Below are detailed instructions for the opening movements of the Yang Cheng Ming transmission of the Yang Family Tai Chi Form.
Yang Cheng Ming Tai Chi Chuan
A Yang Family Tai Chi Master’s Instruction Manual
Yu Bei Shr
Raising the Power
Yang Family Tai Chi Master Robert Morningstar
Below is a detailed description of the opening movements of the Yang Family Short Form Tai Chi Form of the late Grandmaster, Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing, to whom this book is dedicated.
Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing
This manual is written for those Tai Chi adepts who wish to Master the ancient art of Tai Chi Ch’uan.
Start by facing in a direction designated “North”
1. Compose yourself in this manner. Stand still with your feet touching at the heel. Face toward the North, standing quietly, with a 45 degree (45*) angle formed between your feet.
Imagine 3 parallels lines passing horizontally through
a. The eyes and ears, which are held level on the horizon
b. The plane across the shoulders
c . The horizontal plane of the hips
“The Supernal Form”
The Wang Form
A Simple and Precise Definition of The Wang Form
The Sign of the King
Top – Plane of the Eyes & Ears
Middle – The Plane of the Shoulders
Bottom -The Plane of the Hips
To Be Maintained Always Parallel to Each Other
Align the center point of the forehead (The 3rd Eye) along a central line passing through the nose, the tip of the chin, the sternum (Heart Chakra – Jung Syin), the navel (Dan Tien) and the public bone (the pubic symphasis).The body should held erect, with the spine extended upward with no hollows (like a long bow). The body should feel suspended from above, as if being held hanging from above by an invisible string or a silver chord attached to the Crown of the Head.
The eyes and ears should be maintained parallel to the horizon; always looking forward, with both eyes centered and leveled on the horizon. The eyes should be open but held slightly veiled, sometimes described as, held at “half shade.”
The body’s weight should be divided 50/50 into both feet, while maintaining a clear and steady weight distribution of 70/30 in each foot (70% in “The Bubbling Well” point<aka the ball & toes of the foot, with residual 30% lightly touching in the heels.)
This is the simplest, most concise and most precise definition of the geometric alignments and proportions of The Wang Form, the core principle and cornerstone of Yang Cheng Ming Tai Chi Ch’uan.
These core principles of The Wang Form are to be maintained at all times.
These principles contain the essence of “The Tai Chi Form.”
With Heels of the Feet Touching @ a 45 degree angle
with 70% of the weight concentrated in the Balls of the feet
and 30% of the weight in the heels.
2. Keep the spinal column upright and erect.
3 Stand with heels touching, forming a V-shape of 45 degrees.
70% Right Foot Wt.\ 22.5* | 22.5*/ 70% Left Foot Wt.
\ | /
30% Heel Wt. o|o 30% Heel Wt.
Stand with the Feet at a 45* (degree) angle
(22.5 * + 22.5*)
with Heels touching lightly.
4. Place 70% of your weight in the balls of the feet. The heels should touch each other and rest light on the ground with remaining 30% of the body weight at rest.
Beginning Tai Chi
Yu Bei Shr
Opening the Form
5. Begin by flexing and bending the Right ankle deeply, as you bend the Right knee as you shift your center line to the right side, moving your tail bone sideways until it is directly above the right calf and over the right foot.
Sink all your weight (100%) into the right foot with 70% in the ball of the foot (Bubbling Well point) and only 30% in the heel.
6. As you shift your weight to the right side, turn the hips and torso to the right exactly 22.5 degrees, leaving the left ball and toes on the ground as pivot points.
The heel of the left foot will naturally follow the motion of the hip turn and it will swivel out 22.5 degrees (pivoting on the left toes) and thereby bringing the left foot to point North. See Figure 3 below.
Allow the left heel drift away using gravity to extend the left leg sideways, parting the foot to a shoulder width distance away from the standing and planted right foot.
Toe Pivot| | <22.5* / Toe Swivel
<22.5* o Heel Swivel o Heel Pivot
7. Let the left leg extend sideways to a shoulder-width distance, with heel leading the toes out, and now pointing straight ahead (North).
o (Heel) o (22.5* Heel pivot)
8. Shift 100% of your weight into the left foot by shifting the pubic bone to the left using gravity to slide sideways until the pubic bone is centered over the left foot.
9. After shifting weight to the left foot completely (100%), turn the hips to the left, pivoting the right foot ON The HEEL (0) to the left for 22.5* until all the toes of the foot are pointing North.
Swing your hips back to the middle, with the body facing North and with the body weight divided and distributed as before.
