Tai Chi Kicking

In Tai Chi Kicking is less prominent than the handwork. But, this is not to say that the legs are less important than the hands. Much of the Tai Chi Kicking is designed to help get foot, leg and body positions that can be capitalized on.

If you look at the Tai Chi Kicking footwork you will often see that after the Tai Chi kicking maneuver there is not a retraction of the leg but that instead the foot is set down in a position that is then moved into and occupied with the rest of the body and the hands. The reason that I state movement in this order is that a lot of Tai Chi master’s recommend practicing the form without the hands for awhile in the intermediate stages of training so that you get used to just how much the legs and hands are actually doing. A common saying for this is that “Tai Chi has no hands”. The hands are considered to be much more of an afterthought and this makes sense if you consider that you must have a physical position in relation to an opponent in order to use your hands. If there is no physically close position then your hands will not make much difference or will have to act so independently that the body and energetic principles of Tai Chi will not be properly applied and will lose against someone who is properly applying these principles.

Also, often Tai Chi steps to an angle and then puts the foot down and then transfers weight to the foot. When this is done across an opponents leg position while the hands and upper bodywork are being used to hide what is going on below then the opponent can easily be tripped and thrown by the position of the leg. This may not be thought of as a Tai Chi Kicking maneuver but is most certainly a Tai Chi leg maneuver that develops from the practice of Tai Chi Kicking and using every step as if it is a kick even if it is a low sweeping kick across the ground.

Other Tai Chi Kicking strategies include kicking the opponents shin causing them to shift or move into an adverse position, grabbing the opponents hand / wrist and using the shin to break their fingers or arm. Tai Chi Kicks such as the hidden kick in Play the Pipa / Strum the Lute can be a groin or Hui Yin point kick with the toe resulting in serious injury. Often the raising of the leg in such moves as Golden Cock Stands On One Leg can be used to defend against a Strum the Lute type kick and then your own kick can be launched from the raised position as your opponents foot is set down or retracted. The Golden Cock front leg can be raised to defend and then when the opponent sets their leg down the Golden Cock leg can be set down to break the opponents leg as their foot makes contact with the floor.

As you can tell from what little bit I have written here Tai Chi Kicking can be quite destructive. Please post some of your favorite Tai Chi Kicking techniques or ask questions about applications you think may be possible based on your Tai Chi Kicking moves and I will happily add my 2 cents.

More soon.
Great training to you.


  1. Ideally we train all kicks & strikes – and then pick what suits us best as individuals. From my limited experience in this awesome art (30 plus years) the Tsai – Tui drill should be performed daily. Although technically it is not a solo kicking drill, when practiced properly, I believe the overall development in power and balance one can acheive can not be developed in any other single exercise.

    Developing one of Tai Chi’s main principles of striking top – middle and bottom zones at the same time this drill has it all.
    The end result is sledge hammer kicks and strikes and whirlpool pull downs that lead the opponent into the abyss

  2. kicks are used before hands in my tai chi since one leg is usually much closer to the
    opponent and can strike the instant an opponent loads his leg when he commits to an attack. Remember the 3 to 1 principle of Ba Gua , it also applies to Tai Chi. Tai Chi Is
    a Self Defence , it works on the commitment of the opponent to attack, defence and
    offence are simultaneous in Tai Chi. we do not attack people we wait for their attack and
    always control their centre. One of the first things a student learns is matching steps,
    when we match the opponent , he can not put his energy into us, sameness nullifies his power, it is us who pulls ying and yang apart when we want to finish the attacker.
    the tai chi form is not really Tai Chi ,it is an exercise that we use to develop many skills,
    such as flowing. Tai Chi is the 13 principles. I could go on and on, since I’ve taught it for many years. To sum up
    when the opponent steps into the range of my leg and commits his weight to it, he can
    not use that leg as he prepares to attack me, he is immediately attacked with a kick to
    the knee, believe, once I kick your knee it’s over, the hands finish anyone still standing,
    which is unlikely. there is so much more , but that’s a start. remember whole body power
    you must always have peng, the hands are only moved by the dan tian, never by themselves, kicks start from the tailbone area to raise the leg by the way. always get on the tai chi circle when attacked, the energy from the ground is rolled in the feet to multiply
    the force which is called millstone. The ground has resisted gravity for us, so there is an equal and opposite force rising that we use by having all our joints half open (nine pearls)
    we have whole body power eg. the heavy hand

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