Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons



Yang Style Long Form

Tai Chi Chuan


This Lesson Contains:

Movement # 59 – Grasp The Bird’s Tail  (Roll Back, Press Forward, Push)

This is the same sequence that followed the first carry Tiger To Mountain; only here I give it a different application. Following the Carry Tiger application of pushing the opponent to the right, he tries to recover his balance. I follow his energy as it retreats backwards. He again tries to recover, so I follow his energy, this time adding a strike (Press). I use a separate movement for Push – that of neutralizing down and following with a push forward. This entire sequence is done with the two feet staying in the same position.


At the end of Carry Tiger, I was pushing Yoshi away. I now bring up my right hand, ready to follow his retreat.

The stance remains the same. I turn the torso a bit more to the right and bring up the right hand, about shoulder height. The palm faces to the left.  The left hand relaxes from the push and is ready for what comes next.

Focus on the right hand.

Note: This movement application relies on Yoshi trying to escape backwards after having been pushed to the right. If he kept moving to the right, this application wouldn’t work according to Tai Chi principles. In this picture, which is hard to see, I place my right hand on his face or neck.





I now Roll Back, taking Yoshi farther then he wants to go. He is off balanced again, now to the rear.

The weight shifts back onto the left foot and the torso turns to the left until it points in the same direction as the left toe.

The right arm follows the torso at the same level. The left hand moves down to the waist level, turning the palm to face upwards.

Focus on the right arm rolling back.

Note: If I added Fa Jing (releasing energy) to this movement, I could easily hurt Yoshi’s neck. As it is, I’m just following and adding just a slow, steady pressure.





I now Press, squeezing Yoshi’s head between my two hands. It is easy to snap the neck if not done carefully.

The weight shifts back onto the right foot and the torso turns until it faces the right toe.

The left hand circles up by the left side of the chest and faces the right wrist, which has dropped parallel to the ground.

Focus on the two palms squeezing together.

Note: You can’t see it in this picture, but my right palm is still on Yoshi’s face. The two palms are squeezing together, which makes balance a problem for the opponent.





This part of the sequence doesn’t follow the preceding ones. Here Yoshi grabs me with two hands.

In the form, at the end of Press, the two hands separate and end up extended forward with the palms facing down. Don’t lean forward or extend the arms too straight to the front.

Focus on relaxing.






I retreat and disengage from Yoshi’s grip, pulling him down and in, upsetting his balance.

Shift the weight straight back. Do not turn the torso.

In the form, the two hands just move back and slightly down to end in front of the waist. Don’t let the elbows get behind the torso.

Focus on the two palms.

Note: In the application, the two hands would come up, as in Commencement, and attach to the opponent’s elbows from the bottom. The forearms would then circle outward, ending with the palms on top of the opponent’s elbows. At this point, you could then pull down on the elbows to upset the balance of the opponent. It is important to work this application on the elbows to gain more control.





As the opponent tries to escape backwards, I follow with a push.

Shift the weight onto the right foot until the knee just covers the toe. The two arms extend until almost straight. Be sure not to lock your elbows, and do not lean forward.

Focus on the two palms expressing the energy generated by the legs moving forward.





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