CMC 37P TAI CHI FORM: Posture 37, detail

Cheng Man-ch'ing 37 Postures Tai Chi Form
Posture 37: Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger
Detail: level of right fist
Front view - 3/1/14 (Winter)

In this video I am demonstrating that when the right fist is not raised as high as the right temple during "Bend Bow & Shoot Tiger," the right collar bone can remain level / horizontal.

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

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?


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Added on May 24th, 2018
Last updated: February 23rd, 2019