Thirteen Postures

I have learned three different versions of this form over the years from my teacher and his teacher. The Thirteen Postures form (also known as Wudang Thirteen) is an excellent first form to learn. It is short, is not strenuous, and can be done in a small space. It teaches the eight intentions or energies and the five directions of taijiquan, gives a nice introduction to taijiquan principles, and is a nice start to learning other forms.

  1. Ward Off (Peng)
  2. Roll Back (Lu)
  3. Press (Ji)
  4. Push (An)
  5. Pull Down/Yank Down/Pluck (Cai or Tsai)
  6. Split (Lie or Lieh)
  7. Elbow Strike (Zhou or Chou)
  8. Shoulder Bump (Kao)
  9. Step Forward (Qian Jin) – Fire
  10. Step Back (Hou Tui) – Water
  11. Gaze Left (Zhao Gu) – Wood
  12. Look Right (You Ban) – Metal
  13. Center or Central Equilibrium (Zhong Ding) – Earth

The first eight movements are the directions of applied energy – your mind leading energy which moves the body. The first four are used in Yang style for Grasp The Bird’s Tail. The last five are the directions – forward, back, left, right and center (the neutral position), and are also associated with the five elements. The form also gives practice moving to the corners. There are many variations of the Thirteen Postures besides this one. You can read more about the Song of the Thirteen Postures at the Qi Encyclopedia.

You can also do the form symmetrically – both left and right.

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There is also a 13 posture form called Eight Trigrams, Five Steps. Mengnan Feng taught me this form.

 

These are her instructions:

八法五步

(八法:掤、捋、挤、按、採、、肘、靠)

(五步:前进、后退、左顾、右盼、中定)

Hand Techniques:

  1. Ward Off – Peng
  2. Roll Back – Lu
  3. Press – Ji
  4. Push – An
  5. Pull Down – Tsai
  6. Split – Lieh
  7. Elbow – Chou
  8. Shoulder – Kao

Steps:

  1. Advancing Steps – Jin
  2. Retreating Steps – Tui退
  3. Stepping to the Left Side  – Ku
  4. Stepping to the Right Side – Pan
  5. Settling at the Center – Ding

Instruction: 左-left 右-right

  1. 起势 Starting Posture
  2. lift up two arms to shoulder height and press down
  3. ❶左掤势 left ward off❷右捋势 roll back to the right❹双按势split hands and push down and push forward❻左挒势fists to palms and moving to the left ❽右靠势right palm turns to fist resting above right knee and left hand rests around chest
  4. ❼左肘势left hand turns to fist around waist and join the left elbow with the right palm
  5. ❺右採势palms change into fists and pull down to the right
  6. ❸左挤势join hands and push forward
  7. hold a ball to the right side and left hand wards off
  1. ❶右掤势split hands and hold a ball to the left side and right hand wards off❸右挤势join hands and push forward❺左採势 palms change into fists and pull down to the left❼右肘势right palm turns to fist around waist and join the right elbow with the left palm
  2. ❽左靠势left hand turns to fist resting above left knee and right hand rests around chest
  3. ❻右挒势fists to palms and moving to the right
  4. ❹双按势split hands and push down and push forward
  5. ❷左捋势roll back to the left
  6. 进步左右掤势
  7. Split two hands (like holding a ball in front of the body ) and hold a ball to the right side and left hand wards off, at the same time left leg takes an advancing step, and then hold a ball to the left side and right hand wards off, at the same time right leg takes an advancing step
  8. 退步左右捋势
  9. Left hand chases right hand and roll back two hands to the left side, at the same time right leg takes a retreating step, and then two hands roll back to the right side and the left leg takes a retreating step
  10. ❶左移步左挤势 join two hands together and take a step to the left (tiptoes down first) and join the hands and feet at the same time
  11. ❷左移步双按势 split palms and turn slightly to the right, and then move back to the left, take a step to the left (heels down first) and press two hands down and push forward (left foot solid, right foot half-empty)
  12. ❶右移步右挤势 based on heels, two feet move to the middle and hands also move to the middle; take a step to the right (tiptoes down first) and join the hands and feet at the same time
  13. ❷右移步双按势split palms and turn slightly to the left, and then move back to the right, take a step to the right (heels down first) and press two hands down and push forward (right foot solid, left foot half-empty)
  14. 退步左右採势
  15. based on heels, two feet move the the middle and hands also move to the middle; palms turn to fists and press down from right to left; left leg takes a retreating step; then press down from left to right and right leg takes a retreating step
  16. 进步左右挒势10. ❶右移步右肘势left leg takes a step forward and parallel to the right leg, right hand moving around the waist and turns to a fist, right leg takes a step to the right (heel down first) and right elbow joins the left palm, right tiptoe turns to the frontright leg takes another step to the right, and right fist rests above right knee, left palm rests around the chest❷左移步左靠势
  17. left leg takes another step to the left, and left fist rests above left knee, right palm rests around the chest
  18. 11.❶左移步左肘势Left palm moves around the waist and turns to a fist, right hand moves to the middle; left tiptoe up and turns to left; left elbow joins the right palm, left tiptoe turns to the front
  19. ❷右移步右靠势
  20. Fists turn to palms and left hand blocks to the left, right hand move to the middle, at the same time left leg takes an advancing step; then right hand blocks to the right, left hand moves to the middle, at the same time right leg takes an advancing step
  1. 中定左右独立势 Settling at the center
  2. Split two hands and take the right leg back and the width between two feet should be the same with two shoulders; left hand and leg up, press right hand around the waist; then right hand and leg up, left hand around the waist
  3. 十字手 Cross Hands
  4. Right foot down, right palm faces us and left hand crosses behind, push forward the cross a little and split two hands, press down and sink down
  5. 收势 Ending Posture
  6. Stand up and put hands down, take left leg back.