Three Level Outline of Tai Chi Exercise

There are three levels, divided into Heaven, Earth, and Human. The Human level is for stretching muscles and promoting blood circulation. The Earth level is for opening and reaching flexibility. The Heaven level is for sensory functions. There are nine sub-levels, each main level containing three sub-levels, making it three levels with nine sub-levels in total:

Human Level (three sub-levels):
1. Stretching from shoulder to wrist (First level): The method starts with stretching the wrist, followed by the elbow, and then the shoulder, using no force, progressing from softness, seeking straightness in the bend, forming a circle.
2. From the hip to the knee to the ankle (Second level): From hip to knee to ankle, all should be relaxed and soft, with strength centered in the arch of the foot, grounded, distinguishing between the solid and the void in feet and hands alike.
3. From the tailbone to the crown (Third level): This involves softening the waist as if boneless through flexible spinal muscles, focusing on keeping the tailbone centered and the head suspended.

Earth Level (three sub-levels):
1. Sinking Qi to the Dantian (First level): With slightly sinking shoulders and drooping elbows, the Qi can be directed to the stomach and then sinks to the Dantian as the chest slightly caves and the back slightly arches.
2. Qi reaching the limbs (Second level): After sinking the Qi to the Dantian, it seems to be driven by the heart to reach from the hips to the knees to the ankles, and back up to the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
3. Passing the tailbone to reach the Niwan Palace (Third level): With the Qi sunk to the Dantian, when the practice is pure and the timing right, naturally pass the tailbone without any strain, opening the spine and reaching the Niwan Palace.

Heaven Level (three sub-levels):
1. Listening to the force (First level): Only through softness can one stick to and follow the opponent, connecting my Qi with theirs, aiming to sense the motion and stillness of their Qi, hence called listening.
2. Understanding the force (Second level): If the opponent moves slightly, I can listen and know it. If I move first, I understand and know it. Small movements are easier to detect; it’s hard to know before movement. If one can know before movement, it approaches a divine level of understanding.
3. Achieving divine clarity (Third level): The Qi can transform into a spiritual function, the so-called power of powerlessness, a divine force. Where the gaze goes, the spirit follows, with the Qi moving the body without the mind initiating, the spirit carrying the Qi. This is known as divine force or divine speed.

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