Tai Chi Chuan is a soft style art. But don’t be deceived. This art develops speed, power and precision just as effectively if not more so than some of the more popular “Hard” styles of Martial Arts. It just approaches the skills, speed, power, and techniques in a very different way.
The Prayer Wheel is an easy exercise to perform, but difficult to master. This first exercise teaches precision, discipline, smoothness, breath control, and meditation. Its defensive applications are many and extremely practical.
NOTE: When performing Tai Chi Exercises timed breath control is critical to the movements, as essential as the motions. Balance is also key. When practicing the exercises perform each exercise 10 – 20 repetitions on both left and right sides.
Starting Position: Stand with feet a bit wider apart than shoulder width. Left leg is forward with knee moderately bent and weight spread fully across entire foot. Right leg is nearly straight with foot flat on the floor. Hands are placed waist high and hips wide, parallel to each other and parallel to the floor
Step # 1: Gently and slowly (keeping hands parallel to each other at all times throughout the exercise) make a 360 degree circle with your hands and arms reaching down and forward almost fully extending forward then continuing the circle up and drawing hands back to beginning point.
Step # 2: While circling your hands down and forward shift your body & weight forward (keeping your back straight and shifting so that about 80%) is on the front foot (do not raise rear heel). Front knee extends forward no further than the front of the big toe of the front foot.
Step # 3: BREATH
Exhale as your reach down and forward, Inhale as you circle up and draw back.
FOCUS POINTS See Video example of the Prayer Wheel