Northern Wu Style Taiji Quan

Make qi

Tongue in roof of mouth

Relax top to bottom

Make sounds: song, jing, kong

Breathe through skin

Five centres rising toward the sky Thumbs, rise, bend back

Extend arms and rise on toes

The white crane opens its wings Bend forward touch ground three times twist back, look at heel

The flying bird turns tail Turn at waist and push

Beat head, shoulders, stomach, dan tian

Cloudy hands

zai chui (draw up water) Lean back, lower knee to ground

Qing san xian: Fingers under chin,mouth and nose

Taiji ball

Move qi

Sides of nose, sides of face

Horizontal hands side to side on face

Comb hair


Back of neck

Slap down, round

Let arms fall

Pop ears, tap ears

Rub Buddha’s tummy

Squeeze buttocks

Sword fingers on temples

Rub eye sockets

Snap fingers on back of head




Taiji is an internal martial art. The outside of the body delivers movement; qi circulates inside the body, and it is the use of qi inside the body which distinguishes internal martial arts from external martial arts. The internal martial arts use the mind to control qi. Qigong helps generate and control qi.

Information from the outside passes to the brain, and the brain and instinct interpret the information and determine a response. This activates the mind, which starts the flow of qi. Qi controls the blood, and the blood controls muscle. Muscle connects to the bones, creating external movement. Thus qi is at the centre or the whole process, in the same way as the waist is at the centre of the body.

Taiji lessons start with qigong, which prepares the inside of the body, ensuring full energy and smooth paths for the energy to flow through the body. When the body is fully ready we can train for more than 2 hours; the student will feel better and more comfortable because the inside of the body is clear and energised. The student will feel calm and energised.

There are a number of different styles of qigong. The style of qigong described here was created by Jan Long Jiang’s master Zhan Bo, built on his lifetime qigong experience. The original name is “The base of taiji qigong (8 movements)”. We don’t want give it an elaborate name: the tools that work well often have simple names.

Qi in the body

Qi flows through the body in meridians or channels. There are points along the meridians that allow the meridians to be in contact with the outside world: these meridian points correspond to acupuncture points, and some can be used as pressure points. Qigong practice involves physical or mental access to some of these meridian points.

Performing qigong

We will now describe how to practice qigong, and the benefits of each of the movements.

If you have low blood pressure, the eyes should look slightly up, and if you have high blood pressure the eyes should look slightly down.

A warning: Don’t do this qi gong when there is lightning or during a thunderstorm.

  1. Turn the tip of the tongue upward to touch the roof of the mouth and make the tongue turn 100 circles in the mouth (jiao hai). Swallow any liquid in the mouth (the liquid is called jing, and is good for the stomach, throat and the sense of relaxation in the neck).

  2. Spread the feet to shoulder width. Relax from top to bottom 3 times. Look to the front, slightly up or down depending on your blood pressure, and gently smile. Relax the arch of the foot to open the kidney meridian. Relaxing deeply enough can help your brain rest and help control emotions.

  3. Take a deep breath to start.

    • Make the sound “song” (Chinese for relax), try to make the voice emerge from the centre of the forehead. Do this 3 times. You will feel the head becoming relaxed, and stress reducing.
    • Make the sound “jing” (Chinese for quiet), try to make the voice emerge from the middle of chest, through the sternum (breast bone). Do this 3 times. You will feel the chest clearing.
    • Make the sound “kong”.(Chinese for hollow and empty), try to make the voice emerge from the dan tian. Do this 3 times. You will feel the body getting light.

    The inside of body will now feel like a lake: peaceful and deep. We make the inside of the body quiet so the qi can merge blood and muscle.

  4. Slowly breathe in and out: imagine the breath comes in and out through your skin. Try to imagine the breath passing through the skin of your entire body.

    • The body is like balloon: open it to breath in and close it to breath out. Also feel the breath passing through the meridian points of the body.
    • Makes the meridian points of body start to open and draw energy from outside.

