Warm Up/Joint Loosening Exercises
By Nick Gudge
Before beginning any training session Grandmaster Wang Haijun recommended that the muscles are warmed –up and the joints loosened. This not only limits the chance of injury but allows the body to practice Taiji exercises more correctly.
Like all exercises it is important to understand what is being exercised and how. This understanding coupled with practice brings optimum results. The joints should be loosened and stretched not strained.
The list below is provided as a reminder of the exercises Grandmaster Wang Haijun commonly uses in his workshops and classes.
1. Loosen the wrists by forward rotation
2. Loosen and stretch the back and arms (Forwards)
3. Loosen and stretch the shoulders and arms (Upwards)
4. Loosen and stretch the back, legs and arms (Downwards)
5. Loosen the neck by circling the head
6. Loosen and stretch the shoulders by circling the elbows
7. Loosen and stretch the spine and chest horizontally
8. Loosen and stretch the spine and chest vertically
9. Loosen and stretch the waist horizontally
10. Slap the body
11. Loosen and stretch the hips
12. Loosen and stretch the knees (feet together and apart)
13. Loosen the ankles
14. Stretch the hips and groin
15. Stretch the hamstrings (holding the feet)
16. Loosen and stretch the shoulders by circling the extended arms
17. Shake the fingers down
18. Shake the fingers to the side
Once the body is loosened, over time these exercises become part of understanding Reeling Silk Strength (Chansijin). The waist directs the motion as in all taiji movement.