Angus Clark: Single Whip contains some lovely centrifugal and centripetal forces and the key to playing this posture well lies in allowing your spine to rotate freely and understanding which side of your body your balance needs to be in at any one time. In other words, keep it really simple. And if you think you’ve managed that then see if you can simplify it further! Single Whip occurs five times in the Cheng Man-Ching form acting as marker and notifying a change in mood in the form.
Angus Clark: "This excellent little section of form sees two plays of the key move Brush Left Knee and Push, with Play Guitar neatly sandwiched in between.
Brush Knee and Push along with Waving Hands in Clouds and Repulse Monkey make up the 3 key moves that my teacher Dr. Chi Chiang-Tao used to encourage me to practice on their own, out of the form. They can all be played with or without stepping, left side and right side and between them cover moving forward, backward and sideways.
Brush Knee and Push, with it’s crossover coordination between left leg and right arm is excellent for coordinating the left and right sides of the body. I think that this process also balances the left and right sides of your brain.
When you step with your left leg make sure that your pelvis is facing the diagonal and focus your mind clearly forwards. Secondly, allow your elbows complete freedom of movement so that they are free to fold and unfold with no resistance.
In Play Guitar make sure that you sit down (not up) as you move forward into the left leg. The other thing to work on is getting the coordination of your left arm rising as your weight moves back into the right side to finish; and see if you can get the heel to drop into place at the same time as the arms finish moving and the weight completes its journey into the rear right leg."
Angus Clark: This is a tremendous posture: it feels strong and powerful when you play it right and the way that you are required to move (turning and stepping) develops very good body coordination and balance.
Remember that the power in tai chi comes from the legs so let them do the work, keeping the arms, shoulders and fist soft and relaxed. In this way you develop the wonderful tai chi qualities of softness and strength.
Withdraw and Push
In this posture it’s really good to get the feel of the solid fist of ‘punch’ emptying. An image I like is dandelion seeds in the wind. This is like dissolving to nothing, neutralizing in martial terms. However, the nuts and bolts for this posture lie in the turning of the hips and the timing of the balance, which stays forward in the front leg as you release the fist and turn to the left. The balance only moves into the rear leg as you turn back to the right, emptying before the push.
In Crossing Hands you want to get a final shape that is soft, round, solid, contained and comfortable. Then have in your mind a feeling of radiating energy outwards that comes all the way up through your body from your feet.
Although the feet are in the parallel stance, the balance of the body is more in the left side (vertical axis) something like 60:40
"Welcome to Living Movement. If you are interested in learning tai chi or qigong, or in applying tai chi or qigong in a specific way, you’ve come to the right place! Week by week, we post videos of each of the movements in the tai chi short form, as well as qi gong exercises. The Tai Chi short form videos were directed by Annabel Allison, with music by Tom Green. We hope you enjoy them. We're
"Welcome to Living Movement. If you are interested in learning tai chi or qigong, or in applying tai chi or qigong in a specific way, you’ve come to the right place! Week by week, we post videos of each of the movements in the tai chi short form, as well as qi gong exercises. The Tai Chi short form videos were directed by Annabel Allison, with music by Tom Green. We hope you enjoy them. We're based in Chagford, Devon, UK and work locally, nationwide and in Europe. If you’d like to get in touch then you are most welcome - just send us a message. Ever since starting to study tai chi and qigong in 1981 I have been inspired by the simplicity, practicality and beauty of its principles and recognise the tremendous potential in applying these to real life. Living Movement has evolved as part of my own journey and as a way to help you to explore, expand and apply these fabulous principles of movement and mindfulness" - Angus Clark
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