Origin of Tai Chi: Single Whip Low Form (snake Creeps Down)

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This is a “going down form” with the body descending as low as possible without sticking your hip out. In time, with training, you should be able to brush your left elbow on the floor as you shift weight from the rear right foot to the left front one. Descending to the ground is a self-defense technique. Sometimes you can defend yourself merely by going down in a move.

If you want to develop greater strength and flexibility in your legs, try to do the move as follows. After the weight is shifted to the front foot, lift the rear foot straight up a few inches off the floor (lift from the hip joint); the rear foot is held in this position as the front leg straightens up, then bring the rear leg forward. You may move your leg this way for the Hand Cuddles above the Knee With Twisting Step (step #5).

Snakes are very flexible as they move about the earth, hence the name “Snake Creeping Down,” means that though you are in a very low stance, you are still flexible and alert as a snake. Another name for Single Whip Low Form is, “Become an Earthworm,” referencing the fact that your arm brushes the ground just as an earthworm constantly touches the earth.

Legend says that dragons usually fly up in the sky; but occasionally they descend to earth. Hence the name “Ground Dragon” for this move means that even though you are going low you remain as powerful and flexible as a dragon who descends to earth.

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