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The Frequently Asked Questions on the Practice of Taijiquan  

  Essential Requirements on the Practice of Taijiquan
  1). Where should be Taijiquan be practiced? Answer: To practice Taijiquan, the sites with larger space, fresh air, and beautiful and quiet surroundings are optimal, such as river or lake banks, forest, parks, private courtyard, or even the indoor halls. Attention should also be laid on avoiding the exposure to the scorching sunshine. What is more, the strong wind and the mouldy odor that results from the dark and damp surroundings must be avoid.

  2). Why the practitioner should face the South when practicing Taijiquan? Answer: According to the ancient Chinese astrological theories, the Twenty-eight Constellations are divided in to 4 groups, 7 in the East, named as Green dragon (Cang Long); 7 in the West, named as White tiger (Bai Hu); 7 in the South, named as Red Bird (Zhu Que); and 7 in the North, named as Black Warrior (which is the epithet name for tortoise, Xuan Wu). The South is classified to Yang, while the North to Yin. So the facial aspect of a person should face the Yang, while the dorsal aspect faces the Yin. This is considered as being in conformity with the astrology, so when practicing Taijiquan, if the practitioner could face the South, it is the most optimal. So the Green dragon is on your right, the White tiger on your left, the Red Bird in your front, and the Black Warrior (tortoise) in your back. What great scenery! In addition, in accordance with the modern theories of Qigong, if your practice Taijiquan (which is done based on the similar theory of Qigong) facing the South, you are in good coherence with the orientation of magnetic line of force, then your internal Qi could favorably flow. For sure in certain circumstances, you have to adjust yourself, i.e. if the practice is taking place near a wall, you should be back to the wall; while the exercise is near the water, you should be toward the water. Therefore all the demonstrations of actions in Taijiquan books are presumed as facing the south.

  3). Why the practice of Taijiquan should be at the time of Yin-hour (3 to 5 am)? Answer: It is thought by the ancient Chinese that it is the time that everything starts to grow. In Chinese language, the word "Yin" could imply "extension". This is the hour at which all the phenomenons of the universe are about to flourish so does the human body. Therefore, the vitality of the body is to rise and the genuine energy starts to flow smoothly and gets more and more waxing. Besides, it is also the time that there is fresh air, quiet circumstances, and peaceful the mind, so the optimal moment to achieve the best effect in practicing Taijiquan.

  4). What are the precautions before the practice of Taijiquan? Answer: It is not the right time to practice Taijiquan with empty stomach, or immediately after taking a meal, or after drinking alcohol. If the practice is done in early morning, the urine and stool must be moved out and never hold your urine for it is disturbing the normal relaxation. Looser and comfortable clothes should be wore in the practice and attention should also be paid on keeping warm or cool according to the weather. However even in hot weather, long-sleeved dresses and trousers should still be wore and the practice can never be done barebacked. It is also required to avid wearing leather shoes.

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