Postures of the Cheng Man-Ching Tai Chi 37 Form

Zheng Manqing

Traditional Chinese 鄭曼青
Simplified Chinese 郑曼青
Pinyin Romanisation (Mandarin) Zhèng Mànqīng
Wade-Giles Romanisation (Mandarin) Cheng4 Man4-ch’ing1
Other versions Zheng Manqing
  Cheng Man Ching, CMC

 

Cheng Man Ching's 37 Posture Form Chart

Section One

      

1 預備勢 yù bèi shì preparation
起勢 qǐ shì commencement
2 攔雀尾 lán què wěi grasp the sparrow’s tail 
• ward-off (left side) 
• ward-off (right side) 
• roll back 
• press 
• push
3 單鞭 dān biān single whip
4 提手 tí shǒu raise arms
kào lean
5 白鶴亮翅 bái hè liàng chì white crane spreads wings
6 摟膝拗步 lōu xī ào bù brush knee twist step
7 手揮琵琶 shǒu huī pípá hand strums the pipa
8 摟膝拗步 lōu xī ào bù brush knee twist step
9 進步搬攔捶 jìn bù bān lán chuí advance, deflect, parry and punch
10 如封似閉 rú fēng sì bì apparently closing
11 十字手 shí zì shǒu cross hands

Section Two

  

12 抱虎歸山 bào hǔ guī shān embrace tiger, return to mountain
攔雀尾 lán què wěi grasp the sparrow’s tail 
• ward-off 
• roll back 
• press 
• push
13 斜單鞭 xié dān biān diagonal single whip
14 肘底捶 zhǒu dǐ chuí fist under elbow
15 倒攆猴(五) dào niǎn hóu step back and repulse monkey (5)
16 斜飛勢 xié fēi shì diagonal flying
17 雲手(四) yún shǒu cloud hands (4)
18 單鞭 dān biān single whip

 

Section Three

19 蛇身下勢 shé shēn xià shì snake creeps down
20 金雞獨立 jīn jī dú lì golden rooster, single stance 
• right side 
• left side
21 分腳 fēn jiǎo separate leg 
• right side 
• left side
22 轉身蹬腳 zhuǎn shēn dèng jiǎo turn body and heel kick
23 左右摟膝拗步 zuǒ yòu lōu xī ào bù left and right brush knee and twist step
24 進步栽捶 jìn bù zāi chuí advance and plant punch
25 上步攔雀尾 shàng bù lán què wěi rise up and grasp the sparrow’s tail 
• ward-off 
• roll back 
• press 
• push
26 單鞭 dān biān single whip

Section Four

 

27 玉女穿梭(四) yù nǚ chuān suō fair lady weaving (4)
28 攔雀尾 lán què wěi grasp the sparrow’s tail 
• ward-off 
• roll back 
• press 
• push
29 單鞭 dān biān single whip
30 蛇身下勢 shé shēn xià shì snake creeps down
31 上步七星 shàng bù qī xīng rise up to the Seven Stars
32 退步跨虎 tuì bù kuà hǔ step back and ride tiger
33 轉身擺蓮 zhuǎn shēn bǎi lián turn body and swing over lotus
34 彎弓射虎 wān gōng shè hǔ bend bow shoot tiger
35 進步搬攔捶 jìn bù bān lán chuí advance, deflect, parry and punch
36 如封似閉 rú fēng sì bì apparently closing
37 十字手 shí zì shǒu cross hands
合太極 hé tài jí conclude tai chi

Reference: singongtaichi.com New Zealand

The number of postures in different Tai Chi styles varies greatly. The original Tai Chi form consisted of 13 postures, based on the 8 trigrams and 5 elements. One of the most widely practiced styles of Tai Chi, Yang Style Long Form, uses a form with 108 postures and generally takes at least 20 minutes to complete.

