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The Eight Basic Postures of I-Chuan

The basic eight I-Chuan standing postures are demonstrated here by Grandmaster Henry Look.  The accompanying text is excerpted with permission from his guide "I-Chuan: Visual Aid to Internal Power" All rights reserved. The postures may be practiced individually or in sequence. Beginners should start with 5 to 10 minutes and work their way up to as much as 45 minutes at a time.

The 10 Essentials

  1. Head coordinates with the coccyx (end of the vertebrae)
  2. The neck coordinates with the waist
  3. The shoulders coordinate with the inner side of the thigh (kua)
  4. Elbows coordinate with knees
  5. Left shin coordinates with right shin
  6. Left toes coordinate with right toes
  7. Mind coordinates with the spirit (shen)
  8. Mind coordinates with "chi"
  9. Chi coordinates with inner strength
  10. Internal chi and shen coordinate with the external form.

ichuan1Position 1

Key Points:

- Head suspended

- Fingers and palms should be in contact with an imaginary sphere. Fingers are expanded apart with palms below chin and angled 45º upward. 

- Elbows are 6 inches to 8 inches from the body

- Sink downwards to the chi center (just below the navel) The spine is in alignment from the crown of the head to the buttocks.

- The knees are slightly bent toward the front of the toes. They should be comfortable without straining.

- Feet are shoulder width apart.

ichuan2Position 2:

Key Points:

- From position 1, turn palms over to 45º down.

- Continue to imagine sphere, fingers and palms in solid contact.

 ichuan3Position 3:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- Palms are held at midpoint between chest and navel

ichuan4Position 4:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- From position 3 turn the palms over to a 45º angle downwards.

ichuan5Position 5:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- Palms are in line with the nose

ichuan6Position 6:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- Palms are held facing each other at shoulder height and shoulder width apart.

ichuan7Position 7:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- Rotate palms downward slightly below shoulder height with fingers pointing forward.

ichuan8Position 8:

Key Points:

- Continue to imagine sphere

- Palms are held waist high with fingers pointed 45º downward.