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Open Hand Postures (1-17)

Return to 34 Exercises Index

1 Lifting Arms

2 Opening the Chest

3 Painting the Rainbow

4 Separating Clouds

5 Rolling Arms

6 Cloud Hands

7 Raise the Ball

8 Carry the Moon

9 Pushing Waves

10 Loosening the Trunk

11 Touch the Sea, Look at the Sky

12 Rotate the Wheel and Point at the Moon

13 Parting Wild Horses Mane

14 Brush Knee and Push

15 Grasp Sparrows tail

16 Fair Lady Weaves Shuttles

17 Punching

The directions on this website are mainly to aid students who wish to practice at home.

There are 17 open-hand movements which can be performed seated, stationary standing or with moving footwork. The directions for performing the exercises - with explanatory images and videos - can be found on the pages linked in the above list.

More Information on the Open-hand exercises

They come from two sources.

All movements are performed slowly, gently, and deliberately with coordinated breathing. This form is suitable for persons of all ages. Some people, such as the very elderly, can perform seated stage only - or perform the standing form and doing fewer repetitions or slightly modifying them.

These 17 movements consist of basic building blocks for "Exercise Tai Chi", which is practised in classes throughout the world. However, in traditional classes, movements are commonly taught in a sequence of linked movements called a "form". When I began teaching 25 years ago I found that many people found it difficult to practice at home because they forgot the sequence of movements they learnt in class.

A system of teaching that relies heavily on students memorising coordinated movements is inefficient - at least for beginners and those seeking a simple daily therapeutic exercise.

Everyone can attain the benefits of Tai Chi by practising basic postures and movements individually. I encourage students to become familiar with the essential postures and concepts of movement ("building blocks"). This strategy allows students to practice alone at home after class. the directions on these pages will help students to progress and get more out of classes.

The basic strategy I use is to teach upper-body movements and foot movements separately then encourage students to combine them in different ways. So we begin with simple breathing accompanied with range of movement and gentle stretching postures - then add the challenges of balance and coordination into the mix when we combine the upper body movements with simple footwork styles. Each open-hand posture can develop into a comprehensive solo exercise in its own right - without the need to remember a long sequence of coordinated postures as in traditional Tai Chi. However, we can, if we wish, create a moving sequence form from the postures; in fact, students can learn to create individual forms themselves based on these postures.

The exercises on these pages need not be performed in exactly the order presented; this is done in class for convenience and to help the students remember the movements. It is also not necessary to perform every one of these postures every single day.

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© 2018 Michael Davies