执笔 Holding the Brush The correct way to hold the brush (执笔) is vertically without resting your arm or wrist on the table. To start with your hand may shake but with a little practice you will be able to grasp it steadily. Place your thumb on one side of the brush opposing your index and middle fingers. Your third and forth fingers should be on the same side as your thumb. Hold your fingers (手指) close together without tension and bend your wrist (手腕) upwards.
The five characters 擫 (press)，压 (push)，钩 (hook)，格 (level)，and 抵 (support) are used to describe the use of each finger to properly hold the brush. 擫 indicates that the thumb (拇指) should press against the brush handle (笔管) in an upward slanting position. 压 indicates that the index finger or forefinger (食指) should be used in oppostion to the thumb to grasp the brush. 钩 indicates that the middle finger (中指) grabs and wraps around (弯曲) the brush. 格 indicates that back of the ring finger is used to straighten the brush. 抵 indicates that the little finger (小指) supports the other fingers. Your thumb and fingers should act together to hold the brush firmly but relaxed.
Brush movement 运笔 is achieved with the wrist and technique for holding the brush described above.