T'ai Chi

Stages of The Practice

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Stages of Practice

In this system as taught by Patrick Kelly we deepen into our practice through the exploration of the:


  • 5 Loosening Exercises
  • 37 Movement Short Form
  • 108 Movement Long Form
  • Quick Fist
  • Fixed Pattern Pushing Hands
  • Meditation


Training sequence


Choreography of form and loosening exercises.

The beginning of grounding exercises and basic partner work.

Movement – accurate, smooth, relaxed, stable.

Beginning of spatial awareness- upright and balanced.

Whole body moves as one, the hands follow the body.

Beginning of listening to (sensing) the body with awareness.


Centre moves first, introduction to horizontal movement.

Waves of movement in turning, advancing and retreating.

Timing of breath with movement, breathing in to lift, breathing out to sink.

Introduction to moving the mind through the body.

Beginning of forming an intention and listening with awareness to the response.


Introduction of the vertical circle: contract, release, align.

Beginning of consciously controlled alignment.

Sequential movement: centre, shoulders, arms.

Big joint changes: ankles, knees, pelvis, shoulders.

Development of awareness of how to listen in the right place at the right time.

Mind lifting and sinking, body moves with the mind.


Development of loosening exercises, Short Form and further partner work.

Development of vertical circle exploring: contract, release, align, stretch and unstretch.

Awareness of sequential big muscle changes: lower body, upper body,

shoulders and arms.

More subtle spatial awareness, releasing and semi-natural alignment.


Long Form and Quick Fist, development of partner work and relaxed elastic forces.

Continued development of the vertical circle exploring: contract, relax,

sink and empty

Sequential small muscle changes.

Releasing and aligning becoming fluid and natural.

Awareness of the subtle sensations and processes of sequential lifting, sinking, turning, releasing and alignment.

Timing of movement beginning to be governed by awareness of internal changes.

Mind changes leading body changes.


Awareness of subtle body changes, pressure changes, forces and energy.

Continued refinement of internal vertical circle in all exercises, forms and partner work.

With Intention, the mind moves further ahead leading the pressure changes, forces and energy to move the body in space and time.



With the overriding principle of closing down the surface part of the mind as if going to sleep , then using a deeper part of the mind to listen to (through the 5 internal senses) and regulate, the subtle body changes , forces and energy.