The Early Moves

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The early movements of the form are all about developing balance and becoming aware of your own personal space. Wide 70/30 stances feature heavily throughout this section, so always keep in mind those "railway lines', mentioned on page 14 - your feet should be shoulder-width apart when you step, regardless of any length between one foot and the other.

Preparation

Master Cheng Man-cb ing (/escribed Ibis posture ets representing the primordial state of the universe, the great 7at Chi' before il separates into the polarities ofyctng and yin. It becomes, therefore, a moment of meditation, with the whole body feeling relaxed and natural.

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1 Breathe In

Face south to begin, your hack straight and shoulders relaxed. Make sure that you are not leaning forwards or backwards, or to one side. Your hips should be level and your arms should hang loosely by your sides rather than being pressed close to your body. Keep your bottom tucked in. and your neck straight by lucking in your chin a little. Then, slowly, empty your weight from your left side and allow your left foot to lift and then slide out to the left.

2 Breathe Out Set your left foot down shoulder-width from your right with your toes pointing south, then adjust your right toes to also point south just before allowing your weight to settle evenly into both feet. Relax and imagine your weight sinking down. Keep your back straight, not leaning forward, not leaning back. Think of the plumb line (seepage 16). and allow your spine to hang perfectly vertically, as if it were suspended from above.

Opening

Those who work long horns at keyboards will realize the importance of these next relatively simple movements, because tense hands and fingers tend to tremble when yon move them slowly. This humble little sequence is in fact a valuable relaxation exercise for the fingers and wrist joints.

Tai Chi Self Defense Techniques

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