For the five Da Cheng Chuan movements in this part of the book, you need to work at releasing any residual tension stored in your joints. This is essential because it is such tension that will constrict the full movement and block the flow of energy. This exercise concentrates on freeing up your shoulders and hips.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Settle down and do your best to relax your shoulders, chest, back and hips. If you are feeling a little tense, first do the three preliminary exercises that loosen your shoulders, hips and knees. These are explained in Part One (pages 20-25): Opening the Inner Gate, Arm Circles and Knees Up.
Turn your hips to the right. Your left heel will naturally rise a little off the ground. As you turn, fling both your arms upwards. Then turn back to the center, letting your arms come down and turn your hips to the left, flinging your arms upwards as you turn.
In the beginning, this motion may seem a little stiff. You might experience difficulty in getting your arms fully extended above your head. You may find you can turn only a little to either side. In that case, spend more time working with the three preliminary exercises and perform this full swing very gently.
As your practice develops, you should aim to turn your hips and torso like a stallion rearing its head around to the side so that you send your arms speeding upwards like the flying hairs on the horse's mane.
Start with 10 complete swings to each side, if you can. Then work towards 30 to each side.
Begin this practice in Wu Chi. Release any tension in your neck, shoulders, chest and hips. Then slowly raise your arms into the position, Holding the Ball (page 13). Your previous training in this position is important to ensure that the full weight of your arms is resting completely on the imaginary balloons under your armpits, upper arm and forearm.
Fold your hands into loose fists. Do not clench them. Connect the pads of your thumbs to the first knuckle of your forefingers. This creates an arrowhead on each fist.
Raise both arms up beside the right side of your head, your right fist held higher than your left. Slice down to the left, bringing both fists to the level of your chest, your lower fist stopping opposite the center of your torso.
Then raise both arms up beside the left side of your head, with your left fist held higher than your right. Slice down to the right, again bringing both fists to the level of your chest. Your lower fist stops opposite the center of your torso.
Feel as if you are holding a large axe in your hands and then strike powerful blows from one side to the other. Maintain the alignment of your fists at the end of each blow, so that the full force of the blow is expressed by your forearms.
Once you become familiar with the chopping motion, change the position of your feet: turn one foot 45 degrees outwards and step forwards with the other. Look straight ahead as you continue chopping.
Begin gradually, paying attention to the correct movement of your arms. The action should be smooth, light and relaxed. Start slowly. Build up to 30 times. When you can do the movement without tensing, practice as many as you wish.
Was this article helpful?
Ever wondered what Chinese medicine is all about and whether it works? Thinking about consulting a practitioner but want to know some facts first? Look no further! Here's your chance to purchase an in depth and fully comprehensive eBook on anything and everything to do with this ancient philosophy.