There are 13 basic upper and lower postures in Tai ji chuan. The first 8 are arm postures that coincide with the 8 trigrams, and the last 5 are leg and torso directions that coincide with the 5 elements. Together they compose 13 postures, that in turn make up the larger moves in any form.
Used in Ward off. When one has grasped the ball, the coiling tension is released almost like fajing, a defense and an attack, and a recoil.
2. Lu- Roll back- Earth
- Roll back- Diverting force
3. Ji- Press- Water
- Palm press on fore arm- a measurement, a waiting of contact
4. An- Push- Fire
- Fair lady works shuttles- diverting an attack, gauging contact, and returning force. An example of all of the above
5. Tsai- Pluck- Wind
- Needle to the bottom of the ocean- Grasping an opponents wrist or clothing and pulling them down
6. Li- Seperate- Thunder
- Parting the Wild Horses Mane- The seperating action, upper and lower or left and right, ungrounds an opponent by splitting them in two directions
7. Chu- Elbow- Lake
- Elbow strike- It is all of the five actions- advancing, withdrawing, looking-left, gazing right, and fixed rooting (see below) like a lake at rest
8. Kao- Shoulder- Mountain
- Shoulder strike- All movement is rooted in the feet and then summoned to the shoulder
9. Jin- Advance- Metal
10. Tui- Retreat- Wood
11. Ku- Step to the left- Water
12. Pan- Step to the right- Fire
13. Settle center- Ding- Earth
They are mnemonics to help you remember the moves. For example with the steps, Metal cuts, it is an advance, Wood springs back, Water defends, and fire exposes, earth simply holds. The trigrams are little more difficult, but to shoulder strike would be like holding a mountain, seperating would be like a thunder clap, wind would be like plucking one’s shirt and pulling them around. A press is like water gauging movement, and fire would be the explosiveness of contact. Peng is the complete Yang of an inner coil, while Lu is the complete Yin of reception in a rolling back movement.