Professor Cheng Man-Ching studied the Yang Style Long Form with Yang Cheng-Fu, of the famous Yang Family lineage. Professor Cheng was one of Yang Cheng-Fu’s most accomplished students, and was given special permission to shorten the form so that he could teach it more rapidly to the Chinese military during World War II. This shortened 37-posture form eliminated many of the repititions that existed in the long form, while maintaining its essence. Professor Cheng taught it for the rest of his life, continually modifying it in terms of the general shapes of the postures and ultimately transforming it into a form designed primarily for the cultivation of energy (ch’i) and health, differing from its mother form which was designed primarily for martial purposes. Called the Yang Style Short Form during his lifetime, today the form created by Professor Cheng is called the Cheng Man-Ching form, because although his final version of the form roughly follows the Yang Style Long Form, the essense of it is quite different. In spite of the changes Professor Cheng made, his form does not betray its martial roots. Concealed within the postures are the original martial applications. Combining highly-developed softness, sensitivity, and energy as cultivated by Professor’s form with the hidden martial applications is what makes this form particularly powerful.

Professor Cheng stated that one should take at least 7 minutes to perform his form for health benefits, and 10-12 minutes for “something more”. The 37 postures of Professor Cheng Man-Ching’s form are as follows:

1. Preparation – Also known as wu chi or hun-yuan (Undifferentiated Unity)

2. Beginning – or ch’i shih (where you perform the opening breath). Raise hands back and down, more familiarly known as “the ch’i exercise.”

(3a. Preparation for Ward Off, Left – where you relax your shoulders and gain spatial understandings)

3. Ward Off, Left – Also known as tso peng, the foundation of Yang Tai Chi. This is also a great stance to practice rooting in.

4. Ward Off, Right

5. Roll Back – One of Professor Cheng’s favorite defensive postures: essential for the small to overcome the large

6. Press – an opportunity to transmit power through the wrist of the opposite-side hand

7. Push – a vertical movement, unlike the Yang Style Long Form “Push.” The knee and elbow coordinate in this posture.

Postures 3 through 7 are collectively known as “Grasping the Sparrow’s Tail”, which gives the impression of one playing a tugging game with a bird. Your motions should move forward and backward, like waves lapping at the seashore.

8. Single Whip – An excellent posture for chi circulation

9. Raise Hands

10. Shoulder Stroke – A great inside fighting technique

11. White Crane Cools Wings

12. Brush Knee, Left

13. Play Guitar – Also known as Play “Pipa”

Repeat Brush Knee, Left

14. Step Up and Block

15. Parry and Punch – a neutralization is hidden here

Postures 14 and 15 are collectively called Chin Pu, Pan Nan Ch’ui. Professor Cheng distinctly indicated there are two postures here.

16. Apparent Close-up – Also called “Withdraw and Push”

17. Cross Hands

Posture 17 marks the end of the first section of the kung chia, which we call the “Short Half.” This is because it contains approximately half of the total postures in the form and lacks some of the repetitions we find in the second half (thus requiring less time for its performance).

18. Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain

This is followed by Roll Back, Press, Push; then Single Whip in the direction of the corner (or diagonal).

19. Fist Under Elbow – A good stance to practice one-legged rooting

20. Step Back and Repulse Monkey, Right – Good for loosening hips and improving digestion (front-back foot placement)

21. Step Back and Repulse Monkey, Left – same as above

Follow these with three more repetitions of Repulse Monkey: Right, Left, and Right.

22. Diagonal Flying

23. Wave Hands Like Clouds, Left – Also good for loosening hips and improving digestion (side-to-side foot placement)

24. Wave Hands Like Clouds, Right

Follow these with three more repetitions of “Cloud Hands”: Left, Right, and Left; then go into Single Whip.

25. Single Whip, Lower Style – Also known as “Snake Creeps Up” (or Down). An excellent posture for increasing flexibility, power and single-weightedness

26. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg, Right – Also known by “Golden Pheasant”, this posture teaches balance

27. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg, Left

28. Separation of the Right Foot – Coordinates the hands with kicking

29. Separation of the Left Foot

30. Turn Body and Kick With Heel – Teaches balance while turning and improves flexibility

This posture is followed by Brush Knee, Left and then Brush Knee, Right.

31. Step Forward and Punch

Next, step up into Ward Off, Right; followed by Roll Back, Press, Push, and Single Whip.

32. Fair Lady Weaves (Works) Shuttle I- A textbook example of how defense proceeds offense in Tai Chi

33. Fair Lady Weaves (Works) Shuttle II – A different hand position (opposing hand position).

These postures are followed by Fair Lady Weaves Shuttle III & IV, which are all done towards different corners. Together they are called the “Four Corners”. The “Four Corners” are followed by “Grasping the Sparrow’s Tail” (Ward Off, Left & Right, Roll Back, Press, and Push), Single Whip, and “Snake Creeps Down” or Single Whip, Lower Style.

