So you’ve rooted the feet, used the legs to spring, directed that power with the waist and channeled that energy up the spine and through the shoulders… now it’s time to express.
We want the forearms and hands to be awake to awake enough to be responsive, yet soft enough to listen.
Remember to keep the fingers together. This simple action calls for a little bit of effort in the hand that keeps it alert. When writing a letter or painting, notice that your hand is not gripping the pen or brush too tightly; nor is the connection too loose. It’s in a state somewhere in-between – a place that is strong to the point of being supportive, yet relaxed enough to receive direct feedback from its action. This is what the hands will do by connecting the fingers: they become an interface.
When a hand technique requires activation with a bend in the wrist (sitting hand, cut, united fingertips, knuckle punch), strike a balance between activation and alignment. The activation of the wrist allows the energy to flow down one side of the forearm to reach the hand. However, twisting the wrist or making the joint too angular will block the flow. As a general rule, do not bend the joint so far as to create major flexion folds in the wrist.
If the hand technique does not require activation in the wrist (jab, punch, back fist), keep that channel open down the forearm to the middle knuckle – straight as an arrow!
The next time you settle into the horse-riding stance at the beginning of the Tai Chi Chuan, listen as your hands and forearms activate. Continue to carry that sensation throughout the entirety of the form.
Go play; express yourself.