Wuji ...
Raise Hands, Lower Hands
Opening Posture of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan

Research by Michael P. Garofalo
Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California


Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands Website




1.  Opening Posture of Taijiquan    (Taijiquan Qi Shi)   

Commencing (Qishi)  [Liang & Wu 1996]
Starting Posture  [Zhang Fuxing 1996; Chong 1981] 
The Beginning  (Qi Ji)  [Foen Tjoeng Lie 1988; Metzger & Zhou 1996]
Starting Form  [Zhao 2006] 
Standing Quietly, Raise and Lower Hands 
Reconnecting with Oneness and Emptiness
Quiet Standing Mediation: Zhan Zhuang, WuJi  
Taijiquan Opening Movement
Opening Posture of Taijiquan  [Garofalo 2008] 
Öffnung Lage von Taijiquan 
Postura de la Abertura de Taijiquan
预 备  Yu Bei  :  Preparation Form

Variations of names for this movement include: WuJi, Standing Quietly, Reconnecting with Oneness and Emptiness, Quiet Standing Mediation
Beginning, Commencement, Starting Posture, Commencing (Qishi), Taijiquan Opening Movement, and 预 备 : Yu Bei : Preparation Form. 

Standard Simplified 24 Tai Chi Form, Names of Movements 1-24, 1 Page, PDF Format, 11Kb

Citations for Reference Sources for Movement Names


Three Parts of the Commencement or Opening Posture of Taijiquan


1.  Standing and Being Still  1a

2.  Stepping with left foot to the right side into a High Horse Stance  1b

3.  Raise Hands and Lower Hands  1c-1e


Face N 12 (1a) .  For an explanation of the directional scheme used in Cloud Hands webpages, please see below. 
Stand at attention for awhile.  In Taiji and Qigong, standing quietly in a meditative posture for awhile is the first phase Relax (Sung).  Shoulders are down, hands relaxed and gently touching the side of leg, and head is erect.  This is the phase of WuJi (empty state), or standing like a tree (Zhan Zhuang), and Reconnecting with Oneness and Emptiness.  Breathe easily and comfortably. 
Sink weight into right leg, and then step out to the left to shoulder width (1b). 
Gently raise both arms up (1c), palms facing down, to about shoulder height (1d). 
Lower both arms, palms down, to Dan Tien height, and lower knees (1e).  The lower Dan Tien is a sphere of energy located a few inches behind and below the level of the navel or belly button; the middle Dan Tien is located in the heart area, and the upper Dan Tien is located behind the eyes in the brain. The most important for Taijiquan is the lower Dan Tien.   Practitioners of Kundalini Yoga might consider correspondences of the 3rd Chakra (Manipurna) [Power, Will] with the Lower Dan Tien, the 4th Chakra (Anahata) [Compassion, Love] with the Middle Dan Tien, and the 6th Chakra (Aina) [Intuition, Vision, 6th Sense] with the Upper Dan Tien.  The Chinese energetic system is quite different from the Indian energetic system, so correspondences are weak in this case.  [Chris Akley wrote on 4/3/2012 that "Though I wouldn't say that this is wrong, I think there is a more accurate way to describe it. You could also say that the Dan Tien is in the second charka Swadhisthana which is where kundalini resides once it is awakened. But more accurately, I would say it is between the second and third chakra as this Qigong healer says, in between the energies of fire and water.]
This is movement often called "Raising Hands and Lowering Hands."
Breathe normally as you stand, relax, and center in position 1a.  Breathe in through nose, and out through the nose.  Slow the respiration rate to inhaling for 4-5 seconds, holding the full in-breath for 1-2 seconds, exhaling slowly for 4 to 5 seconds, pausing 1-2 seconds before beginning the yin/yang cycle of breathing again.  Breathe in at 1a, breathe out as you step to 1b. 
Breathe in as arms float up 1b-1c, and breathe out as arms float down (1d-1e).  



      (1a)                            (1c-1d)


Here is a description of the beginning of the Opening Posture of Taijiquan (#1, 1b) from the book Traditional Chen Style Taijiquan by Fan Chun-Lei and A. Frank Shiery, p.37: 

    "1.  Preliminary Stance:  Stand naturally upright with the feet placed shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly inward, and arms hanging naturally at the side.  The body should be kept upright with the shoulders relaxed, eyes slightly closed and breathing naturally.  The body should face north.  The mind should remain empty, calm and clear.  This is the state of WuJi, (Negative Terminus in Taoist Teaching). 
    2.  Commencing Form:  The body should exhibit being relaxed externally while solid within.  The head is held naturally erect as if pulled upward by an invisible string.  Close the lips slightly with the tongue touching the upper palate.  The toes firmly grasp the ground with Yongquan point pulled upward.   The eyes are looking straight ahead with the chin drawn slightly inward.  The hip is turned up and the coccyx turned back and upward with the waist directed downwards.  The whole body should remain relaxed.  A mind state of intent is maintained while the vital energy flows upward from the Dantian to the Baihui point, while the turbid energy flows downward from the Dantian to the Yongquan point.  During this time, the body exhibits no external movement.  Yin/Yang, for example, closing/opening, supple-firm and fast-slow are manifested internally, portraying the image of the Taiji, (Grand Terminus) (1b).     
    Key Points to Remember:  For the beginner, the primary concern should be to cleanse the mind and spirit of tension and anxiety, removing all negative thoughts.  This develops even-temperedness and an alert mind for quick movement and response.  Once this technique has been mastered, the practitioner can begin to understand and practice Taijiquan more effectively."
-   Fan Chun-Lei and A. Frank Shiery, Traditional Chen Style Taijiquan




