Shoulders in fetch water, positive and negative circle

by Richard van Berkum on 2017/03/09

Hello everybody,

I have a question about the shoulders or more specific the shoulder blades in these exercises.

Fetch water:

When you practice fetch water, does the (front) shoulder blade rotate/move up or down (the back)? As for the other shoulder, does it Always do the reverse?

My experience is that it rotates up and “over the shoulder”

Positive  circle:

In the first part, rotates the (front) blade up or down and what about the second part?

My experience is that the blade in the first part rotates up “and over” the shoulder and in de second part it drops/rotates down the back.

Negetive circle:

idem, I can imagine it is the same as the positive circle.

Futher I feel a very distinctive flip when you transfer from the first part of the circle to the second part of the circle. I can remember master Chen talking about it in some videos.




About Richard van Berkum

Aikido student interested in taiji principles and trying to learn from them.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugo Ramiro March 9, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Hi Richard, nice to see your question. My most useful answer is that I strongly recommend that you stop thinking about your shoulder blades.
Fetch Water: Don’t move front knee, don’t move arms, don’t move torso, just open and close the front kua.
Positive circle: Elbow in, no hand. [Shoulder down] Turn the waist. Hand out, no elbow. Don’t move the front knee, keep both shoulders down, don’t allow your elbows to go out, keep your head up and your back as straight as possible. Additionally, you may try to fill the Ming Men and round the Dang.
If you feel a flip, this is not right or wrong necessarily, however, whatever turning of the joint there is in the performance of Practical Method, it does not originate in the upper body.

My personal minimum foundations training regimen per day, performed as above: Fetch water 100 per side. Twist towel 30 per side. 6 sealing 4 closing 20 per side. Positive Circle 18 per side. Negative circle 9 per side. This may be wrong; it is solely a description of what I do.


Kelvin Ho March 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm


I agree with Hugo. You may also consider posting a video of you doing the foundations, and more specific comments can then be provided. Thanks for posting.



charlie wishon March 13, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Shoulder should always squeeze into the Kua. We don’t not place attention on the shoulder blades. Only that the back doesn’t move.


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