Print Version

Effective: Summer 2013

Advisory: Advisory: This course is included in the Combatives family of activity courses; not open to students with credit in PHED 19A.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Lifelong Learning Transferable: CSU/UC
3 hours laboratory. (36 hours total per quarter)

Description -
Beginning Tai Chi (Taiji) introduces the fundamentals and principles of Taijiquan. Emphasizes body alignment in stillness with natural breathing and its relationship to mind-body awareness. Traditional Chen Style Taijiquan Lao Jia (Old Frame) first routine and the standing posture with breathing exercises (Wuji Qigong) will be practiced to facilitate the development of basic body strength and mind-body coordination.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. understand the history, evolution and philosophy of Taijiquan
  2. practice the first section of the Chen Taijiquan first routine with proper body alignment and coordination
  3. recognize the values of Taijiquan as a means to achieve health and to gain knowledge in a martial arts system that fosters self-defense
  4. demonstrate increased awareness, coordination, flexibility, balance and strength by incorporating the basic techniques and principles of Taijiquan
  5. implement Taiji and breathing exercises as a means of managing stress; aligning major acupressure points to achieve optimal body posture in order to maximize internal energy flow (qi)
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Comfortable exercise clothing and low-heeled, supportive, non-slippery-soled shoes. No bare feet.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. History and background
    1. Chinese origins: how and why this art was created in China by Chen Wangting (1600-1680); Chen Style Taijiquan is the original system, from which all 5 major Taijiquan styles in China were directly or indirectly derived
    2. Introduction to the United States; when and how
  2. Physical benefits of Tai Chi
    1. Increased joint flexibility and mobility
    2. Development of overall body strength
    3. Improvement of balance and coordination
    4. Development of optimal and beneficial breathing patterns
  3. Mental benefits of Taijiquan and Wuji Qigong
    1. Development of mind-body awareness with standing meditation (10 minute minimum)
    2. Improvement of stress management
    3. Enhancement of sense of well-being and self-confidence
    4. Increased patience and focus
  4. Taiji Principles
    1. Body
      1. opening the kua (inguinal creases) to align with the knees with the feet while keeping the body in an upright position with relaxed shoulders
      2. relaxation of muscles and joints while the body is properly aligned
      3. rotation of the spine as the vertical axis with suspended natural upright position
      4. establishment of a solid ground connection with the earth with upright position, keeping the knees open to align with the feet
      5. movements to be done in a circular, continuous, connected motion
    2. Mind
      1. calm and focused with proper intention
    3. Breath
      1. Natural breathing through the Dantian (abdominal area)
    4. Qi
      1. maxiximize internal energy (qi) flows with natural equilibrium positions
    5. Body, mind, spirit integration
      1. intention
      2. attention, awareness
      3. meditation
    6. Harmony of yin and yang
      1. internal and external balance achieved through Taijiquan form practice and Wuji Qigong
    7. Chen Style Taijiquan Principles
      1. motion through one's center (Dantian)
      2. mindful maneuvering of the lower extremities and weight shifting with control
      3. stances with comfortable, upright position modified and adjusted for individual abilities
      4. relaxation of the shoulders and sinking of the center to ensure supple body motion while maintaining solid connection to the ground
      5. arm movements with relaxed elbows to prevent shoulders from tensing up
    8. Warm-up exercises
      1. introduction of the fundamental principles
      2. learning and engaging in practicing the Taijiquan movements appropriate for individual abilities

Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Instructor and student pre- and post-test of first section of Chen Style Taijiquan first routine
  2. Assessment of student's knowledge of Taijiquan history, terminology and principles
  3. Assessment of student's ability to demonstrate and explain principles of Taijiquan movements with proper body alignment
  4. Written examination at the end of the quarter
  5. Instructor observation of the student's improvement through class participation and practice
Representative Text(s) -
Diepersloot, J. "Wuji Qigong and the Essence of Taiji Quan: The Teachings of Grandmaster Cai Song Fang. (classroom handout available through the instructor).
American Chen Taiji Society. "Taiji History". Retrieved from
American Chen Taiji Society. Class Description. Retrieved from

Disciplines -
Physical Education
Method of Instruction -
  1. Instructor demonstration
  2. Lecture
  3. Group participation and discussion
Lab Content -
Lab content for this course may include but is not limited to:
  1. Tai ji chu shi: Taiji Beginning Posture
  2. Jin gang dao dui: Jin Gang Pounds with the Pestle
  3. Lan cha yi: Grab and Tuck in the Robe
  4. Liu feng si bi: Six Sealing and Four Closing
  5. Dan bian: Dantian Change (Single Whip)
  6. Bai e liang chi: The White Goose Displays the Wings
  7. Xie xing: Oblique posturing
  8. Lou xi: Embrace the Knee
  9. Ao bu: Paced (Twist) Steps
  10. Yan shou gong quan: Covering-the-Hand Forearm Fist
  11. Pie shen quan: Diagonal Body-Stroke Fist
  12. Qing long chu shui: The Teal Dragon Emerges from Water
  13. Shuang tui shou: Push with Both Hands
  14. Zhou xia kan quan: Fist Presented Under the Elbow
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Optional reading and writing assignments as recommended by instructor.