Wood

Begin in Wu Chi. Then slowly raise your arms into the position, Holding the Ball (page 13). Take the time to fully relax your chest and the muscles of your upper body.

Fold your hands into loose fists. Your fingertips are a hair's breadth away from your palms. Form an arrowhead on each fist by connecting the pads of your thumbs to the first knuckle of your forefingers.

Adjust the position of your hands so that they level with your chin and nose, one above the other. Do not bring them in too close to your face: always leave a little safety space.

Extend your topmost fist straight forwards, leading with the arrowhead. Then bring that fist back so that it comes under the other one. Then extend forwards with the fist that is now on top.

When you have mastered the correct motion of each arm, try making the movements simultaneously. Bring your extended fist back at the same time as you extend forwards with the other one. Pull your fist back with the same power as you drive forwards with the other.

Once you are familiar with the continuous forward movement, change the position of your feet: turn one foot 45 degrees outwards and step forwards with the other. Look straight ahead and continue extending your arms.

Start slowly. Build up to 30 times. When you are comfortable doing the continuous movement without tensing, practice for as long as you wish.

WOOD

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POWER

Wood Power

Wood Power is the third of the Five Energies. Traditionally, Wood energy is described as expanding, just as a tree grows outwards in all directions, year after year.

In the words of Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai: "Wood is the yielding, yet rooted, power of a tree." This reminds us of the importance of the foundation practices (pages 11-15) that underlie all accomplishment in Da Cheng Chuan: without the deep rooting that develops from the standing practice of Zhan Zhuang, your body's external movements will be without power.

Wood Power draws its strength from the standing practice and then extends straight ahead. It has the force of lightning that streaks across the sky or an axe's blade shearing along a straight beam of timber.

You start to release blows like a volley of straight arrows, one after another in quick succession. Each cuts through the air, straight to its target.

Wood Power is greater than wood itself. It has the unstoppable, cutting speed of a chain saw. The chain is not stiff: your arm is never fully extended. The point of contact is as sharp as a drill: your fist is formed into an arrowhead.

The application of this power in the martial arts is renowned. It also influences the full spectrum of your energy field. Wood Power is resilient. It enables you to take an emotional or physical blow, absorb its impact and bounce back. You are not crushed by failure. Rather, like a tree, you can transform one form of energy into another. Like branches in the wind, you can return again and again. Fully concentrated, this power of the mind is like an archer.

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