T'ai Chi Neigong

San Ti Shi

三體勢 or 三体势


The stance known as San Ti Shi, Three Bodies Posture, Heaven Earth Man Posture or Trinity Posture is a foundation stance in the internal martial art Xing Yi Quan. This stance develops core strength, a well aligned and elongated spine and strong "roots" (legs and feet).


We use this stance to practice Zhan Zhuang ("standing pole") meditation as the platform for our internal (Neigong) work.

1. Characteristics
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The kness are slightly bent and in line with the feet. Weight distribution is 70% back, 30% front. Press your front foot forward and down, press your rear foot straight down.

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The back is relaxed but straight and the shoulders are dropped and positioned over the kua (hips). The neck is straight, the chin is tucked in.

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The front arm is extended but not locked. The other arm presses gently below the waist, the base of the rear thumb aligns with the navel. Separate the fingers and stretch both thumbs away from the palm to form the tiger's mouth (hu kou).

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Breathe normally observing your breath entering your lungs, refreshing your body and being expelled. As you progress you can start to breath using abdominal (Dan Tian) technique.

2. Alignments and harmonies
Body alignments

Body alignments

  • Hands and rear heel align at 45°
  • Index finger, nose and front foot align
  • Head, neck, back and rear heel align
Three external harmonies

Three external harmonies (外三合)

  • The hands harmonise with the feet
  • The elbows harmonise with the knees
  • The shoulders harmonise with the hips

Three internal harmonies (內三合)

  • The heart harmonises with the intent
  • The intent harmonises with the qi
  • The qi harmonises with the movement
3. Getting into position -Sun Style
Getting into position alignments

The Sun Style technique for getting into San Ti Shi, which is based on Shanxi Shi Xing Yi Quan.

4. Footwork
Foot alignments
  • Standard stance - three feet lengths
  • Martial stance - three and one half feet lengths
  • Rear foot at 45°, with a half to one fist width between feet
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Students in one of our Sunday classes practicing San Ti Shi.