Origin of Tai Chi: 11. The Great Roc-Bird Stretches Its Wings

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Reading:

This move trains for balance.

The Chinese word for “balance” means “heaven at peace.” In this move everything should be calm, balanced, and harmonious.

As you turn your waist your hands move like petals floating on water. When your hands move to the right and you lift your left foot high, you gather the energy; then as you turn your waist to open your arms the energy opens out. Spirit-wise you are calm and balanced, yet alert and ready for whatever might happen.

The Ming dynasty general Che Ji Tuan mentioned this name in his book on the martial arts. Legend tells that the fish Kung transformed himself into the giant Roc-Bird. The Roc-Bird is so huge that it must go many miles up into the sky before the sky can carry it. When the Roc spreads its wings to fly they are like clouds covering the sky. In Buddhism the Roc is a powerful bird twisting wings covering many things. Little sparrows flit from branch to branch, but the huge Roc needs vast areas to fly.

The name of the move means that as you twist and open your arms the energy is flowing and stretching out. Your spirit can be like the Roc, stretching out to cover a boundless area.

Close Reading:

Level 1: Paraphrasing- State in your own words the meaning of each sentence.

Repeated practice of this Tai Chi move will help you get your balance back!

In Chinese when you are “balanced” you are in heavenly peace. During the move relax, and be calm, tune in to your balance to be in harmony with your energy.

Whenever you turn your waist your hands should turn like soft flower petals floating on water. Bring your energy together as you move your hands to the right, and lift your left foot up high. Then open your energy outwards. As you turn your waist open your arms. Keep balanced, calm, and alert as to what will happen next. Center your spirit.

Che Ji Tuan, a Ming dynasty general, mentioned the name, The Huge Great Roc-Bird Stretches Its Wings, in a book he wrote on martial arts. As the story goes, a fish by the name of Kung made himself into the Roc-Bird. This giant bird flies far into the sky before it can glide on the sky. It’s wings are so huge they look like clouds filling the sky. The Roc bird is seen in Buddhism as powerful bird with wings that can bend and watch over all. Small birds skip from tree branches while the great Roc’s flies wide and large in the sky.

The Huge Great Roc-Bird Stretches Its Wings, means your energy flows outward as you twist and open your arms. Your spirit is like the Roc bird, stretching out and covering everything.

Level 2: Explicating-

  1. State the main point.
    • The Huge Great Roc-Bird Stretches Its Wings, helps you practice using your balance to get your energy flowing outward as you twist and open your arms.
  2. In other words….
    • Repeated practice of this Tai Chi move will help you get your energy and balance back!
  3. For example…
    • At first you will be unable to do this move. With repeated practice you will begin to feel how your energy is connected to your balance. This awareness of your practice will improve as you practice letting your energy flow.


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