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Hsing-I,  Pa Kua , Baguazhang and Tai Chi  Hsing-I

A Nei Kung (see above) development of traditional Shaolin Boxing (Kung-fu), Hsing-I emphasizes the development of clear intention (I) directly translated into form (Hsing) or action. Like Shaolin, Hsing-I is characterized by clarity, immediacy, and directness, in addition to developing a spring-like power. Its movements are inspired by the action of natural forces and animals. 
Practicing Hsing-I promotes health by deeply massaging and strengthening the tissues and organs of the body. Its five basic actions harmonize with the natural rhythms of the body. By training the heart and mind, it develops a calm and focused attitude. In self-defense, Hsing-I is honest, direct, and elegant in simplicity.

Pa Kua
The third of the "three brothers," along with Tai Chi and Hsing-I, Pa Kua is another synthetic method which combines traditional boxing techniques and Taoist meditation methods. Pa Kua is possibly the youngest of the three brothers, and just beginning to enjoy popularity in the West. As a relatively modern style with deep roots in meditative and martial philosophy, it is both rigorous and well suited to the demands of contemporary society.
Circling and spiraling movements develop a flexible power of the waist, open the spine, and unify the fluid action of the feet and palms. It's practice emphasizes constant change while maintaining one's center. In self-defense, the name "Pa Kua" implies that it is at home with all directions and possibilities, being uniquely adaptable, supple, and unpredictable. 

Influence of Pa Kua on other martial arts - 
One measure of the success of Pa Kua has been its influence upon other martial arts, part. those of Japan and through them indirectly upon the Korean ones. Detailing the exact level of exchange is very complicated as it all occurred during the first half of the 20th century when Japanese - Chinese relations were poor and Japanese society was zenophobic. 

Morihei Ueshiba, (1883 - 1969) the founder of aikido
It would appear that in addition to learning Daito Ryu Aiki ju-jitsu he also learnt Pa-Kua during the 1920's in Manchuria, China, plus a little Hsing-I. It was this learning which gave him his high 'chi' ability aswell many methods of entering, turning and leading an opponent. 

Chojun Miyagi (1888 1953) the founder of Gojo-ryu karate
Was taught Naha-te by Kanyro Higashionna on Okinawa, Japan. Upon his death he travelled to China and learnt Pa-kua for five years. One can clearly see its impact on Gojo-ryu karate as like Pa-kua it is good at in-fighting, makes extensive use of the palm and utilises circular blocks. 

Wushu
Wushu is a mixture of martial arts movements, dance and gymnastics. It was created after World War Two using a variety of kungfu styles including pa kua and tai chi. It is in effect a simplified, populist version of them. It has come to prominence recently due to the emergence of a variety of Hollywood stars such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Sammo Hung and Ray Paul (Darth Maul in the latest Star Wars).

Sharing the principles of Chinese Medicine, Tai Chi treats mind and body as a system which is capable of self-healing and maintaining health when in balance. Tai Chi strengthens and regulates circulation, or Qi, promoting vitality and health. 
Tai Chi provides a non-aggressive alternative to other martial arts. Practices like Pushing Hands teach the principles of self defense through cooperative exercises. 
As meditation in motion, Tai Chi encourages a relaxed state of alertness. Players learn to listen to relationships with both their mind and body. Tai Chi practice develops an intuition of mind and body which can be trusted in any situation. 
By developing the ability to perceive and act in harmony with natural patterns, we blur the distinction between work and play, effectiveness and enjoyment, useful and beautiful. 

The Foundation Thinking of Baguazhang is Rooted in Philosophy
Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang - Pa-kua ch'uan) is purportedly derived from the metaphysical diagrams generated from the I-Ching -The Book of Changes. Oldest parts date from 800BC more recent 200AD.The I-Ching was originally a collection of linear signs, perhaps best seen as code. (not unlike binary code) Below are typical examples arranged in hexa-gram sets.

 

 
 

Requirements of Hsing-i Chuan :

When one practices any internal art the practitioner's first step is to calm the mind and unite it with the body. This first step is achieved through wuji. Wuji is a stillness stance where one takes the time to empty the mind and align the body to facilitate the flow of chi. As you can see in photo # 1, I am in the wuji stance. To assume this posture your feet should be shoulder width apart. The hands are held naturally by the sides. The head is propped up and the chin slightly tucked down. It is very important to align your body in such a way that a straight line can be drawn from the bai hui (point on crown of the head), hui yin (point between the anus and the genitals) and the yong quan (bubbling wells of the feet), The tongue shall touch the roof of the mouth and the body shall be allowed to sink and relax. Your breathing should be deep into the tan tien and try to relax and sink the chi into your lower half. Maintain this posture until the mind is empty and calm. This is a very important posture so do not dismiss this part of the training.

