I began the process of diagnosing and fixing cloud hands today.
How does one fix a piece of a tai chi form? Well, first one slows down. Stop on a movement three or four places before the troublesome movement, and breathe deeply. The tendency is to rush through hard things. Don’t. Let the mistakes come — then you’ll know what they are.
Speak the names of the movements as they begin. Know what you’re doing by name. Identify where postures or positions begin and end.
Stop when things get confusing. Go back to your initial “diagnosis begins here” posture if you get lost, and work forward again.
Do several run-throughs of the given sequence. Check body posture: feet, legs, arms, pelvis, ribcage, and head. Looking the right direction? Balanced on the correct foot?
Finish the form. Don’t leave off in the wrong place. Move at your regular place through the rest of the form.
I think my big takeaway with today’s diagnosis is that I don’t really know where it starts or ends. It’s combined with a movement called step back to drive the monkey away. But the step-back leads almost directly into cloud hands. Where does one become the other?
I see why I was getting confused.