Shi San Shi – The Thirteen Postures

Shi San Shi (The Thirteen Postures – Yangjia Michuan Tradition)

Shi San Shi is the Chinese name for a series of training exercises called “The Thirteen Postures.”  The Thirteen Postures represent 8 unique energies or gates in T’ai Chi, and 5 directions. A nice written reference for the concepts of Shi San Shi may be found here.

The eight energies gates are:

  1. Ward Off (Peng)
  2. Roll Back (Lu)
  3. Push (An)
  4. Press (Ji)
  5. Pull Down/Pluck (Cai or Tsai)
  6. Elbow (Zhou/Chou)
  7. Shoulder (Kao)
  8. Split (Lieh)

The 5 directions are:

  1. Advance (Jin)
  2. Retreat (Tui)
  3. Step to the Left (Ku)
  4. Step to the Right (Pan)
  5. Settling at the Center (Ding)

Each family style and variant of T’ai Chi has a form of Shi San Shi. These forms are all based on the same concepts and principles – but are expressed in the unique style of the particular form.  At Church of the Holy Spirit, we teach Shi San Shi in the Yangjia Michuan Tradition. Our version of Shi San Shi was developed by Master Wang Yen-Nien. It is intended as a training form before learning Yangjia Michuan’s First, Second and Third Sections.

You can view Shi San Shi in the Yangjia Michuan Tradition via the links below:

You will notice that each of these teachers has subtle differences in the way they conduct the movements. Look for the commonality across the various versions.

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