Basic Movements:

     Stand with your right foot in the front and the left foot in the rear placed with about a
one-foot distance between them (The position of the feet can be switched at anytime). This
position permits you to shift your weight forward to form a bow stance and shift your weight
back to form a sitting stance.

For Horizontal circle:

     Place both hands at waist level, palms facing down, right hand in the front of left (Fig.
1). Put you mind in the center of your left hand to lead the left hand moving in horizontal
circles. Your right hand should follow the movements of your left hand, only its circles are
larger (Fig. 2).
Random Circles Practice

     How do we develop random circles in Taijiquan? There are many training methods. First and the foremost is form
practice.  Special attention must be paid to the circular elements of every movement, first in your body, then in your
mind. It is said that as soon as you move, you have already made circles. If you practice your form correctly and
diligently enough, you can develop this ability well. If you want to enhance this capability, there are some special
training methods which you can select to practice. Here we will introduce some random circle training methods to help
people understand the principles.

Solo practice:

     Horizontal circles, vertical circles, and front circles are three basic circle exercises for individual practice. If one can
practice these circles correctly, other circles will be easy. Any circle can be considered a combination of these circles.
Here we will discuss the practice of the horizontal circle.
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Fig.1: Basic posture of solo circling practice
Fig. 2: Hand circle paths
     Following the hand circles, your whole body
should move in a coordinated manner. The hips
should be kept straight, moving forward and
backward with the shifting of your weight,
however the hips should never wobble. The
position of the hips must be maintained in a
plane – as flat as possible. Use your mind to
lead your qi and use qi to lead your movement,
starting from your feet and up through the legs,
waist, back, arms, finally reaching the fingers.
The entire process should be integrated (Fig. 3).

     The direction of the circles can be clockwise
or counterclockwise, and can change anytime.
When changing directions, the transition
movements should be smooth. It is common to
draw a Taiji diagram for the transition (Fig. 4).
The choices for the size and speed of the circles
are very flexible. You can change them randomly
Fig. 3: Horizontal circle practices (a, b, c)
a.                                               b.                                                      c.
Fig.4: Direction changing
Variations:

     Above are the basic movements for circle practice. You can always make your own variations. For example, you
can add arm rotations.

     In the basic circle practice, you always move both of your arms in same direction. You can also try to move them
in opposite directions. And in either case, you can move your hands synchronously or asynchronously (the second
hand a little behind the first). All these variations make circling practice more difficult. The important things to
remember are keeping the movement smooth, paying attention to lead your movements with the mind, and then lead
your qi, and power in coordination with your physical movements as an integrated whole.


Two-person Practice:

     There are two stages for two-person random circle practice. The first is fixed standing routine practice, where
both practitioners move according to pre-designed routines. The second stage is free moving practice, where both
practitioners move freely.

     The first stage is simple but must be done very carefully. In this stage of training, both practitioners should pay
attention to their basic abilities:  relaxation and integration, using sensitivity to follow the other’s movements smoothly
and lightly. The goal of this practice is to develop and enhance the practitioners’ basic abilities, especially sensitivity.
You should be careful on the touch points between you and your partner. When both of you move, the touch points
change continuously. This creates some tension, because both partners should strive to stick to a single point as
closely as possible by rolling instead of sliding (Fig. 5a, 5b).
Fig. 5: Two person standing routine practice (a, b)
a                                                                                     b
     When your basic abilities are good enough, you should progress to the second stage. In the beginning of this
stage, both practitioners should follow each other with a light but stable touch. They should neither lose contact nor
press too hard against each other.  Both partners should lead the circle according to his feeling during practice. In
accordance with Taiji principles, partners need to follow and lead each other (Fig. 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d). This is very good
training for the development of sensitivity.
a                                                                                     b
c                                                                                     d
Fig. 6: Two-person free step random circle practice (a, b, c, d)
     At the advanced level of practice, application ideas can be added.  Depending on the movements either partner
is making, visualize offensive and defensive applications. These applications should always be done according to
Taiji principle and basic circling skills. Here special attention should be paid to the coordination and the transition
between offense and defense. Perform these skills using circles continuously one by one, changing smoothly and
naturally. This stage of training can be done using either fixed stance or moving steps.
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