Home>>The Hand-shape, Eye-focus, Body-movement, Application method, and Footwork of Yang Chengfu's Taijiquan

I. Hand-shape  

Yang zhenji

The fact that hand-shape is put in the first place among the five demonstrates fully its importance. In nearly all the martial arts, the actions are mostly made by hands and the hand is also the major part of the body to attack the opponents in martial art application. The reasonable and accurate shape, action, and location of hand would result in the due effect, otherwise the results of the exercise and application could be negatively influenced. In Yang style Taijiquan, the hand shape is classified to the palm, fist, and hook.

1. Palm
It is required in Yang style Taijiquan that the palm should be performed as all the fingers are stretched naturally a little apart between each of them. The palm is slightly concaved but all the fingers are basically at the same plain level. There are 8 different palm shapes as follows.
A. Erected palm with dorsiflexion of wrist: With the dorsiflexion of wrist the palm faces forward. This hand shape is frequently used for usually the pushing forward action is fulfilled with it, e.g. the pushing palm in "Brush Knee and Twist Step".
B. Erected palm without dorsiflexion of wrist: This type of erected palm includes the front erected palm of which the palm is erected and slightly prone forward with no dorsiflexion of wrist e.g. the front palm in "Step Back and Repulse the Monkey", and the left or right erected palm of which the palm is erected either toward left or right.
C. Sloping palm: The back of the palm is formed like a slope, so the palm is slanted forward and downward e.g. the pushing palm toward the left in "Carry the Tiger to the Montain". This hand shape is used in many cases in Yang style Taijiquan.
D. Supine palm: The palm is placed upward e.g. the palm of pulling back in "High Pat on Horse".
E: Prone palm: The palm is placed downward, e.g. the left palm in "White Crane Spreads Its Wings" and the palm brushing the knee in "Brush Knee and Twist Step".
F. Transverse palm: The palm is placed forward but transversely, e.g. the palm moving up in "White Crane Spreads Its Wings".
G. Inward palm: The root of the palm is moved slightly inward, the double palms in "Turn Around and Kick Horizontally".
H. Dropping palm: The fingers drop downward, e.g. the thrusting palm in "Needle at Sea Bottom".
There are different force points in different palm forms. If the locality of the force points is clearly known, it is helpful to conduct the arrival of Qi and force immediately on the awareness of the mind. For instance, the force point of the "erected palm with dorsiflexion of wrist" is at the whole palm, that of the "transverse palm" is at the ulnar side of the palm, that of the "sloping palm" is at the center of the palm, and that of the prone palm is at either the index finger side or the little finger side. No matter to practice the set form or the push hand, it is very important to grasp the force point. It is required in Yang style Taijiquan that there is always a purpose when to strike with hands, so the striking direction and position of the hands imply the sense of offending and defending, therefore, the pronation and supination and the forward and backward or the left and right movement of hands need to be conducted by mind, so it is not proper to casually use hands to attack out. Taijiquan could not be done in a simple way as that for the gymnastics.
2. Fist
The fists in Yang style Taijiquan is made with fingers flexed toward the center of palm and the thumb pressing the second phalanx of index finger. So the hand is loosely gripped a fist. The fist is used in many actions of Yang style Taijiquan, in addition to the famous five fist striking in Taijiquan, there are other movements such as "Hit the Tiger", "Strike the Opponent's Ears with Both Fists", "Step up to Form a Seven Star", and "Shoot Tiger with Bow".
There are such fist shapes of Yang style Taijiquan as follows.
A. Erected fist: When the fist eye is downward or upward, this is the erected fist, e.g. the one in "Step up, Deflected down, Parry and Punch", and the left and right fists in "Shoot Tiger with Bow".
B. Inward fist: The wrist is moved slightly inward, e.g. both fists in "Strike Opponent's Ears with Both Fists".
C. Supine fist: The heart of fist is upward, e.g. the one in "Chop the Opponent with Fist".
The fist striking of Yang style Taijiquan implies in any case the mind-concentration and force points. For example, the force point of the erected fist is on the surface of the fist, while the one of the supine fist is on the back of the fist.

3. Hook
In Yang style Taijiquan, the hook is made with the tips pf all five fingers got together and dropping down, as the right hook hand in "Single Whip". The force point of hook is at the root of the wrist.

4. The actions of hand
There are large number of actions fulfilled with hand in Yang style Taijiquan, or in another word every movement is fulfilled with hand, such as pulling, pressing, pushing, brushing, parrying, deflecting down, blocking, chopping, waving like cloud, parting, far-reaching, etc. The practice of all the hand actions has its special ways respectively, so the idea in mind should be well concentrated on the practice, attention should especially be paid on the force point. For example, the force point and the mind-concentration of pulling are at the back of left hand and the side of the right little finger; the ones of pressing are at the right wrist, the lateral aspect of the right forearm and the left palm center; and the ones of pushing are at both palms.    >>next

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