The Fundamental Principles of the Bow Step

  1. Knees point in the same direction as toes
  2. Push the knee no further than over your big toe
  3. Keep some flexibility, don’t lock your knees
  4. Feet are shoulder wide apart 
  5. Pull weight off a foot before you turn it
  6. Hip initiates moves and turns, not the legs, feet or arms
  7. Keep your hip on the same level, don’t go up and down

Tai Chi principles

Open and close


Open and close like a flower. Grow and then collapse again. Expand and contract. Never stop shifting between the two. Gently stretch your chest and then stretch your back.

Remember your 8 points


Always keep 8 points connected to the ground. Be rooted and stable. While you take off weight from one foot, ensure that the other one is firmly rooted. Be aware of what your toes are doing.

Cut the strings


Feel like a puppet on a string. Now start cutting all strings except for the one pulling your crown point up. Your crown point pushes up, everything else drops down. Everything above your neck goes towards heaven, everything below drops to earth.

Know your plumb line


Keep your body straight over your center of gravity (about the height of your navel). As you move, stay centered. You should see your big toe right in front of your front knee. And remember to not fully stretch and lock your legs or arms.

Tug in your tailbone


Tilt your hip forward, just as you were about to sit on a chair. Gently stretch your lower back, keep your knees slightly bent. Avoid to overextend your lower spine.

Visualize your breath


Let your breath flow in through your nose. Let it go all the way down into your belly and nourish a little imaginary fire. Let the air circle in your belly and feel the energy growing. Then let it rise up again and exhale through your mouth.

Tai Chi Principles

Work against resistance


Imagine to stand in a pool and feel how you need to push your belly forward in order to move. Feel the resistance, then feel the pull as you swing back. Then imagine to stand in a big puddle of mud and feel how you need to pull your feet up and out when you make a step. Then feel how your heel pushes back into the mud as you put your foot back down.

Keep moving, keep shifting


The movement never stops in Tai Chi. The flow of energy never stops. Always keep shifting between opposites, between opening and closing, between extending and pulling back, exhaling and inhaling, strong and weak, stable and flexible. Never stop, never stay too long in one aspect.

Be mindful


With every exercise watch the details. Feel every move, observe every detail. Be fully in the now and the exercise. Be mindful!

Lao Gong points


Extend your opening and closing to your Lao Gong points. Control how much energy you want to let in and out. You open your energy flow when you open your hand and spread your fingers. You keep your energy contained when you keep your hand cupped and your fingers closed.

Tummy breathing


Breathe with your tummy, not your upper lungs. Inhale and let your diaphragm drop, put some pressure on your inner organs. When you exhale, push your diaphragm up. Leverage all of your lungs and gently massage your inner organs. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Close your mouth when inhaling and touch your upper gums with the tip of your tongue. Open your mouth when you exhale and let your tongue drop.

Eyes and focus


Control your eyes and your gaze. Most of the time your gaze is unfocused, vaguely seeing both hands, not being fixated on anything but open and attentive to notice everything. Your head is held relaxed so that you can see both hands without moving your eyes. From time to time your eyes will focus on something intently, only to let go again after a moment. Like a cat sitting on the porch and watching the backyard.