Tai Chi 40 Form
with Peter Chen

In the 1980s, five sets of standard Forms were edited and named after their traditional style. The Yang Style standard Form is named “Yang Style Tai Chi 40 Form”. It has become one of the most sought-after Forms since then. 

Mondays 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Uniting Church Hall,
Cnr Bendooley St & Boolwey St 
Bowral NSW 2576

or Wednesdays 9.30 - 10.30am 

Mittagong RSL Club
Cnr Bessemer St & Hume Highway
Mittagong NSW 2575

 

 

Tai Chi 40 Form Written Instructions

  • Tai Chi is a unique exercise. It requires coordination of mind, breathing and movements. Tai Chi practice can help to relax and balance the body and mind. It could also help you feel more energetic.

 

  • In the 1980s, five sets of standard Forms were edited and named after their traditional style. The Yang Style standard Form is named “Yang Style Tai Chi 40 Form”. It has become one of the most sought-after Forms since then.  

 

Yang Style Tai Chi Basic Training

Bow Step

  • Keep one leg bent like a bow and the other leg straight like an arrow.
  • Each foot stands on different lines separated by a lateral distance of 20-30cm.
  • Left toes face forwards while right toes face diagonally in a 45-degree angle.
  • Left knee faces towards the same direction as the left foot. This is essential to avoid injuring knees in Tai chi practice.

Empty Step

Raise one heel to form a T step. The ball of the empty foot remains on the floor, while weight is on the leg with the whole foot on the ground, as if sitting on leg.

Horse Step

Take a side step wider than shoulder width, with both feet parallel to each other, weight evenly distributed between both legs.

Crouch Step

Bend one knee in a squatting position. Straighten the other leg and move the heel outwards to create a crouch step.

Tai Chi Palm

Gently open the hand as if placing it on top of a balloon, relax fingers

Tai Chi Fist

Hold the fist with the first joint of thumb resting on the second joints of both the ring finger and the middle finger.

Tai Chi Hook

Put the tip of five fingers together and form an empty hook. Imagine holding an egg gently inside the hand.

Mind concentration

Clear other thoughts from your mind and concentrate on Tai Chi practice

Quite often we need to concentrate on Dantian. Dantian is a ball-shaped area, the centre of Qi (life energy). It is located on the midline, 3-4 fingers' width below the navel, 2-3 fingers' width inside the lower abdomen.

Body Position

Keep the body upright, relax the neck and shoulders and bend knees slightly.

Breathing coordination

Inhale when pulling, holding, rotating and so on.

Exhale when pushing, pressing, spreading, parting, kicking and so on.

 

Detailed Instruction of Each Form

(Key points, Attacking or Defending Meaning, and Breathing Coordination Explanation)

Paragraph 1: Form 1 to 9 

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Form 1: Commencing Form

  • Stand upright, feet together, arms stay alongside the body, looking forward.
  • Take a left step, raise hands slowly and evenly to shoulder level.
  • Hands sink gradually. At the same time, bend knees slightly and relax body continuously.

Key points:

1)Try not to use any force from the shoulders. Feel as if the arms are floating up and sinking down naturally themselves.

2)Feel relaxed and peaceful, set up a good tune for the rest of the Tai Chi forms.

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Form 2: Grasp the Peacock’s Tail

  • Rotate the right heel, form an empty step and hold a ball. Put the weight on the right leg.
  • Take a bow step and ward off.
  • Rotate the left heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • Take a bow step and ward off.
  • Deflect
  • Push
  • Pull in
  • Press

Key points:

1)Rotate waist as a pivot to guide the movements;

2)Move the centre of gravity forward and backward gradually like a pendulum;

3)Connect all of the movements smoothly and gracefully;

4)Left toes are not raised up, which is different from 24 forms.

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Form 3: Single Whip

  • Rotate both arms horizontally, bunch a hook and form an empty step.
  • Take a step left, rotate and push with the left hand. At the same time the left foot is landing and the right foot is grinding to form a bow step.

Key points:

1)Rotate waist as a pivot to guide the movement;

2)Left hand rotates and pushes out, while at the same time left foot lands and right foot rotates to make the whole movement smooth and graceful.

3)This single whip is different from 24 forms.

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Form 4: Raise Hands and Step Up

  • Rotate your left heel. Pull in both hands.
  • Sink down elbows, raise hands and step up.

Key points:

1)Hands are in the midline

2)Fingers of right hand are at the same level as thenose

3)Fingers are on the same vertical line as toes

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Form 5: The White Crane Spreads Its Wings

  • Rotate the left ball and right heel of the foot and hold a ball.
  • The right hand performs a curve movement to the upper-right side of the head, and the left hand presses down beside the left hip.

Key points:

1)Keep body upright, feel relaxed and comfortable;

2)The whole body should feel like standing in a balloon, gentle and full;

3)Keep your right palm slightly in front of your body, which may help you to relax.

