Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons



Yang Style Long Form

Tai Chi Chuan


This Lesson Contains:

Movement # 38 – Single Whip

   Here again is our old friend, Single Whip. It is the third repetition of this movement. In the Long Form, Wave Hands Like Clouds is repeated three times and is preceded and followed by a Single Whip. As I stated before, in most people’s forms, each Single Whip is done in the same way. I have strived to make my form more interesting and effective as a learning tool. In doing so, the form has become more complicated, and for that I apologize.

This is an interesting application for Single Whip. I visualize two different opponents. I deal with one and then the other. John will play two parts in this movement.

The first part of this movement does not necessarily follow the end of Clouds Hands. I am attacked from the front with a left punch. I neutralize it to my left and attack John’s ribs with my right hook hand.

I am then attacked from my left with a right arm punch to my face. This is neutralized to the left, and I deliver a left palm strike to the opponent’s face.

Both of these applications involve the opponent being open after I have neutralized the attack, so I have to deal with the attack in a different way then I would have if I had closed him up with the neutralize.


John punches my center with a left hand strike. I join, and stick to the inside of his wrist with the back of my left wrist.

Following the last Clouds Hands, the weight sinks deeper into the left leg and the right foot rolls up onto the toe.

The torso turns slightly to the left and the hands come into left center position. The left palm is by the left side of the chest and the right hand is relaxed down in front of the crotch.

Focus on the left palm for joining with opponent’s energy.

This is a difficult position. I have neutralized John’s energy, but notice that he is open to attack me with his right hand. My right foot is ready to attack or block, as is my right arm.




I pull slightly to uproot John and step in getting ready to attack back.

The only change here is the stepping straight forward with the right foot to north. Be sure not to narrow the stance when stepping, as the energy will be going from left to right and you will need a good solid brake on the right side.

Be mindful that the step with the right foot and the uprooting pull happen as you sink deeper into the left leg and turn slightly to the left.

Focus on the left palm for pulling and the right foot for proper placement.




I attack John’s ribs with the back of my right hand with a whipping motion.

Shift the weight onto the right foot, and at the same time, turn the torso until the body faces slightly to the left of north.

The left hand pulls down and back to the left and ends by the left waist. The right hand makes the hook hand and comes up to the center of the chest on the right side. The back of the hand faces outward. Keep the shoulders and elbows drooped.

Focus on the left palm for pulling and the right hook hand for striking.

When coming out from center position, be sure to expand outward with both hands equally, like pulling a large rubber band apart. This is Lieh Jing (splitting energy). The twisting of the torso forward and to the right whips the right hand to the right.




I have dealt with the first attack. There is now another threat from the left side.   My body relaxes into center position and I get ready for whatever is going to happen.

The torso turns slightly to the left while keeping all the weight on the right foot. The left foot is released and can roll up onto the toe to get ready to be of use. The hands relax into right center position.

Focus the energy on returning it to the center.






John attacks with a right fist to my face. I block it to the left. This is an example of what is known as a blocking strike, the block and the follow through happen at the same time.

The weight remains on the right foot. The left foot steps out, touching the heel down and faces west.

The left arm is brought up and ends up at shoulder level on the left side of the centerline. The left palm faces the right side. Keep the elbow drooped. The right hook hand rotates to end with the fingers facing down.

Focus on the left wrist to block.

The block and the next part of the movement happen as a single flow. The strike comes in; I block, step, and strike simultaneously.




The follow through, a palm strike to the face.

The weight shifts to the left foot until the knee just covers the toe. The torso turns to the left to end up facing west. The right foot toe turns in, pivoting on the heel.

The left palm rotates to face west. Keep the shoulders and elbows drooped. The right hook hand remains and points north. There is an internal pulling apart of the two arms for balance.

Focus on the left palm for striking and the left hand for Duei La or balance.

I don’t have much time after my block because John is still open and can strike easily with his left arm. I therefore block and strike at the same time. Blocking strikes are used very effectively when you are inside opponent’s guard.




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