Tai Chi Chuan  Online Playshop  Lesson Page

Open a new browser window by clicking HERE
to take a look at great old photos of Li Li Da's 
Teacher, Master Wu Kung Yi,
performing the Wu style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan!

                          HAND STRUMS THE PIPA
                          STEP FORWARD (right)
                          STEP FORWARD (right)
                          PARRY AND PUNCH (right)

please read the following text information while the images load on the page

click>>>LESSON 1<<<here
click>>>LESSON 2<<<here
click>>>LESSON 3<<<here
click>>>PREVIOUS LESSON - 4<<<here
 click>>>NEXT LESSON - 6<<<here

Letters in (  )* stand for the eight directions=N, S, E, W, NW, NE, SW, SE.
Numbers in (  )* correlate to the frame number in main lesson image below,
as much as possible...(some frames are 'in between' described movements,
in which case either I will try to redo the image, or you will need to exercise
your imagination even more than is necessary to learn any movement art from
'text and images' alone in the first place.)
Formula in brackets [W= ] denote weightedness, which is the amount of body
weight shifted to either side (L=left, R=right, even=doubleweightedness);
example: [W=70R] means 'put 70% of your weight on your right side.' The range
here will be approximate, ideally based on an individuals personal needs, abilities and experience.   
You may choose to read through the text the first time disregarding these
parentheticals...it's easier!!
We OPENED  the set (Lesson 1) facing North (N); as you view images on your monitor for the current postures (below), imagine that you are now facing West as you begin lesson 5. As you end this lesson (Parry and punch) you are still facing West.

                                 Hand strums the pipa
                                 Step forward (right)
                                 Step forward (right)
                                 Parry and punch (right)

Hand strums the pipa   
1 through 7)
  At the conclusion of lesson #4 and the second
brush knee twist step (right side), you are still facing West.  Your left hand rests just outside of the left leg, palm facing backward, fingers down; the right palm faces away (West) in a "push", fingers to the ceiling; both elbows are bent, and your left kneecap is aligned directly above (but, in no case further out than) your left toe.(1) [W= 80L]
hand strums the pipa by starting to shift your weight back onto your right side as you start to raise your hands (2) quite the same as in ward off posture from Lesson #3.  You bring up both arms, as if strumming a harp, as described again here from that earlier lesson:  
     Slowly raise your left foot (2-5) onto its heel only again, forcing your weight (and you!) back (
East) onto your right foot [W= 70L], while moving your left hand upward slowly to a position near your right hand. (2-6) [W= 60L]  The left hand rises in an arcing motion from your left side to slightly above where the right hand, which simply rotates the palm from West to South, is waiting. Both your hands rotate inward so that as they near each other, the palms are facing. As the left hand meets near (and just above) the right (6,7), the right fingertips graze the bottom of the left palm, with all of your fingers pointing to the ceiling. [W= even]

Step forward (right)   
(8 through 15)

     Begin the first
step forward (right) by lowering the left
toe (8) as you begin to shift your weight forward [W= 60L] again.  As your
chi moves you forward [W= 70L], your hands, following your upper torso (head, arms, and chest area), begin to tilt to the right corner (NW), moving in a curve, first to that corner, then back again facing to the West. [W= 80L]  As the hands move toward the corner and then back again (West), the wrists turn (together as one), first rotating 45 down (so that the left palm faces 45 to the floor and the right palm faces 45 to the ceiling) (11,12); then after the hands reach the corner (NW), the wrists rotate back again 45 opposite so that the hands resume their original position, fingers up. (14,15)
     As your hands reach (9) to the corner (
NW), and then
arc forward
West) again, the continuing shifting of weight forward [W= 100L] onto your left leg, pulls forward, along with your body (now starting to straighten out, facing due West again), your right leg, stepping up alongside the left,
at shoulders width: move the right leg forward by lifting the right heel up first (10), then the toe; and planting the right heel down first (11), then the toe. (12) [W= 60L]  Once the right leg is beside the left, and the upper torso has again aligned with the lower trunk, pointing
West, your arms lift up just a few inches, as your knees unbend almost completely. (13-15) [W= even]

