Excerpt from Theory of Tai Chi Quan by Wang Zongyue, translated by Yang Ye
In motion it separates and in stillness it fuses.
Its outward expression is neither excessive nor inadequate;
Its movement is shaped by curves and follows the confines of the environment.
When dealt with hardness,
Respond with softness,
Such is called yielding;
When confronted with adversity,
Find comfort in it,
Such is called sticking.
Facing with acute attacks,
Return with actions equally as quick;
Confronting with slow infringements,
Respond with movements equally as gradual;
Innumerable variations there may be,
The principles of Tai Chi never change.
From familiarity with the movements,
One gradually comprehends the quality of the intrinsic strength;
From the comprehension of intrinsic strength,
One obtains the infinite wisdom.
Without perseverance, however,
One cannot suddenly understand the universal rules.
The top of the head should have a feeling of being lifted gently.
Let the vital energy sink to Dan Tian effortlessly;
No tilting or leaning in any direction;
One’s energy appears and disappears at her volition.
Sensing pressure from the left,
Empty oneself on the left;
Sensing pressure from the right,
Empty oneself on the right;
Sensing energy rising up,
Extend oneself even higher;
Sensing energy cascading down,
Lower oneself even deeper;
Sensing energy advancing forward,
Make the distance infinitely longer;
Sensing energy retreating,
Follow up with a speed much quicker.
A feather cannot be too light to my senses;
Not even a fly can land its foot on my blouses.
I am incomprehensible from outside for anyone to see;
I understand others more than they understand me . . .
—Excerpt from Theory of Tai Chi Quan by Wang Zongyue, translated by Yang Ye