Lohan hands: Lifting the sky (for vitality), pushing mountains (internal force) and carry the moon (long life)
Standing qigong (Structural integration, internal alignment, centeredness and stillness)
One finger shooting zen (internal force and resilience)
Tai chi chuan
37-step short form (set of continuous postures) - Cheng Man-ch’ing Yang Style tai chi chuan or taijiquan. The main objective of this practice is to grasp the tai chi principle and to cultivate it at a deep level. The postures benefit health by balancing the mind and body.
The purpose of this practice is to apply the tai chi principle while interacting with a partner. This practice develops your ability to sense your partner’s balance, an awareness of your own centredness, the ability to yield, to follow your partner to a point of strength, and to apply soft power.
Sticky hands sparring
Similar to push hands with strikes added.
Tai chi boxing
The purpose of this practice is to apply the tai chi principle while moving freely, delivering and defending strikes and kicks against a partner or on a bag. This practice develops timing, spacing, positioning and application, all of which build confidence.
All practice is followed by chi flow (Swaying Willows in the Breeze). This practice releases any tension that may have built up during the practice. This is where clearing of blockages takes place. Chi flow spreads the benefits of the practice throughout the body, accelerating learning and health benefits.
The chi flow is immediately followed by standing meditation. This practice concentrates the chi in the body to the level of the cells and bone marrow. This is where sustained health benefits and internal cultivation are attained.
37 Step Tai Chi Form
About the Tai Chi form
Tai chi was originally developed by combining kung fu combative techniques with chi kung exercises. These techniques were then practiced to cultivate chi (internal energy). Chi kung is the art of managing one’s energy to achieve good health and internal strength.
Wuji is the natural state occurring before one begins practising the form. Start by smiling from the heart. This calms the emotions, releases tension and initiates a chi kung state of mind (calm & relaxed).
What does this mean? The mind is without thought. The intent is without motion. The eyes are without focus. The hands and feet are still. The body makes no movement. Yin and yang are not yet divided. The chi is united and undifferentiated.
Moving from Wuji stance, yin and yang become apparent. Breathe naturally and without sound. The body remains upright; do not lean forward, backward, or to the sides. All movement is led from the waist and the strength returns inward. The intent leads the chi as the waist maintains a downward pressing energy. The feet feel the press of gravity as the dantian (the area below the navel) gathers.
When the arms rise the body will have a natural internal rising (lightness) and as they sink the body concentrates heaviness. Both rising and falling of the arms press through the feet.
The head presses upward. The shoulders remain relaxed. The heart is smiling and empty. The chi flows and sinks to the dantian, and the structure of the body presses down through the feet. All structures are stacked above the feet.
When in the postures, the body has a feeling of sitting (like a semi squat) while maintaining an overall lightness and agility.
Remain in one. The body is integrated; there is agreement between feet, waist and arms. The mind is settled as the spirit leads the body. There is motion without effort. The opposite of being in one is to be double weighted. Double weighted is when part of the body bears weight to the ground independent of the feet. This can be done by leaning or the weight is thrown ahead while stepping. The less apparent way of being double weighted is when the arms or any structure’s weight do not fall through the body to the feet. To be in one, the weight of all body structures must be redirected to bear down through the feet to the ground.
The practice of internal martial arts is based upon the balance of opposite movements and flows of intent.
These are some of the points to bear in mind when practicing the form, to grasp the principle of tai chi.