Sticky hands

Sticky hands

Yīfù shǒu 依附手, also known as “Sticky Hands,” is a fundamental exercise in Lee Style Tai Chi that is taught to beginners as a way to introduce them to the principles of Tai Chi and to prepare them for more advanced techniques. While some may see Sticky Hands as a simple exercise, it is actually a complex and multifaceted practice that offers a range of benefits for practitioners.

One of the main aspects of Sticky Hands is the cultivation of sensitivity and connection with one’s partner. In the exercise, two practitioners begin by standing facing each other and place their hands on the back of each other’s wrists. They then begin to move their arms and bodies in unison, following each other’s movements and trying to maintain a constant connection without using force. This requires a high level of sensitivity to the partner’s movements and intentions and helps to develop the ability to read and respond to subtle changes in body position and energy.

Another aspect of Sticky Hands is the development of internal energy or qi. By maintaining a constant connection with their partner, practitioners learn to circulate their energy and to use it to guide and control their partner’s movements. This involves the use of spiraling movements, which help to increase the flow of energy through the body and to connect the upper and lower body.

Sticky Hands also emphasizes the importance of timing and rhythm in Tai Chi. Practitioners must learn to move in sync with their partner, to maintain a constant flow of movement, and to execute techniques at the right moment. This requires a high level of concentration and focus, and helps to develop a sense of timing and rhythm that can be applied to other aspects of Tai Chi practice.

In addition to these physical aspects, Sticky Hands also has a number of mental and emotional benefits. The exercise requires practitioners to be present and focused, to let go of distracting thoughts and emotions, and to remain calm and centered even in the face of challenge or resistance from their partner. This level of mindfulness and emotional control can be applied to many different aspects of life, including work, relationships, and personal growth.

Overall, Sticky Hands is a foundational practice in Lee Style Tai Chi that offers a range of benefits for both beginners and more advanced practitioners. By developing sensitivity, connection, internal energy, timing, and emotional control, practitioners can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their interactions with others, both in the context of Tai Chi and in daily life. As such, it is an essential part of a holistic Tai Chi practice that emphasizes both solo and partner work as equally important in line with the Taoist principle of yin-yang balance.







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