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Form 6: Brush Knee and Twist Step

  • Rotate your right heel, both hands perform a semi circle movement and then hold a fish.
  • Brush your left knee and push your right hand forward with a long curve movement via the right ear.
  • Rotate your left heel, both hands perform a semi circle movement and then hold a fish.
  • Brush your right knee and push your left hand forward with a long curve movement via the left ear.
  • Brush your knee on the right side and twist step again

Key points:

1)Check the waist and make sure it is moving smoothly as a pivot to guide the movement;

2)Make sure the semi circles and curve movements are performedproperly.

3)Avoid moving in a straight line as it may cause stiffness.

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Form 7: Hands Strum the Lute

  • Right foot takes half step, pulling in both hands.
  • Sink down the elbows, raise the hands and land on the left heel.

Key points:

1)Hands in midline;

2)Left fingers on the same level as the nose;

3)Left fingers on the same vertical line as left toes.

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Form 8: Step Forward, Deflect, Parry and Punch

  • Rotating the left heel, the right fist moves out through the axilla. At the same time right foot take a step forward.
  • The left foot takes a step forward with the left hand doing a parry.
  • Then the right fist punches forward.

Key points:

1)Keep body upright and natural.

2)Footwork should be light and smooth.

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Form 9: Apparent Close-Up

  • Left hand moves under the right arm and then both hands pull inward and downward.
  • Then press both hands upward and forward.

Key points:

  • Avoid pulling in or pushing out in a straight-line movement.

 

Paragraph 2: Form 10 to 14

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Form 10Oblique Flying

  • Rotate the left heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • Take a step towards the right corner and spread arms like flying.

Key points:

1)Both arms are spread to form ‘two wings’ to fly;

2)Waist moves as a pivot to guide the flying.

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Form 11Punch Under Elbow

  • Rotate the right heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • The left foot takes a left step and then the right foot takes a half catch-up step. Both hands perform a circle.
  • The left hand threads out above the right wrist while the right hand forms a fist under the left elbow. Form an empty step with the left heel landing on the ground.

Key point:

  • Swing smoothly with the waist guiding the movements

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Form 12Step Back and Repulse the Monkey

  • The left foot takes a step backward, while the right hand rotates, moves up and then pushes forward via left arm and palm.
  • The right foot takes a step backward, while the left hand rotates, moves up and then pushes forward via right arm and palm.

Key points:

1)The hands perform a big curve movement with waist turning to avoid any stiffness built up on the shoulders

2)Pay attention to the energy interaction when one palm moves above the other palm

3)When taking a step back, move the foot in a curved line instead of a straight line as it can help the body feel more stable and relaxed.

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Form 13Fair Lady Works at Shuttles

  • Rotate the left heel and rotate the right ball of the right foot. Then land the right heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • The left foot takes a bow step, the left arm rotates and blocks up, and the right palm pushes out.
  • Rotate the left heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • The right foot takes a bow step, the right arm rotates and blocks up, and the left palm pushes out.

Key points:

1)Perform the bow step on a slight angle;

2)The hand blocks up slightly higher than the forehead

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Form 14Part Horse’s Mane on Both Sides

  • Rotate the right foot, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • Take a bow step, the left hand raises to shoulder level and the right hand presses down to the hip area.
  • Rotate the left foot, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • Take a bow step while the right hand raises to the shoulder level and the left hand presses down to the hip area.

Key point:

Know the difference between ‘’Part Horse’s Mane’’ and ‘’Ward Off’’

 

Paragraph 3: Form 15 to 23

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Form 15Wave Hands like Clouds

  • Rotate the right heel, left heel, and both hands.
  • Move the right foot towards the left foot and wave Hands “Like Clouds” to the left.
  • The left foot takes a left lateral step and wave hands “like Clouds” to the right.
  • Wave hands like clouds again,
  • And wave hands like clouds again.

Key points:

1)Keep body upright, waist and hips relaxed. Bending knees slightly can help the joints of the body to move easily.

2)All movements are performed smoothly and naturally at an even speed.

3)The waist serves as an axis.

4)Hands are not higher than the forehead and not lower than the abdomen.

5)Step in and wave to the left, step out and wave to the right, then repeat. At the end, the right hand bunches a hook.

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Form 16Single Whip

  • Bunch a hook and form an empty step.
  • Take a step left, rotate and push the left hand to the left. At the same time, the left foot is landing and the right foot is rotating to form a bow step.

Key points:

1)Rotate waist as a pivot to guide the movement

2)The left hand rotates and pushes, while at the same time, the left foot lands and the right foot rotates to make the whole movement smooth and graceful.

