Cloud Hands

T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong


Practice Assignments
24 Form Taijiquan
Standard Peking Short Form 1956, Yang Style

Michael P. Garofalo

Lesson 1    Lesson 2    Lesson 3    Lesson 4



Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands Homepage






Practice Assignments
24 Form Taijiquan
Standard Peking Short Form 1956, Yang Style


Practice after Lesson 1

1.  Practice Grasping the Sparrow's Tail  

    Practice the Grasping the Sparrow's Tail sequence twice each day.  This sequence
includes: Ward Off (Peng), Roll Back (Lu), Press (Ji), and Push (An).    Practice the four 
movements both to the left side (Grasp the Sparrow's Tail to the Left Side - Zuolan 
Quewei) and to the right side (Youlan Quewei).  

    Practice for 3 minutes on each side.  Practice twice each day.  Experiment with both
higher and lower stances - within your levels and limits of physical conditioning and
readiness for comfortable movement.   Train but don't strain!  Experiment with very
slow movements and moderately paced movements.    

    In Peng, Lu and An remember to keep the front of the knee placed between the toes and the
heel, i.e., the knee should not extend in front of the tip of the toes nor should the kneecap be
behind the heel.  Assume a comfortable stance with slightly more weight in the front leg
during Peng, Lu and An.  

    We practiced this sequence of four moves in Lesson 1 in class and will do so again in 
Lesson 2-5.  These four postures or movements are four of the classic 13 Postures of Taijiquan.

    Study the pictures and descriptions given in one of our textbooks.  Grasping the Sparrow's
Tail to the left is movement/posture #7 in the 24 Form, and Grasping the Sparrow's Tail
to the Right is movment #8 in the 24 Form.  This sequence of four moves is know as
Grasping the Sparrow's Tai, Gasping the Swallow's Tail, or Grasping the Bird's Tail.  This
movement sequence is done many times in the Yang Style Taijiquan Long (88/108) Form, 
but only to the right side in the long form.  .


2.  Practice Standing Meditation in the Wu Ji position.  

    Stand quietly a few times each day in the way that we practiced in class: place your feet together 
or at shoulder width, allow your arms to hang at your sides, keep your neck and back straight and
upright, keep you chin slightly tucked in, have your eyes take a wide angle soft focus, breathe in 
through your nose and out through your mouth, relax (Sung) your whole body, keep your knees
slightly bent, and keep your buttocks tucked in.  Use the abdominal breathing technique: allow your
abdomen (belly) relax as you breathe in, then as you breathe out then slowly tighten and suck in your
    Try your best to just enjoy the moment.  "Be Here Now."  Relax (Sung) and sink into a state
of consciousness that can be characterized as calm, peaceful, open, joyful, content, unhurried,
and uplifting.   If worries, concerns, memories, daydreams, or thoughts come into your 
mind, then just note them, exhale completely, tighten your abdomen, then raise your hands up
in front as your breath in, then lower your hands as you breath out.  
    This standing meditation posture (Wu Ji) is called the Mountain Pose (Tadasana) in Hatha


3.  Be Patient and Be Kind to Yourself

    Yes, you may have felt a bit frustrated after Lesson 1.  Maybe you got a bit tired.  Maybe you
could not get coordinated when doing some of the movements.  Maybe you think you will
never remember all these weird movements.  Maybe you did not feel comfortable with the 
warriorship aspects of Taijiquan martial arts.  Maybe you feel like a bull in a supermarket.
Maybe you feel you will "never get it."   

    Allow yourself to just be a beginner.  Your body will take time to learn to move in new
ways, and will resist change.   Just be patient and coax it along.  Your mind (Yi) can lead
your bodily energy (Chi) in a gentle and patient manner.  As you practice each day your
body will slowly but surely become stronger, more confident, more coordinated, more
skilled, more aware.  Just smile, just practice!   In doing so your will find that your 
self-critical and self-judgmental tendencies will just slowly become less important,
less meaningful, less useful to you.  Take your time and have confidence.  Congratulate
yourself for wanting to improve your health and fitness, for taking the time to attend
the Taijiquan class, for respecting yourself, for striving for self-realization.      

    Remember to keep a nice soft smile on your face as you practice Taijiquan.  

    Be thankful you are able to enjoy your Taijiquan practice.  Mentally send your good-will, 
best wishes, and prayers out to other persons not so fortunate or healthy as you.  


4.  Study

The long-term enjoyment, benefit and advancement in Taijiquan involves 90% practice 
and 10% theory.   Beginners should make some efforts to learn about the theory, 
history and practices of Taijiquan.  

Obtain one of the suggested Instructional Resources cited in the handout.  Purchase 
one book, study, then exchange your book for a different book with a fellow student 
in the Taijiquan class.  

Explore the Cloud Hands website.  


Lesson 1 Handouts:

24 Form Taijiquan Instructional Resources

24 Form List of Movements

Practice after Lesson 2

Repeat practices of Lesson 1.

Reconect with your Great Bear Self via some of the postures and moves we practiced and
discussed in class: swaying arms from side to side, wagging the tail from side to 
side from the Eight Section Brocade, hands up in claws and turning from side to 
side as you softly growl, and Cloud Hands - Chasing the Clouds from the Sky.  

Remember to Frolic!  

It is just fine for you to Dance like a Bear, and become a Silly Bear for a awhile!!
Allow yourself some time for frolicking.  


Review moves 1-3 of the 24 Form.  



Practice after Lesson 3


Repeat the suggested practices of Lesson 1 and 2.

Review and practice moves 1-5 of the 24 Form:

     Commencement: Step left, Raise and Lower Arms  

     Parting the Wild Horse Mane (Left side, Right side, Left Side)

     White Crane Spreads its Wings 

     Brush Knee and Palm Strike (Left side, Right side, Left Side)

     Step Up and Play the Pi Pa (Lute, Guitar)


Do some reading in our textbooks, and view the 24 Form instructional videotape
for moves 1-5.  

Explore some of the web links on the 24 Form webpage.











Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Waving Hands Like Clouds Homepage




Michael P. Garofalo's E-Mail


Valley Spirit Tai Chi Chuan Club


Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Cities in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City, Orland, Corning,
Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Tehama, Gerber, Manton, Cottonwood, 
Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, and Redding, CA






Michael P. Garofalo, 2003, All Rights Reserved



Zen Poetry

Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems

Master Chang San-Feng

Sun Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Cold Mountain Sages

The Spirit of Gardening

Walking and Tai Chi Chuan

Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan



Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung Website







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October 14, 2004