Step forward (right)     
(16 through 21)

     Begin (16) the second
step forward (right) by bending your knees, as much as is comfortable, then smoothly shifting your weight to the right side [W= 100R], and lifting your left foot up and forward, heel first, then toe, resting the left foot on its heel (17) at a comfortable distance in front of the left leg. [W= 80R]  Next, as in the previous posture, move the arms (hands remain positioned as one) again to the (NW) corner (18,19) and back in an arc forward (West) again. (20,21)  Repeating much of the above:
     Start lowering the left toe (18,19) as you begin to shift your weight forward again. [W= 60L]  As your
chi moves you forward [W= 70L], your hands, following your upper torso (head, arms, and chest area), begin to tilt to the right corner (NW), moving in a curve, first to that corner, then back again facing to the West. [W= 80L]  As the hands move toward the corner the wrists turn (together as one), first rotating 45 down (so that the left palm faces 45 to the floor, the right palm faces 45 to the ceiling) (18,19); then after the hands reach the corner (NW), the wrists rotate back again 45 opposite...HOWEVER:
     At this point, when the arms arcing movement is turning again to the West, the hands separate slightly.   As the left hand points (20) due West again, fingertips up, palm facing North, the right moves upward slightly to a near equal height with the left, its palm facing to the South (and therefore both palms face each other, forming as if to hold a globe.) [W= 80L]

Parry and punch (right)   
(22 through 31)

Parry and punch begins with shifting your weight back once more [W= 60L] to your right side as you raise your left toe.  Simultaneously, with your left hand remaining still, drop your right hand straight down (well, in an arc, always) to your side, (22)[W= 60R] turning the palm slowly (23,24), from facing South to facing down, and finally, facing slightly to the back of you, or East, as it drops to where your right thumb grazes your right hip. (25)[W= 80R]  That's parry. Punch basically involves the opposite, yang, energy.
     Shift (what else?) your weight [W= 60R] forward (
West) again to your left foot as you raise your right arm back upward again, lowering your left toe as you do. (26-28)  As you raise the right arm, form a fist (26) with your right hand enclosing your four fingers with the thumb either over them, or on the end of the fist, but not inside of the fingers.  Pull your right arm up to shoulder level [W= even] in an arcing motion (29-31), allowing your chi energy to move you and your fist forward (elbow bent!), as one, [W= 60L] until your left knee is slightly bent and aligned directly above your left toe (no further, anyway), and the punch is complete. [W= 80L]  Your left palm, fingertips up, rests alongside your right inner forearm (lower arm). Your left foot points West and your right foot is pointed at about a 30 angle to it. (31)
         ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

(Remember to keep your knees and elbows at least slightly bent and your pelvis tucked in throughout the set.)

(If at all possible, it is suggested that someone read the text to you - or record it on a tape and play it back - while you slowly practice the form...and slowly is the best way to practice.)


  Slightly touching or just very close (hovering; grazing)
     _go back_

do not over-do      do not under-do
click>>>LESSON 1<<<here
click>>>LESSON 2<<<here
click>>>LESSON 3<<<here
 click>>>PREVIOUS LESSON - 4<<<here
 click>>>NEXT LESSON - 6<<<here

  List  of moves

moving as one
being grounded
tan tien (center of balance)
ding jin (common axis)
single weightedness
double weightedness
yin/yang duality
bent knees and elbows
fist space/separates
moving on a curve
moving slowly

as time permits i will explain these
concepts and expand the list of

May I suggest the best way to see these images in the days after the lesson page has changed is to 'right click' on those images you want NOW and click
'save image as', then save it to some hard drive (the loads are
You can also freely copy/paste/amend the text. (But do not sell, please)

~ ~ special thanks ~ ~
Michael W and Shar'n
for making free cyberspace available for MORE Playshop lessons at
NOW all of the Playshop lessons should ALWAYS be available online
~ ~ ~

