Experiences of a student of Master Chong's
Cheng Man Ch'ing Form: Instruction for arm movements.
1 Preparation Posture
Start position – Arms are relaxed by the sides, elbow slightly bent and the fingers gently straight and slightly raised upwards.
Lift the arms forwards and upwards, letting the hands and fingertips trail behind. The arms are gently bent and relaxed, and the hands are dropping down in a relaxed position. (Think of being a floppy boneless puppet with string tied to the wrists. The puppeteer pulls up the string at the wrists.)
When the wrists reach shoulder height, let the fingers straighten and extend gently.
Now bend the elbows 90 degrees (pullback). This causes the hands to more back towards the body a little whilst still at shoulder height, as though they are stroking a big ball from forwards to backwards. Now they are in a position as though to catch a ball.
Move the elbows down until they are vertical and in line with the body, without altering the bend in the elbow (position of the arms). This causes the hands to move downwards.
As the hands press down, bend the knees. Keep the knees turned outwards as much as possible.
End position – The arms are down by the sides but the hands and fingers are still lightly raised as though resting on a big plastic ball on either side. (As starting arm position).
2 Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail
Start position – Arms are relaxed by the sides, elbows slightly bent and the fingers gently straight and slightly raised upwards.
The right arm lifts up in an arc sweeping smoothly and steadily clockwise from the 5 O’clock position where it was resting, to the 12 O’clock position in front of the face with the thumb of that hand at nose height.
The hand is straight, in line with the arm, so that the elbow is relaxed and dropped at the southeast position, and the hand is slanting upwards, pointing northwest (11 O’clock).
The body swivels 45 degrees at the hip towards the right until it faces front right/northeast. (This is usually as far as the torso can twist. Stopping when one can twist no further is a good guide for when to stop turning. The technique is the same for the other side too.) The arms do not move so they have naturally followed the body.
As the body reaches the end of its rotation turn the right hand palms downwards, and the left hand palm upwards, imitating holding a large ball with a diameter the height of one’s hips to one’s armpits.
End position – The right hand (wrist part) is at armpit height, with the shoulder and elbow relaxed. The elbow is dropped below the level of the hand, which helps to maintain relaxation at the shoulder. The left hand is on level with the hips. The hands are not too close to the body bearing in mind that there is an invisible ball there which prevents the hands from being too close to the body.
The upper body does not move.
Swivel at the hips until the whole body faces front-left/north-west (turn as far as possible)
Turn the right hand to face the sky and the left hand turns palm down.
Now one should be holding the ball to the left.
The left arm and shoulder does not move unless it is moving with the body.
The right arm lifts up (palm facing the body) in an arc sweeping smoothly and steadily clockwise from the 7 O’clock position where it was resting, to the 12 o’clock position with the thumb of that hand at nose height (left hand and arm does not move).
At the same time as the right arm moves, the hips should swivel to the front and it should reach the front at the same time as the right arm finishes its arc.
Taking a bird’s eye view, the hands should be making a ‘T’ shape. The top of the ‘T’ and the column of the ‘T’ are not touching.
b) Rollback –
Do not move the arms and upper body.
Swivel the hip 45 degrees to face the body northeast/front-right.
Rotate the right wrist until one makes a traffic police ‘stop cars’ sign (i.e. the palm faces forwards).
At the same time, turn the left palm upwards to face the sky and curve it down to the right hip, or with the left palm imagine stroking the inside of a giant chocolate egg.
Rest it in front of the right hip at waist level, palm facing upwards.
Swivel the hip 90 degrees leftwards to face the body northwest/front-left.
Simultaneously, the right hand turns or rolls slowly to face the body, whilst moving to the northwest/front-left. The turning of the hand at the wrist should correspond with the turn of the hips so that the palm faces the body just at the point when the body has reached the end of its rotation.
The left arm from the shoulder down does not move so it has travelled with the body across the waist and now rests in front of, and a little above, the left hip.
Lift up the left hand to the side circling it up, and bend the elbow to bring it towards the ear, and then pushing it forwards to connect the centre of the left palm to the inner wrist of the right hand.
Let the left hand continue forwards a little so that it carries the right hand forwards with it, and straighten the legs a little.
Gracefully part the hand until there is a distance between them about the size of one’s hand’s width.
Draw back the hands as one does in Preparation Pose (pullback), bend the knees and sink down. Do not let the hands get closer to the body than the distance between one’s wrist and elbow. The hands are positioned as though ready to catch a light plastic ball.
Maintaining the hands in such a position, extend the elbows to push forwards (do not completely straighten the elbow. Let there be a gentle bend so that there is still room for movement to spring backwards or forwards, and be relaxed), and straighten the legs a little.
Turn the hands down to face the floor, (the arms do not move).
3 Single Whip
Start position – Hands are forwards at shoulder height, palms facing down. Shoulders and elbows are relaxed, body facing the front.
Turn the hips and body to face west/left. Arms are following the body’s movement and point west/left.
Drop the left arm to the thigh and relax it.
Turn the right palm to face the body, thumb at nose level.
4 Lift Hands, Lean Forwards
Relax the hands and drop them smoothly down to the front of the body.
As they reach the bottom of the movement, turn them so that they face each other at a slanted angle towards the sky (45 degrees angle).
Lift them up to nose level, with the right hand almost fully extended but still bent, and the left arm bent so that the hand is near the elbow of the right arm.
As they reach nose level, turn them so that they face each other at a slanted angle towards the ground (the right hand turns anti-clockwise 45 degrees, the left hand turns clockwise 45 degrees).
Press downwards until the right hand is at shoulder height and the left hand at chest height.
4b) Lean Forwards
Let the hands drop down in front of the groin area.
Lift up the left hand and move the entire arm from 6 O’clock to 9 O’clock..
Let the left arm bend at the elbow. This causes the hand to come towards the left ear. The palm faces the ear.
Continue the movement of the left hand, letting it pass the ear, and pass in front of the chest towards the right shoulder.
The palm faces the east with the fingers near the top of the shoulder. The right arm remains in front of the groin, protecting that area.
5 White Crane Spreads Wings
Bring the right arm up to pass in front of the left elbow. As it reaches the height of the left hand, the left palm turns to face the torso.
6 Step Forward, Brush Left Knee and Twist Step
End position – The left hand is beside and facing the right hip, and the right hand is beside and facing the right ear. They reach their destinations at the same time, smoothly.
7 Play Lute
8 Step Forward, Brush Left Knee and Twist Step
Play Lute is identical to Position 6, Movement 1.
As movement 2 and 3 of Position 6 Step Forward, Brush Left Knee and Twist Step.
9 Step Forward, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch
Simultaneously: (Deflect Downward)
10 Withdraw and Push
Start position: – The right fist is forward and in front of the chest, elbow almost fully extended. The left hand is protecting with the left hand facing (not facing directly to one’s right but slanted downwards a little to face the inner right elbow) and close beside the right elbow. Left elbow is down and relaxed.
Movement 2 (Push)
Bend the elbows slightly to pull the hands back a little further while turning the hands over so that palms face forwards.
11 Cross Hands
With palms facing forwards, the right hand moves clockwise and the left hand moves anti-clockwise, moving up, round and back down. As the hands move towards each other at the bottom of the sweep, they have naturally moved to face each other.
They turn to face upwards at a 45 degree slant facing in and lifting up in front of the body.
As they come together, they cross at the wrists with the right wrist on the outside.
Now pull them (wrists) to the upper chest. The position ends when they are about a forearm’s distance away from the chest.
Experiences of a student of Master Chong's: Cheng Man Ch'ing Form: Instruction for arm movements. Postures 1-11