  5. Five centres rising toward the sky
    Focus your attention on the shao shung point on the outside of the thumb (the side further from the fingers), near the thumbnail. Place your hands in front of your chin, palm down and facing you, fingers loosely opened and the thumbs roughly a hand width apart. Feel the energy passing between the shao shung points of the thumbs. Slowly move your hands apart, keeping them at shoulder level, and as the arms open, slowly turn the palm upward, until the arms are fully extended. Keep your mind on the energy between the shao shung points. As you open you arms, slowly raise yourself onto your toes. Keeping the arms horizontal and the palms facing upward, bend the body backward as far as is comfortable. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your heels as you bring your hands back in front of your face and straighten your back. Repeat this 24-48 times, slowly and smoothly.

  6. Focus your attention of the tai xi point which is on the muscle inside the ankle, just behind the ankle bone. Raise the arms so they are fully extended to the side, and are horizontal. Turn the palm upward. Raise yourself onto your toes, hold for a few seconds, then lower your heel to the ground in a slow controlled manner, focusing on the tai xi points at all times. The arms remain extended horizontally to the side at all times and the back remains straight. Repeat 24-48 times.

    Reminder: if you have higher blood pressure look slightly downward, and if you have lower blood pressure look slightly upward.

    These two exercises benefit the lungs and the heart.

  7. The white crane opens its wings

    • Spread the legs a bit wider than the shoulders. Raise the right hand toward to the sky with the palm turned upward. Point the other hand toward to floor, palm downward. This draws qi from the sky and from the earth.
    • Bend forward at the waist and lightly touch the ground with both hands three times, moving from right to left.
    • Then raise the body and turn to the left at the waist, raising the right arm so the hand faces sky, and point the left arm to the ground. Turn the body and head till you can see the right heel. Wait a second.
    • Now turn at the waist to face the front
    • Repeat to the opposite side, raising the left hand so the palm faces the sky and lowering the right hand palm down to face the earth, then turn to the right, left hand raised, till you can see the left heel. You are looking at the kun lun meridian point in the feet.

    • Repeat 12 times to each side.

    • The benefit is to open urinary bladders meridian. Good for the liver and gallbladder. You will feel your back getting warmer. Good for back pain and strengthening eyesight, and helps freshen the skin.

  8. The flying bird turns tail

    • Move the right foot ahead of the left, by roughly the length of one of your feet. Place the middle finger of the left hand on the inside of the right arm about a thumb length in from the wrist joint so the zhong cong point on the finger connects to the da ling point near the wrist.
    • Face the palm of the right hand downward and imagine the lao gong point at the centre of the palm connects to yong quan point at the bottom of the forward foot, as if there were a wire between them. Raise the right hand to shoulder level.
    • Now turn at the waist to the right keeping the arm in the same position relative to the body, imagining that the wire lifts the front of the foot as the body draws the hand backward.
    • When you have turned as far as you can go at the waist, lower the front of the foot, and imagine the wire pulls on the hand and turns the body to the front. Lower the hand to waist level as the foot falls.
    • When the foot is fully on the floor, turn the body at the waist slightly to the left, with the hand still at waist level. Allow your weight to fall back onto the left leg, and allow the left leg to sink down. Wait a second.
    • Turn the body slowly toward the front, at the same time turning the right arm at the elbow so the forearm moves from the horizontal to the vertical position, so the palm is in front of the eyes, with the palm facing you.
    • Keeping the hand at face level turn at the waist to the right, once again the wire lifts the foot.
    • When you can turn no further, bring the hand near your ear, turn the palm to face forward, lower the front of the foot to start the hand moving forward, then extend the arm fully forward at shoulder level as the foot touches the floor, with the wrist turned back so the hand is pointing vertically upward as the arm extends.

    • Repeat 24 times

    • Now change to the other side: left foot forward, middle finger of right hand near wrist on left arm, turn left …

    • Repeat 24 times

    • Make the turns slowly and smoothly with equal power to both sides.

    • This opens the heart meridian, assisting with regular heartbeat, giving a regular pulse. This improves confidence and vigour.

  9. Beat the yu xue
    Spread the feet a bit wider than the shoulders. Bend the knees slightly. Loosely open both hands.

    • Beat the head
    • The right hand strikes the top of the head (bai hui), while the left hand simultaneously strikes the centre of the lower back (ming men).
    • Make the voice sound “hen”.
    • Then the left hand strikes the top of the head while the right strikes the ming men.
    • Continue, alternating the hands.

    • Repeat 48 times.

    • Gives higher level of energy. Good for the kidneys and for diabetes mellitus.