There is a Hsing-i classic that specifically refers to wu ji. Roughly translated it says: Man is born in the universe where there is no competition or fighting. It is here that the mind can be fulfilled without distration.

From wuji we move into another standing posture that is called san-ti. The san-ti is the primary posture of Hsing-i. In fact, about 60 % of the Hsing-i student's time is spent holding this posture. The transition from wuji to san-ti is made by bringing the feet together and then raising the arms with the palms facing up along your sides. As your hands reach above your head, they begin to close into fists with the thumb side closest to your body. Sink your chi as the fists are lowered to the pelvis level. The right fist screws inward and up along the center line of the body. This screwing is started in the ground and involves the entire right side of the body. However, do not sacrifice your vertical posture. As the right fist screws upward along your center, the hands rise at a 45 degree angle away from the body. When the right fist reaches the level of the chin, the left side begins its movement. Just as on the right side, the left's movement starts from the ground and is done in unison. The left fist screws and follows a path along the center of your body. The fist moves away at a 45 degree angle and passes over the right fist. As the left fist passes the right, the hands rotate and the right hand is pulled back to a position to the right of the tan tien. The left hand goes forward and is held as shown. Examine the photographs closely. But I must point out that which can not be captured on film. The intent of the lead hand is to project forward while the intent of the rear hand is going back to counterbalance the action of the lead hand. This is an important point that will become more clear as we examine the requirements of the san-ti posture. As the left foot extends forward, the left foot will also step out with the toe pointing straight. About 70% of your weight will be held in the rear leg.
The Hsing-i classics address this transition. Essentially the classics state: the movement is started with the intent of the mind. With this intent the bear and eagle combine to move the body without further thought or consideration. In regard to this, here is a translation of the Song of Tai chi. The mind has already moved, and the boxing has started. (The boxing) is hard and soft, empty and full, opening and closing, rising and falling.

What I have just described is what the average person would see if he saw the transition from wuji to san-ti. Now, let me tell you what really happened. Hsing-i postures, to include the fists and animals, have four dragon body, bear shoulder, and tiger embrace. The details of these requirements are spelled out in the Hsing-i classics. I will attempt to summarize them for you here.

Chicken leg refers to the manner inwhich the feet and legs are held. First, the toes must grasp the ground to secure the feet in their place. The legs are held as if screwing into the ground. The effect of which is felt in the knees which are inclined slightly inward. The heels will feel as though they want to push out, but the toes hold the feet in place. As a result of the inward inclination of the knee, the inner thigh is opened. The pelvis is relaxed and allowed to sit back and rest on the rear leg. The hui yin is raised. The focus of the balance should be on the bubbling well of the foot. The toe of the lead foot points straight while the toe of the rear foot points about 45 degrees outward. The knee of the lead foot should be above its heel. The distance between the two feet should be comfortable.

Dragon body refers to the turning of the torso in the direction of the rear foot. The head will remain looking straight ahead, however. A key point here is to relax the inner groin and sit back on the rear leg. The muscles along the ribs should also relax as much as possible to allow for good rotation. Do not rotate the pelvis. It remains oriented toward the front. Also, keep your posture straight and erect. The dragon body accentuates the intent of the lead hand to go forward and the rear hand to counter balance it to the rear.

Bear shoulder helps keep the structure sound by relaxing the shoulders and allowing them to roll forward from the side as opposed to hunching them over the top. Think of hollowing the chest through relaxation to help you fulfill this requirement.

Tiger embrace ensures the arms will keep a sound structure while sending and receiving energy. The palms will be hollow and the tiger mouth open (area between the thumb and index finger). You must always drop the elbow and sink the shoulder. This ensures sound structure and also acts to protect your ribs. Remember to relax and hollow the chest or there will be too much tension and your chi will rise. The index finger will be on the same plane as the big toe of the lead foot and the tip of the nose.

