T’ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [Formless Void]
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.
It is not excessive or deficient;
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.
When the opponent is hard and I am soft,
it is called tsou [yielding].
When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up,
it is called nian [sticking].
If the opponent’s movement is quick,
then quickly respond;
if his movement is slow,
then follow slowly.
Although there are innumerable variations,
the principles that pervades them remain the same.
From familiarity with the correct touch,
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength];
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.
Without long practice
one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi.
Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.
Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir].
Don’t lean in any direction;
Empty the left wherever a pressure appears,
and similarly the right.
If the opponent raises up, I seem taller;
if he sinks down, then I seem lower;
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long;
retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.
A feather cannot be placed,
and a fly cannot alight
on any part of the body.
The opponent does not know me;
I alone know him.
To become a peerless boxer results from this.
There are many boxing arts.
Although they use different forms,
for the most part they don’t go beyond
the strong dominating the weak,
and the slow resigning to the swift.
The strong defeating the weak
and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities
and not of well-trained techniques.
From the sentence “A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds”
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.
The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people,
how can it be due to swiftness?
Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and
move like a turning wheel.
Sinking to one side allows movement to flow;
being double-weighted is sluggish.
Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent,
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.
To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.
To adhere means to yield.
To yield means to adhere.
Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.
Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.
Understanding this you can say you understand chin.
After you understand chin,
the more you practice,
the more skill.
Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind.
Gradually you can do as you like.
Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others.
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far.
It is said, “Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray.”
The practitioner must carefully study.
This is the Treatise
Attributed to Wang Tsung-yueh [Wang Zongyue] (18th Century)