    • Now repeat the previous movement, but alternately striking the two sides of head near the temple (Fa ji) rather than the top, with the other hand striking the back (ming men).
    • Opens the meridian of the gallbladder.
    • Good for liver and gallbladder disease.
    • Benefits: Deeper sleep. Strengthens hair. Younger skin.

    • Repeat 48 times.

    • Beat the shoulders

    • Relax shoulders. One hand strikes the junction between the shoulder (jian Jin) and the neck bone (da zhui), while the other hand simultaneously strikes the back, between the shoulder blades (yue xue).

    • Repeat, alternating the hands, 48 times.

    • Make the voice sound ” ha”
    • Beat jian jin for Pulmonary function
    • Beat da zhui to raise yan qi.
    • Good for relief of fatigue.

    • Continue, with one hand beating the chest on the pectoral muscle (zhong fu), while the other hand strikes between the shoulder blades alternating the hands as before.

    • Repeat 48 times
    • Good for clearing the lungs. Help lungs exchange energy with the heart.

    • Beat the dan tien.

    • Close the hands to form a hollow fist (only close the fingers). With one hand beat the navel (shen que) while the other hand beats the centre of the back at waist level (yi yu and yang gang). Make the sound “he”

    • Repeat 48 times, alternating the hands between front and back.

    • Beat left a bit if you have diabetes or stomach problem. After half a month change to right side.

    • (place the heel of you hand on your navel, and the fingertips give the place to beat)
    • Beat right a bit (tian shu) if you have liver or gallbladder disease.
    • After half a month change to left side. Switch sides each half month till your health improves.
    • Beat in the middle (shen que) if you do not have those problems.
    • Improves energy and defence against illness, strengthening the immune system.

    • Now beat the (guang yuan) point - one inch below the navel - while the other hand beats the back (ming men or shen yu).

    • Repeat 48 times, with the voice sound “he”.

    • Good for prostate disease, regulates menstruation, helps with inflammation of the ovaries and fallopian tubes in women, and urinary frequency.

  10. Cloudy hands

    • Spread the feet slightly wider than the shoulders.
    • Raise the left hand in front of the face, with the palm facing you. The right hand is open in front of the waist, with the palm facing upward.
    • Turn left at the waist so the hand has moved through 180 degrees, and the hand is now facing backward.
    • Fully extend the arm to push backward.
    • Turn the wrist so the palm faces outward at the end of movement. The wrist should be turned up so the hand is at ninety degrees to the arm.
    • The eyes should focus on the gap between the middle and ring fingers, and remain so till the arm is fully extended.
    • Note: look only at the middle finger if you have concerns with your heart.

    • Then turn back to face the front raising the right hand in front of the face as you turn. The left hand is now in front of the waist with the palm facing upward.

    • Repeat the movement to the right
    • Put weight on the left leg as you turn to the left and on the right leg as you turn to the right.

    • Repeat 24 times to each side.

    • The qi can reach five different points on the back. Good for the kidneys and the large intestine, and regular heartbeat. Also good for pain in the side of the waist. Keeps the back warm and comfortable. Maintains the tendons and muscles.

  11. zai chui (draw up water)

    • With the left foot step forward at an angle of about 30 degrees to the direction you are two facing.
    • Imagine you are drawing up clean water from the earth through the (yong quan) point, at the centre of the ball of the feet, into the body.
    • Lean backward and swing the right hand in the air, extending the left arm down and to the front to open the chest.
    • Swing the body forward till you are looking down at the left foot and the right arm has moved forward and down allowing it to fall to chest level.
    • Move the body forward till the left knee is directly above the left ankle.
    • Now lower your body so the weight is on the left leg, which bends at the knee, keeping the knee behind the toes. Lower the body till the right fist and right knee touch the ground.
    • Rise slowly to the upright position

    • Repeat 24 times

    • Now repeat to the other side, right foot ahead of the left …

    • Repeat 24 times

    • Imagine the bad (illness) qi of the body is thrown outside of the back as you lean back, passing through the guan chong point (on the outside of the tip of ring finger).

    • if your body always feels cold: as you rise from the lowered position, put your hands on the inside of the foot and run your hand along the inside of the leg as you rise then along the body to the pectoral muscle.

