In many styles of Tai Chi there is a fascinating movement often called “Grasp the Peacock’s Tail”【攬雀尾】. It might also be called “Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail” or simply “Grasp the Bird’s Tail”. This move is different than many other movements in Tai Chi as it has four distinct parts that relate to some deeper aspects of Tai Chi. These four parts are:
• Ward Off – “Peng”【掤】
⁃ Peng is an outward and expanding energy.
• Roll Back – “Lu”【捋】
⁃ Lu is a feel of opening up a space.
• Press – “Ji”【擠】
⁃ Ji is a compressing or squeezing type of energy.
• Push – “An”【按】
⁃ Push is much less about actually pushing and much more about rooting and sinking and bringing your opponent’s energy down into your root.
When we are practicing Grasp the Peacock’s Tail, it is helpful to know how these energy expressions relate to the different parts of the movement. This gives us an opportunity to experience the movements while directing our internal energy rather than simply moving our limbs around our body.
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