10. The teeth should be held together, without clenching the jaw, touching lightly and the tongue should be rolled backwards or pressed lightly against the upper palate.
| <Shoulder Width> |
| <Shoulder Width> |
10. When you have completed the turn and corrected the alignment of each foot to point each directly to North, form and hold your arms in a shape like a horseshoe shape and take a deep breath.
Inflate your body like a balloon until you swell up in the shoulders and the armpits.
Raising The Power
11. As you exhale, notice that the shoulder release naturally sinking as the air departs your upper body.
At that moment, let the arms fall inward like 2 pendulums until your hands are over your feet (aligning the middle finger of each hand with the middle toe) of the corresponding foot,
Without loosing the momentum of the fall, . and then move them forward, as you take a deep breath, let the wrist flow forwards impelled by the weight of the elbows’ drop, as they roll in and turn down to hang for a moment pointing downward raising both hands (palm down) wrists lip, and timed to arrive at shoulder level, to level out with a small flexion of the wrist allow the hands to float up to the wrist level, ending the movement with the hands horizontal and floating like a lotus leaf on a pond.
Time the rising of the hands to horizontal position to coincide with ONE FULL Breath from the time the wrists begin to move forward (above) to Inflate your whole body, once again like a balloon).
12. Exhale as you allow your elbows to fall evenly and smoothly downward and backwards, drawing the hands back toward the shoulders as you do so, maintaining hands horizontal for as long as possible.
Do NOT allow the elbows to ride back behind the ribs. In fact, turn the elbows outwardly on each side before the reach the rib cage, keeping them forward of the rib cage as both arms return to the “Bow Back” and “Horseshoe Arm” position.
13. As you swing the elbows down and out alongside the rib cage, allow the hands to sink like parachutes through the air as long as possible, as the elbows are unhinged evenly to allow the forearms to fall and spread apart as if sinking through water.
Sink your body weight into your feet, riding gravity as the motive force, as you take a deep breath, filling your lungs with air, again like a balloon, until the hands are down, suspended by your sides, with hands, wrists and fingers loosely dangling.
“The Beautiful Lady’ Hand.”
The curvature of the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers at the beginnng and the end of Preparation Posture (Yu Bei Shr) and Raising the Power (Ji Shr) should conform in curvature to “The Beautiful Lady’ Hand.”
Ward OFF Right
14. Bend the left ankle, flex the left knee maintaining the kneecap over the middle bone in your foot (The 3rd metatarsal) as if you were riding on an ice skate blade).
Shift weight using gravity (by relaxing your legs and drifting/sliding your tail bone sideways, shifting completely to the Left side until your tail bone is directly over your foot and 100% of your weight is centered on the left foot, weight distributed with 70% in the ball of the foot and only 30% of the weight in the heels.
<Note: This 70/30 weight distribution in invariable throughout the form, except when spinning on the heel during certain prescribed moves. Details later.>
15, Turn the hips to the right 45*, swiveling/pivoting on the right heel, turning your right foot 90* (degrees) to the right.
16. Relax the right ankle, allowing the right foot to fall on the floor flatly, then gradually and slowly shift 100% of your weight into your right foot by shifting your tail bone to a position over the center of your right foot.
17. When you do this, your left heel will move naturally with you and the motion will swing the left heel in to realign your left foot to pivot on the toe 22.5 degrees to the left. Release the toe hold”and let gravity swing the left leg under you by bending the knee to swing the heel in using pendular motion to let it fall alongside the right right heel to finish with the feet touching lightly at the heels and the feet angled at 45* as in the beginning position.
18. When your heels come together, your body should be in a position identical to the beginning posture.
19. The Tai Chi student or adept can now repeat the entire sequence described above repeatedly in a “loop” several times in a row so as to master the movements, and to derive the benefits of circulating the “Ch’i (life force) through the meridian system while learning the meaning of “maintaining perfect alignment” constantly throughout his practice of Tai Chi Ch’uan.
20. Begin again, as described in Point 1 above and following throughpoint 20 for as long as possible to master this movement before continuing to Chapter 2 – Ward OFF Right / Ward OF Left)
Facing in the original direction (designated North) repeat the entire sequence:
1. Align The Wang Form with the planes of the eyes, shoulders and hips always parallel, with an imaginary line passing horizontally through eyes and ears, keeping the 3 planes level with the horizon and parallel to each other at all times.
2. Keep the spine upright and erect.
3 Stand with heels touching forming a V-shape of 45 degrees.
4. Repeat the sequence of motions (from point 4 through 19) as
described in detail above.
Please practice this sequence at least ONCE or Twice a day.
“Practice makes perfect”