    • If your body always feels hot: run your hand from the pectoral muscle down the inside of the leg to the foot as you lower the body.

    • Normally just put the hand down to the floor without touching the body.

    • Takes water qi from the outside into the body. Good for the kidneys, generating qi, improving balance. Good for sleep, skin, hair.

  12. Qing San Xian

    • Spread the feet to shoulder width. The tongue on the palate. Relax to stand. Normal breath.
    • Place the thumb on the lian quan, which is in the small cleft in the bone under the chin. Under the mouth, place the middle finger on the cheng jian point mid way between the chin and the mouth, and place the index finger on the ren zhong at the base of the nose, where the nose transitions to the top lip.

    • Make 48 circles then repeat with the other hand.

    • Good for the small circles of the surface of body, sweat glands, pancreas, thyroid gland, lymph nodes.

    • Eliminate toxins

  13. hand taiji ball

    • Spread the feet a bit wider than the shoulders.
    • Close the chest a little, and raise the back a little. Relax the waist and close the buttocks.
    • Relax the whole body, and move qi down to the dan tian.
    • Imagine you are holding a ball of qi, whose diameter is about the same as the width of your body, with the left hand on the top and the right hand on the bottom. Rotate the ball so the left hand moves inward and to the bottom and the right moves outward to the top.
    • Continue the movement to rotate the ball.
    • Now imagine a larger ball, that requires both arms fully extended to the sides to hold it, and repeat.
    • Finally imagine a small ball whose diameter is roughly the distance from wrist to fingertips, and repeat.

    • The total number of rotations combining all the balls should be more than 24 but less than 108 times.

    • If outdoors you can gather five kinds of natural qi into the ball: As you rotate the ball imagine you are putting the ball onto the source of qi (for example mountain or tree), where it will pick up qi, which you then imagine you are bringing back to your body.

    • Note that if you have imagined putting out the ball you have to imagine bringing it back to you. Put the ball out once and but imagine you are bringing it back 3 times. If you forget to imagine bringing the ball back, your will feel weak for 3 days, and will want to sleep.

    • from a mountain, you it will pick up gold qi. This is good for the lungs.

    • from a strong healthy tree, you get wood qi, which is good for the liver and the gallbladder.
    • from clear water you get water qi which is good for kidneys.
    • from the sun you gather fire qi, which is good for heart.
    • from the grass and the ground draw earth qi, which is good for your stomach and intestine.

    • Then with you hands cupped move your hands in toward the lower part of your stomach to carry the qi ball which you then ‘put’ into the dan tian. Bend the knees slightly. Wait about half a minute. You can feel the dan tian getting warmer inside the abdomen.

    • We gather qi from the outside into the body as water runs to the sea. This helps qi circulation, improving internal balance. Five qis gathered work together to keep the body strong and refreshed, providing defence against illness and keeping youthful vigour.

  14. Breathe in deeply then breath out, repeat 3 times.

Qi gong has now finished generating qi.

Distributing qi round the body

Now the hands have qi, and there is new qi in the body. We will try make the qi go everywhere inside the body, just as after rain, water flows naturally to where it is needed.

  1. Rub the palms together then rub the palms along the back of the hands to make the hands hot.

    • Starting from the forehead rub the two middle fingers down and up along the sides of nose 24 times
    • Starting at the forehead with two hands rub over the temples and down the two sides of face, running your thumbs along the jawbone to the chin.
    • Repeat 24 times

  2. The right hand is held horizontally. The ring finger touches cheng jiang (under the mouth). The middle finger touches the ren zhong (between nose and mouth). The index finger touches shu miao (the tip of nose).
    The left hand is also held horizontally. The little finger on the eyelids, the ring finger on shan gen (the eyebrows), the middle finger on yin tan (the forehead) and the index finger above the middle finger.

    • Move hands left and right to rub 24-36 times.
    • Good for the face meridian.
    • Brings energy for *shang dan tian eyes nose and face. Make the skin fresh and gives more energy for thinking.*

  3. Extend the fingers and with both hands firmly sweep from the front edge of the hair down to the back of the neck.

    • Repeat 24 -36 times.
    • Helps circulation to the hair, making it stronger, resulting in Less loose hair.
    • Relaxes the brain.

  4. Lightly grip the ears between thumb and forefinger. Rub the ears with an up and down motion, 24-36 times.

    • This relaxes the whole of the body senses.