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Form 17Pat High on the Horse

  • Move weight forward onto left foot. The right foot takes a half step, and then forms an empty step. At the same time, the right hook changes into a palm.
  • The right hand pats forward via the right ear. Simultaneously, draw the left elbow backward and rest next to the lower abdomen.

Key points:

Know the difference between this form and “Step Back and Whirl Hands”.

1)Pat higher to chin level

2)Left hand stays lower (lower abdomen level)

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Form 18Kick with the Right Heel

  • Take a left bow step while hands perform horizontal circles and then cross in front of the chest.
  • Form an empty step, while hands perform vertical circles and then cross again in front of the chest.
  • Raise the right knee and kick with the right heel. At the same time, both palms separate and move outward, fingers pointing upward.

Key points:

1)Bending the left knee slightly will help with balance

2)Pointing the right palm and the right foot to the same direction will help with balance

3)Feel confident and do not worry about the possibility of losing balance

4)Keeping relaxed and feeling comfortable is more important than the height your kick can reach.

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Form 19Strike Opponent’s Ears with Both Fists

  • Drop the right foot, and draw both palms back to the outside of the right knee.
  • Take a bow step to the right corner. At the same time, change both palms into fists and strike onthe opponent’s ears.

Key Point:

  • Make sure the head and neck are upright, waist and hips are relaxed, shoulders and elbows are lowered and both fists are clenched loosely.

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Form 20Separate Left Foot

  • Form an empty step and cross hands with the left hand outside.
  • Raise the left knee and kick with the left foot. At the same time, separate both palms and move them outward, with fingers pointing upward.

Key points:

1)Bending the left knee slightly will help with balance

2)Pointing the right palm and the right foot in the same direction will also help with balance

3)Feel confident and do not worry about the possibility of losing balance

4)Keeping relaxed and feeling comfortable is more important than the height you can kick

===========================

Form 21Turn Body and Kick with Heel

  • Swing the left leg and take a step backwards.
  • Rotate the ball of the right foot, rotate the ball of the left foot, then pull the right foot in to form an empty step. Cross hands in front of the chest.
  • Raise the right knee and then kick with the right heel.

Key points:

1)Turn smoothly with body relaxed, rotate the foot to the right position so that the final position of the body will be in the right place

2)Bend the left knee slightly to help with balance

3)The right palm and right foot pointing in the same direction will help with balance

4)Feel confident and do not worry about the possibility of losing balance

5)Keeping relaxed and feeling comfortable is more important than the height your kick can reach.

================================

Form 22Needle at the Bottom of the Sea

  • Take a step backwards, and raise both hands.
  • Brush the left knee and needle the right hand downward and forward.

Key points:

  • Thrust the right palm rather than perform with a ‘chopping’ action

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Form 23Push Through the Back

Raise hands and turn body slightly to the right. The left foot takes a bow step forward. At the same time, the right palm blocks up and the left palm pushes forward.

Key point:

  • Pushing the palm, blocking and forming a bow step are completed as a coordinated movement.

 

Paragraph 4: Form 24 to 31

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Form 24White Snake Spits Its Tongue

  • Rotate the left heel, pull right hand in and make a fist, and then pull right foot in.
  • The right fist moves out and the right heel kicks out.
  • The right fist becomes a palm and pulls in. At the same time, the left hand pushes out like a snake spitting its tongue.

Key points:

1)Ensure maximum rotation of the left heel

2)Pull in the right palm and push out the left palm together to make the whole movement graceful.

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Form 25Slap Right Foot

  • Perform a cover step and cross hands in front of the chest.
  • Slap the top of the right foot with the right palm.

Key points:

1)Relax and make yourself ready for the slap

2)Slap with the top of the foot touching the right hand.

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Form 26Tame the Tiger on Both Sides

  • Land the right foot and take a left bow step.
  • Move hands to the left and form fists. The left fist is at temple level; while the right fist is at chest level. The eyes of the fists are facing one another.
  • Rotate the left heel, move the weight to the right. The fists become palms and swing them to the right.
  • Then move the weight to the left, pull the hands and the right foot in.
  • Take a bow step and move hands to the right to form fists again.

Key points:

1)Make sure you move in the right direction.

2)Keep body upright.

3)Feel the inner power for ‘Taming the Tiger’.

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Form 27Push Down---Right Side

  • Rotate the right heel, rotate the left heel, the left hand moves to the left and forms a hook.
  • Take a crouch step. The right hand moves to the chest and threads from chest to abdomen, then along the inside of the leg.

Key points:

1)Rotate the feet properly to keep the body in the right position and push down smoothly

2)Know how to do the crouch step.

3)Know the difference between 24 forms and 40 forms.

