutic elements 1-7
Again a smaller base of support with the majority of weight on one extremity. The arm on the weight bearing side is curved back into shoulder extension. Done on the right leg and then reversed and done on the left leg. Again trunk rotates at the end of the movement.
Hold torso erect and keep chest relaxed. Move arms in a curve without stretching them when you separate hands. Use waist as the axis in body turns. The movements in taking a bow stance and separating hands must be smooth and synchronized in tempo. Place front foot slowly in position, heel coming down fIrst. The knee of front leg should not go be-yond toes while rear leg should be straightened, forming a 45 with ground. There should be a transverse distance of 10 to 30cm between heals. Face 9 o'clock in fInal position.
FORM 6. Therapeutic elements 1-7
Hand assumes a position of holding a ball initially. Movements in the form are diagonals and rotations of the trunk and head. Movements slide back and forth in and out of 6A and 6B, and then position is reversed for right and left.
FORM 7. Directions
Turn torso to the right (11 o'clock) as right hand circles up to ear level with ann slightly bent and palm facing obliquely upward, while left hand moves to the front of the right part of chest, palm facing obliquely downward. Look at fIght hand (7A). Turn torso to the left (9 o'clock) as left foot takes a step in that direction for a left bow stance. At the same time, right hand draws leftward past fIght ear and, following body turn, pushes forward at nose level with palm facing forward, while left hand circles around left knee to stop beside left hip, palm down. Look at fIngers of right hand (7B & 7C).
FORM 7. Therapeutic elements 1-7
This form begins in the position of 7 A, but with both feet flat on the floor. They remain on the floor throughout the exercise. Move in and out of the position 7 A, B, C, A, B, C, then reverse right-left positions.
FORM 8. Directions
Continue to move hands in a downward-inward-upward curve until wrists come in front of chest, with right hand in front and both palms turned inward. At the same time, draw right foot to the side of left foot, toes on floor. Look forward to the right (SA). Separate hands, turning torso slightly to S o'clock and extending both arms sideways at should level with elbows slightly bent and palms turned outward. At the same time, raise right knee and thrust foot gradually towards 10 o'clock. Look at right hand (SB & SC).
FORM 8. Therapeutic elements 1-7
With the elderly, the kick is only a small part of their available range. The form is utilized for kicking with both dorsiflexion and plantar flexion of the foot. Forms 8 and 9 are the most stressful for maintaining balance due to the small base of support and the extreme movement of the kicking leg. However, forms are done continuously with slow movements and a strong degree of concentration. The range for the kick is not extreme in the elderly.
FORM 9. Directions
Shift weight onto right leg and draw left foot to the side of right foot, toes on floor. At the same time, move both hands in a downward-inward-upward curve until wrists cross in front of chest, with left hand in front and both palms facing inward. Look forward to the left (9A & 9B). Separate hands, extending both arms sideways at shoulder level, elbows slightly bent and palms facing outward. Mean-while, raise left knee and thrust foot gradually towards 4 o'clock. Look at left hand (9C & 9D).
FORM 9. Therapeutic elements 1-7
The same as Form S but right and left are reversed.
FORM 10. Directions
Turn palms forward and downward while lowering both hands gradually to the side of hips. Look straight ahead (lOA, lOB & 10C).
FORM 10. Therapeutic elements
This is a warm-down form like Form 1 and constitutes both a physical and mental ending of the exercise.
Materials reprinted with permission from
Wolf SL, Coogler C, Xu T. Exploring the basis for Tai Chi Chuan as a therapeutic exercise approach. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1997;78:886-892.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
4770 Buford Hwy, NE
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC–INFO