  5. Place the right index finger and centre finger on da zhui (the prominent bone at the back neck), and rub vigorously 100 times. Repeat with the left hand. This stops the qi being blocked at the da zhui.

  6. Relax the hands then with both hands slap the head and body to help circulate the qi.

    • Start at the top of the head and move down chest and stomach to the front of the feet then, then beat up the back of the legs, the back at the waist then a single beat of the shoulders(see earlier), up the back of the head to the top.
    • Complete three circles.

  7. Starting on the right side, with the left hand slap from the top of the head down the neck, along the top of the right arm, which is extended horizontally in front of you, back under the arm and along the sides of the body to the top of the right thigh, then change to the right hand and continue down to the foot, up the inside of the leg then changing to the left hand down the inside of the left leg to the left foot.

    • Continue up the outside of the leg with the left hand, changing to the right hand when the left hand reaches the arm pit.
    • Now complete two more full circles.

    • This is called *da zhou tian (big universe). It moves qi through the whole body so energy is moved to where it is needed.*

    • You can do 3 or 5 or 7 or 9 circles.

  8. Raise both arms horizontally to the sides, then relax the arms so they fall against the outside of the legs xi feng.

    • Repeat more than 10 times.
    • good for leg weakness

  9. Raise both hands so the palms cover the ears. Push the hands together, to close the ears, then sharply open the hands simultaneously to uncover the ears. Repeat more than 10 times.

  10. Place one hand over one ear, and press to close the ear. Place the other arm over the top of the head so you can use the fingers of the other hand to tap on the back of the hand covering the ear, like beating a drum. Repeat more than 10 times. Change hands to repeat on the other ear.

    • Helps the functioning of the ear.

  11. Place the palm of one hand over the back of the other with the lao gong points (the centre of the hand) one over the other. Place the palm on the abdomen. Do 50 circles clockwise, then swap hands, making the inner hand the outer and do 50 circles anticlockwise. Use just normal force, no power.

    • Good for the digestive system.
    • For slimming, clockwise from small circles to big circles, then anticlockwise from big circles to small circles.
  12. Slightly bend the knees. Close and open the buttocks 100 times, contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor.

    • Good for the excretory system and sexual functions.
  13. With both hands make sword fingers: index finger and middle finger touch the temples. Other fingers are closed together.

    • Make one hundred circles on the temples.
    • Relaxes the brain.

  14. Rub two hands together, palm to palm and palm to the back of hands, to make the hands warm. Then put both hands together over the eyes, with the palms resting on the bones around eyes and the fingers pointing upward. Do not touch the eyes. Rotate the hands round the eye sockets. Do about 100 circles.

    • Improves eye functions.

  15. Place the hands over the ears with the fingers extending to the back of the head, and push on the ears. Cross the index finger and middle finger then snap the index finger to beat the bone at the back of the skull where the spine enters the skull. Close the eyes. Around 100 times.

    • Improves hearing, clears the inside of brain.


If we have have time and energy we beat each others back. This is called ti yan qi.

  1. Use the index finger and middle finger of one hand to pinch the yu zhen (on the back of neck). With the other hand push along the spine from the nape of the neck to the waist.

  2. Extend the fingers and run them in a sharp motion along the ribs at the sides of the body, from front of the body to the back. Spend more time around the kidneys.

  3. Use the two thumbs to rub in both directions along the edge of the shoulder blade near the spine.

  4. Relax the hands and wrists and vigorously beat (as if striking someone with a fish) along the back from the bottom of the spine up to neck. Then with less power, beat from neck (da zhui) to the back of the head. Around 100 times.

The person massaged will feel the warm kidney water qi from the front of the head down the body, like a warm shower inside the body.


This qigong was created by master Zhang Bo, and written down in Chinese. It has been translated into English by Yan Long Jiang, who has added some extra material. Yan Long Jiang’s work has been edited by Bernard Doherty, with drawings by Ben Bartlett.

This qigong is a whole system qi gong with nothing lost.

A warning: Don't do this qi gong when there is lightning or during a thunderstorm. Because qi is linked to the energy of nature you must take care at this time.

Thank you for reading this. Qi gong will help you to be healthier and stronger, and thus help you to a better life.