White Crane Spreads Its Wings
According to the Chinese mythology, the white crane was symbolically used to illustrate patience as well as longevity. This is mainly due to its fighting technique of standing on one leg while completely still, striking only at the perfect moment. This fighting technique of the white cranes inspired the founders of the white crane spreads its wings tai chi technique. Tai chi practitioners recognize the white crane as a symbol of unified body movements.
The practice of white crane spread its wings mainly involve a direct line of energy running from the feet out towards the hands. This is illustrated in the force as well as the speeds used by the bird to spread out its wings in case of danger. The force used in hand strikes throughout the practice does not only come from the hands, but also from the entire body. In a hand strike, your hands do not move in the same speed, as one of your hands is expected to move faster and farther than the other. However, the other hands is also filled with plenty of internal energy and serves as the main link to the active hand as well as keeping your entire body firm and counterbalanced. One of the key principles of this tai chi technique is maintaining your internal connection.
The white crane spreads wings technique also inspires body balance. This is mainly during the final position when your body weight is balance on one foot. The other leg is left with little or no weight but remain on the ground, poised to move. When learning the technique, you should begin with short sessions of the position and gradually increasing the periods to enhance you balance. You should also alternate the sides by transferring your weight to the other leg for better balance. The self defense applications of this practice have been proven to be very effective and clear.
You may have watched the entire 24 form sequence by Ian Sinclair over on our Tai Chi for Beginners page, and in this series you can see an example of how to do White Crane Spreads It’s Wings.
Both Tai Chi beginners as well as more practiced Tai Chi players benefit from drilling down and focusing on one posture at a time.
Continuing to work on the 24 form with White Crane Spreads Its Wings, I wanted to share this video from Rich Marantz. It does not appear that Rich enters the posture from Parting The Horse’s Mane as we saw in Ian Sinclair video using the 24 form, so the entry to the posture in this video is a little different. However what I really like about this video is the full front camera view as well as the description of the crane spreading its wings – (pay special attention starting at 0.45 seconds). With the imagery of a crane spreading its wings held in your mind, I feel its easier to understand and perform this posture more gracefully.
Another highly respected tai chi instructor is, David Dorian Ross, and this is a clip from his instructional DVD TAI CHI Beginning Practice. With David’s style, I get a tai chi sense of gentleness, ease, simplicity and flow. Applying the instructions from all 3, and tying it together by modeling David’s gentle sense of “flow”, the White Crane Spreads Its Wings comes together for me in a seamless dance. It is also helpful to know that he is performing the 24 Form, so therefore White Crane is preceded by Parting the Horses’ Mane. Have these 3 posts helped you too?
David Dorian Ross:
Every person has their own way of teaching, and I learned something new and helpful from all 3 of these instructors; that’s why I wanted to feature all 3 in this drilled-down focus lesson for White Crane Spreads Its Wings. As a final practice, it is a good idea to perform this one movement over and over and over. This helps you get the entire movement down into a flowing “dance”:
When playing tai chi, proper footing is recommended to maintain balance. Since tai chi is designed to allow gentle 360 degree body movement, the tai chi uniform allows unrestricted movement without creeping or binding, or uncomfortable twisting. A recommended online source direct from China can be found at http://thetaichishop.com/
White crane image by pincollector 1 at http://www.winnipegpincollectorsclub.com/