Maintain A Low Centre Of Gravity

When you do your tai chi. always allow your weight to sink down. A slight bend to the knees helps to create the typical tai chi appearance, which is somewhat low-slung and stealth-like. This characteristic should be cultivated during all of your work so that the movements Jlow one into the other without bobbing up or down. J'you took closely, you will see that in almost all of the stances shown in this book, the knees have a considerable bend to them.

Twisting

With your fvel and knees wide apart, gently twist your body from side to side, allowing your arms to relax and swing around as yon turn. The movements come from the centre of the body, not from the shoulders alarms. Relax your shoulders, and let your arms go very loose, so that they wind around your body as you turn. Increase the size of the rotation by raising the opposite heel each time (your feel remain in the same position - you simply transfer your weight as you twist). All the while, make...

Holding The Ball

When learning many of Ihe tai chi morements it is often helpful to visualize a hall being held in rations ways between your hands, litis ensures a good energy connection between the palms which, in time, you will begin to fee Of course, the ball itself does not always hare to be strictly spherical in shape sometimes it becomes stretched or compressed, and at iilhein small or large. Ibis principle of communication between the hands and arms continues throughout almost ihe entire form.

Introducing Narrow Stances

In this section we meet with the narrow stances seepage 14 in which most of the weight goes into the rear leg, with either the heel or the toes of the front foot in light contact with the ground. The focus here, therefore, is on developing greater balance, both physically and mentally. Narrow stances are also an excellent preparation for the kicking sequences that occur later in the form. The name Play Guitar is one which is best not taken too literally. Anyone who has euer playecl this...

Warmup Exercises

Warm Exercises

I is always a good idea to do some warm-up exercises before your tai chi if your joints are loose and your muscles warmed beforehand you will get the maximum benefit from the tai chi itself. Also, if you are working outdoors, especially in cool weather, warming up ensures that you are less likely to strain your muscles or get cramp. So here is an outline for a brief warm-up session consisting of seven simple exercises which should take no more than a couple of minutes to perform altogether. You...

Private Classes

Smaller organizations or even single teachers working in the field of oriental medicine - of which there are a good many, including the author of this book - can be located through the local press or. again, via advertisements in health and fitness magazines. Some may also run classes at Adult Learning or Education Centres, or through any number of arts or therapy organizations. For example Robert Parry School of Tai Chi and Body Encrgetics I'O Box 110 Faversham Kent ME13 9QA England Lawrence...

Cupping The Elbow

'Ibis is a configuration that appears quite often in rations guises throughout the tai cbiform. Here, you do not literally cup or support the elbow in any physical sense rather, the palm is a good distance from the elbow itself, and roughly in line with the vita centre of your body situated in your abdomen in China this is known as Abe Tan Tien and in Japan as the I lara see also overleaf . The Jhigers of the lower hand are always relayed, while the top hand can be either flat in shape, as...

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Step around to the east with your left heel and bend your knee. As soon as the weight returns to your left side, pivot on your right heel to adjust your back foot to a comfortable position. Meanwhile, your left hand rotates to point the lingers outwards. It should lx- lined up with the left side of the chest see step 56 for front view . The crane's beak remains a continual focus of energy. 'J A Breathe Out Z- J With most of your weight now in your right side, raise your left heel and pivot on...

Step Forward Heel First

Always step forward making contact with the beelfirst see right , and not the toes sec left . Conversely, when yott step hack your toes should make contact first. this ensures a smooth action and is. in fact, the way the legs like to unbend naturally, with the least number of adjustments among the joints. Also, after any step forward always be ready to adjust the back foot to a comfortable position by piloting a little on the hack heel if your beel will not turn, and you can only pil ot on the...

Local Classes

For inexpensive and usually quite adequate introductory classes, try your local Adult Learning or Education Centre, as well as any local sports or leisure centres in your area. These will be listed in your local phone directory, or can Ik' found through your local library. ESTABLISHED, NATIONAL-BASED TAI CHI SCHOOLS These usually revolve around the work of one prominent master or teacher, and will provide good quality tuition to those who show a genuine interest and are willing to practise on a...

Turning The Wheel

Squat down on one side only, stretching the other leg straight as you go. Imagine thai your hands are holding an imaginary wheel as you squat down, with your palms held out. relaxed and wide- not tense - and with lots of space between your arms and your body. Try to J'eel the work along your inside leg. Repeat this movement as desired. Then pause, bring your weight into your other foot and repeat the same number of times on the other side.