Yang Cheng-fu Tai Chi Form - First Set

The Forms      
First Set      
Second Set      
Third Set      
Yin Yang Symbol      
Chi and Tai Chi Breathing
Kenpo Karate
Tai Chi and The Way

Wu Chi

Open Water Gate
Grasp Sparrows Tail - Ward Off Left

Grasp Sparrows Tail - Ward Off Right

Grasp Sparrows Tail - Roll Back

Grasp Sparrows Tail - Press (Tung Ying Chieh)

Grasp Sparrows Tail - Push

Single Whip

Raise (Lift) Hands and Step Up

White Crane Spreads Its Wings

Brush Knee and Twist Step Left

Play Pipa

Brush Knee and Twist Step Right

Brush Knee and Twist Step Left

Play Pipa

Brush Knee and Twist Step Right

Step Up, Deflect, Parry & Punch

Apparent Close (Seal & Close Up)

Trace Eyebrows to Gather Earth to Cross Hands


yu4 bei4


Preparation Form




qi3 shi4 hei2 chi2


syu1 gun3    mun4


Wu Chi

Open the Waters Gate








lan2 que4 wei2

laam5 jeuk3 mei5

 zuo peng pung3

 you peng




Grasp the Sparrow's tail


Left Ward Off

Right Ward Off


Roll Back







dan1 bian1

Single whip

Steel whip Pivot

Hook Hand

Cutting Palm



ti2 shou3 shang4 shi4

Lift Hands and

(Break Branch to) Step Up to Shoulder Stroke


bai2 he4 liang4 chi4

White Crane Spreads its Wings



zuo3 lou1 xi1 ao3 bu4

Left Brush Knee and

Twist Step to Push


shou3 hui1 pi2 pa

Hand Strums Lute (Play Pipa)



zuo3 lou1 xi1 ao3 bu4

(Break Branch to) Left Brush Knee and

Twist Step to Push



you4 lou1 xi1 ao3 bu4

Right Brush Knee and

Twist Step to Push



zuo3 lou1 xi1 ao3 bu4

Left Brush Knee and

Twist Step to Push


shou3 hui1 pi2 pa

Hand Strums Lute



zuo3 lou1 xi1 ao3 bu4

(Break Branch to) Left Brush Knee and

Twist Step to Push




jin4 bu4 ban1 lan2 chui2

Step forward Deflect

Parry and





ru2 feng1 si4 bi4

As though sealed and closed

Wipe Off





shi2 zi4 shou3


Trace Eyebrows

Gather Earth

Cross Hands


Yang Cheng-fu called the First Set, San Shang (Three Star), because it opens in three (3) directions: South, West and East, with your back to the North when the form begins. There are no other directions (or angles) in the First Set. This is true for High, Medium & Low Forms, as well as Body, Mind or Spirit Form.
Commencing Form (as shown) is actually the Wuji (Wuxi) position and is preceded by Preparation (yu bei) and Beginning (qi shi which is meant as the beginning of Wuji, that is, to give birth.) The conventional raising and lowering of hands is a breathing exercise with no martial application, and was taught one way to beginners, and another way to advanced students who had learned how to breath. While correct breathing was not essential for beginners, it was extremely so for advanced practice.
Convention calls the various techniques in the Form, "postures." Technically, there are only 13 postures, with the techniques being various combinations of those postures. All moves begin with the waist, and the body turns far more than would be used in an actual technique. Thus as in Roll Back the waist turns from East towards North East so the waist and hand (not the feet) exercise in a smooth twisting motion from the waist up; keeping in mind that when one part moves, all parts move, so while the feet do not move from position, they do never-the-less, move. This waist movement will work the intestines, and many beginning students will find they will have a bowel movement at the completion of the First Set; and I always have a teaching break for beginning students and have the First Set complete with the Wu Chi Posture.
The first posture (following Wu Chi) is Open Water Gate (syu gun mun - a pull down - facing west), followed by Grasp Sparrows Tail (lan que wei) which is a pithy form, consisting of 5 postures, Ward Off Left (zuo peng), Ward Off Right (you peng), Roll Back (lu), Press (ji) " Push (an). Yang Cheng-fu left no known photograph of Press (ji). It's for this reason that Ward Off Right (you peng) is often used in its place. The photograph of Tung Ying Chieh is the closest to the Press Posture for the hand position. However, Yang Cheng-fu's head would be more erect, and his left leg more bowed (as in Push). The left Press hand touches the right arm at the Pulse Gate; that is, with the left heel of the left palm about one inch from the wrist. But the press contact is only made just before both hands extend to conclusion.
Ward Off Left faces south in execution, and transitions to west to commence Ward Off Right, followed by Rollback, Press and Push, all of which face west.
Single Whip consists of three moves, Steel Whip Pivot (which pivots the body to face south), Hook Hand and a Ward Off Left variation that terminates with Cutting Palm facing east. The feet are in eight figure stance facing west commencing Single Whip.
Lift Hands turns south and is completed with Snap Branch as a transition to Step Up to Shoulder Stroke and culminates with a small frame trapping Split, before transitioning into White Crane Spreads its Wings facing east.
The White Crane photograph is the Commencing of the Posture which is followed by a high Pull Down that culminates with the both palms facing up, Left Hand at chest level, Right Hand behind the Right Ear.
Left Brush Knee commences with the hands in the above position. (NOTE: The Left Hand is NOT faced down and is NOT at waist level.) The Left Hand makes a smooth movement from chest high (Palm up), across the body moving down to thigh level as the palm smoothly turns down in the movement until it is at arm's length in front of and at waist level above the thigh. Simultaneously, the Right Hand moves forward (east) from Palm Up to a Standing Palm on a line with the Left Elbow. This is Brush Knee. The Left Hand (facing down) pulls back, and down as the Right Standing Palm pushed forward; so that both left and right hands terminate at the same time, the right hand moving forward, the left hand moving back towards the body. The Twist Stance is modified and always high in High Frame, but always traditional in Low Frame, and is done either way or a modified (high) twist in Medium/Center Frame.
Play Pipa or Strum Lute is the Left Side of Raise Hands and is followed by Break Branch as the transition to the 2nd Left Brush Knee, and the hands move back to the same position as the 1st Brush Knee. However, unlike the 1st Brush Knee, where the Left Hand slowly turns palm down as it moves forward, in the 2nd Brush Knee, the Left Hand turns Palm Down as the arm moves (being pushed by the raised back, sunk shoulder and dropped elbow) and then continues Palm Down to where both hands are in the same position as the 1st Brush Knee.
Right Brush Knee is done the same as left Brush Knee except for the high Ka Lung movement of the left foot. This is followed by another set of Left Brush Knee which are repeated the same as the first Left Brush Knee set.

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