Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons
Yang Style Long Form
Tai Chi Chuan
This Lesson Contains:
Movement # 20 – Carry Tiger to the Mountain (The Beginning of the Second Section)
We now start the second section of the Long Form. The first section presented the basic principles and energies of Tai Chi Chuan in a fairly straightforward manner. The second section adds variation and complexity and contains most of the foot kicks. It is the most challenging of the three sections. The third section will add more variations then wind down. I look forward to sharing the interesting and varied movements of this section.
Carry Tiger to the Mountain is a fairly simple movement. Partner attempts to kick me from the right side. I step in, grab her leg, and push her off balance. It could also be called Right Brush Knee.
Note about blocking foot kicks: Foot kicks are a powerful, yet risky martial art tool. A leg can deliver much more force then an arm, but in order to kick, one must be standing on one leg and can easily be thrown off balance. In reality fighting competitions, kicks are rarely thrown, and when they are, the kicker’s leg is most often grabbed and the kicker thrown to the ground. In Tai Chi, most of the foot kicks are directed toward the lower parts of the body in order to make them difficult to block.
This movement illustrates the Tai Chi way of blocking kicks to the center of the body; that of stepping inside the kick and grabbing the leg.
My partner in the next few movements is Anna Bachmann (also known as Tough Guy).
This picture illustrates the ending position for Cross Hands, movement #19, and the end of section one.
Don’t forget that there is more weight on the left foot even if it doesn’t appear that way. I do that so my next move to the right will be easy.
The opponent is on my right side. I move into center, or ready position. I am waiting to see what Anna is going to do.
In the form, I sink my weight into my left leg and start to open my pelvis to the right side by pivoting on the right toe. I want to be able to kick or block with my right leg if needed so it is important to get the right knee facing the opponent.
The right arm starts to drop down to protect my center by pivoting at the elbow. The left arm stays up to protect my upper body as well as stay in position to deliver the power. My left side is now the power side since my weight is compressed into the left leg.
Focus the energy into the center.
Anna kicks towards my waist with her left leg. I step in and grab her leg near the knee.
In the form, the right hand brushes the knee at the same time as the right heel touches the ground. Do not put any weight onto the right foot yet. The right brushing hand faces inward (fingers down), or slightly to the right side as if grabbing. Keep the left hand up by the left shoulder to protect the upper body. The body has opened, and the heel has touched down, slightly to the right of east. Don’t forget that the directions relate to calling your starting direction north even if it wasn’t.
Be careful not to lean forward with the upper body while grabbing the leg, as this will make your upper body an easy target for a punch from the opponent.
Focus on the right hand to grab.
The movement is completed as I push Anna off balance with my left hand.
In the form, I shift the weight onto the right foot until the knee just covers the toe, and at the end of the shift, turn in the left toe by pivoting on the heel. The body faces slightly to the right of east.
The right hand has pivoted at the wrist to face downward by the side of the right thigh. The slight movement of the right wrist from palm facing inward to palm facing downward is important for balancing the outward energy of the left pushing hand.
The left hand ends up on the left center side of the chest/shoulder with the elbow drooped. Feel the line of energy from the left foot to the left palm.
Focus on the left palm to push and the right hand to pull in.