This position, Holding the Tiger, takes its name from the intense energy which it generates. Try to visualize holding the tiger using the picture opposite - it can help you adopt the correct posture ( pages 60-61).
Once you have learned the basic positions for your feet and hands and have practiced holding the posture without moving, you can apply your mind to holding the imaginary tiger.
Begin by feeling that you are completely astride the tiger, your feet firmly on the ground. The tiger's body is held in position between your legs so that his long tail and powerful back legs stretch out behind you. His back runs along between your thighs and forwards under your palms. As you look slightly down and forwards, you can see the top of his head just in front of you. Your front hand is placed firmly around the back of his neck, so that his head is under your control.
Feel that you are pinning the tiger down by squeezing his flanks between your knees. This pressure just above his hips deprives his back legs of their power. Let your weight sink downwards so that the tiger's haunches are compressed under the lower end of your spine.
The hand nearest to your belly rests calmly on the tiger's back. Open your forward hand so that you feel as if the broad curve formed by your thumb and forefinger is pressed under the back of the tiger's skull. You use this hand to take control of the upper end of his spinal cord. Constantly check that your upper body and neck remain completely relaxed.
Your gaze should be aimed at the back of the tiger's head, watching his every move. You feel his explosive power coiling underneath you as he tries to shake you off.
Tf IE WELL_ TEMPERED SPIRIT
On the next four pages, you will learn how to move between the two positions you have just learned: The Dragon and Holding the Tiger. Before attempting to do this, you should have practiced the two postures thoroughly until you can remain stable and relaxed in both. Before starting this sequence, you must do the preliminary exercises that loosen your shoulders, hips and knees (pages 20-25).
After warming up, stand in Wu Chi, as always. Then progress to Holding the Ball (page 13) for at least five minutes.
Slowly move into The Dragon posture. Step forwards with your left foot, keeping your right foot firmly in place.
After remaining in The Dragon posture for a minute, use the power in your front leg to slowly raise yourself. All the work is done by your front leg, as if it were a hydraulic pump.
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