Q: What are the 13 movements exactly?

A: Simply put the 13 movements are a simpel overview of the most basic ways to move in Tai Chi – a templet to work from.

They consist of five directions (North, South, East, West, Centre) that correspond to the five phases, or five elements, which is a famous basic concept in ancint Chinese philosophy.

The  eight movements correspond to the eight trigrams which is a concept from the famous I Ching or Book of Changes that is nearly 3000 years old.

The movements are basic attack and defense moves.

PengLuJiAnCaiLieZhouKao

Peng – Ward offp1

p2

Lü – PullLu1

Lu2

Ji – Pressji1

ji2

An – Pushan1 an2

Cai – Pull downwards ( like plucking a fruit from a tree)cai 1 cai2

Lie – Short and sharp move to break the opponent’s force
lie1 lie2

Zhou – Elbow
zhou1 zhou2

Kao – Shoulderkao1

kao2

Pictures are from Tung Huling’s book.