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Form 28Stand on One Leg---on Both Sides

  • Rotate the right heel, the left heel, and then the right heel again. Shift the entire weight onto the right leg and lift the left leg with the knee bent. At the same time, change the left hook into a palm and move it to the front of the body above the left knee. The right palm is pressed downward beside the right hip.
  • Drop the left foot, shift the weight to the left and stand on the left leg. At the same time, move right hand upward in front of the body above the right knee. The left palm is pressed downward beside the left hip.

Key points:

1)Bend the knee when standing.

2)Keep the body upright.

3)Feel confident.

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Form 29Strike the bottom of the Sea

  • Land the right foot and take a left bow step.
  • Brush the left knee with the left hand and strike with right fist onto the opponent’s lower abdomen and groin area.

Key point:

  • The waist moves as a pivot

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Form 30Grasp Peacock’s Tail

  • Rotate the left heel, form an empty step and hold a ball.
  • Take a bow step and ward off.
  • Deflect
  • Push
  • Pull in
  • Press

Key points:

1)Rotate the waist as a pivot to guide the movements;

2)Move the centre of gravity forward and backward gradually like a pendulum;

3)Connect all of the movements smoothly and gracefully;

4)Left toes are not raised up, which is different from 24 forms.

===============================

Form 31Single Whip

  • Rotate both arms horizontally, bunch a hook and form an empty step.
  • Take a step left, rotate and push the left hand, and at the same time land the left foot and grind the right foot to form a bow step.

Key points:

1)Rotate the waist as a pivot to guide the movement.

2)Rotate and push the left hand, land the left foot and grind the right foot at the same time to make the whole movement smooth and graceful.

3)This single whip is different from 24 forms.

 

Paragraph 5: Form 32 to 40

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Form 32Push Down---Left Side

  • Rotate the left heel and rotate the right heel.
  • Take a crouch step. The left hand moves to the chest and then threads from the chest to the abdomen, along the inside of the leg.

Key point:

  • Rotate the feet properly to keep body in the right position and push down smoothly.

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Form 33Step Forward with Seven Stars

  • Rotate the left heel, right heel and then left heel again.
  • The right foot takes a step forward to form an empty step. Both hands form fists and cross in front of the chest. The right fist faces out and the left fist faces in.

Key points:

1)Know the meaning of seven stars.

2)Performing the feet rotations properly is the key to this form.

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Form 34Step Backward and Straddle the Tiger

The right foot steps back and forms an empty step. The right hand moves up and backward, hold out the heel of the palm, the left hand moves down and presses next to the left hip.

Key point:

  • The right palm ends by holding out the heel of the palm, which is different from the “White Crane Spreads Its Wings’ form.

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Form 35Turn Body and Lotus Kick

  • Turn the left ball of the foot, and then turn the right heel. The left foot takes a step, and at the same time, the right hand moves down and threads out above the left forearm.
  • Turn the right ball of the foot, then turn the left heel of the foot and form an empty step. Both hands are ready in front of the chest, palms facing out obliquely.
  • The right foot performs a lotus kick, the top of the foot touching the left hand and then the right hand.

Key points:

1)Turn the body smoothly and make sure the body is relaxed and ready for the kick.

2)The top of the foot kicks up and touches both hands, one by one.

=======================

Form 36Shoot the Tiger

Land the right foot to the right corner. Both palms form fists and move to the right side next to the head, and then the right fist blocks up and the left fist strikes out.

Key points:

1)The waist moves as a pivot to guide the movement.

2)The fists move to the right first, and then block up and strike out.

==========================

Form 37: Step Forward, Deflect, Parry and Punch

  • Rotating the left heel, the right fist moves out through the axilla. At the same time right foot take a step forward.
  • The left foot takes a step forward with the left hand doing a parry; and then the right fist punches forward

Key points:

1)Keep body upright and natural.

2)Footwork should be light and smooth.

============================

Form 38Apparent Close-Up

  • The left hand moves under the right arm and then pull both hands inward and downward.
  • Then press both hands upward and forward.

1)Avoid pulling or pushing out in a straight line.

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Form 39Cross Hands

  • Rotate the left heel, open the arms and separate the hands.
  • Cross hands in front of the chest.
  • Press both hands downward gently to rest beside the hips.

Key points:

1)Collect the Qi in the body and then guide the Qi down to Dantian.

2)Know the difference of this form between 24 forms and 40 forms.

3)It’s important to finish properly to feel good when the form is completed.

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Form 40Closing form

Put feet together and gently put hands along the thighs.

Key points:

  • Feel relaxed, peaceful and energetic.

As you can see, modern life builds up tension, Tai Chi can help relax and release this tension. Our goal is to feel relaxed not only during the practice, but also to build up a habit and use Tai Chi philosophy in our daily life. This is the reason why our association is called “Tai Chi Life”.

  • We’re almost at the end of our class. We hope that this lesson can help you open the door of the Tai Chi treasure house. Please keep learning and exploring so that you can get more benefits from your future practice.

 

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