View Full Version : Wrist Flexibility in Bagua

8 Sweaty Palms
02-13-2001, 06:35 PM
Are there are any exercises I can do to help my wrists become more flexible? In my quest to perform a basic drill properly (transitioning back and forth where your hands look like they're pushing a wall - one higher than the other, the lower one under your elbow). I noticed that I could barely lift my wrist at the proper angle (and after about a half hour, the backs of my hands were very sore). But the others don't seem to have any difficulty with it. All comments appreciated.

Thx / D

Chris McKinley
02-13-2001, 07:53 PM
Hey 8 Sweaty Palms,

I'm not sure which specific movement you are describing here without seeing you demonstrate it (it sounds like a simple Twin Yang Palm), but I can say categorically that you are doing it incorrectly if it is causing you to create tension in the wrist. Such points of tension pinch off the flow of qi, a major no-no in neijia arts.

You describe having one hand lower than the other with both palms sort of "pushing a wall". The human wrist is designed to flex back only to approximately 90 degrees to the forearm, no more. If your bottom hand in this move requires that you flex the wrist backward more than 90 degrees to the forearm, either raise your arm until you can do it without tension or forget the move entirely.

If your instructor is telling you to perform this move with greater than 90 degree flexion of the wrist, he/she is teaching incorrectly, no matter how impressive his/her lineage/sash collection/Grand Poobah title is. Real Bagua is always in harmony with human biomechanical design ala its Taoist origins. Deviations from this fundamental principle represent outside (usually of Buddhist art origin) influences which ought to be purged with vigor from practice of the art of Baguazhang.

Try the simple fix of raising the arm first. You may find this restores proper structure. If this either doesn't work for you or if the instructor disallows it, forget doing this move altogether. After all, it's YOUR life your defending, not the instructor's.

02-13-2001, 08:05 PM
It sounds like your wrists are like mine. They only flex back about 45 degrees.
Even with stretching I haven't been able to increase their flexability.

02-13-2001, 09:05 PM
I would suggest that bagua "teacups" would be an excellent excercise to help in wrist flexibility. Rotating the teacups(start with saucers) around your body(go behind your back, to the side, reaching outwards/sideways, overhead, then back down to start in front of your belly), one in each hand, keeping saucer horizontal,in a controlled circular motion. Next stage use the teacups, then fill with water. Takes some time to become proficient. Vary the direction of rotation with each saucer(clockwise/counter clockwise/each hand coorordinated then each hand opposite direction).Its difficult to describe, but I find it great. Its a gentle yet demanding excercise, which I am currently using (gently)to re-hab a sprained wrist. Deeper aspects require awareness of your root and connection to the each of the palms

wisdom mind
02-13-2001, 09:07 PM
stand facing a wall
extend arms
place back of hands on wall at shoulder height
bend at knees causing wrists to stretch

do the same as above but with palms facing wall
at waist level and stand on toes to stretch upwards

ask questions. be safe. burn babylon business

8 Sweaty Palms
02-13-2001, 09:18 PM
No, I'm not being instructed to go past 90 deg., but then again I can't reach 90 degrees either. As well, I may be doing it wrong (I've just started).

Thanks for the tips!

Sam Wiley
02-13-2001, 10:33 PM
There's a variation on the leaning on the wall exercise described above where you sort of "walk" your hands along the wall, up and down.

Other than that simple variation, the exercises presented above are some of the best.

There is also a wrist exercise designed to help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that I learned a while back. You extend your arms in front of you and make two loose fists. Then you rotate them first in one direction and then in another, bending and twisting the wrists gently in the process. You're sort of drawing circles with your fists. But keep your arms stationary. I don't know if it will help, but it may reduce some of the tension in your wrists.

You could also lie in bed on your back, extend one of your arms out to the side, then flex the elbow so the forearm is standing straight up, perpendicular to the bed. Then you simply let your hand flop down into a yin hand and relax for a second. Then you tilt your arm back and let your hand naturally flop backwards into a yang hand. Then do it back the other way. This seems to help get rid of tension as well, and will make you more aware of how tense your wrists are everyday.

"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

02-14-2001, 02:04 AM
I would have to agree with the recomendation of the teacup exercises. Teaserving if done properly has a lot more to offer than just wrist flexibility and limbering up the lower back. These exercises also teach you the distinct opening and closing of the body, ground strength, and fighting applications (if taught by a knowledgable instructor). In my family, we practice Dong Hai Chuan Baguazhang. I first began learning the teaserving exercises about a year and a half ago. I'm not sure of what other styles practice this, but I know it is practiced exclusively in Baguazhang. The holding of the teacups teaches you how to hold your hands with the "Willow Palm Leaf" of Bagua. This practice utilizes other great benefits of training, one of the most important being the opening, closing, and sinking of the inguinal basin (kua), which is an important part of internal martial arts.