Origin of Tai Chi: 2. Single Whip (Energy Change)

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Your left hand moves out to strike the opponent as though you were whipping him with it.

Another name for this move is, “Single Change,” because with the change, movement, of the left hand you are able to control your opponent.

The word pronounced, “dan” can also mean energy focus in your abdomen. Hence the name dan bian can also be “Energy Change.” This refers to the fact that during this move the energy inside your abdomen changes. But because this is invisible on the outside, the name is usually given an interpretation which refers to the more obvious physical motion.

The stance of the Single Whip is a basic Tai Chi stance. The left hand connects to the right foot and the right hand to the left foot. The hands are also connected to each other energywise as though you were drawing a silken thread between them. The back should be up straight, as though you were suspended from a string. Knees must be directly over the feet, not turned or sagging in the slightest. The legs are rounded through the crotch energywise, and most weight is on the back foot.

You gather the energy into your right hand as you move it back. Then as you left hand moves out, the energy gathered in your right hand flows to the left, so that the energy of both hands moves together to be one continuity.

Close Reading:

Level 1: Paraphrasing-

State in your own words the meaning of each sentence.

In this move your left hand moves away from your right hand in one flowing movement in a whip like motion.

This move is also called, “Single Change” because with one left hand movement you can control another person.

The word “dan” means focusing on your energy in your abdomen. Dan bian means “Energy Change.” The energy in your abdomen changes as you move. You can’t actually see this. So the most common name for this move refers to the physical motion of a whip.

The primary Tai Chi posture is the Single Whip stance. During the move you can feel your left hand link to your right foot, and your right hand link to your left foot. The energy in your hands are also in sync with each other as if you were drawing a silken thread between them. Your back is straight and soft, as if it is being hung from a piece of string. You knees must be right over your feet. Do not turn, sag or bend the knee even at all. No exceptions. Round your legs until you feel the energy in your crotch. Put most of your weight on the back foot.

When you move your right hand back gather energy into your hand. When your left hand moves away, the gathered energy in your right hand flows to your left hand. The energy of both hands move together as one.

Level 2: Explicating-

  1. State the main point.
    • The Single Whip moves energy when your hands move together as one. The moving energy changes the energy in your abdomen.
  2. In other words….Moving energy outside your body moves energy inside your body. If you can move energy inside and outside your body, you can move another person’s energy.
  3. For example…When you are able to control your energy, inside and out, you are able do the same with the energy in another person and control their energy. With a “Single Whip” you are able to control your rival.

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