The importance of the four requirements above can not be stressed enough. If one of them breaks down then your structure will not reach it's potential and you may become vulnerable. One of the characteristics of the Shang Yun Xiang method of Hsing-i is that it does not matter what your opponent offers for a defense. Your structure will uproot his upon contact and you will be able to strike his center. If, however, your structure is lacking in the requirements you will not necessarily be able to accomplish this feat. The other two requirements come into play only when fighting or training with a partner. I will detail those in the next article when we look at the first of the five fists.

With the foundation established by the aforementioned structural requirements, how does one issue power? The answer is bear/eagle. This concept has been referred to before in other written works but is rarely seen in illustration and application. Mr. Yan feels that many people have missed the point of bear/eagle which is as essential to Hsing-i as yielding is to Tai chi. The bear refers to the body wrapping into itself to store power while remaining true to the requirements. The eagle is the releasing of this pent up energy in a focused manner into your opponent's center. I will go into more detail when we examine the various fists, but for now I will explain the concept of bear/eagle as it is seen in the opening transition from wuji to san-ti. To put it simply, bear is the storing of energy and eagle is the releasing of it. Think back to the point in the beginning of the san-ti when the feet are brought together and the right side closed on itself and the right hand screwed in up the center. That was bear. Then, the left side did the same. This as also bear. When you step out and sink into the actual san ti posture you are now in eagle. Please, do not confuse the concept of bear/eagle with the animal forms. These are two different things. Now, think about this. Hsing-i is one of the three major internal martial arts and enjoys a great reputation for powerful striking and effectiveness in real fighting. Why? How can a method of fighting rely on five basic strikes and become one of the most well respected martial arts in China? The art appears very simple on the surface, almost as if it is some karate-like exercise. Yet, those who get the deep meaning of the art have enjoyed some of the finest reputations as martial artists in China. Because they know five punches? Obviously, there must be more to this art of Hsing-i than the casual observer notices. The deep meaning is found in the postural requirements and the method of application which adds two additional requirements.

The Hsing-i classics attribute the bear/eagle concept to be the source of Hsing-i's power. This is found in the Song of liang yi (two poles): The eagle and bear compete (their) desire (will), (we) adopt (their) way as boxing. Yin and yang secretly combine together. This is the source of Hsing-i's power. To go deeper into this concept we must understand the Explanation of liang yi. It follows: Liang yi is the posture of the eagle and bear in the boxing. It is the principle of offense and defense, going forward and backward. All of us have four limbs and a body. Expanding it becomes yang (eagle) and contracting it becomes yin (bear). So, we can say yin and yang subtly combine together. Our ancestors saw eagle and bear compete in their desire and adopted that way as boxing. Defending like a bear and attacking like an eagle, This is the true meaning. Without these two aspects the true meaning is lost. The reason we call this method of boxing Hsing-i is that our movement resembles the shape (bear/eagle) and our mind thinks their desire.

In actuality, perhaps you can now see how the Hsing-i student goes from the stillness of wuji to the mental impulse of tai chi (as in song of tai chi) and flows to liang yi (two poles) and develops into the postural requirements I mentioned earlier. These fundamental concepts are crucial if you want to develop a deeper understanding of this art.

Pi Chuan :

A few years ago in Shanghai, China a foreign martial arts team came to compete and test their skills against different Chinese martial artists. The leader of the foreign team wanted to try his skill against the art of Hsing-i chuan. A local Hsing-i Master obliged him. The challenger was told to punch the Hsing-i Master. He tried but was sent back through the air several meters when the Hsing-i master touched him with his arm to apparently block the punch. This event was seen by many and recorded in the Shanghai paper. What could have caused the challenging martial artist to be sent several meters back by what appeared to be a mere touch? The answer is Hsing-i. The Hsing-i master countered the incoming blow with Pi chuan, or splitting fist.

The first of the five fists is Pi Chuan. It is referred to as the element metal. It's characteristic is splitting and it is associated with the lungs. With Pi chuan the chi rises and falls. But, before I go further into Pi chuan, I need to explain some of the requirements that all of the fists have in common when in motion. And remember, the standing requirements of chicken leg, dragon body, bear shoulder, and tiger embrace are still present. To these requirements we add closing , wrapping, pouncing, stepping, and shaking. 

