CLOUD HANDS: FROM CHI FLOW MOVEMENTS TO PATTERNS AND SETS

Wahnam Taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan

How did Taijiquan begin? Did the great Zhang San Feng, the First Patriarch of Internal Arts, invent it out of the blues?

Zhang San Feng was already a great scholar-warrior when he graduated from the Shaolin Temple and settled on the Wudang Mountain to continue his Taoist cultivation. Hence, he did not need to invent a new art to promote health or train combat because he was already very healthy and combat efficient. What he did was to continue his spiritual cultivation to attain the Tao.

While in the extreme stillness of his standing mediation, chi swelled inside him resulting in spontaneous movements. This was expressed in Taijiquan principles as “extreme yin generates yang”. His movements were fluid, fast and powerful, and were poetically described as “flowing water floating clouds”, later shortened as “cloud hands”.

Zhang San Feng taught these “cloud hands” to his inner-chamber disciples to help them attain Tao. Later these “cloud hands” movements were stylized into patterns, and then linked together to form a kungfu set, which came to be known as “Wudang Kungfu”. A few centuries later, another great scholar-warrior named Chen Wang Ting employed Taiji principles to explain its philosophy, and called this style of kungfu “Taijiquan”.

These video clips were taken at the Guan Yin Temple on the Blue Mountain


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Circulating Hands

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Cloud Hands is a very important aspect of Taijiquan training. Here Cloud Hands is performed with the hands moving in circles with the stance at a stationary poise.

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Horizontal Hands

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Cloud Hands is performed here with the hands in more rectangular movements with the hips gently rotating to both sides.

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Sideway Movement

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Grandmaster Wong demonstrates performing Cloud Hands while moving the stance sideways using side-steps.

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Unicorn Steps

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Here Grandmaster Wong demonstrates turning around using the Unicorn Step while performing Cloud Hands

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Various Stances

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Participants move sideways using the Unicorn Step, then using various stances.

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Variety of Movements

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Participants move in various directions using various stances while performing Cloud Hands. This is an excellent method to train footwork as well as energy flow.

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Grasping Sparrow's Tail

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

The spontaneous “flowing water floating clouds” movements, or “Cloud Hands”, are stylized into patterns. These patterns, called “Immortal Waves Sleeves”, “Double Dragons Carry Pearl”, “Push Boat According to Current”, “Black Bear Sinks Hips” and “Open Window to Look at Moon” in Wahnam Taijiquan, are collected known as “Grasping Sparrow's Tail” in Yang Style Taijiquan.

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Green Dragon

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Continuing from Grasping Sparrow's Tail are Single Whip, Green Dragon and Playing the Lute.

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Various Punches

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

Following Playing the Lute are Thrust Kick, Fierce Dragon, White Snake, Catch Snake, Thrust Punch, Straight Punch and Vertical Punch.

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Different Kicks

Fundamentals of Wahnam Taijiquan

The movements conclude with Side Kick, Fierce Dragon, Striking Tiger, White Crane and Circulating Hands. This set of movements is named “Cloud Hands” after the movements poetically described as “Flowing Water Floating Clouds”.

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Cloud Hands -- From Chi Flow Movements to Patterns and Sets from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.

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Wahnam Taijiquan Training from Basics to Free Sparring

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