34. Step Up to Seven Stars – A devastating solar plexus attack.

35. Retreat to Ride Tiger

36. Turn Body Sweep Lotus Leg – Teaches balance while spinning with a crescent kick.

37. Bend Bow Shoot Tiger

This posture is followed by Step Up, Block, Parry and Punch then Apparent Close-up, and lastly Cross Hands, which leads to the close of the Tai Chi form

Reference: http://74.200.201.165

 

Tsa Pi Shiu Lin Jing – Interpret energy

There are many different forms of jing with shenming or Tsa Pi Shiu Lin Jing as the highest form of jing where you sense the opponents jin and yi (intention) before is visible or manifested and you control and release your opponent with Yi (pure intent) or Shen only. (Thomas compilation from different sources)

At this stage the tingjin (listening) has refined into a kind of intuitive sixth sense, jiejin (recieving energy) has be cultivated, and the fajin (relaxed force) has become almost entirely internal. Like the ultimate in dongjin, when your opponents do not move but intent to, you have already moved ahead.

Finally comes the ability to issue without issuing, which is fajin (releasing the relaxed force) by a subconsious direction of the mind, and with out effort.(Taijiquan Wuwei: A Natural Process (okt 2003) Kee-Jin Wee p. 46)

You are able to sense the opponents chi and are able to pass chi into (fajin) or out of him (drain). Thus shocking his internal organs or disrupting his energy flow in the meridians (Dian Xue – pressure point). Understanding the opponents chi pattern with a light touch or without touching at all.

The passive aspect of this jing is the ability to sense the opponents intention (Yi) and resist his chi attacks. ( Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan: Tai Chi Theory and Tai Chi Jing: 1 (dec 1986) Jwing-Ming Yang p.104 )

Four Character Secret Transmission

Spread. To spread means that we mobilize our chi spread it over our opponents energy and prevent him from moving.

Cover. To cover means that we use our chi to cover our opponents thrust.

Check. To check means that we use chi to check our opponents thrust, ascertain his aim and evade it.

Swallow. To swallow means that we use chi to swallow everything and neutralize.

These four character transmission represents what has no form and no sound. Without the ability to interpret energy and training to the highest perfection, they cannot be understood. We are speaking here exclusively of chi. Only if one correctly cultivates the chi and does not damage it, can one project it to the limbs. The effect of this on the limbs cannot be described in words.

(attributed to Wu Yü-hsiang)

Master Sam Tam are able to to spread the energy over you and prevent you from moving by “sinking the energy”. (Thomas)


Vlad Gaevskiy


Huang Zhen Huan


Morihei Ueshiba

Light, agile and connected

Once in motion, the entire body must be light (Qing) and agile (Ling), (it) especially should (be) threaded together.

Taijiquan Treatise by Zhang, San-Feng
Jwing-Ming, Dr. Yang, and Ymaa Publication Center. Tai Chi Secrets of the Ancient Masters. P. 1

The body’s movement is soft, relaxed, smooth, natural and comfortable.

Light and agile like movements of playing monkeys.

The body must act like a soft whip. Continuous motion like the stream of river or waves of the ocean. Threaded together like Chinese coins or pearls on a string. Mindfulness pervades the whole body. The strength is concealed within softness. Power is instantly available at the touch of a feather. The bow is drawn and ready. Like shouting a cannonball of fire. Like the tale of dragon.

The lightness is not an emptyness; it contains intrinsic energy. The agility is not superficial; it conseals a watchful awareness.

All the parts of the body must be connected like a string of pearls. This means that the movements must exhibit the incessant and continuos flow of a great river.

Rquirements:

  1. Concentration of the mind.
  2. Complete relaxation of the body.
  3. Sinking of the chi to tan tien and abiding by it so that the breathing may be deep and slow.

(Tai Chi Chuan for Health and Self-Defense: Philosophy and Practice T. T Liang) p. 17-18

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is awareness of one’s thoughts, actions or motivations.

mindfulness wikipedia.org


Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village plumvillage.org

Reference:
The shown clip is from the DVD accompanying the book:
Walking Meditation (sep 2006) Thich Nhat Hanh, Anh-Huong Nguyen
ISBN 1591794730
The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation (dec 1999) Thich Nhat Hanh
ISBN 9780807012390
The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness (jun 1999) Thich Nhat Hanh
ISBN 0807012378

The Chinese mind Shen, Xin, and Yi

Shen – Spirit. The consciousness within which the mind and thought function.

