Yang 40 Commencement
Not the college-graduation-sort
The first move of the Yang 40, like any other Yang form I’ve learned, is Commencement.
It’s really pretty straightforward.
The form begins with both feet roughly together, pointed towards the front of the room. For future reference - we’ll call this north.
Weight is shifted to the right foot, and the left steps out towards a comfortable hip-ish width. Weight is then rebalanced, roughly 50/50, and we maintain this stance for some time. Take care, here, to maintain responsible weight management. The step out with the left foot shouldn’t be rushed, an you shouldn’t “fall” into it. The wight must be fully in the right for this to happen - take your time, and don’t rush it.
The arms make this delightfully easy to write - most movement (at least for Commencement) is reserved until we’re properly settled into our stance. The arms raise up, about to shoulder height, draw inwards, and then press down towards the hips.
There are a few points to observe about the arm movement here –
One must, of course, taking care to maintain softness through the joints. When raising the arms it can be tempting to extend the arms fully and lock the joints. However, it’s important that they remain slightly bent throughout. This is a fairly basic principle of Yang-style Tai Chi, and I may write more about it later.
Second, when drawing the arms inwards, it’s not a particularly large change. It’s almost “more of a bend” in the arms - the arms should never pass 90 degrees, for sure, and less than that is likely acceptable.
Finally, the resting position of the hands at the end of Commencement is worth describing, as it’ll be common position throught the form. Both hands rest about at the level of the hipbones, and slightly forward and to the outside of the body.
That about wraps it up for this movement - it’s pretty straightforward. The more interesting things will, of course, come thick and fast following this.