Month 8 Intermediate – “Beak Hands”

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    Hi all

    This forum is quiet ! wondering if any others still with the programme in Month 8.

    Definitely the most challenging month for absorption for me so far (not saying I’ve nailed the others, they are an endless well ). With Beak Hands particularly I am unclear about how I am maintaining the posture: Using the softer method to enter & form the beak, do I continue that pull energy in towards the organs and finally Lr Dantien while maintaining the posture with beak fingers pointed toward Lr Dantien?. I am missing some focus of where/how I switch to passing through Lr Dantien to mingmen….is it a pull /push? part of the same continuing concentration of energy from outside inwards through fingers/arms/organs dantien, before expressing outwards and up the back of the spine to the crown with an internal sense of twisting out and opening beak (internally) beginning to open microcosmic orbit.

    I am clearer on rising up the spine than what happens after the crown, down the front – it feels like the energy should go down the arms to tips of beak into dantien, but I am aware I am also cultivating the opposite direction (for the instructions of forming the beak) to concentrate inwards. My reflection is that I find it easier to express outwards, than concentrate inwards. With beak hands particularly, I know something is off as I feel too much tension in the hands. (maybe it is also the body accommodating the strong continual inward wrap of shoulders nest, kwa, etc)

    I could do with an orchestra conductor or maybe a traffic cop directing the pathways!

    Funnily I find the last posture with fingers pointing upwards, elbows dropped and sending energy up the inside of the spine to the crown, which should be the hardest,….coming most naturally and relaxed.

    Regards to any out there, thoughts, experience & advice always welcome.




    Sorry Nick,
    I can’t help you.
    But I’m still with the program.
    Actually I’m taking a third time through and am at Month 5,
    working on lifting hands–
    can you believe that after 24 years I still don’t understand “peng”
    raise hands!

    I know and practice 6 versions of the Yang Long form.
    (88, Yang Jing-Ming, Bruce’s, T.T.Liang, Michael Gilman, Yang Jun)

    They’re all diferent, especially when it comes to Single Whip.
    For example, Michael Gilman has 10 martial applications for Single Whip.
    Some versions think that the Beak Hand is the Whip–like whipping a horse with a quirt.

    Others see the right hand as the Whip–like a bull whip.

    You are trying to figure out the energetics of the Beak hand.
    It makes a big difference if you’re using it as a quirt or pulling an opponent wide open.
    Bruce focuses on the energetics–nobody else does.
    He is the authority.

    Bruce often says that the main purpose of Single Whip is to completely open all parts of the body–it is the most opening posture of all postures.
    “lieh” is one of the complex energies of the 8 energies.
    (“ji” is simple)

    Remember: Qi is always “pulled” (guided and led),
    it’s never “pushed” around.
    (the crack of a Whip is led out).
    You can’t push a rope forward–it has to be pulled.

    So the Beak hand is opening the wrist joint, as well as very other joint of the body–fingers, Lao Gong, elbow, shoulder, spine, Ming Men, Lower Dantien, kua, knees, ankles, feet, Yong Quan, toes.
    This means the main flow of Qi is out–focus on Yang surfaces.
    This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a Yin counterflow in and down(or up).

    Down is part of the complex flow when you are told to point all 5 fingers at the toes. (I think Bruce says this, too–
    but I’m not looking at this lesson at this time.)

    All this stuff is a work in progress.

    I try to find the flow, test against what others say,
    reformulate my understanding, test again…
    ad infinitum.

    Good to see that this forum is still alive.



    you’re somewhere else,
    I’m in month 5 of the Old Yang Style.
    Month 8 has nothing to do with Beak Hand here.

    some of my comments may still be relevant.



    Ha, at least you are still somewhere!!

    I am in the Standing programme, but your comments are actually very useful all the same. He talks about beak hand applications in the build up to how to get into the posture, and I am aware that I need to open my wrists more to release fingers and a lot else, I am guessing it is at least in part where I am getting blocked.

    As always asking the question goes someways to releasing

    Thanks anyway, much for me to mull over in your comments – particularly on push and pull




    Push or Pull or something else?

    Bruce does talk about “pushing,”
    as well as “pulling.”

    IMO opinion I think in terms about “pulling” Qi.

    But I’m reviewing this, re-evaluating and maybe revising.

    Daoyin is an ancient Taoist practice.
    Andrew Nugent-Head’s translation of the term is:
    1. Dao “guiding”
    2. yin “leading”
    His explanation is less than clear.

    Master Jou analogized it to a tug boat.
    The tug leads the Cruiseliner out of the harbor and guides it back in.

    Both “pull” and “push” carry misleading connotations.
    IMO you cannot CONTROL Qi.
    You ALLOW it to flow.

    You set conditions so as to not block its flow.
    Therefore, you neither pull nor push it.

    Bruce uses the analogy of the pool cue stick.
    But I don’t understand if he’s pushing the cue tip with the handle or leading it forward.

    I’d better stop here and finish my catfish samdwich.



    In my experience you can push and pull chi and it is more about how you organize yourself to do that than the directions.

    A good experiment i ve found it to push something heavy and get the feeling of that set into your nerves system whatever and then keep that process or organization of yourself going as you work on an energetic level. It will produce a very distinct feeling. Then switch to pulling and repeat.

    Once you have those experiences separated out and clear, you can experiment with the effects each one has on an area, a system etc and then what happens when you get them working together and how they switch from one to the other.




    Thanks Aaron,
    Have made some minor progress with this, will certainly give your suggestion a go, as it remains a difficult one for me.



    Forum is quiet, but my life (at least) is not right now – perhaps the outside turmoil is keeping things slow here. Anyway…

    I’m far behind in the standing lessons – still leisurely going through month 5. But, I’ve been doing standing practices for over 25 years now, and though I don’t know what Bruce presented as far as beak hands, here’s some thoughts. One is, there’s a lot of material given here – a lot to absorb if it’s not familiar, and it seems like some very important things are mentioned in just a passing sentence or two or as a shorthand reference.

    Push or Pull? That seems to me to be perhaps only relevant to getting the flow started or rather your perception of the flow (if you want to think of it that way). The microcosmic orbit to me is more like a river current – a constantly moving stream that you just enter into – it doesn’t so much require pushing or pulling as moving into, allowing, following.

    Beak hands are just a method to focus the flow from your arms and hands a bit tighter.

    Out the fingertips, into lower tan tien, into mingmen, up du mai (governing vessel), down ren mai (conception vessel), around perineum and back up ( flow splits from this cycle for lower tan tien to mingmen also). And around and round we go. Then there are the energetic flows from heart down arms into hands, up arms into heart and down chest etc., which are separate (if they can be differentiated) from the microcosmic orbit flow.

    So yes, maintain all the stuff that is going on in the lower tan tien postures -the postures to open the microcosmic orbit add awareness of that orbit into the flows already being emphasized by the standing postures. Stabilize the basics before adding this or you’ll just get overwhelmed.


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