First, what my Yang Base Tai Chi teachers and friends tell me: When playing the Tai Chi form you must avoid double weighting, so they say do not have your body weight 50 / 50 on your feet. Having your body weight equally on both feet is double weighting. So when you move forwards, backwards or sideways you must always put your body weight on one foot, move the other foot to where you require it and then you can transfer the body weight to your newly positioned foot. So one foot has all your body weight on it and the other has none. So one foot is full and the other is empty.
When I met my Yin / Yang Base teacher he taught me: When playing the Tai Chi form allow your body weight to move from your starting stance whether you move forward, backward or sideways. Try not to let all your body weight move on to one foot as this can compromise your stability. Let your body tell you when to stop and when to change direction, this will also help your hand technique. When moving a foot to a new position allow at least 30% of your body weight remain on the moving foot, even when the foot is off the ground. Moving the body weight evenly on your feet is natural and you will naturally move from there and come back to there.
Whatever Yang Base system of Tai Chi I have practiced the teacher always insisted that the movement should be natural, but then you end up moving in a manufactured way. This was then moving into a total yang stance or a total yin stance.
With the Yin / Yang Base system of Tai Chi my teacher also insisted that the movement should be natural.
It is natural for the human body weight to be 50 / 50. If you are stepping forwards, backwards or sideways the natural way to move is from the body, as the legs are designed to follow the body weight. The moment that the body starts to move in one direction, calculations are made within the body and one of the legs will move to the appropriate position for the body weight to move to. If you have naturally stepped the body weight will naturally move to that leg, but the maximum the body will want to put on that leg is around 70 percent of it’s weight.
The natural way of stepping for Beginners Tai Chi Form means that if you are stepping from your starting stance where the body weight is 50 / 50 and you’re going to move forward and you wish to move slowly in the Tai Chi Form, then as you start to turn and move the body forward around 20% of your body weight will slowly move to the leg that is staying behind. This will give you more control of movement in the stepping leg, then as the stepping foot is ready the 20% bodyweight is returned to the stepping leg and then as the turn and forward movement continues 20% bodyweight is added to the stepping leg, which will naturally stop around the 70% mark.
This way of stepping also means that you have more control over the arm and hand techniques and that body weight can be expressed through the arms and hands.
Although most Tai Chi martial applications point of contact actually takes place around the 50 / 50 weight distribution mark, the weight change after that point is for the application of the technique. Or if the contact takes place at the 70 / 30 – 30 / 70 – weight distribution mark the weight change that is made into the 50 / 50 is for the application of the technique.
Yang Base Tai Chi: avoid having the body weight even in the legs; allow all the body weight to be on one leg before stepping and to apply the technique or at end of technique.
Yin / Yang Base Tai Chi: body weight (posture) is continually moving through one stance to another as the stance is following the posture the technique follows the posture and matches the stance. Body weight is not to be left on one leg as the body weight (posture) can be trapped.
The stance should derive from the posture; this is natural movement, this is the Tai Chi way. If the stance should dictate the posture, then this is manufactured movement; this is not the Tai Chi way.
As one extremely brilliant Tai Chi Grand Master has said: In actual fact a Tai Chi practitioner should be able to step in any direction with any amount of body weight on or not on their feet.