The aforementioned new requirements, or characteristics, are all a part of the bear/eagle concept I explained in my first article of this series. As you may recall, the bear is defensive in nature and saves energy. The eagle is offensive and releases the energy. To this end, closing and wrapping are associated with bear. Pouncing and stepping are associated with eagle. Shaking is a characteristic of application. Closing refers to the legs and hip and the fact that they close in toward the center as you save energy. Wrapping refers to the arm and torso as it wraps into the center to save energy. These actions occur simultaneously and in harmony with one another. Together they are bear in motion. Eagle is shown through pouncing and stepping. As the energy is released and you move forward in attack, the bear flows into eagle. Pouncing is what the body does. It is not unlike a cat pouncing on a mouse, quick, agile and ready to change. The stepping is characteristically very quick and deep. By deep I mean that you will be very close to your opponent. This type of stepping helps you uproot your opponent by placing your body, which has good structure, into him. Shaking is the natural result of what happens when a relaxed, unified body moves quickly within the principles of the internal martial arts. The tan tien is the origin on the shaking not unlike the handle of a bull whip; shaking begins here and is transmitted throughout the body. Shaking is seen throughout the form, not only at the moment of application. Once you have properly positioned yourself through the closing, wrapping, pouncing and stepping it is time to release energy into your opponent's center. As you strike you will return your body into the postural requirements of standing practice. Specifically chicken leg, dragon body, bear shoulder and tiger embrace. Your posture will be vertical without leaning in any direction. In terms of application, the shaking takes place as the chicken leg is set and you go into dragon body. Obviously, this is all done very quickly and smoothly. The power comes from the movement of the whole body with the assistance of the ground not from any particular part of the body that may physically touch the opponent. When shaking relaxation of the whole body is the key point. A relaxed body is much quicker and more powerful that a tense body. 

With this in mind, I would like to share with you a rough translation of an old san xi Hsing-i classic concerning Pi chuan: 


Pi chuan looks like an axe and it belongs to the element of metal 
Practice long and well and the chi will go throughout the lungs 
This is the first of the five element fists 
It creates water and counters wood, this cycle is wonderful 

This classic gives some insight into the nature of Pi chuan. The reference to the axe tells us that Pi chuan appears to be up and down like the swinging of an axe. Pi chuan is the splitting fist. The Pi chuan is the chi rising and falling. All of the fists are associated with an element. Pi chuan's is metal. The reference to the lung gives testimony to the health benefits of Hsing-i. Pi chuan is associated with the health of the lungs. The internal arts are all good for the health. But, why is a certain fist in Hsing-i associated with a particular element? Of course, the improved circulation resulting form the standing practice is good for overall health, but the specific movements of the various fists help internally massage and stimulate specific organs. This is why after a long period of time a specific organ will benefit from a particular fist. There are five fists in Hsing-i and Pi chuan is the first. The last line of the classic refers to the wu xing. Here we can see that all of the fists act in harmony each creating and destroying another. This is not unlike the child's game of paper, scissors and rock. Pi chuan creates water refers to tsuan chuan or the drilling fist. Pi chuan counters wood refers to Peng chuan or the crushing fist. 

Now, to actually perform the physical movements of the splitting fist, let's start from the san ti and take it from there. From the san ti the right arm begins its wrapping by screwing the fist up and along the center line. The lead hand is drawn back slightly and rotates inward to cover center. The body is relaxed as energy is saved and the center line protected. The screwing fist follows center and drills up and along side the other arm. While all of this was happening the rear leg and hip were simultaneously closing to save energy also. The rear leg comes into the center and saves energy as it protects the groin. The body remains straight and does not lean heavily forward or to either side. This is bear in Pi chuan. The rear leg now leaves center and steps out into the center of the opponent (visualize if only doing the form). The screwing arm now rises, overturns and falls into the target thereby splitting its center. As the rear hand has now become the lead, the lead has now become the rear. You will end up in the san ti posture again. This is the eagle. An outside observer's perception will end here. I must, however, go into more detail to explain the details of what happened in terms of requirements and structure so that you can appreciate what many would dismiss. As the rear leg goes forward it is in conjunction with the screwing, rising, overturning, and falling of the hand. As the lead had falls to split, power and balance is maintained by the rear hand as it pulls back to maintain tigers embrace and aid in the dragon body. Needless to say, for proper structure, as the lead foot steps and lands quickly one must establish a sound chicken leg and open the inner thigh. Only then can you issue power by establishing the dragon body. The requirements for bear shoulder and tiger embrace must also be fulfilled prior to the issuance of power. If any of these things are missing that I detailed in the first article of this series, then you will be unable to establish a sound structure and therefore be unable to issue internal power. You will be force to rely on physical strength. You will notice as I land and issue power my lead hand goes forward. Be careful not to allow the body to lean forward with the shoulder to make the lead arm go forward. The forward motion of the lead hand is generated by the sinking of the body and the dropping of the lead elbow as the dragon body is put in place. You should read the last sentence again. This is a very common mistake. I know this from personal experience. When you look at the photographs and read the explanation try to focus on the requirements and not so much the actual technical movements. There are several ways to do Pi chuan and the other fists. The important factor to consider is whether or not the movement is in harmony with the requirements. In the previous articles I have gone into very minute detail in terms of how the body should move when executing a particular fist or animal. Here I have purposely spared you from that type of reading and shall let the emphasis rest on the requirements and principles that I have already provided you with in this series of articles. I realize that this forces the reader to think a bit more. I hope that this burden will stimulate your thought processes. I find that that is how I learn the best. 

