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