Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tai Chi Palm

I practice Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun. Trying to preserve an aspect of this incredibly valuable and complex art cannot be easily done with words. Currently it is not a part of my students studies and as I continue to modify my art for my condition I still wish to preserve some aspects of this art especially as palm strikes are found in my arts.
This is my instructor ,Ernest Rothrock  Laoshi, demonstrates a basic Tai Chi exercise, the Palm Press. This is one of a series of Tai Chi Warm-up Drills Rothrock Laoshi uses to prepare for the Tai Chi workout.
“The exhale is on the strike and the inhale is on the setup before the palm. We do a basic palm strike in class to work on the actual hand expression.  As you know, Tai Chi is rooted in the feet, directed by the waist and expressed with the hands. Many practitioners do not even know about hand expression and have what we call dead strike (which just means "no action").”

“To do the basic palm with the hand expression, start with both hands at your sides with the shoulders and arms relaxed. Stand with the feet about shoulder distance apart and have both knees slightly bent to make sure the weight is centered.”

1. Raise one arm up keeping the arm straight and inhale. Keep the fingers pointed forward.

2. When the arm reaches slightly above shoulder height, bent the elbow down and bring the hand in while keeping the fingers pointed forward.

3. Bring the arm all the way in to your body, but keep the arm in front of you... do not bring the arm over to the side of your body. Keep the wrist bent so the fingers pointed forward.  Do not curl the fingers.

4. Exhale and push the hand forward.  Keep the fingers pointed forward as you are extending the arm.

5. About 2 inches or so before you reach full extension, flex the fingers back so they are pointed up.

6. Drop the arm back down to your side and relax and release. Then do the other side.

I would add you slow your breathing as you progress to each subsequent cycle. You time your breath to the strike and retreat of the technique. The breathing is as important as the movement.

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