Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons
Yang Style Long Form
Tai Chi Chuan
This Lesson Contains:
Movement # 22 – Fist Under Elbow
This is one of the most complex and interesting movements in the form. I have broken it down into several little pieces so you can see some of the possibilities for application. Keep in mind that this, and all Tai Chi movements, is performed in a slow and continuous fashion.
My opponent attacks from my left side with her left arm. I join and neutralize this strike to the left, step behind her, and throw her over my leg. This movement has the feeling of spinning to the left. It clearly illustrates the principle of going with the energy of the opponent. I follow her striking energy to the left, add a bit of a pull which makes her want to retreat, and use her retreating energy to throw her over my leg.
This is the transition from Push into Fist Under Elbow. There are possible applications for this transition, but for now, just think of it as coming into center position from Push.
Shift the weight straight back into left foot sit stance. As you do this, the hands relax until they are parallel to the ground. Keep the elbows drooped. Do not lean back. Use the Kua.
When the weight is all on the left foot, turn the torso to the left until the body faces slightly to the right of north. The right toe has turned in to face the same direction. Keep all the weight on the left foot. Do not let the left foot roll to the outside. The right leg should be straight, without stiffness. Arms follow the body as it turns.
Focus on the bringing the energy to the center.
I have now arrived at center position and am waiting to see what my opponent is going to do.
Shift the weight onto the right foot. There is no foot movement at this stage in the form. The left foot is not weighted and can pivot on the toe so the leg faces more towards the opponent.
As the weight shifts, bring the left arm down to the front of the crotch and let the right arm fold until the right palm faces the opponent (your left).
Keep the focus of energy in the center.
The opponent strikes with her left hand and I join with it, starting to lead it to the left, closing her up. I am starting to step behind her.
This foot movement is a bit tricky. Keeping the weight on the right foot, lift up the left foot and replace it to the front and left side of the right foot. The toe faces to the west. Do not place any weight on the foot yet. Keep the weight down. You could kick with the left foot at this time.
As you replace the left foot, the right hand presses or floats straight down the right side of the body, while the left arm gently arcs upward to end up facing the left side of the chest. The hands are similar to Ward Off Left position.
Focus on the back of the left wrist for joining and the right palm for balance.
I continue to lead Anna to the left, and at the same time step behind her and grab her shirt (the fist part of Fist Under Elbow).
Shift the weight onto the left foot; roll up the right heel onto the toe for stability and mobility. Step forward with the right foot, touching down the heel. The right foot heel is on a line with the left foot toe and faces half way between north and west. Shift the weight onto the left foot until the knee just covers the toe.
As you step, the left arm continues moving to the left at upper chest level with the palm turning to face down (grabbing to pull). The right arm has circled up to end up in front of the right shoulder. When it has reached shoulder level, make a fist.
Focus on the left palm for pulling and the right fist for grabbing.
The opponent is thrown backward over my left leg.
The weight stays on the right foot and the left leg is stepped forward into Ding Bow On Heel. Be careful to keep the right knee over the toe and not let the knee collapse inward. The body and left foot face west.
The right fist is brought inward to end up facing down and inward in front of the center. The left arm circles down by the left side with the palm facing inward and the fingers facing forward. It then pokes forward to end up on the left side of the center of the chest. The feeling was as if you were drawing a pistol on the left side of your waist and shooting forward.
Focus on the right fist to pull down, and the left arm/hand to push or strike. Also, you must be careful where you place your left leg.