Yang Style Tai Chi Footwork

For anyone who practices Tai Chi no matter what style you practice if you do not master the particular Tai Chi style’s footwork methods then your quality of Tai Chi will be hampered and you will not achieve a high level of proficiency.
Within the Yang style Tai Chi footwork you have various stepping methods like the forward stepping (Jin Bu) which uses a heel/ toe stepping action. Backward stepping ( Tui Bu) which uses a toe/ heel action, side wards stepping (Heng Bu) which again uses a toe/heel action. The forwards, backwards and side steps are known as Five Element Stepping (Wuxing Bu).
Over-al the stepping action of Yang style Tai Chi no matter what direction that you step in must be light and agile. A good Tai Chi practitioner moves like a big cat, graceful, light, springy as if you were floating over the ground, yet very powerful. Yang style Tai Chi develops very strong legs as the essence is not to be double weighted (Shuang Zhong) with the weight evenly distributed between both legs. The aim is to shift the body weight from one leg to another, overtime your legs will become strong so that you can begin to lower your body down closer to the ground. Most beginners start they Yang style Tai Chi in a high stance, gradually after a long period of time as your legs become stronger than the height of the stance can be lowered.The lowering of your stance will help to develop your cardiovascular fitness which will increase blood (Xue) and energy (Qi) circulation throughout the entire body.
Obviously, developing strong leg strength through the practice of Yang style Tai Chi will also improve each individuals balance and their confidence and ability to stand on one leg no matter what their age is. One of the great wonders of practicing Tai Chi is to see the elderly being able to stand upright on one leg while performing their Tai Chi form. There is a saying in China “that if the legs go weak and you cannot move around on them, then old age comes quickly”. This goes to show that the maintenance of strong, fit legs through the practice of Tai Chi can improve an individuals state of well being and help them to feel young even in their old age.

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