Shoulder-width rails, 70/30 forward stance, bird's eye view, front, left & right sides - 10/23/09 (Autumn)

Shoulder-width & 70/30 Forward Stance
Part 2

(Please see
For Part 1 of this article)

When I form a "70/30 Forward Stance," I continue applying the concept of "shoulder width apart" to the invisible tracks that I imagine stretching out in front of me. The heel of my back leg remains on one of these tracks; the toes of the back foot point outward, 30 to 45 degrees. The foot of my forward leg steps forward on the other track; the toes point forward (in the same direction the track stretches ahead of me).

Please view these other videos, which discuss the 70/30 Forward Stance in more detail:

Once I've established a correct "shoulder-width apart" distance in my Preparation / Beginning movement (the width of my imaginary tracks), I continue to use that same measurement to set up every 70/30 Forward Stance throughout the 37 Posture Tai Chi Form.

The same 70/30 Forward Stance is utilized in all these postures: Grasp Sparrow's Tail, Ward Off Left; Grasp Sparrow's Tail, Ward Off Right; Roll-back; Press; Push; Single Whip; Brush Knee; Parry & Punch (Forward Punch); Withdraw & Push; Embrace Tiger Return To Mountain; Diagonal Flying; Step Forward & Strike With Fist (Low Punch); Fair Lady Works At Shuttles (4 Corners); Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger.

The 70/30 Forward Stance utilizes the same set of parallel tracks regardless whether my left foot is forward in the stance, or whether my right foot is forward in the stance; the distance between my hip joints remains the same, regardless which version of the 70/30 Forward Stance I assume.

I create a set of parallel tracks that is most appropriate for my hip joints / pelvis, and I keep reproducing that measurement throughout the Tai Chi Form. Both of my legs continue to "hang" straight down from my pelvic bone, during the feet-parallel Preparation / Beginning stance, and whenever I assume a 70/30 Forward Stance.

Please watch Prof. Cheng describing the relationship between the pelvis and legs in this video:
The bones of the legs need to "hang" straight down from the pelvis. Then the hip joints, knees, ankles, and feet all correctly align with gravity.


Another key principle contained in these first movements of the CMC 37P Form is the idea that when advancing my forward leg into a 70/30 Forward Stance, the step taken should not be so great that my advancing leg can't be easily retracted at a moment's notice.

If I take too large a step forward, then I won't be able to "sit" back on my rear leg, and retract my advancing leg without a lot of wild body gyrations and readjustments of balance. I will have committed the fault of "double-weighting." Also, my forward leg could be swept by an opponent if it is not easily retractable when I try to shift my body weight back onto my other leg.

See my "Check Empty Leg" videos of the 37 Posture Tai Chi Chuan form
where I test the empty leg of every posture to make sure it is easily retractable before committing any body weight onto that leg.


I've heard that in China, many tai chi students aren't even taught the flowing Tai Chi Form until they first learn to hold a correct 70/30 Forward Stance, which utilizes a correct "shoulder-width apart" measurement specific to their bodies. When they can hold a 70/30 Forward Stance instinctively, "in their sleep," setting up the correct position for their body even without thinking, then they are taught all the different arm patterns that go together with this basic tai chi stance.

That's why I keep holding the "Embrace Tree" 70/30 Forward Stance as a static posture, for at least 60 seconds at a time
By regularly aligning my body in a correct 70/30 Forward Stance, and paying attention to all the details of this structure, it becomes much easier to assume this posture throughout the moving Tai Chi Form.


At the end of this video, I demonstrate that the same "shoulder-width" feet parallel stance used in the Preparation / Beginning posture is also utilized in "Cross-Hands." Also, this same body structure is utilized in the "Embrace Tree" exercise that I do regularly


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Added on May 30th, 2020
Last updated: June 21st, 2020