Yang 16 Posture Short Hand Form- Introduction
By J.J. Schmidt 12/2012
1. Preparation Posture- While breathing slowly from the abdomen, stand feet shoulder-width apart, legs slightly flexed at the knee, as your head is lifted from the crown. Relaxing the waist, hips and lower abdomen your chest “sinks” and back rounds like a barrel standing with your spine. (More details Click “Standing Like a Tree”)
2. Opening/ Raise Hands- In time with your inhalation, your hands raise, with all the joints (shoulder down) rolling so, they ascend palm down. Your energy point, while rising is the back of the hands. At shoulder height, you push the heels of your palms down to waist level on the exhalation. Hands are sunk at the wrist so your palms are pointing out in front at the outer edge of your thighs. As you push down the heels of your palms are the energy point. Throughout the rest of the form simply keep breathing!
3. Wave Hands Like Clouds - While shifting weight right to step left; both arms circle in front of the body. Each alternatively scoops in from the outside turning palm in across the groin to come through a ward off or cradle arm position. In continuing motion your arms circle out to the far side bending at the elbow so the hand crosses (palm in) past finger tips about at nose level. The palm is extended by the rotating arm then out to the original side. Your hand sets upright in a block/strike palm out from the body in the same plane. You are stepping sideways to your left, rolling your foot to the inside edge as your right arm crosses and lifting as it extends. The step is made about ½ the width of you stance. The right is similarly rolled and stepped left to put both feet again shoulder width apart. The energy point shifts from outside of the forearm (which is the thumb side in the ward off) through various parts of the arm and to the hand when in the vicinity of the “stop sign” position. Your eyes move in a level curve parallel to the dominant upper arm (1st right then left) always staring out beyond your hand. Your body remains oriented in the original direction.
4. Single Whip- Starting in the 3rd Cloud Hands your right foot is raised to turn in front at 45 degrees of your new left facing direction. The heel remains in the same line, so the foot does not move far. Through the transition your left foot turns right on the toe. You then step wide to a bow stance which is shoulder width weight is distributed approximately 60 front - 40 % back leg. The right arm continues through its circle but rotates around the elbow hand down. That hand’s fingers pull together at tips (thumb touching fingers) pointing down and a hook forms with your wrist. Your eyes follow your right arm through the whip that ends pointed 45 deg. /to corner, and next your gaze turns toward the left arm. The left arm turns somewhat like the Cloud Hands with your palm set, but this is more clearly a striking move. The energy point of the left side is the outer edge of your palm. Your body is oriented 90 degrees from the original direction, but your trunk faces as in Preparation Posture. You are upright NOT tilting to either side, ending with you looking through the gap between thumb and fingers.
5. Fist Under Elbow- You turn in this posture so your trunk/ head face 90 degrees from Preparation. The right foot has been lifted and moved close to the left, turned 45 degrees. The right arm is moved with the hook opening. The left hand is pulled back and down slightly off the side. The left foot has been stepping out so the lead (left) foot is straight with heel down toe up and less than a short stride from the rear foot toward the new direction. Legs & feet are now in an empty stance most (80% +/- of your weight) on your rear leg. Your right hand curves in to just right of the center line of your body, and the hand makes a fist. The wrist bends so your knuckles are almost at right angle to you, ending mid-torso height. As that right fist reaches the centerline, the left arm completes its rise up to place the hand along the center line at throat-chin level. You face full left at a right angle to starting position with your eyes facing the same way as throughout the move, but your body from the waist up is oriented to right of that. You have a slight forward lean created by the small sitting motion as if you moved on to the edge of a high stool (A). The energy point is the knuckle face.
This description is based on instruction by William Wojaniski by and Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun in the 16 Posture Yang Style TCC. Much of it comes from hand form instruction by the above along with Bob Ashmore, Jim Showalter, Carl Meeks and many other members and Directors in the Yang Association. I am also indebted to the instructional DVD Yang Style Tai Chi by Yang Jun. The descriptive language is my own recollection and any errors my own. Joseph Schmidt, December 2012.