Levels of Tai Chi

Tai Chi is learnt at a number of levels, these are not sequential and you may be learning many levels at the same time. The levels generally take you deeper into the tai chi form leaving behind the focus on the previous level. When practising tai chi, even if working with a part of the form that is familiar it is possible to go into deeper levels.

Level 1 – Movement – making the movement smooth and flowing. The movement should be correct and then adjusted to become smooth and flowing.

Level 2 – Breath – coordination of movement and breath. Work with the principles of breathing (breathe in rising, out sinking, breathe out expanding, in contracting). The breath should become smooth and gentle.

Level 3 Emotional – Come into the feeling of the movement. Work with the elements and the imagery of the form to deepen the understanding and feeling of the movement.

Level 4 Chi Flow – The chi flow through the movement should be continual and unbroken. The Chi is normally felt with the hands, particularly the fingertips. Once you feel the chi externally, you should bring your attention internally and feel the effect of the chi internally.

Level 5 Emptiness – This takes us beyond he other levels. All the other levels should be present and there should be awareness, but there is no attention directed towards the other levels. The form should be very present, you should be alert and connected (earth and heaven) and aware.