Shen Yi Qi Fundamentals

 “意氣君來骨肉臣- “Intent and Energy is the Emperor, Bones and Flesh his Ministers”: Wang Zhong Yue, Tai Chi Classics

The single most important, but often neglected aspect of modern Tai Chi practices is learning on how to manipulate the Shen Yi Qi 神意氣.

Shen can be translate as “spirit”. We would prefer to see it as your “True Self”. Yi is “intent”, has two parts. The "true" subconscious thought process expressed by your true self, and the "ordinary" conscious thought process that you are aware of. Qi is the life energy, most probably the result of our complex physiology which still require ongoing scientific research.


As stated by the Tai Chi Classic, the relationship between the Mind and Body is like one between the Emperor and his Ministers. When the Emperor issues a command, his Ministers follow and carry out the order. While the Emperor listens to the Ministers and oversees the running of the country, the Ministers know how to perform necessary tasks and do not require micro-management by the Emperor. The Emperor looks after the Ministry, while the Ministry obeys the Emperor. Without the Emperor the Ministers are lost, and without the Ministry the Emperor cannot carry out his wishes.

From a health aspect, the mind regulates the running of the body, listening to it, guiding it and resolving any conflicts. The body obeys the commands from the mind.

From the combative aspect, the mind becomes fully aware of the capability of the body, commanding it while listening to it, and let the body carries out the tasks it is capable of. This is of particular importance in real fights. Flowery and complex techniques NEVER work in real fights. One must rely on instinctive and natural functions of the well trained mind and body.

This is what we aim for in the Imperial Yang Tai Chi system. Not just empty movements, but the exact methods on utilizing Shen Yi Qi to unite the mind and body to maximize function and harmony.