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Most people regard the shoulders and use them in form practice as ”Dead body parts”. This has much to do with an over-emphasis on relaxation in conjunction with a misunderstanding of the ”Han xiong ba bei” principle, or ”hollow Chest, raise back”. Many people teach this concept as a stationary position. But on the contrary, it should be understood as a movement. Even on a Taiji qigong basis, stationary, unmovable shoulders are wrong. In Taijiquan qi theory, it’s still movement that leads and directs qi. If you want to really bring out your qi through the back and into your arms, the shoulders plays a vital part, but never as dead body parts. They should be kept alive, relaxed and in movement just as any other body part. And also, the movement of the shoulder area should be functional and used in form just like you use them in real application. Here are two exceptional videos that demonstrate use of shoulders in both form and application.

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