If the pictures stop animating on your page, hit reload (refresh)
(I've even had to "clear memory cache" first if I interrupted initial page loading)

   follow my movement on your monitor
   you will be performing a Right Hand Set...
(t'ai chi is practiced from both sides)
 when YOU practice t'ai chi, move slowly
 (and hopefully less jerkily than this animation)

Another angle of this lesson
as viewed from the West

Please take note: Due to previous injury experiences, my right shoulder (to your left)
sags a bit lower than my left; I am working on this situation, and it is improving,
but you should know that I am aware of this incongruity...

click>>>LESSON 1<<<here
click>>>LESSON 2<<<here
click>>>LESSON 3<<<here
 click>>>PREVIOUS LESSON - 4<<<here
 click>>>NEXT LESSON - 6<<<here

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

I made the T'ai Chi graphic images using a reverse image option so that I could
video the Left Hand Set, then when it is viewed here on your monitor, it appears as a mirror image of a Right Hand Set, which you can emulate by following my movements.  Most T'ai Chi students only learn the Right Hand Set, and it is a good way to start.  One can practice the opposite side movements (Left Hand) by practicing the reverse of the image(s) above.  I am fortunate that the students who instructed me at my t'ai chi beginning practiced both sides of the set daily.  By learning the left and right versions (identical, just reversed) of t'ai chi, I believe one may gain even more.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

more notes:

Please let me know what you like here and what really bugs you here, too

Is there some aspect of the movement not made clear by the images (or the text, for that matter)??  Please tell me, and if I cannot clarify it with words I will try to make a new image to illustrate a way out of that confusion.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

still more notes:

It is better by far to experience learning Tai Chi of any kind in a group setting, primarily for two reasons.  First, it's more fun! and nothing is better for learning than sharing ideas and practice with individuals who share the same interests.  By having many artisans practice together, this allows for an excellent source of useful feedback.  More than critically watching the moves as others do them, this also affords an opportunity that is unparalleled: by standing in the center surrounded by more advanced students, with every movement in every direction, the novice has a rotating view of the form.  This allows the newer student to follow all the others, even as the plane of movement tangents onto a new direction.  Turn left, a senior student is in front to follow from; turn right, another teacher is in view;
spin around 180 and, yep, you guessed it.

Though learning Tai Chi from pictures, and (sometimes even worse) from text, is not the best method to use...it is what I can offer.  Some people have little or no access to teachers or classes in their area; some have little or no money for them even if they did exist; some folk are shy and some may be to dis-eased to go to a class; it is for all these people (the ones online, at least) and of course for the martial arts intellectuals (you know who you are) that I make this meager presentation.

For anyone in or near (or just visiting) the San Francisco Bay Area, please accept our invitation to join us in our VIRTUAL REALITY PLAYSHOP
(real people), any Saturday morning from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
at 1819 10th Street, in Berkeley.
(The set usually begins @ 9:10 a.m. Saturday
Just take the outside stairs on the south side of Finnish Hall to the top to get in--or take the disabled folks elevator inside--if you need it)

 ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

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finally, your notes:

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~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Only you yourself will know if you have stretched
your chi 'enough', 'too much', or even 'not enough'.  What we desire to achieve with T'ai Chi is balance: to get there, moderation, not excess, is required.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Keep in mind while upon this new journey that we do it for our health, for our joy, for our spiritual reawakening...not to suffer more, but to complete ourselves
as beings, and rejoice of the universe.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

With gratitude to Li Lida      (1922-1982)

to Ruth, David, Lydia, Michael G, Shar'n, Harold, Eileen, Robert,
and all of the other people who have helped me learn T'ai Chi...


this webpage was originally created at
 9:27 P.M. P.S.T., on Tuesday, July 14, 1998
nothing new here in this part of the Universe since
November 27, 2006 at 5:05 P.M.

last updated on Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9:03 P.M. P.S.T.

  COPYWRONG 1997-2010  swrichie    ALL RIGHTS REVERSED

copywrong 1998-2010 by swrichie for hand use creations 


~   ~   ~   ~   ~
we share some common strand in this universe...we as one