Stretching Seminar IMAR has reported this year on an ACT stretching and loosening seminar in which Yan Gaofei taught a group at the Traditonal Chen Tai Chi school in Hollywood, FL. These exercises were put into three catagories. Those that purely stretch the body. Secondly, controled motions often done in rotations, and finally swinging or shaking movements. In this issue we will show some photos of each catagory involving the wrist joint.
Figure 8 rotations with the hands interlaced. Also done in reverse.
Figure 8 rotations with a plam to palm side grip. Figure 8 done both ways. Both exercises on this page are “controlled motions.”
This exercise is called Rolling Arms and is also called “pushing hands with yourself.” The movement represents silk-reeling. The top two roes are going one direction and the bottom roes move opposite.
When one does this exercise he can slide up and down the arm. One does not need to stay in one place with the contact. This exercise falls into the controlled motions rotations.
The exercises on this page are in the pure stretch catagory. As shown you can pull your own hand back or you can use your body weight to stretch the wrist against the wall.
The above three phots show the palm moving toward the arm with a slight twist.
Above photos show a partner helping the pure stretching of the wrist. Caution should be used in working with partners. Some exercises have built in safty methods such as putting your index finger across the wrist to prevent over extention of the wrist.
This is an additional wrist stretch. This one pinches the ulna nerve.
The third catagory (swinging or slinging) is demonstrated above for the wrist.
The exercise to the left swings the wrist in a side direction. The exercise in the roe below swings the wrist in yet another position.
In the Chen Tai Chi curriculum, the straight two edged sword is used in solo exercises in such a way that it applies the swinging stretch to the wrist. The weight of the sword helps pull or stretch. The movement shown in the photos is called “pointing.”
Mr. Yan demonstrates a stillness posture practiced in Shaolin to stretch the wrist and joints in order to open them.
The reason for all the various exercises is so that the wrist will become soft and plyable. Silk Reeling or Tai Chi requires a body state of stretch and relax while the movement is always turning. The wrist should bend and not be locked tight. In the photos above Yan Gaofei shows the hand movements of Ging Gong in the solo form of Lao da Jia and puts emphasis on the wrist being soft and bending at the same time turning and maintaining stretch.
In the pictures to the left and above, a partner holds his arm out straight while Mr. Yan circles and coils his wrist and arm around it.
The silk reeling and movement of the soft wrist can be practiced by rolling a ball against a wall keeping the ball from falling and continuing to circle and silk reel the hands and arms.
Finally the wrist can be further tested in the basic step forward-step backward push hands drill. As the arm comes around the partners, the wrist should bend as needed to assist the control and silk reeling. The wrist must not be locked and fixed as stated throughout these pages. There are just many ways to test to see if the loosening exercises are fleshing out into the complete art.