So, how is this splitting fist different than just taking a big bolo swing at somebody and cracking him over the head. Well, there are two ways it is different. As I previously mentioned, there is the health aspect of the structure which promotes and facilitates the flow of chi through out the body to improve ones health. I know this sounds somewhat mystical but it is something the you can actually feel. I have felt it personally. It is nothing special or secret. It is just a matter of realigning and relaxing your body to do what it is supposed to do. Chi is real and can easily be felt with proper instruction. Now, on a more combative side, Pi chuan differs from a regular blow in that upon touching the opponent we are able to read where the opponent's center is and immediately cut his root and unbalance him. The term fist as it is used in Hsing-i is somewhat of a misnomer. In the Kai Sai Lien Huan method of Hsing-i as taught to me by Prof. Cravens, we referred to elements rather than fists to emphasize the over all energy of the action. Classically, however, the term fist is more common. With that in mind, do not limit yourself to the actual physical fist itself. In this method of Hsing-i Pi chuan strikes contact the opponent anywhere from the hand to the elbow. This area is often referred to as the eagle claw. Now, what happens when you touch the opponent. Remember, Pi chuan is chi rise and fall. Actually, it is a bit more complicated than that when one uses the Art combatively. Pi chuan has two vectors of force when applied to an opponent. One is to go forward and the other is to go down. The actual vector the force will follow is a combination of the two and depends on the opponent entirely. This is the area of "touch" that Chen Tai chi people call silk reeling and Hsing-i people call Moso Jing. For example if I feel that my opponent's energy is rising I will follow him and allow my structure to push him back. I will go more forward and only slightly down after his root is cut. If I were to go down immediately this would be fighting his force which is something the internal martial artist wishes to avoid. If I touch my opponent and I feel that his energy is going down, I will follow him down and push forward only slightly once his root is cut. But, what is it that makes me go forward and what makes me go down.? The forward movement of my arm is generated from the rotation of my body as the dragon body is set. The downward motion comes from a relaxing of the hip/inner groin and a dropping of the elbow. Bear in mind, the lead hand must maintain good structure. If it goes limp the chi will not go to the end of the finger and the body will lose power. Keep in mind that forward and downward energy can be provided by a difference in size between you and your opponent. If he is much taller his energy may naturally be downward. If he is much shorter, his energy may be rising. No matter what the situation, just follow and avoid resisting his force. His body will determine what ratio of forward to down that you should use. If you and your opponent are of equal size, the moment of touch shall determine the direction you must follow and the resulting force you will use. Unless the two of you are perfectly balanced, he will give you energy to work with. If you are in perfect balance it will be a question of changeability and the skill you each have in hiding center. As you can see there is an infinite combination of forward and down depending on the action of the opponent. If I were to just try to split him down the middle with no consideration for his movement and energy, I would be relying on nothing more than my physical strength. As you can now see, this is why Hsing-i is so powerful. We do not project force until the opponent's root is cut and he is off balance. Then, our strong structure moves into his center and the results are devastating. Imagine how little force is required to knock down a man who has already lost his balance. Now, imagine the same man beginning to fall when he is hit by a car. That is Hsing-i. 

