The Swing Doors

Chinese boxing classics liken the arms to swing doors. What does this mean exactly in the practice of Tai Chi Chuan?

As a traditional combat system the movements in Tai Chi Chuan adhere to the principle of arms like swing doors. In Beginning Posture you learn how to set the correct door width. If you don’t understand what this means you will inevitably set the door frame too wide.

This is a common problem with students who previously learned from masters who do not explain to them what the principles of traditional Chinese pugilism or that of the Tai Chi Classics are and how they relate to combat. They will not know why this pose a problem when they play shoving hands match with fellow students. However, if they try pushing hands with those who understand this principle they will find their opponent walking right through their guard.

After Beginning Posture has defined the door frame we move on to learn how to use the arms like swing doors for attacking, defending and counterattacking in Grasp Sparrow’s Tail. Within the movements of opening and closing the arms are also circling, turning and spiralling to stick and adhere to the opponent’s arms to bind, entwine and seal.

Each of the four key movements within Grasp Sparrow’s Tail has its logic of positioning, timing and strategy. Each move can give rise to the other in an endless cycle of change varying between an open door to closed door to semi-opened / semi-closed door. The movements can be played for controlling or striking. For beginners it is best to learn control first because there are many things that you can learn about yourself when you do it this way.

Some may think that learning fajing is difficult but when the postural structures are in place fajing is actually the easy part. The difficult part is doing it against a moving opponenet. This is why learning Grasp Sparrow’s Tail is crucial to learning how to control the opponent long enough for you to apply your power. Without understanding the logical sequence of learning the process of Master Tai Chi Today will be elusive.


Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style (TaijiKinesis) lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.


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