Xin – Heart. In Chinese it often means “mind”. If refers to an intention, idea or thought which has not been expressed. The heart or mind, is the center of human thought and feeling.

Yi – Mind. It is commonly expressed as Xin-Yi. Xin is an idea and Yi is the expression of that idea. Therefore “Yi” by it self can be translated as “Mind.” Yi-zhi is will and intention.

Examples:

  • Yi Shou Dan Tien – To keep the wisdom mind at the Dan Tian in order to store the Qi. 
  • Yi Yi Yin Qi – Use the mind to lead the qi
  • Qi should be filled and stimulated (Gu Dang),
    Shen spirit should be retained internally.

Retaining the Spirit of Vitality internally means to be calm, patient and restrained in your actions. The mind will be concentrated and controlled. (Jwing-Ming, Dr. Yang, and Ymaa Publication Center. Tai Chi Secrets of the Ancient Masters.)

The Mind in Qigong
Stillness, relaxation, and a sort of naturalness are common points for most types of qigong. Stillness means thinking nothing, except the essentials of practicing qigong. Relaxation means keeping the mind and muscles relaxed. “To be natural” means one should follow the natural law and not be nervous.

Higher-level qigong common point: Entering the state of nihility. You feel your body are likely to disappear. Entering the nihility is very helpful for health and longevity. In all the common points mentioned above, mastering the mind is the most important. The regulation of breathing is of secondary importance. Therefore, the key to qigong is not the breathing exercise.

Peisheng, W., and C. Guanhua. Relax and Calming Qigong. p.23 “Qigong: mastering the mind”

Ziran – Naturalness
One of Taoism’s core values, ziran refers to naturalness and spontaneity of action, and a state of mind characterized by a kind of mirror-like clarity, which reflects things as they are, unaffected by moral or philosophical overlays. Compare with wuwei, to which it is strongly related. (Ziran taoism.com)

The chi should be stimulated and the spirit of vitality should be retained internally.

The principle: Water into steam. When the spirit of vitality is concentrated and retained internally, the heart (mind) will be tranquil and the entire body relaxed so that one may become alert and sensitive.

Tai Chi Chuan for Health and Self-Defense: Philosophy and Practice (maj 1988) T. T Liang p. 18.

Shen Concentrated
Having the above four [red Five Character Secret], then you can return to concentrated spirit: if the spirit is concentrated, then it is (continuous and) uninterrupted, and the practice of chi (breath) returns to the shen (spirit). The manifestation of chi moves with agility. (When) the spirit is concentrated, opening and closing occur appropriately, and the differentiation of substantial and inubsubstantial is clear. If the left is insubstantial, the right is substantial, and vice-versa. Insubstantial does not mean completely without strength. The manifestation of the chi must be agile. Substantial does not mean completely limited. The spirit must be completely concentrated. It is important to be completely in the mind (heart) and waist, and not outside.

Not being outside or separated, force is borrowed from the opponent, and the chi is relased from the spine. How is the chi released from the spine? It sinks downward from the two shoulders, gathers to the spine, and pours to the waist. This is chi’i from the up to down is called “closed”. From the waist the chi mobilizes to the spine, spreads to the two arms and flows to the fingers. This is chi from down to up and is called “opened”. Closed is gathering, and opened is discharging. When you opening and closing, then you know yin and yang. Reaching this level your skill will progress with the days and can do as you wish.

Red.: from Li Yi Yu’s Five Character Secret (Calm, Agility, Breath – to gather the chi, The internal force – the complete chin, Spirit – Shen concentrated).

Reference: T’Ai Chi Ch’Uan Ta Wen, Questions and Answers on T’Ai Chi Boxing Chen Wei-Ming ( Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo & Robert W. Smith ) North Atlantic Books 1985
ISBN: 0938190776

Page: 55

The Circle

The circle is a round plane figure whose boundary (the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center). Reference: Oxford dictionary

Reference: wikipeda.org

Importance Of Continuity
In the case of the “Outer School” (which emphasizes attack) of boxing, the strength one exerts is still and the movements are not continuous, but are sometimes made off and on, which leaves opening the opponent may take advantage of. In taijiquan, one focuses the attention on the mind instead of force, and the movements from the begenning to the end are continuous and in an endless circle, just “like a river which flows on and on without end” or “like reeling the silk thread off cocoons”.

