The Tai Chi Boating Wand is both a therapeutic exercise and a moving meditation involving a series of choreographed movements holding a four-foot pole. It is performed in a relaxed and flowing way. It:
- Provides gentle stretches particularly for the arms, back, chest & waist
- Improves posture and coordination
- Gives a sense of flow
- Provides mindful focus
- Is a wonderful means of improving “stepping awareness” and building balance
- Creates circular and spiral movements, gently twisting the spine and massaging internal organs
Tai Chi `open hand’ forms are very popular. So why use an Implement for therapeutic exercise? They help to:
- Focus the mind
- Task the fingers, hands & wrists
- Strengthen the upper body
In addition to these benefits, a wand-like tool of about four-foot long;
- Encourages good posture
- Helps coordination
- Makes learning movements easier
- Works both left and right limbs equally (unlike a weapon form)
- The predominantly wide-arm positions open the chest and promote increased lung capacity
The wide grip is ideal for health and fitness
There are many kinds of stick `exercises forms’ from China and within Tai Chi / Qigong family. However, almost all of them are designed for martial effectiveness rather than for health and fitness.
Martial forms require the stick to be held in a predominantly narrow grip so that it can be used either to ward-off an attack or attack an opponent. While this type of grip is functional for fighting it limits the possible range of beneficial therapeutic movements.
Holding the stick with a wider grip offers a range of benefits such as opening the chest, improving lung capacity, improving range of movement, working the shoulder and entire back region.
Shortly after writing my book Jiangan – the Chinese Health Wand, I created a moving form using a stick of the same dimensions. The `Tai Chi Boating Wand’ is a gentle moving form in which the body is constantly in motion, flowing from posture to posture with deliberate stepping (just like exercise Tai Chi).
The Tai Chi Boating Wand involves `hand tasking’, wielding, coordination and focus skills similar to traditional Chinese weapons forms. It also stresses qigong; movements are coordinated with breathing and mindful attention. The form is essentially a set of graceful postures embodying the concept of Tai Chi.
Expansion and Breathing
The wand is held in an expansive wide grip throughout most of the form, opening the chest (which, coordinated with deep diaphragmatic breathing, improves lung capacity). It also loosens the shoulders, stretches the arms and is a wonderful therapeutic exercise for the entire back.
Spiral and Circular Movement
Most of the postures involve spiral and circular patterns that gently massage internal organs and twist the spine.
Peaceful and Relaxing
The postures imitate traditional Chinese boating movements such as `rowing’, `punting’ and `turning rudders’. It is not a martial (fighting) form like traditional Tai Chi forms. It is a challenging and interesting non-martial `journey’ through a visionary landscape of rivers, lakes and gorges.
1. Fair Lady Embarks on the Boat 玉女 走上船
2. Turn the Boat 转船
3. Row the Raft 划筏
4. Dredging the River 疏通河
5. Turn the Rudder 转动舵杆
6. Paddling the Narrow Stream 划桨穿过狭窄流
7. Riding the Rapids 乘坐急流
8. Steadying the Boat 稳住船
9. Punting on the Calm Lake 撑船在平静湖面
10. Row Backwards 赛艇向后
11. Row Forwards 赛艇向前
12. Pulling the Barge 拉着驳船
13. Guide the Boat Ashore (right) 指南船上岸 (右)
14. Haul in the Fish (right) 拖拉在鱼 (右)
15. Guide the Boat Ashore (left) 指南船上岸 (左)
16. Haul in the Fish (left) 拖拉在鱼 (左)
17. Set Down the Oar 放下桨