This is an excerpt of Master Bosco Baek's new book of 'Chen Family Taijiquan Manual' in 2017 and previous book of '25 Secrets of Tai Chi - Chen Family Taijiquan 25 Key Disciplines' published in 2014.
The new edition of '25 Secrets of Tai Chi' is now available on Amazon.
Personally, I had a hard time to learn classical Taiijquan from my teacher and his family members due to a language barrier. So I had to learn Mandarin Chinese in order to communicate better and learn Taiijquan. It became much clearer to learn Mandarin Chinese while I was hiring an inexperienced interpreter who does not know Taiji.
What I saw was many foreigners that I met in Chenjiagou and other places - they all had the same problem which was a communication problem with their teacher due to the language barrier. Even if a teacher tried to give a key principle to that foreigner, he and she could not comprehend detailed and crucial information due to the language barrier. As a result, those foreigners were only able to learn external forms even though they lived in Chenjiagou and eventually they gave up the practice because they could not capture any of internal and external development in their practice. Still, I see this situation every time I go to Chenjiagou. It is nobody’s fault. This is why I am writing this book for those who do not speak or understand Chinese language.
In 2014, I published a book ‘Chen Family Taijiquan 25 Key Disciplines’ in English to make my students have better understandings. Those keys used to be considered the secretive treasure of the Chen family and I personally consider them as the best guideline for Taijiquan study. After the publication, I was able to see my students’ developments and their improvements in the standard of Chenjiagou. If someone asks what Taiijquan secrets are, these are the secrets of Taijiquan.
Since there is already a publication of the 25 keys, I here only present direct translations with summaries from annotations from original Chinese Mandarin sentences. These direct translations and summaries are not easy to decode them physically unless your teacher is very experienced and qualified. Without a qualified teacher, these disciplines would be just floating words in your brain or boring Chinese idioms.
Without these keys, any Taiji practices cannot be called Taiji.
With these keys, any external forms could turn into internal Taiji forms.
This is why Taiji forms vary and are different depending on different legacies and realizations from their founders based on these secretive principles of Taijiquan.
When I was naming my first book of ‘Chen Family Taijiquan 25 Key Disciplines’, I did not want to use any word such as a secret. But my teacher still calls my book as ‘Chen Family Taijiquan 25 Secrets’ (陈氏太极拳25秘诀).
Your understanding of these 25 principles will gradually change by years if practicing the heartfelt and constant efforts.
Note: This is not a liberal translation. Because it is direct and genuine from the original sentences, it would not make sense to native English speakers. This is why an authentic lineage exists to decode them for students.
The Law of Body
1. Make the neck empty and be energy in the crown of the head.
2. Loosen up the shoulder and immerge the elbow.
3. Incubate the chest and suspend the lowerback.
4. Bend the knee and relax the hip.
5. Hang the buttocks and circle the groin.
6. Be comfortable and solid under a tray.
7. The body stands up in the center correctly.
8. The upper is empty and the lower is full, the empty and the full is clearly split.
9. Support in eight sides.
The Law of Mind
10. Relax the whole body deeply.
11. Go down the energy of mind to the low.
12. Protect dantian (elixir field) with intention, Sink energy into dantian
13. Feel and take exhalation and inhalation.
14. Penetrate energy far through the body.
15. Not to be lost and greatly.
The Law of Reeling Silk
16. According to the waist as an axis.
17. The chest and waist incurvates and folds.
18. Dantian rotates and moves.
19. Pass and penetrate through joint by joint.
20. Intention reaches and then energy reaches, energy reaches and then shape reaches.
21. Combine in and out mutually, The body becomes evenly a one house.
The Four Major Characteristics
22. Harmonize and help the hard and soft mutually, The fast and slow are mixed mutually.
23. Cultivating and discharging mutually change.
24. Be relaxed, alive, elastic and vibrating.
25. It goes a circular line in an external form, The internal force rotates in a spiral line.
身法 Shēn Fǎ
1. 虛領頂勁 Xū Lǐng Dǐng Jìn
2. 鬆肩沈肘 Sōng Jiān Chěn Zhǒu
3. 含胸塌腰 Hán Xiōng Tā Yāo, 尾閭中正 Wěi Lǘ Zhōng Zhèng
4. 屈膝鬆胯 Qū Xī Sōng Kuà
5. 垂臀圓襠 Chuí Tún Yuán Dāng
6. 下盘稳固 Xià Pán Wěn Gù
7. 立身中正 Lì Shēn Zhōng Zhèng
8. 上虛下實 Shàng Xū Xià Shí, 虛實分明 Xū Shí Fēn Míng
9. 八面支撑 Bā Miàn Zhī Chēng
心法 Xīn Fǎ
10. 全身放鬆 Quán Shēn Fàng Sōng
11. 心氣下降 Xīn Qì Xià Jiàng
12. 意守丹田 Yì Shǒu Dān Tián, 氣沈丹田 Qì Chén Dān Tián
13. 感受呼吸 Gǎn Shòu Hū Xī
14. 氣貫周身 Qì Guàn Zhōu Shēn
15. 不丢不頂 Bù Diū Bù Dǐng
纏絲法 Chán Sī Fǎ
16. 以腰爲軸 Yǐ Yāo Wéi Zhóu
17. 胸腰折疊 Xiōng Yāo Zhé Dié
18. 丹田運轉 Dān Tián Yùn Zhuǎn
19. 節節貫串 Jié Jié Guàn Chuàn
20. 意到氣到 Yì Dào Qì Dào, 氣到形到 Qì Dào Xíng Dào
21. 內外相合 Nèi Wài Xiāng Hé, 周身一家 Zhōu Shēn Yì Jiā
四大特點 Sì Dà Tè Diǎn
22. 剛柔幷(相)濟 Gāng Róu Bīng(Xiàng) Jǐ, 快慢相間 Kuài Màn Xiàng Jiàn
23. 蓄發相變 Xù Fā Xiāng Biàn
24. 鬆活彈抖 Sōng Huó Tán Dǒu
25. 外形走弧線 Wài Xíng Zǒu Hú Xiàn, 內勁走螺旋 Nèi Jìn Zǒu Luó Xuán
1. 虛領頂勁 허령정경
2. 鬆肩沈肘 송견침주
3. 含胸塌腰 함흉탑요,
4. 屈膝鬆胯 굴슬송과
5. 垂臀圓襠 수둔원당
6. 下盘稳固 하반온고
7. 立身中正 입신중정
8. 上虛下實 상허하실, 虛實分明 허실분명
9. 八面支撑 팔면지탱
10. 全身放鬆 전신방송
11. 心氣下降 심기하강
12. 意守丹田 의수단전, 氣沈丹田 기침단전
13. 感受呼吸 감수호흡
14. 氣貫周身 기관주신
15. 不丢不頂 부주부정
16. 以腰爲軸 이요위축
17. 胸腰折疊 흉요절첩
18. 丹田運轉 단전운전
19. 節節貫串 절절관관
20. 意到氣到 의도기도, 氣到形到 기도형도
21. 內外相合 내외상합, 周身一家 주신일가
22. 剛柔幷(相)濟 강유병(상)제, 快慢相間 쾌만상간
23. 蓄發相變 축발상변
24. 鬆活彈抖 송활탄두
25. 外形走弧線 외형주호선, 內勁走螺旋 내경주나선