White Crane Spreads Its Wings – Focus Lesson

White Crane Spreads Its Wings

white crane spreads its wings

White Crane Spreads Its Wings – Focus Lesson and Videos


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/





Brush Knee Twist Step – How To Do Correctly

Brush Knee Twist Step

Something Shifu Loretta said in this lesson that really grabbed my attention – she said “most teachers and practitioners do not do it correctly which could result in hurting yourself and diminishing your martial power.”   The brush knee twist step looks pretty simple but actually, if learned and practiced wrong, it places undue torque on the body and can actually result in injury.

Shifu Loretta offers a valuable focus lesson in this video – Watching this, you will feel like a student in her class and I have a better understanding of how to execute the brush knee twist step step correctly.  Plus, the lesson is easy to follow along with – you can mirror her steps as you watch.

If you are practicing tai chi at home, or if you are trying to teach yourself by watching and mirroring videos here online it is especially important to make sure  and take the time to watch and study focus lessons from the experts.  If you are not participating in a classroom structure it is especially important to make the time to view lessons every week.

Know anyone else learning tai chi?  Whether they are learning online or attending a class today’s focus lesson from Shifu Loretta is a great way to learn this brush knee twist step correctly from the start. Feel free to Like and share this post with your friends!

anatomy of fitness
If you would like to find out more about proper form in tai chi I recommend you check out Shifu Loretta’s newest book on Amazon – Anatomy of Fitness.





Yang Master Cui Zhongsan teaches a Tai Chi lesson

Tai Chi

In this video you will see the Master Cui Zhongsan, who started studying Tai Chi when he was 4yrs old with his Grandfather; himself  a student of the great Yang master, Yang Chengfu.   Among many other honors, Master Cui is among the top 20-25 masters in China.  He served as Secretary General of the Taiji World Youth Association, and holds a First Class Referee title, awarded by the National Wushu Sports Committee.

My favorite part of this video is the focus lesson at about 1min 45 sec.

What take aways do you have from this video?

To find out more information about Master Cui Zhongsan, CLICK HERE.

Thank you Empty Mind Films for another great video clip.

Don’t forget to share this video with others as we spread the ancient gift of Tai Chi with our friends.

Not Just Another Taiji Fight Challenge

Tai Chi

Usually when I see titles like this “Tai Chi Chuan verses Boxing” or “verses MMA” etc, I am immediately turned off as the implication at first glance seems rather ridiculous.  I mean, I don’t feel I or anyone else needs to justify our favorite sport / past time by challenging the big guy on the block to a fight.  I know that Tai Chi Chuan can be applied toward self defense,  applied as part of a comprehensive program incorporating many disciplines, or enjoyed as a stand alone practice to improve health, balance, stress, flexibility or a combination of all the above.

With that said, when I first saw the title of this video over on Youtube, “Tai Chi vs Boxing”, my immediate knee-jerk reaction was to think  “here we go again with another challenge to appeal to those insecure”.  Boy was I wrong!  I publicly admit that my first impression based on the title was not an indication of what this video is about, but in fact this is really very well done with advice that is helpful whether you are ever in a confrontation, or not.

For those of you like me, who are only interested in Tai Chi Chuan (taiji) for the physical / health benefits, this video is still helpful because when we see how each posture can be applied, we can glide through the movements with more focused intention.  The mind’s eye can “see” and “apply” the movement based on what we just saw in the video.  If however you participate in other forms of martial arts, or if you apply tai chi chuan techniques for self defense, this video can also be a valuable focus lesson.


As I was reading through the info on the Youtube page associated with this video, I realized why Jake (the instructor in this video) looks so familiar – we just posted a great Martial Arts Photo that he and his wife made about 2 weeks ago!  Check it out HERE.

My mission is to help calm and heal a stressed out world, and I see integration of tai chi into families, schools and communities, a huge part of that solution.  If you would like to help me spread the word of tai chi chuan, please consider sharing this post and Liking our tai chi Facebook page.


Time For Class – Take 30m and Attend This Tai Chi Lesson

Tai Chi Lesson

Lately I have really been enjoying this  “learning phase” where I want to know more about tai chi, the history, development, philosophy, influential masters, and how tai chi (taiji)  came to be the sport we know and enjoy today.   Pursuing this quest, I found this video that I thought was rather well done and I want to share it with you today.

This is an un-hurried video that lasts shortly over 30 minutes.  It is narrated in English by a Chinese-fluent narrator, and I appreciated hearing how she pronounced some of the names I otherwise just see in writing and have to “sound out’ on my own.  The video starts with a brief history of tai chi chuan with the most influential leaders listed in a teacher-student chart.

The majority of the video consists of several tai chi demonstrations, including several weapons.

Any student of learning who is interested to know more about tai chi history as well as watching some  forms played out, would enjoy this video.  Sit back and enjoy, or follow along with the instructor Master Kai Ying Tung from the Academy of Tai Chi Chuan.

Interested in learning a little more about tai chi?  Check out the growing articles on our What Is Tai Chi page

If you know anyone who might be interested in learning more about tai chi history, I invite you to share this blog post with them.