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The 4 CRUCIAL Principles of Tai Chi | Concept of Combat and Health

The 4 CRUCIAL Principles of Tai Chi what are these 4 principles of Tai Chi?

Reading this you may think that it is peng, lu, ji and an. And although these 4 principles are crucial as well, it is not what I am referring to. The 4 crucial principles of Tai Chi that I am referring to is zhang, lien, tie and sui. Or in English, to adhere, yield/stick, connect and follow.

Whether you are doing peng, lu, ji or an, the principles of adhering, yielding, sticking, connecting, and following the opponent should always be applied. As they follow Tai Chi Chuan theory.

To adhere, with my current understanding it comes from a point of contact with your opponent. There may be a deeper level, like most concepts in internal martial arts. 

To stick/yield refers to softness, and by this what is meant is the relaxation of the tendons, sinews, ligaments, and fascia. The flexibility of these components, and as we get older due to many physical and psychological factors, we hold on to tension and lose this flexibility. We become tighter and lose mobility.

Health is improved by being able to relax the fascia, sinews, ligaments, and tendons. Allowing for the ability to absorb incoming pressure from an opponent and redirect it. The term “sung” comes into play here and being more “sung” than the opponent assists in being soft.

Softness should not be taken literally, without understanding the context and is understood through practice. Exercises like Zhàn Zhuāng assist in cultivating softness.

Connecting comes with the softness and being able to “become one with the opponent”.  The less tension you have in comparison to your opponent, allows you to appear as if you are not there or are “one with the opponent”. And with this comes being able to follow, “sui”.

Follow refers to sensitivity, being able to detect and understand your opponent’s intent. Allowing you to neutralize your opponent.

Written by Narcisse Sadi who is a Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan.  He is a certified 1stDuan Health Qi Gong by the International Health Qigong Federation. And  a 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, certified by Dr Jeff Lan. 



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