I have just started searching for examples of this movement on the internet and realised that among all the people doing Tai Chi out there I might just be the only one who would apply Cloud Hands the way I do.
I have found different variations of the movement itself as well. This makes my writing about my version and its application a bit unfair as you will be missing out on some really elaborate applications.
Now- how I always did this movement is starting from a posture like the Lute Playing posture like the picture below-
or the Spread Wings posture like this:
From either one of these ready postures I then rotate my front foot and let my body follow while my leading hand makes contact with an imaginary thrust and I then complete the rotation by passing the attack while I guide its force past me with minimal effort and my free hand follows the blocking hand to wind up for an outward strike.
When the rotation and step is complete I shift weight onto the new leading foot and strike outward with a knife hand to the groin or ribs. The strike could also be with the forearm.
That is how I do the form anyway. In sparring I often use an elbow strike or a straight punch instead of the outward strike.
Another way of applying this movement would be guiding a straight thrust past you with an inward forearm block while the body rotates and the free hand raises to prepare for an inward knife hand. Then, when the body rotates in the opposite direction again, the blocking arm pushes the opponent's arm downward and out while the knife hand flies in to strike the carotid artery.
Well- that is how I have been doing it.
This is what I found on Youtube, however:
I seem to find everyone to have a grappling application to the one movement or the other in forms nowadays. Not that I am really complaining...
What I do need to caution novices about, however, is that it is fine to learn elaborate moves in training, but fighting itself- especially grappling- requires speed and efficiency. Your opponent will not give you a second chance when you fumble on one of the steps to your awesome move and trying to force your body to recall that complex set of movements in the heat of battle is certain defeat.
The key to having your martial arts training more readily available to you in a fight is to keep the principle behind the technique in mind while leaving the execution of specific movements to itself.
The version of Wave Hands like Clouds that I do does not rely on a big evasive movement to step away from an attack, but rather body rotation and minimal involvement from the blocking hand to pass an attack and get yourself inside the opponent's defense. This clinch position in which you then find yourself is then ideal for close range attacks like the forearm strike to the ribs, hammer fist/ knife hand to the groin or the elbow to the solar plexus. If the rotation and passing is done on time the block is not even really necessary, but it does help to clear a bothersome arm out of the way for you to attack the body.
This approach is simple and that is where its effectiveness lies.
|Karate also uses this principle in some of its katas.|
Next week's post is going to be about The Single Whip.