Sequence of the 8 Brocades (8 Pieces of Silk)

Resting/Starting Position:  body relaxed, feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders down, neck back, back straight as if suspended from the top of the head, tail bone tucked under.
Return to Resting Position: circle and raise arms with elbows relaxed and palms facing upwards; when hands reach shoulder-height, turn palms downwards and bring finger tips together in front of chest. Slowly lower palms in front of body as if settling the Qi in the tantien and return to Resting Position.


All postures start from the resting position and end by returning to the resting position.

1 – Two Hands Support the Heavens:  Push the hands, with fingers loosely entwined, over the head and stretch toward the sky. Return to resting position.

2 – Drawing the Bow:  While in a horse stance (feet wide apart, knees bent, tail bone tucked under, back vertical and straight) imitate the action of drawing a bow with the arms to either side. Turn the head to look in the direction the bow is pointing. Return to resting position.

3 – Separating Heaven and Earth:  Press one hand with palm upwards to the sky and the other hand with palm downwards towards the earth. In a smooth motion, switch the position of the hands so that the hand that was pressing upwards is now low and pushing downwards while the downward facing hand is now over the head pressing upwards. Return to resting position.

4 – Wise Owl Gazes and Looks Backwards:  Stand in resting position, arms relaxed and slightly in front with palms facing the body. In a smooth motion, sink the tail bone, open the palms outwards, and turn the head (from the neck only) to one side. Return to resting position with eyes facing front and palms turned back towards the body. Repeat to the other side. Return to resting position.

5 – Swing the Head and Tail:  Squat in a low horse stance, place the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twist from the waist to look backwards on each side.  Return to resting position.

6 – Two Hands Climb the Legs:  Stretch arms upwards to the sky and then drop arms and bend forwards moving the hands down the legs to hold the calves/ankles/toes. Hold for a moment and then tuck the tail bone under and roll the spine upwards, moving the hands up the legs until body is once again vertical and in the resting position.

7 – Punching with an Fierce Gaze:  Stand in horse stance (feet wide apart, knees bent, back straight and vertical, tail bone tucked under) and punch with a loosely clenched fist to the front. Alternate arms. Return to the resting position.

8 – Shake the Back 7 Times:  From resting position, roll the feet forward to stand on the toes. Relax feet/legs and drop onto heels, creating an impact vibration that spreads up the legs and spine.  Return to the resting position and settle the Qi.



Watch Mimi Kuo-Deemer perform the 8 Brocades.

White Egret stepping through water

Egret Tai Chi

Tai Chi teaches us to “move like the animals.” In this case, an egret! Notice the head is held high and back, the neck is vertical, the movement is calm and deliberate, the legs move with seemingly no effort but are rooted in the sand beneath the water.  Enjoy the video below!

(Video taken by Kirk Talbott.)

T’ai Chi for Kids, Move Like the Animals by Stuart Alve Olson

T’ai Chi for Kids Move Like the Animals by Stuart Alve Olson is an enchanting book for children, grandchildren, and all ages.  The images illustrate the names of eight common T’ai Chi poses and help in learning the form. On the cover is “White Crane Cools its Wings.”

From the author:
“I probably should have titled the book, Tai Chi for Kids (of All Ages), as many older Tai Chi adherents have made similar comments as yours. I think why that is, is because the book is about “play,” most Tai Ji Quan books (my other books included) have a more serious approach by exploring the deeper aspects of Tai Ji Quan, but Tai Chi for Kids was written and approached purely from a playful standpoint. Kids play, it is how they learn to interact with others and use their imagination, which if you think about it, is the core of Tai Ji Quan practice. ”

–Stuart Alve Olson     Valley Spirit Arts