This deep posture rapidly extends your Chi from your Tan Tien out to your extremities, thereby increasing its flow throughout your entire system. It is a powerful foundation practice for the martial arts applications of Da Cheng Chuan, and works instantly to make you mentally alert and energized.
You should undertake this practice only after completing the warm-up exercises in Part One (pages 20-25).
The Archer begins in Wu Chi. Your feet are shoulder width apart. Turning to the left, swivel on the heel of your left foot. Your left foot is now at right angles to your right foot. Your head and upper body are turned in the direction of your right foot.
Step forwards with your left foot, making as long a step as possible. Extend your stance by sliding your left foot further forwards. As you practice this posture, your aim will be to extend your stance until your front thigh is parallel with the ground. Your back leg is straightened with your rear foot flat on the floor.
Raise both your arms so that your right arm is pointing straight back over your rear leg and your left arm points straight ahead over your front left leg. Make sure the left hand is slightly higher than the level of your head.
Fold both your hands into loose fists. Connect the pads of your thumbs to the first knuckle of your forefingers. This creates a arrowhead on each fist, as you can see in the photograph.
Maintain this posture for as long as you can. Feel the power surging in your legs and your Tan Tien. Breathe naturally.
Repeat The Archer so that your right foot and arm are pointing forwards, with your left foot and arm to the rear.
This is the stage at which you start to practice bearing the full weight of your body on one leg. It is essential training for your balance and agility, and for the power that you will be able to generate throughout your entire body.
The first step is to train on one leg, with the other supported. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart about 30 cm (1 ft) in front of a chair or table. Raise your arms into the posture, Holding the Ball (page 13). Swivel your right foot 45 degrees away from the central line of your body. Place the outer side of your left heel on the chair or table. Turn your left foot and knee outwards. Only a fraction of your weight should be on the raised heel. It is only there for balance. Hold that position, first on one leg, then the other, for as long as you normally practice standing with both feet on the ground.
Now you can begin the practice of working fully on one leg. Your rear foot should always be turned 45 degrees outwards. This is for maximum support. Raise your other leg, as if placing it on a chair or table. Stretch your toes upwards as far as you can and turn your raised foot outwards. As you stand, practise sinking your weight fully down through your stationary rear leg. At the same time, you feel your head being lightly held aloft by a golden cord reaching up into the sky. Relax the muscles of your raised leg, just as you did when resting it on a chair or table.
You can practice holding each of the arm positions used in the foundation postures (pages 11-15) while rising up on one leg. Try to hold the position for as long as you possibly can. Examine the ways in which subtle adjustments of your posture can release accumulated strain and help you maintain your balance. This trains your central nervous system.
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