The detailed relationship of every movement and position
of the hand is as important as any other aspect of Tai
Chi practice, i.e. manoeuvring the legs, feet, hips,
body and head, etc. The cleverly organised hand forms
have an intrinsic relationship with the bodily patterns,
positions and configurations. Every turn of the hand
and wrist will effect the muscular activity of the entire
arm, as well as the structure of the whole body. Therefore
the hands must function intelligently with conscious
form, becoming an integrated element in the composite
movement. When you move correctly and freely in the
Tai Chi Form, your inner energy will be projected outward
through the very tips of the fingers.
Ordinarily when the shoulders and arms are relaxed
and hang vertically down by your side the palms turn
inward toward the body. It can be noted that the palms
are curved and the fingers relaxed. The Tai Chi hand,
however, is not as this natural gravitational relaxed
hand. Conscious effort is used to straighten the fingers
slightly, which in turn lengthens the palm. With the
fingers separated slightly from each other this adds
natural tenseness of the muscles and tendons. This kind
of tension is an "intrinsic matter" because
of the extra effort needed to separate the fingers.
The hand is now in "neutral". Hands should
never be permitted to relax completely, they are not
decorations attached to the arms. A Tai Chi hand is
alert and ready for action (having energy of its own)
. A hand with the fingers consciously held tight together
gestures stiffness in the palm and knuckles. This is
An aspect that reflects the degree of energy used depends
upon the force of gravity. When an arm is held vertically
downward or is moving downward (no matter what the hand
is doing) then the energy exerted intrinsically is less
than when an arm is horizontal or moving upward.
Hands may be put into a category as having yin, yang
or neutral energy. The movement and position of the
arm / hand determine the energy value.
Yin Energy Hand
|The wrist is straight (natural) so that the hand
is in direct line with the lower arm. The hand must
not tip sideways. The palm may face inward toward
the body, or downward.
Yang Energy Hand
|The wrist is flexed so that the hand forms an
angle to the lower arm. The palm may face outward,
inward, upward, downward.
|Neutral Energy Hand
|As for the Yin hand. The palm may
face sideways or at a diagonal angle.
The Tai Chi Beak (hooked) Hand
|This is a yang energy hand with a "soft curved
hollow" yin palm. The wrist is bent with the
fingers pointing downward. The fingers are gathered
together around the tip of the thumb to form a beak.
The fingers then become a hard pointed "weapon"
capable of stabbing or tearing.
The Tai Chi Fist
The hand is held lightly and loose in a fist,
the bent fingers folding naturally over the palm.
The palm is curved (yin). The wrist is straight.
There is no added pressure applied.
Palm of the Hand
|The palm is known as the "heart" of