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Tiger, Leopard, Dragon, Snake and Crane. Oh My!

In Tai Chi, there are five animal forms: Tiger, Leopard, Dragon, Snake, and Crane². These forms represent abstract aspects of Tai Chi such as bone strengthening, tendon changing, turning/spiraling movements, and gathering energy². One or more animal forms might be involved in any given move².

Tiger - Balance and Power (bones)

Leopard - Like a Cat (tendon training)

Dragon - Expansion and contraction of the body.

Snake - Side to side (shifting weight)

Crane - Spine, along with the other animals.

The Tiger form is associated with strength and power, particularly in the bones. The Tiger's movements, such as crouching to maintain a low center of gravity, are reflected in Tai Chi exercises that strengthen the leg bones².

As for chaos, Daoist philosophers, whose principles underpin Tai Chi, believed that first there was chaos. Not as in "complete disorder and confusion," but simply in its original meaning of "primordial matter before there was..."¹. This concept of chaos is integral to the understanding of Tai Chi and Yin-Yang¹.

Please note that this is a high-level explanation and the actual practice of Tai Chi involves a deeper understanding and experience of these principles. 🧘‍♂️

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/19/2024

(1) Animal Forms In Tai Chi | Eastern Counties Tai Chi Academy.

(2) Tai Chi: In-depth introduction to history, philosophy & benefits.

(3) Rhode Island School of Tai Chi: Tiger, Crane and Snake Form.


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19 mar
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I didn't know about the five forms of Tai Chi

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