Standing and Being Still

Part One of the Commencement or Opening Posture of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan


Many books, magazine articles, and webpages have been written about the great value of the practice of simply standing up straight, being relaxed, being centered, being attentive, and being still:


Standing Meditation

Wuji   The Empty State Before the Emergence

Zhan Zhuang   Standing Post, Embrace the One, Tree Hugging

Samasthiti and Tadasana   Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Modern Postural Yoga


"The body extends upwards, with the base as firm as a rock; the mind is steady and attentive.  Tadasana teaches balance, centering and evenness and direction of extensions.  These principles apply to all the postures."
-   B.K.S. Iyengar


"True relaxation is always a dropping into ourselves, a movement toward our core and very center of self.  In addition to distorting what we can see, hear, and feel, the inability to relax and release tension will inevitably fuel the involuntary internal monologue of the mind.  As we become more enmeshed in the drama that our mind is scripting about ourselves, our ability to relate in a wholesome and relaxed manner with the current condition and circumstances of our lives becomes further distorted. ... The relaxation of tension in our bodies melts the armoring that keeps our bodies hard and inflexible.  This hardening of the tissue creates a layer of numbness that keeps our awareness of the rich web of shimmering sensations concealed and contained.  Relaxation allows the armoring to begin to soften and melt away.  The inevitable result is a much greater awareness of sensational presence and a diminution of the ongoing involuntary monologue of the mind.  Learning how to relax by surrendering the weight of the body to the pull of gravity and remaining standing at the same time significantly catalyzes the practice of mindfulness."
-  Will Johnson, Aligned, Relaxed and Resilient, 2000, p. 55



Raise Hands and Lower Hands

Part Three of the Commencement or Opening Posture of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan


"Let's start from the beginning with the very first move, the T'ai Chi Open Stance, in which you simply raise the hands prior to stepping off [to ward off right in the long 108 form].  When raising the arms and hands you want to simultaneously press your Bubbling Well [Yung Chuan, K-1, bottom center behind the ball of each foot] points down into the earth.  This downward press into your feet will lend a wavelike quality to your body and arms as you raise your arms up in front.  You'll feel this wave of force traveling up through your body and out to your fingertips before it returns back down through your body to the earth, (the returning down part being somewhat analogous to an undertow).  Though there are no corners per se, the hands and fingertips are where that wavelike force changes direction for "up and out" to "back in and down."  In order to really feel this quality you can exaggerate the movement of the hands as the fingers extend out and up so that they resemble the tail fin of a whale propelling itself forward through the ocean's depths."
-  Sifu John Loupos,  Inside Tai Chi: Hints, Tips, Training, and Process for Students and Teachers, 2002, p. 176. 


"Try this simple experiment now.  Raise your right hand toward the ceiling.  Just do it.  Then take it back down/  What did you see?  What did you experience?  Now, raise your right hand to the ceiling very slowly.  Take at least thirty seconds to do it.  Then take it back down again, just as slowly.  Don't think abou it, or try to analyze it.  "Just do it"─ but very slowly.
    Now, what did you notice; what did you see this time?  Were you able to notice the impulse that precedes the movement?  The complex mental/physical twinge that sets the arm in motion?  Did you see and feel the weight and volume of the arm?  Were there any changes in the quality of your mind or breath as the arm slowly rose or descended?  Were there mental formations, perhaps of boredom, irritation, curiosity, pleasure?  A whole cosmos arises, changes, and passes away in one simple movement, and generally we are completely blind to all of it.  Generally, until there has been a deep and real transformation at the base, when we simply "do what we are doing," we are merely dong conditioned, habitual actions.  Moving slowly allows us to see this more clearly and leads to ceto-vimutti, liberation of the mind.  It does this by giving us the time and space to see the constant process of conditioning arising here in this body-mind.  And in seeing the conditioning, we can begin the process of freely choosing how to respond, rather than blindly react."
-  Frank Jude Boccio,
Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind, 2004, p.89





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Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern Central California, U.S.A.
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© Michael P. Garofalo, 2015-, All Rights Reserved

This webpage was last modified or updated on March 1, 2015. 

This webpage was first published on the Internet on February 22, 2015. 



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