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(4 pages total)

Page 4 - Qi and Quan

As you breathe out, bring your qi down to Dan Tian that is an area three-finger breadth below the belly button. You must take care to understanding which movement is opening and which is closing. At the beginning confine your practice to the forms that you are sure of which part being opening and closing. You must avoid forcing your breathing, if you run out of breath or are not sure which way to go, then you should allow yourself to breath naturally. Usually when the body posture and the movement are correctly, the breathing will become correct naturally.

Qi Movement

Picture 3: Breathing should be done with mouth gently closed, tongue lightly touching the upper palate, taking the Qi to the middle of the chest (at the acupoint of "Shan Zhong")

Noted that at opening, loosening the hips and waist at the same time and turning in the hips and waist on closing.

After a suitable period you can circulate the qi in the above manner (this may take a long time). It depends on your health, talent, frequency of practise... etc. Usually when your forms are well balanced, the flow of movement is even and strong, your postures being correct you will start feeling the abundance of qi in the Dan Tian.

You can then start working on circulating Qi. As you breathe in, feel Qi flowing along the governing vessel (another meridian at the midline of back of the body) just underneath the skin and raises up to the scalp. At the out breathe Qi sinks down to the Dan Tian, from the Dan Tian it move up along the Governing vessel on the in breathe, and then comes down along the Conception vessel to moves in a circle. (see picture 3)

At this stage it may be difficult to reach without guidance of a good teacher and a lot of practice. There is a next stage when your Qi can be directed at will from Dan Tian, this is a difficult stage, best to be taught by teachers at a face to face setting.


I often read from articles and books that doing Taiji really well could rest on one certain vital aspect. I believe there are many essential principles that are important to reach higher level of Taiji. While it is difficult to define how high is one´s level, I don´t believe anyone needs to be perfect to reach a high level. It is the understanding of these essential principles and diligent practice that will put almost anyone to a very high level. Knowing opening and closing, and circulation of Qi are two of these essential principles that help to improve skill.


The Author: Dr Paul Lam studies Taiji with Professors Men Hui Feng and Kan Gui Xiang of Beijing University of Physical Education for many years. He is a respected teacher, author and family physician. Dr Lam has created the Tai Chi for Arthritis program and conducts regular workshops in USA and Canada.

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