What is Taijigong?

photo by Sim Pern Yiau

It is an ancient Chinese system of exercise that trains the body in totality. Normal exercise works only on your muscles, stamina and blood circulation. But Taiji Gong relaxes and energizes the whole body including one’s organs, cells, bones, joints and meridian lines. It also focuses and relaxes the mind. Also, Taijigong is not just a physical system, but encompasses health, to self-defense to mental cultivation.

Taijigong is the art of practicing the above through understanding Yin, Yang and the Whole.


TaijiQuan is just one part of TaijiGong. TaijiGong is the complete system. It includes the external form of TaijiQuan and other Gongs, the internal knowledge in the form (心法), energy work (Qigong 气功) and the philosophical content in the practice.. All these must be done in a systematic way with the knowledge passed down by true lineage Masters of the past.

Without Qigong and the Internal Knowledge, TaijiQuan is just like an empty shell, which can only give you limited benefits.

Many Taijiquan teachers tell students that they only need to do the form correctly, diligently and qi will come automatically. This is an ineffective way of harnessing energy.

These teachers also tell them that Taiji knowledge also comes automatically, through epiphanies and realizations, after years of unquestioning practice. That is untrue and mystifying.

In our traditional yet systematic teachings, Taijigong levels are well-defined. There is a proper structure and steps to help you chart your progress. At every level there are clear aims and objectives, and methods to achieve them. This is the way of learning and teaching in all subjects, not just Taijigong. Most Taiji teachers have forgotten this in their self-mystification and their satisfaction with generalized practice. We have not.

In the Singapore branch under Master Sim Pern Yiau, we are always looking for better ways to practice and teach the student.

At the same time we do not lose the depth and profundity of Qi work. Qi exercise can be abstract. Our strength is in explaining what is abstract. Making it concrete and easier to practice.


*by working holistically – mind, body and energy – self and environment

*by drawing energy from the natural environment, which is unlimited

*by tapping into the Chinese medical knowledge of meridian lines, acupressure-points, internal organs, etc

*by using the modern concept of cells and vibrations to speed up qi-growth

*by combating fatigue and strengthening immunity

*by deep relaxation

*by using low impact yet high workout for the entire body

*by creating stronger self-awareness, balance and coordination

*by “cleansing” the body internally with qi

*and much more…


Our late Grandmaster Wu Tu Nan (吴图南), who passed away without prolonged illness at age 105, learned Taijigong as a lineage-holder disciple of Yang Shao Hou (杨少侯)of the famed Yang Family. He was also a lineage-holder disciple of Wu Jian Quan (吴鉴泉), founder of the Wu-style Taiji. His wife, Mdm Liu Gui Zhen, also practiced Taijigong and lived gracefully to the age of 111.

He had many serious illnesses when young including weak kidneys and liver cirrhosis, and that was why his family sent him to learn Taijigong. Coupled with medical treatment, he got better and finally fully recovered in his late teens. He started a life-long research into this ancient art. He mastered the defence aspects of the art, and also greatly enhanced the Health aspect through his own practice and modern research. He eventually passed away peacefully at the age of 105.

He did not name the Art after himself, but merely called it by its ancient name Taijigong. By direct experience and research he knew that Taijigong knowledge went deeper than the achievements of any particular Taiji family. But when people ask us what kind of Taiji we practice, we call it Wu Tu Nan Taijigong to point to our lineage and to show our gratitude and respect to Grandmaster Wu Tu Nan.

Wu Tu Nan had many students and disciples in his lifetime, but only 3 which he recognized as lineage-holders. One of them is our Founder and Grandmaster, Sim Pooh Ho (沈保和).

If only so few can master it, HOW CAN I LEARN AND BENEFIT FROM IT?

In olden times, few people could gain the full benefits of TaijiGong because there was no established and gradual system of imparting it.

Also, many of the high skills were secret because they might mean the difference between life and death in a fight. But in today’s more peaceful societies where fighting skills have become less important, (or perhaps because guns have become rampant!) it is time to de-mystify the art so that more people can enjoy its full benefits and beauty.

Thus Grandmaster Wu and Grandmaster Sim have gathered their combined experience and established a systematic and progressive training that helps normal people learn the art and benefit effectively, without losing its traditional content.

In Singapore, Master Sim Pern Yiau continues on the path established by them, constantly finding better ways to guide students to better health and Taiji mastery.

The training progresses from Basic Energy to Intermediate Energy to Advanced Energy to Transcendental Energy (式,劲,气,化), with obvious results every step of the way.

Our Contents and Sequence of Progression:

Taiji Yang Sheng Gong (Basic Health Set)

(10-12 weeks)

Qigong for Deep relaxation

12 Meridians Vibrations

Internal Organs and

Major Joints

Taijiquan Foundation 108 + Yang Sheng Gong upgrades

(4-6 months)

Training in the foundation principles of Taiji quan. These includes correct postures, body coordination, qi-flow, centering and balance. Usually learn up to the first or second segment, out of six segments.

Upgrades to the Yang Sheng Gong health training.

Taijiquan Intermediate to Advanced 108

(1 year to unlimited)

Training in one or more of the Complete Traditional Sequences, with step by step addition of Higher Principles. With good foundation it takes only a few months to learn the rest of the 108 form. However, in-depth Taiji practice is not merely the practice of the form, but of deep Yin-yang principles. We call these the 39 principles. They are gradually and systematically introduced over weeks and months. Our Taiji practice passes through 4 large stages, Stance (Gross Energy) to Jing (Intermediate Energy to Qi (Refined Energy) to Hua (Transcendental Energy) (式,劲,气,化)

Further Practice: Taiji Sword and Taiji Sabre

The Sword and the Sabre represents the Yang and the Yin of the weapon forms.

They also heighten certain characteristics that give us more physical benefits. For example, their extension from our bodies guides us to send energy out from our bodies and receive energy back from the environment. They also help us to shape our energies in space. The combined effect is to further enhance our qi field.


Students who practice regularly and who are interested in the deepest and most complete knowledge of Taijigong may apply to be accepted as a disciple and enter our lineage under Master Sim Pern Yiau (Singapore). For most practitioners this option is open to them after after a year of learning. This gives the student and the Shifu time to know each other, as entering disciple-ship should not be taken lightly. Disciples are taught advanced Gongs (energy training) and Tuishou (understanding changes through defence play).

Taijigong Contents

Taijigong in Singapore with Master Pern Yiau

Where to Find Us

Grandmaster Wu Tu Nan

My Taijigong Lineage