Short Form (Cheng Man-Ching 37)
Long Form (Yang 108)
2 person Sparring (108)
Lesson Instructions (PDF files)
Chinese - Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang, Song Shen Wu Fa, Short Form, Huang TC song
English - Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang
Grandmaster Huang stressed that the most important thing in tai chi is Song (soo-ng means soft/relaxed/release).
You MUST find Song in all aspects of your tai chi practise, so that eventually it is also
in your everyday life. You must have Ting (centred mind and body - calmness), stillness and absence of fear. If you have fear then you lose, because you are not Song. Once you start to achieve Song then you can introduce Yi (intention/mindfulness) into your body and chi (energy) will come naturally. Song without Yi is useless. Yi without Song is useless. Once you have Song and Yi, the Yi will lead the Song. But first you must have Song. To achieve Song you must be diligent and continually practise mindfully on introducing Song into your body. The secret is Song and practise!
To help achieve Song, GM Huang developed an exercise he called Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang and also the Song Shen Wu Fa (Five loosening exercises). From these exercises you can learn to introduce Song into your form and push-hands practise.
Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang is based on the very first position of the form. There are different levels of learning depending on how much Song you have achieved; don't try to jump ahead, it is faster to learn it properly, step-by-step, and practise with patience, consistency and diligence. With heels together and feet pointing out 45 degrees, chin tucked in as if head hanging from a thread (Bai Hui point), eyes straight and level, spine straight, tailbone (wei li) tucked in, weight evenly distributed in feet (centred at the Yong Quan or 'bubbling well' point) and body not leaning in any direction. Knees and elbows are not locked (slightly bent). Middle finger of each hand is lightly touching the outside of the thigh with arms hanging naturally but armpit slightly open (as if holding a hot bao/bun). Shoulders are hanging down, with chest flat (shoulders not hunched or chest not sticking out).
Starting from the top of the head, move your mind down through each part of the body to physically relax it. Do this slowly and continuously, each part is released before moving onto the next. Like a rice bag with a hole in the bottom, or as if you are melting or having warm water slowly poured on your head. Maintain your posture at all times! Breathing is natural but from the abdomen. Go down as far as you can without losing the posture, knees bending out over feet. The finger tips stay on the one point of the leg, hands don't slid up or down, so that as you go down elbows will bend slightly away from body. The qua (hip joints) is soft all the time, best to do in front of a mirror so that you can see when you are leaning. If there is a problem it is usually because the qua is not soft enough. As you go down keep the tail bone tucked in, as knees bend you naturally move slightly forward so that weight stays in feet 'bubbling well' point. Going up is just the opposite, but much harder as no gravity to assist! Start with the feet and slowly move your way up the body, like a boat floating as the water goes up. At first you will sway and shake but don't worry, with time this will slowly pass, but always try to be Song!
You must be Song step by step, don't jump straight to qua. Do each body part in sequence, eventually it will be internal with very little movement. Later you can concentrate on Yi being in each part of body, as each part becomes Song (beginners will not be able to do this - so don't try!!!). Do not move onto the next part of body until the previous is totally Song.
Use Song to dissipate the force through the whole body. Tai Chi is not letting the force sink into the feet, otherwise the feet are fixed to the ground like a building. The soles of the feet are light, like floating on water. Yi is in the whole body and in the feet even when stepping. Yi spreads through the whole body and stays there.
Song Shen Wu Fa (Five loosening exercises) are designed to give the practise of Song and Yi a more active platform. Make the movements fine and precise, and over time they will become natural. A beginner's movement is broken, with time make the movement continuous; one movement. Remember, always Song! Don't force the movement, Song down, Song the waist to make the movement. Waist turns but arms and hands slightly behind. Remember to Song bit by bit - e.g. shoulders Song, then elbow Song, then wrist Song. Eventually Song will happen in whole body at same time, but first you must train slowly and mindfully.
Short Form (37 Cheng Man-Ching Yang form). Refer to the Commands List (download here) for a general idea of what each move is; these commands are said by the instructor in class.
Points to remember:
- Posture correct
- Breathe naturally
- Activate Yi!
- Song to initiate every move
- Continuous movement
Grandmaster Huang Sheng Shyan doing first section of Short Form in Kuching.
Fixed push hand exercises or partner exercises or 'sticky hands' exercises are used to apply what is learnt in the solo forms and exercises. It is not a contest, but a way to help each other to become more Song. You must yield before the other's force while maintaining perfect contact (sticking); yield at the slightest pressure and follow at the slightest retreat. Do not allow any pressure to build up or lose contact. All the while maintaining correct posture and staying as Song as possible. Basically the person that has more Song can control the other's centre with the lightest of touches.
There are 16 push hand exercises in Huang Tai Chi.
1. Dan Tui - Single hand push
2. Cai - Single hand pull
3. Cai An - Swinging Arm (pull & push)
4. Shuang Tui - Double shoulder push
5. Cheng Jie - Elbow push (high and low)
6. Wu Shuo Hu Tui Jian - Single shoulder push
7. Wai Ji - Shoulder press
8. Zhong Ji - Chest press
9. Ji Hu Tui - roll back, press & push
10.Yuan tui - round push
11.Si Zheng Hu Tui
12.Lian Huan Hua Kao - simultaneous nullify & strike with shoulder & elbow
13.La Tui Yao jian zhong ding hu lian - pull and push
14.Ping bu kai he shou - opening & closing hands
15.Qi dong bu dao weng - seven steps push hand
16.An hua hu tui - push & nullify
Points to remember:
- stay upright
- knee/hip/shoulder aligned
- Song to initiate every move
- when coming forward weight is 50-50
Be confident, trust the method being taught, practice diligently and consistently, lose your ego, stick to the principles, and slowly you will surely improve. Keep smiling and keep Song!
Association of Tai Chi Huang Malaysia
P.O. Box 10696
50722 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
email:Huang Tai Chi Association