When the Art of Hsing-i is used combatively, the term eagle claw is used not only to refer to the area from the hand to the elbow but it is sometimes used to refer to "touch" like moso jing. The application of eagle claw, in terms of touch, relies heavily on a screwing action that takes place on three levels. Actually, one could say that the entire body is screwing. Remember the chicken leg? It screws into the ground for stability and power. The torso screws and rotates around the tan tien as the dragon body forms for centeredness and power. However, some people may miss the fact that the arms also screw and rotate not only during the form but upon physical contact with the opponent. The rotation of the arm helps hide our center and to feel the exact location of our opponent's center. The screwing also assists us in yielding to the opponent's force and seizing his center by following his force. If we do not rotate the entire body, including the arm, it is extremely difficult to yield to his force. From a defensive point of view, imagine your body to be a ball floating in a pool. As your opponent tries to strike your center, the natural rotation of the ball in water conceals the center thereby protecting it from the projection. Offensively, the rotation provides a constant updating of information as to the opponent's intensity, direction and center. With this type of information, the opponent is unable to hide his intention and his root is easily cut while ours is protected. 

Another term used when discussing Hsing-i is thunder sound. As we strike, we exhale and send chi to the extremities to add power to the movement. This sending of the chi to the extremities is sometimes referred to as thunder sound because of the noise that one makes when exhaling. This rushing of the chi to the extremities adds much power and can only be accomplished after the body is able to reach a high level of relaxation. Also, the body must be united as one unit and the meridians must be open to accept the flow of chi. Here is where the standing practice really pays off. As I mentioned in the first article of this series, standing practice will comprise a very large percentage of your training. For me it is about 60 %. The standing really increases ones ability to relax and, once the body is properly aligned, the chi will flow freely and naturally. 

Clearly, you can see by now that the focus of my presentation of this Art relies heavily on principles and structure as opposed to techniques and form. The form is where we put the principles and structural requirements in place and in motion. The bear/eagle concept will continue with each of the other four fists. The closing, wrapping, stepping, pouncing will be seen throughout the Art as will eagle claw and thunder sound. Remember that bear is protecting the center and saving energy. Eagle is offensive and projecting energy. All of the action comes from the mind and the requirements are found in the san ti. This is why san ti is practice is emphasized so much. The requirements must be second nature so that you can implement them immediately as required. And, the special way of following and cutting the root of your opponent prior to issuing power is a great secret that one must develop through contact with as many people as possible. This is called Moso Jing and merits a life time of study. 

Tsuann Chuan :

Tsuann chuan is linked to the kidney and is associated with the element of water. It is said that water can seek and penetrate the smallest of cracks. This is the way of tsuann chuan. The action of the drilling fist seeks out the tiniest openings and penetrates to the center. During the form and application of tsuann chuan, the kidney is massaged and its health thereby enhanced. This is especially true when the element is performed with great energy. In terms of the wu xing, tsuann chuan creates beng chuan (wood/crushing) and destroys pao chuan (fire/pounding). 

To perform the tsuann chuan fist we will begin in the san ti posture with the left foot forward. As you will see, the beginning movements are identical to those of pi chuan. First the body begins to gather energy by closing into itself. The right fist passes up the center while screwing clockwise. The hip also closes in at this point. As you can see in the photo the center is well protected. Step through with the right leg and keep it close to center. Here you are starting to release the energy. The screwing fist follows a circular path up along the center and arcs forward with the highest point in the arc being about face height. As the right fist is rising, the left fist is palm down and going back to a final resting point near the left hip. This action aids greatly by enhancing the balance of the body and the power of the strike. As you step through, keep the eyes focused forward. As the foot lands remember to stay rear weighted. The lead elbow should remain down. As lead fist reaches its maximum distance, the rear hand should be arriving at the rear hip. The timing here is important. 

So, now you have a basic guide as to the obvious physical movements but what is there that is not so obvious. To examine this we must discuss the moso jin, or the aspect of touch as it is used in combative application. First and foremost, I must clarify that structure is the most important consideration. In the first article of this series I explained in some detail the concepts of chicken leg, dragon body, tiger's head embrace, and bear shoulder. If any one of these is not in place, the results will be somewhat less than optimal. Secondly, you should remain relaxed. With these key points in mind, once you physically touch the opponent, follow his force and attack his center. For example, when you touch and you feel him trying force your arm up, follow him up as the screwing action of the arm finds the opening to center. This is found through the tension is his body with the aid of your sound structure. 

