The opening sequence of the Cheng Man-Ch’ing Form focuses on the controlled, slow movement of the arms, while keeping the body weight evenly balanced. It is important to be relaxed enough to feel the weight of the arms as they move up and down. The key to this is to relax the muscles in the forearms, which will give them a heavy, weighted feel, and avoid using the muscles in the shoulders. This feeling should be applied throughout the Form, and helps when learning T’ai chi applications, since the limbs and hands need to be relaxed to respond to another person’s movements.
Beginning step 1
Distributing your weight evenly, straighten the right foot, until both feet face forwards, a shoulders’-width apart. Bend both knees slightly, and sink your weight. Relax both hands. This is the Fair Lady’s Hand position.
Beginning step 2
Relax the shoulders and raise both arms to chest level without using the muscles in the forearms, and with both shoulders relaxed. Bend the wrists, keeping the fingers relaxed, and the palms of both hands facing downwards.
Beginning step 3
Beginning step 4
Push both arms forwards without using the muscles in the shoulders. Move the elbows in towards your body, and bend the wrists downwards, raising both forearms until the hands are at about shoulder height.
Beginning step 5