Every move in tai chi has a 3-dimensional aspect, although sometimes it’s not obvious.
The legs: Cloud Hands is performed with bent legs. When you bend your legs, the knees (obviously) move forward. What is less obvious is that your back moves backwards at the same time (if it didn’t, you’d fall forwards). The legs & knees feel as though they are expanding outwards as you do Cloud Hands, but they also feel as though they are supporting something between the knees. It sounds like a contradiction, but when you come to do it, it isn’t. Even when stepping sideways the same idea applies. The legs also have a feeling of spring or resilience; they support the upward/downward potential of the body. When you look at it this way, the legs are taking into account the left/right, forward/backward, and upward/downward parameters.
The arms: Your arms in front of you play against your back, but they also have a 3-dimensional interaction of their own taking place. When the arms move, there comes a point where one hand rises, and simultaneously the other hand lowers. If you do this 2-dimensionally, you would be able to stand very close to a wall with your arms touching the wall, and still be able to do Cloud Hands. But this isn’t what happens with the arms – they don’t stay the same distance from the body.
The hips and upper body: The hips only move sideways, there is no turning of the hips to left or right. It is the turn of the chest, rotating from the waist, that moves the arms to left and right. This means that the A-frame of the legs remains structurally integrated, but also means that the upper body is playing against the lower body, in that, when you only turn the upper body, if feels as though the lower body is trying to turn the other way. In the photo above (Master Chu King Hung), it will feel to him as though his left shoulder is turning forwards, but the back of his left hip is turning backwards.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and qigong in both London and in Kent. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan on one Saturday a month.
CONTACT: http://www.taiji.co.uk https://www.qigonghealth.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 07836-710281 or 020-8883 3308 __________________________________________________________________________________________________