Be careful, however, that you do not try to go deeper into his center by reaching forward and compromising your balance. The proper way to go deeper forward is by stepping deeply into him and by rotating the body (dragon body/chicken leg) so that the fist will move forward. This is a very common mistake. I know because I have made it a lot. The proper way to follow down is by dropping the lead elbow and the body while remaining straight. The proper way to follow left/right can be found in the hips. Another thing I would like to remind you is that when I use the word fist do not take it literally. The fist can be much more than a clenched hand. In Hsing-i the fist refers to the overall striking action of the body. The part of my body that strikes an opponent can be a clenched hand, a forearm, shoulder or my side. There are many variables. What remains constant are the structural requirements and relaxation. 

Tsuann chuan is an interesting fist and, like the others, requires much thought and practice to receive its benefits. In practicing this fist and you feel like there is no power look to the ground for the answer. The power of this action should be felt in the rear foot. If there is no connection between the rear foot and the point of impact then you have a serious structural problem. The internal arts generate their awesome power from the lower body and the ground. 


Pa Kua Theory and  Principles :


   
    
The Function Of Circular Walking In Baguazhang
Wei Qunjie

TO walk in a circle is one of the most important techniques of baguazhang practice. With a good mastery of it, you will improve your baguazhang performance and in the meantime benefit in the following two ways.

First of all, the circular movements of the feet may help improve your health and this function is served by the change of direction, the repetition of movements, the coordination of the dynamic and the static and the lowering of qi into the dantian, an area 5 cm below the navel. In so doing, you can improve your internal and external exercises and moreover make them better coordinated. Specifically, internal exercise is to dredge channels and collateral passages, promote blood circulation and improve the function of internal organs while external exercise, which consists of the techniques executed with the hands, eyes, trunk and feet, is to limber up your muscles and joints and strengthen your physique. To walk in a circle can also provide you with an opportunity of adjusting your breath. But there are some points to remember when you do the circular movements with your feet.

They are 1) clear away all distracting thoughts, concentrate your energy on practice, relax your muscles, lower qi into the datian ,look straight at the center of the circle and coordinate your breath and body movements; 2) try to avoid exerting brainless force; 3) make abdominal respiration your main breathing method, which should be done through the nose with the tongue on the hard palate and the mouth closed; and 4) keep your breath long and even and your movements slow and natural. If you practice according to the above-mentioned principles for a long time, you will probably find that your qi and blood flow freely, your internal organs function effectively and your lower limbs become strong and flexible.

When you have benefitted so much from your practice, you will be able to prevent yourself from contracting premature osteoporosis, thus avoiding acquired deformity and chronic diseases in nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems. For those who have trouble in these systems, they will feel better after practicing as required for some time. If you achieve a good combination of the internal and external work and the dynamic and static exercise when you walk round and round, it will not only improve the function of your vestibular organs but also produce a beneficial effect on your central nervous system.

In addition, this walking exercise may also help you improve your skills for attack and defense. Assuming that your opponent is at the center of the circle. you may seek a chance of surprise attack by moving here and there in the eight diagrams. When you go in for an attack, defend yourself with your hands and hit at your opponent with your legs. With moving body, swinging legs and varied footwork and hand positions, you can gain an advantage over your opponent and make him helpless in the face of your attack. In fact the main function of this exercise for actual combat is to help you make the best of your strong points and strike at his weak points so as to nullify his attack and defense. This requires you to be on the move when you observe the situation, build defense and initiate attack. Through this tactic, you will find it quite easy to achieve victory over your opponent.

General Ba Gua Free Sparring Method

When you talk about sparring, regardless of style, you must consider the martial arts rationale. There is a reason for what is done. As far as bagua itself is concerned, there are a great many sub-styles. Many of these are similar, but some are quite different. No matter what their differences, though, they must follow the general methods below. Notice we have said general. To go into more detail would require far too much length for an article.

There are ten general methods in the bagua free sparring, and each of these must be understood clearly:

1. Single weight and don't focus.

2. Yin and yang.

3. Breathing and technique.

4. Distance.

5. Speed

6. Angle

7. Timing and chance

8. Footwork

9. Know yourself, know the opponent

10. Chi Kung and external training.

1. When you practice, keep the whole body balanced.

No part of the body can lose balance. If the balance is even a little off, that is called "focus" or "double-weight." Focus is the mind feeling, and double weight the physical feeling.