The Ten Essentials of Taijiquan by by Yang Cheng Fu (Recorded by Chen Wei Ming)

The central feature of the postures is the combination of an empty circle which has form and a formless circle which is full. These two circles represent the principle of the “empty” and “substantial.” Within the postures there is an apparent emptiness, but the posture is not really empty; it appears to be substantial, but there is in reality emptiness. This qi flows to all places without obstruction. It is rounded and lively without angles. It is without excesses or deficiencies. When manifest, the Six Harmonies are complete. When returning, it is hidden as a treasure within. Its changes are without limit. Its uses are inexhaustible. Herein lies the real teachings. It is the sum of Tai Ji Quan.

The Meaning of Tai Ji Quan

Chen Xin’s Boxing Treatise says it best, “When your practice is most refined, even the smallest place is circular” Every sphere has its center. Within the sphere that issues from this central pivot, there are no breaks, deficiencies, hollows or projections. So where can there be double weighting? There is a saying, “Adhering is moving away. Moving away is adhering.” The term “Taiji” actually means the center of a circle, where the outer portion is called yang and the inner portion yin [that is, outside the circle and inside the circle]. Yang is applied by adhering and attacking. Yin is applied by moving away and defending. Furthermore, adhering is preparation for moving away. and moving away is preparation for adhering. Thus, we can continue, “Yin does not depart from yang; yang does not depart from yin.” It can also be said, “Yin and yang balance each other; this is known as “comprehending energy” (dong jing). What is called “yin and yang, adhering, moving away, hard and soft, following” and so on are all words referring to attacking and defensive movements. Within the attack, there is defense, and within defense, there is an attack. For this reason, we speak of “mutual balance”. Recognizing this principle is equivalent to “comprehending energy”. 

A Study of Taiji Push-Hands by Xiang Kairen

He could only give him advice on a few movements, like Single Whip (Dan Bian) and “Luo Lu” or circles made with the hands and waist in three different planes, to train how to change the hand position correctly in order to dissipate incoming force and strike simultaneously, but without using strength.

4 ounces deflects a 1000 pounds by Dong Bin

“Avoid turning circles without any purposes. Make sure that there is “yi” (mind/intent) in every one of your moves. You need to stand up and face your opponents and should not run away from them.”

“Do not treat push-hands lightly, thinking it involves only turning circles, some pushes and power discharge. We should treat it like fighting an enemy who is trying to kill us. Once we get in contact with his arms we should be able to control him, and we should not be controlled by him.”

Finer points of yiquan push-hands by Yao Cheng-rong

Ren Gang says that in push hands or sparring etc, one must first look upon the opponent not as a separate entity that you must defeat – The Enemy – but as a part of you, a part of your energy circle.

How to train your spirit and energy to drive the body by Ren Gang

Retreat in order to advance (Yi Tui Wei Jin).
In pushhands the feature of prime importance is to adapt and move with the changing conditions of your counterpart. The circular movements in Taichi are the image of the symbol of taichi, which is evolving, comprising the changes of moving and adhering within a circle.

The circular movements (Dong Zuo Zou Hu Xian).
The patterns of interchange between yin and yang are all based on circular movements and connected by ”sticking ” to the partner’s intension. Because there is no interruption in a circular movement, it is easier to reach the partner than in a forward or backward straight line. Another benefit is that it is easier to change your acting force or direction at any point of the circular line.

About the principles of wu-style taichichuan by Ma Jiangbao

Yi is responsible for relaxing the external body, the muscle; for storing the Qi one develops in practice, for making smaller circles and spirals, for condensing movement to small frame, and eventually to no visible movement in order to develop Nei Jing.

Wang Hao Da’s Message

Therefore you only have to make the Light circulate: that is the deepest and most wonderful secret. The Light is easy to move, but difficult to fix. If it is allowed to go long enough in a circle, then it crystallizes itself: that is the natural spirit -body. This crystallized spirit is formed beyond the nine Heavens. It is the condition of which it is said in the Book of the Seal of the Heart: Silently in the morning thou fliest upward.

The Golden Flower by Master Lu Tzu

 


Sun Anguang