Origin of Tai Chi: 1. Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail (Too Lazy to Tie up Clothes

Reading:

One hand holds the head of the sparrow, the other the tail. All the parts of the sparrow’s body are a single moving entity as the sparrow flies up to the sky. Hence the name of the move indicates that the two hands are always related. In terms of defense the name means your opponent’s hand is just like the sparrow’s tail; you have to be able to grab it and control it. The biography of Yang Lucan tells the story of how he held a sparrow with one hand.

Another name for the move is “Too Lazy to Tie up Clothes.” This name appeared in the martial arts book of the Ming dynasty general Che Ji Tuan. In the old days Chinese gentlemen wore long robes reaching to their ankles. Normally before beginning to fight a man would tie up the skirts of his robe so that his legs could more unimpeded, Thus the name, “Too Lazy to Tie up Clothes,” means that I have such skill that I am ready to defend myself anytime, without pausing to tie up my robe. Hence it means that one is skillful and one has courage and confidence.

Close Reading:

Level 1: Paraphrasing-

State in your own words the meaning of each sentence.

In this Tai Chi move, one hand is up as if holding a sparrow’s head. The other is down as if holding a sparrow’s tail. A sparrow files with one flowing movement of its body. The name of the move means your hands flow as one in the movement. When you defend yourself, you control your opponent grab by holding onto their hand just like grasping the sparrow’s tail. The story about Yang Lucan tells how he held a sparrow with just one hand.

This Tai Chi move is also called “Too Lazy to Tie up Clothes.” This name first appeared during the Ming dynasty when General Che Ji Tuan wrote a martial arts book. Back in the day, Chinese elite showed off their status by wearing long elegant robes. Before they would fight they would tie up their robes to free their legs. However, “Too Lazy to Tie up Clothes,” means you are so skillful you have to no need to do this. The name means, “I’m so good I can fight with my robe dow.” The name of the move is a symbol of confidence, courage and skill.


Level 2: Explicating-

  1. State the main point.
    • Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail is a Tai chi move in which your hands always flow in the movement.
  2. In other words…. When you are skillful you can grab the hand of your opponent and make them move with you in one movement.
  3. For example…
    • Tai Chi masters flow when they fight in long robes that go down to their ankles.


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Movements in Sequence- The Complete Set: Moves 54 – 56

Reading:


54. Push forward, extend your arms.
55. Shift your weight to right, turn left foot and body to the south. Right hand moves to the right side.
56. Shift weight to left, bring right foot back (weight on both feet). Bend your elbows and cross your wrists. If you are ending practice here, let your hands down.

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Movements in Sequence- The Complete Set: Moves 50 – 53

Reading:


50. Shift weight to right, left foot steps out.
51. Left foot down, waist turning to east, right arm turning and strikes out, left wrist bending up.
52. Extend your right arm, open your right hand, left hand under right elbow. Turn both palms facing down.
53. Sit back. Let elbows down, turn your palms to face out.

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Movements in Sequence- The Complete Set: Moves 47- 49

Reading:


47. Turn left foot and left palm up. Shift weight back, release tension in right wrist.
48. Shift weight to left, right hand holds a fist, right foot up, toes pointing down.
49. Body turning south, right foot turns to right and steps out, right hand moves back, left hand stretches out.

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