CMC 37P TAI CHI FORM: Posture 37, detail

Cheng Man-ch'ing 37 Postures Tai Chi Form
http://youtube.com/watch?v=VeFpu3cDcUY
http://youtube.com/watch?v=wvNVQRlIs6Q
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vxptpyw0SCI
http://youtube.com/watch?v=8P-ZCG1ysDo
Posture 37: Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger
Detail: hand near temple, like Stork Spreads Wings
Front view - 3/1/14 (Winter)

In this video I am demonstrating that the right fist near the right temple during "Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger" is similar to the open right hand during Posture 11, "Stork Spreads Wings."

During both of these postures, it is important not to introduce unnecessary tension into the neck & shoulders region by moving the right collar bone upward from a level / horizontal position.

If one stands in front of a mirror without any shirt, one can easily see that it's quite difficult, if not impossible, to raise the right fist to the level of the right temple without tilting the right collar bone upward, away from a level / horizontal position.

When the right fist is not raised as high, the right collar bone can remain level. I suspect that is why as an older man, Prof. Cheng did not raise his right fist to the level of his right temple, but kept the fist lower, around shoulder level - - to keep both collar bones level, similar to earlier postures in the 37P Form
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQMp0X2trQo

As an older man, Prof. Cheng was emphasizing many new methods of relaxation throughout his 37P Form, including the "bent wrist" vs. "beautiful lady's hand" method of holding the hands. And he was generally not raising his hands as high as when he was younger (color Taiwan film and 1955 black & white film) - - the better to maintain level collar bones, and not introduce unnecessary tension into the neck & shoulders region.

I believe one of the most significant considerations when choosing an appropriate level for the right fist in this "Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger" posture is:

"All throughout the rest of the tai chi form up to this point I've maintained relaxed, level collar bones. Do I suddenly want to tilt one of them upward? Do I suddenly want to introduce unnecessary tension into my neck & shoulder region by raising my right fist too high?"

The degree to which the tai chi practitioner can maintain relaxed collar bones and shoulders while raising the right arm will determine how high the fist can safely rise without triggering unnecessary tension throughout the neck & shoulders region. If all throughout the previous 36 postures the practitioner has been maintaining relaxed, level collar bones, why suddenly introduce unnecessary tension in the neck & shoulders region near the end of the Form by angling the right collar bone upward?

A similar problem has already been encountered earlier in the form during Posture 11, "Stork Spreads Wings." In that posture, an open right hand is brought near the right temple, ending in a position similar to the right fist at the end of "Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger."

Similar considerations apply during "Crane Spreads Wings" as during "Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger." The tai chi practitioner maintains a relaxed torso and tries not to introduce any unnecessary tension in the neck & shoulders while raising the right hand to the vicinity of the right temple.

ChiGuy396

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Added on July 27th, 2014
Last updated: October 26th, 2015