The ten word dictum while doing positive circles:
Elbow in, no hand in
Hand out, no elbow out
I am currently working on the positive circle exercise in the Hong Junsheng Chen Taiji Practical Method as taught by Chen Zhonghua. The first movement of the exercise is “elbow in”, however when doing this, the elbow must go in, not the hand.
What’s the difference? For me, I found out that when I did the ‘elbow in’, the movement originated from my hand. In other words, the intention was first placed on my hand and then I thought about pulling the elbow in. While minor, I feel the placement of intention can have strong consequences when trying to perform the application.
So, in the initial posture, I would have to constantly remind myself, “think about the elbow, think about the elbow, think about the elbow not the hand” Doh! I just thought about the hand! LOL .. 😉 At first I felt a strong push back in my mind as I would naturally think about my hand, but over time, I felt the intention point slowly travel down to my elbow. For a while, I was stuck on the inner forearm because I was imagining someone trying to pull my arm as I pulled my elbow in. Eventually, the goal is to toss all that out the window and just think about the elbow. As the dictum states above, “elbow in, no hand in”.
After the elbow is brought in, I mean *really* in, at least to the point that the elbow touches the ribcage, the body turns via the up and down motions of the kua. For a right handed positive circle, the right kua goes down, the left kua goes up. One big distinction for me is the turn initiating by the kua, NOT the waist…
Finally, the hand goes out, but when doing this movement, remember the dictum, “hand out, no elbow out”. This means the hand leads the movement, think about the hand and not the elbow.
Below is a clip that I am using for reference when practicing the positive and negative circles: