CHANG SAN-FENG'S TREATISEThe original text of Yang Lu-chan - one of the great nineteenth century masters - says that this treatise was the work of the originator of Tai Chi Ch'uan, Chang San-feng, a Taoist priest of Wu Tang Mountain in the thirteenth century. It was Chang San-feng's hope that heroes all over the world would enjoy good health and longevity by practicing Tai Chi, and that the art be practiced as more than just a martial skill.
ON TAI CHI CH'UAN.
In each movement the whole body must be light and nimble. More important still, all movements must be continuous.
The intrinsic energy, or "chi", should circulate actively. The spirit should be retained internally.
Let no part of the movement indicate imperfection - neither over-expanding or caving in - nor should there be any discontinuity.
In all movements the inner strength is rooted in the feet, developed in the thighs, controlled by the waist, and expressed through the fingers. From the feet to the thigh, to the waist, and to the fingers there must be complete coordination so that whether you are in advance or in retreat you will be in a favourable position. If you find yourself in an unfavourable position your body will appear scattered and confused, and the fault can be traced to the waist and thighs. In all movements, such as upwards, downwards, forwards, and backwards, the same significance of the waist and thighs holds true.
However, ultimately everything depends on one's will or mind, and not on the external appearance of the movements.
In any movement when there is up, there must be down; when there is front, there must be rear; and when there is left, there must be right. If one wishes to execute an upward movement, it must be preceded be a downward one. This is like the idea of uprooting an object - the first thing you do is to push it down. Since the root of the object is lifted, it follows that it is ready to be toppled.
The two complementary factors, emptiness and solidness, must be distinctly differentiated. In each and every inch of movement, these two factors are involved.
Every joint of the entire body must be strung together so that the body acts as an integrated unit without the least interruption. Each movement proceeds inch by inch without gaps or breaks in the continuity.