Thirteen Tactics

The thirteen tactics are the combination of eight methods of using force coupled with the five ways of stepping. The thirteen tactics form the basis for all self-defence applications in Tai Chi Chuan.

The eight forces are:

  • Peng an upwards-directed and usually circular force
  • Lu diverting to the side
  • Ji forwards-directed palm strike or push (after the opponentʼs attack has been avoided or redirected)
  • An a downwards-directed force
  • Cai uprooting (using leverage)
  • Lie use of spiral force
  • Zhou use of the elbow or forearm to divert or attack
  • Kao use of the shoulder or hip/body to divert or attack

The five methods of stepping are:

  • Jin Bu forwards (step forwards)
  • Tui Bu backwards (step backwards)
  • Zuo Gu left (see the left)
  • You Pan right (look to the right)
  • Zhong Ding centre (firm the centre)

1) Different styles of Taijiquan sometimes have slightly different meanings for the 8 techniques and
some have a static posture for each. Eg. Yang Style usually interprets Ji as a ʻpressʼ or ʻsqueezeʼ and
Cai as a ʻpluckʼ or ʻpull downʼ , Lie as ʻsplitʼ (any movement that opposes one torque against another
usually using rotation, as in a tight coil releasing) and Kao as ʻleanʼ or ʻbumpʼ
2) The techniques can be combined in limitless combinations.