Tai Chi Chuan Ching/Canon – The Treatise of Tai Chi Chuan
T’ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [No Ultimate] and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates; in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.
Once there is movement, there is separation.
Once there is stillness, there is unity.
There is nothing exaggerated, nor is anything lacking.
Sui [follow] bending then straightening.
When the opponent is hard and stiff, I am soft and pliant, it is called Zou [yielding/moving].
When I am smooth and he is not, it is called Nian [sticking/adherence].
If the opponent’s movement is quick, then I quickly respond.
If his movement is slow, then I slowly Sui [follow] them.
Although there are 10,000 transformations/variations,
the principles that pervades them remain the same.
Through practise and familiarity [Zhao Shu] with the correct touch, we gradually comprehend Jin [intrinsic strength/ trained force].
From the comprehension of Jin can reach Shen Ming [enlightenment].
Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi and become an expert.
Empty the next and headtop of strength.
The Qi [vital energy] sinks to the Dan Tian [ region of vital heat/ field of elixir].
Don’t lean to either side or forwards or back, Suddenly conceal, suddenly reveal.
When the left feels heavy then make the left empty.
When the right feels heavy then make the right distant.
When the opponent looks up, I am still higher; When he looks down, I am lower still.
When he advances, the distance seems surpassingly long.
When he retreats, the distance seems exasperatingly short.
A feather cannot be placed/added, a fly cannot land.
The opponent does not know me; I alone know him.
A hero thus becomes invincible.
Other schools of martial arts are so numerous.
Although there are external differences, without exception, they amount to nothing more than the strong bullying the weak;
The slow surrendering to the fast;
The powerful beating those without power;
Slow hands surrendering to fast hands, are all the results of natural abilities and not of well-trained techniques.
From the sentence “A force of four taels [Chinese ounces] deflects a thousand catties [Chinese pounds]”,
It is evident that we don’t use force to get the upper hand.
When we observe an old man of eighty withstanding the assault of the group of people, How can it be due to speed?
Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and move like a turning wheel.
Sinking to one side allows movement to Sui [follow]; being double-weighted is sluggish/a hindrance.
You can often see people who have practised their skills for several years, but who still cannot change and turn.
This leads to their being entirely regulated by others.
They are not aware of their sickness of double-weightedness.
If we wish to be free from this sickness, we must know Yin and Yang.
When Nian [adherence] is simply Zou [moving], when Zou is simply Nian, When Yin does not depart from Yang,
When Yang does not depart from Yin, When Yin and Yang aid one another, then we can say that we understand Jin [trained force]. After we understand Jin, the more we train, the more expert we become.
Silently memorise, study and imitate.
Gradually we reach the point where we can do all we wish,
Originally it is giving up yourself to follow the opponent.
Many err by forsaking what is near to pursue what is far.
It is said, “A minute discrepancy leads to an error of one thousand Li [Chinese Mile]”
The student must carefully discriminate.