Owning the Tai Chi Set

Owning your Tai Chi set is a very important step in Tai Chi training. However as you work towards owning your Tai Chi set always remember that this is only the beginning.


The first step in owning the Tai Chi set is to practice it regularly. By regularly, I mean several times each day. Not just the set, but the principles involved in the sets as well.

The following is an example of what I mean. I know many students/practitioners who only practice the set when they come to class. They tell me that they have trouble getting the set to flow, etc. My response is practice more. You are going to get out of it what you put into it, pure and simple.


By isolation, I mean pick one aspect and perform the set focusing on that one aspect. Your goal should be to “own” this aspect.

Here is an example of this. When I work on breath, I do the set only concerning myself with breath. Is my breath leading the move, is it deep and regular? When I am comfortable with this this aspect, then I pick another aspect to work on and repeat the process.

Forwards & Backwards

This is a fun one, but will go a long way toward helping you to “own” the set. Here is how it works.

Take a bunch of index cards, and write the name of each move on one index card. When you have done this, take your index cards and shuffle them like a deck of cards. Now, lay them out and perform the set in the order that your cards are laid out in. This is going to do several things for you.

Ideally, you should be able to go from any move to any other move in the set. This method will help you to do this by several means. 1) You will have to learn to think outside the box. 2) The order of the set will be unfamiliar to you. This will force you to work it slowly which will aid in your fluidity among other things. 3) As you work the set like this, isolate different aspects as mentioned above and work them into your set.
Another advantage to working your set this way, is that it will really improve your ability in free style push hands.


This last method is pretty straight forward, perform the set(s) with your eyes closed. This is really going to change your perception. It is often times like learning the set all over.

These are just a few of the ways that I work my sets, that have been of help to me.

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