Hand Forms of Tai Chi Chuan
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Hand Forms of Tai Chi Chuan

In Tai Chi, the movements of the arms is essential as the movements of the lower limbs but the arms especially the hands play a great role in martial movements and health exercises. The three hand forms of Tai Chi Chuan are the palm, the fist and the hook.


In Tai Chi, the movements of the arms is essential as the movements of the lower limbs but the arms especially the hands play a great role in martial movements and health exercises.

The three hand forms of Tai Chi Chuan are the palm, the fist and the hook.


In Tai Chi Chuan practice, palm hand technique hold the prevalent role. The main feature of the Tai Chi Chuan palm method is the slackness of the fingers, as opposed to the palm method of boxing (Chang Quan), in which the thumb is closely crouched and the other fingers are kept straight and tightly closed together.

For beginners, one should extend or withdraw their palms naturally and gracefully. The finger should not be kept tightly together or open forcefully, nor should the palms be transfused. When one becomes skilled and familiar in Tai Chi, the movements will come easily and naturally. In stretching out your hand, the palm should be slightly transfused-this is the empty palm.


While the palm is stretched out and turned in a coiled form, it is gradually smooth out and the cup becomes gradually flat-this is called from empty to solid.

When the palm reaches the peak point, the cup almost disappears, the fingers spread slightly. The palm is rested on the wrist and the base of the palm projects with light power applied to it to help the palm forward-this is the solid palm.

When the palm is drawn back, and it shrink back into a spiral form, the palm gradually returns to the original state of an empty cup form-this is called from solid to empty.

Movements of the palms played a part of the entire whole. Therefore, the empty and solid state of the palm should be combine with that of the inherent whole. As expression in boxing theory, power is “rooted at the feet, released from the legs, controlled by the waist and displayed in the fingers. They must be combined as a whole.” The movements of the hands would be maintaining the complete movements of the waist, legs and feet.

In the fixed posture of every stance, the hands and the toes must corresponds and in-line with each other. The finger tips should form a straight line with the tip of the nose in most stances.


The form of Tai Chi is actually non-different from the other boxing styles in China. That is, the four fingers are kept together and cupped over into the palm, and the thumb is cupped ever and inward across the middle section of the middle finger. Although Tai Chi Chuan emphasized that hardness dwells in the softness and contrariwise, it starts with soft movements. So, the hands should not be clenched too tightly. Whether it is tightly or loosely clenched, there should be a citation of coherence, so that it cannot be opened when it is disjointed, and cannot be dispersed when it struck.

The foremost methods are divided mainly into fist with side-up, palm down and palm up.

After some period of practice, the beginner should learn the changes of the points of force. For example, the fist with side-up calls for the force to be concentrated on the central side of the second knuckle of the little finger, while the fist palm down is extended with the force on the root section of the middle finger. When the fist is punched upward the force is on the second section of the thumb. When the fist is punched downward, the force is on the root section of the little finger. When the fist is punched outward, the force is on the root section of the forefinger.

Forces is applied on the fist, however the points of force change from time to time depending on the directions and movements of the fist.



The hook hand from is a hand with the fingers and thumb pressed together and arched downward in the form of a claw. Usually the hook is turned from the palm hand form. The catch-and-hold method used in the attack and defense has four functions – hooking, catching, locking and arresting. The catch-and-hold method of Tai Chi Chuan directs its target at the membranes, arteries and veins, muscles and acupuncture points. It employs the method of cut-hold-catch-and-arrest to find the right points through rubbing, wiping and pushing. It is not limited in twisting the muscles and bones, but concentrates on taking the channels of energy flow of the opponent, and arresting the advantage of the opponent's force to disable and use against him. The hook hand form is also a method of training the wrist and gaining finger power.


The Chinese Art of Exercise for Healthy Living and Long Life by Dahong Zhou

Basics of Taiji Chuan, Foreign Languages Press, 1995

Chinese Soft Exercise: A Tai Chi Workbook by Paul Crompton, London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1986

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Comments (18)

Useful share and very nicely executed, too. Great illustrations. Sharing this one. Thanks Voted up

Well written and illustrated post...I learned a lot form your articles....thanks Sir

Keep it coming Ron...I'm bookmarking and using these with my very amateur Chi exercises.

WEll detailed valuable information from a most reveared source.

Very good guide for those learning Tai Chi

Thanks everyone - appreciated.

Excellent guide and illustrations

Thanks Michael - appreciated.

Sounds easy to do. A good guide for taichi hand formations.

Taichi is a good form of exercise.

Thanks Chan -appreciated.

Thanks Phoenix - appreciated.

Your article is voted up...

I have always been interested in this, but never thought I could learn from home.

Thanks Jessie. Thanks Jill, but you must learn it from an expert teacher then you can do it anywhere else suited to your liking.

Great share..voted

Thank you.

Another great post! You have a nice weekend too, my friend!