Start with Intent

Grandmaster Wang Yongquan said that intent must preceed what we do in Tai Chi. This is a very important key if you want to Master Tai Chi Today.

Stand in readiness. Get ready to commence your form. Your arms start to move.

Quick, quick what was your intent that moved the arms or did you just move without being purposeful?

OK, never mind. Continue for a few more movements. Now stop. Review the movements you just did.

So what was your intent throughout the process of those few movements you just performed?

For a very long time I practiced my Tai Chi without having proper intent. Just desiring the arms to move is not using intent properly. Knowing exactly how to move, when to move, the why of moving and so on equals using intent as required as part of the process of mastering Tai Chi.

Below is an example of the use of intention to practice the Tai Chi form from page 131, TaijiKinesis Vol 2 :-

BP (iv) – Put your intention on your wrists and think of raising them. When you can feel your wrists connect to your elbows switch your intention over to your elbows to continue raising them.

BP (v) – Once you can feel your elbows connect to your shoulders switch your intention to your shoulders to continue lifting your arms

Try it out; the two lines of instruction is for the lowering of hands in Beginning Posture. You will think that this is what you are also doing in your form. Unfortunately, it is difficult to try to explain to you that what you think you are doing is an illusion. I know because I have spent years trying to get my students’ to do it right and they keep thinking they are doing it properly. The only way I could prove to them that they are not doing it right is when I test their structure and ability to fajing (page 262 in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 shows the structure test for this movement). Then they know they don’t really know, that their use of intent still falls short by a lot.

After trying it out if you still don’t know how to do it with intent check with your teacher or if you are in my part of the world I do offer lessons in how to practice Tai Chi with intent. You can contact me using the form on this page.


Want to learn Tai Chi? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.

2 thoughts on “Start with Intent

  1. Hi Wu, really enjoying the new posts and venture. As for me, still working and you will laugh, happily or otherwise, to hear I’m still prioritizing the movements from Wuji through GST1(iii) in an attempt to approach improvement! But playing with the rest of the 13 as well.
    About “Start With Intent”, “Try it out; the two lines of instruction is for the lowering of hands in Beginning Posture” should be raising izzit. Cheers Mate


  2. Hey man; yes I mentioned raising in early part of the post but used the lowering part as example. Just wanted to see if the reader was half awake when reading it 🙂


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