Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hand or Waist - Branch or Root?

I've always been stumbling and bumbling along on the path to understanding Tai Chi and how it works.

There are different approaches and interpretations of principles. One that interests me is whether the waist or the hand leads the movement.

When I was learning the form with John Kells, it was the waist. However, once we started learning the 2 person fighting set John told us that the hand could lead. Is it the root of the tree or the branch?

So it is interesting to read Ma Jiangbao, son of Ma Yuehliang, talking about the hand leading in Wu style. The article is here.

There is also an older article by Gerald Sharp in response to an article by George Xu in Tai Chi magazine which is here.

I'm interested in other viewpoints, informed not dogmatic or ranting. Any thoughts?


  1. I find my movements are strongest (at present) if I think of them coming from the spine, then there will be, as I see/feel it, one flow from the foot to the hand, and another from hand to foot. Nothing in Tai Chi ever seems to be untrue, just more or less useful for the moment.

    1. Hi Pat, I tried to pin John Kells down on this in 2012 when I was staying with him in Chepstow. He thought about it and said, Thymus first. Well, he would, wouldn't he. However, it makes perfect sense now.