Origin of Tai Chi- 5. Hand Cuddles Above the Knee with Twisting Step

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The name ao bu is a technical term, meaning the right foot and left hand, or the left foot and the right hand, are forward together. (This is in contrast to the technical name san bu, “step up,” which refers to moves in which the right foot and right hand are forward together, or the left foot and left hand.)

This move is basically the hip joint turning and the waist twisting. Be careful not to stick out your hip or tailbone.

Two things are important to remember when practicing this move. First, the rear support knee must remain back over the foot and not sag in. After shifting your weight to the front foot, lift the rear foot straight up, then move it forward slowly, this helps to develop balance and control. Second, before shifting weight off the rear foot, turn your waist, not your hips which remain steady.

Be careful not to be double-weighted. Having the weight evenly divided between the two legs in this or any other move is the fault the classics call “double-weightedness.” In his Five Key Words, Li Yuyi says of Flexibility, “if your weight is on the left side, empty it and the right side will have already moved out.” He is referring to this weight shift, and to all other weight shifts.

You should be completely flexible in this move, able to instantly shift weight forward to the front foot, or back to the rear foot. Feel the energy circling through your legs and crotch.

Close Reading:

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

The term ao bu is when you move your opposite hand and foot forward together. San bu, on the other hand, means “step up,” you move the same right foot and right hand forward together.

Concentrate on turning your hip joint by twisting your waist. Push in your hip and tailbone.

There are two key things to be aware of when you practice this move. First, never sag your back knee in. Your stance must support most your weight. Your knee must be directly above your foot. When you shift your weight from the back foot to the front foot always lift the back foot up straight (perpendicular), no bending. Second, always turn your waist, not the hips, before you transfer your weight from the back to the front foot. Do not move your hips, they must be stable.

It is easy to become double-weighted if you are not paying attention. “Double-weightedness” is a classic error you make when you have your weight evenly balanced between both legs. Li Yuyi describes Flexibility, “if your weight is on the left side, empty it and the right side will have already moved out.” This is how you shift your weight in all the tai chi moves.

To immediately shift the weight in your feet, backward or forward, you have to become soft, loose and light. You have to be able to feel the energy move from one foot, up through your leg and through curve of your crotch, to the other foot.

Level 2: Explicating-

  1. State the main point.
    • This Tai Chi move helps you to develop balance and control by shifting your weight,forward and backward, in each leg.
  2. In other words….
    • When you practice shifting your weight you are practicing moving your energy.
  3. For example…
    • When you learn to move your energy in your body your will learn how to become a more balanced human being.

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