The one affects the other. Double-weightedness refers to the whole body, not just the feet or hands. If anything is tense that produces double-weightedness. When free sparring, you must remember not to focus the mind on using power. Otherwise, if you focus, you will lose your relaxedness and control. When you are not relaxed, the breathing is automatically bothered and your movements become stiff. If this happens, the mind will lock up and the spirit will break and lose alertness. This will occur because the nervous system is affected and your reflexes will be slowed; the opponent will instead be able to strike you.

When fighting, you must be like a fish in the wave, like a flag in the air. You must be very careful to understand these two ideas and to put this understanding in the body. That means being natural and letting your reflexes work. this is not simple. You must understand these two ideas deeply.

2. Yin and yang refers to anything opposite but not separated. In the martial arts there are two kinds of movements that are continuous, unbroken and from one root. If this is not understood, your practice will be wrong. In the martial arts sense, yin and yang are expressed as follows:

Yang-Yin; Exhale-Inhale; Sold-Fake; Tense-Relax; Moving-Still; hard-Soft; Fast-Slow.

In sparring, the use of yin and yang is very important. For example, when the opponent punches, that is yang, and when you defend, you must be yin. The timing here is crucial, because when the opponent changes from hard to soft, you must already change to hard and hit him. At that time, the opponent has now power to bloc. That is the meaning of the yin-yang circle.

When sparring, you must be careful that the opponent does not know this idea and in fact is setting you up. That is why you must use mind and power. When you use power, that is focusing. Using mind means, as the classics say, spirit, breathing, mind and power together to make harmony and be united. the power is all together.

When an opponent show you an open spot, that means fake, set-up. Do not hit there. Hit this protected area. You must reverse set-up to do that. Because that is the real open area to be hit, where he is focused. Another example: make a signal to the east, hit the west. Point to the south, hit the north. Up is open, down is solid. All these are for set-up use. When you are using these, you must follow what your opponent is doing, or you can be setting your opponent up. this is yin and yang, all opposites.

3. Coordination of breathing with technique. Before we noted that a full exhale is yang and an inhale yin. When sparring, if you attack- whether with a punch or kick - you should test, fake. At the same time, the breathing should be an inhale. Many martial arts people do not understand about this, or the difference between fake and real, because the timing and breathing are wrong. (Refer to ying and yang above if necessary.) If you get mixed up, you will get punched. But even if not, two to three techniques later your breathing will be very heavy. This method is extremely important and must not be forgotten.

4. There are three distances in fighting. Long, medium and close. The idea for each is different. A) Long distance: when sparring, consider how short or long limbed the opponent is. When fighting at long distance, be careful of kicks. but at that distance you must yourself kick, otherwise, the opponent will be waiting for your punch and he will set you up. You may use a kick as a set-up, or to break the opponent's concentration. B) Medium distance: at this range, either the foot or the hand can strike you. Be careful of the opponent using his hand and foot together to attack. the best attack is both hand and foot. C) Close distance: try to control the opponent's balance. When the opponent loses balance, the whole body will tense, the breathing will come up and his movement will slow. This is why push hands and sensitivity training are important.

5. Regarding speed. If the opponent doesn't move, you must be still. If the opponent moves just a little, quickly attack, faster than he. The hand must be flexible and sharp. The step must be light. Forward, backward and turning you must be light, like a cat. The body must be straight, balanced. The qi must be in the Dan Tien. if one thing moves, everything must move. When you contact the opponent, you must be like a tiger or a wolf. This means the mind must make speed by copying what an animal is like that strong, that fast. This has nothing to do with technique.

6. Angle. when sparring, you should use both hands to protect the center line at all times. Be careful of attacks from left and right angles. If a punch comes from a straight line, you should cross the bloc. If a punch comes from across, go straight in. (If, however, you are too late to go in, go straight back - regardless of whether the cross attack is high or low.)

when fighting, either attacking or defending, you must have three points together. Nose, toes and fingers (or fist) must point in the same direction. If they are not in the same direction, at contact you will lose balance and have no power.

7. When sparring, try to use timing and opportunity. When a punch comes, do not just block; punch back at the same time. That means punch and block together. If you just block, the opponent will continue to attack. That is why you must use the timing and opportunity for attack to keep the opponent busy with defense. The idea is block and hit, control and hit at the same time. That will make you fast, him slow.

8. Footwork. The main point in the bagua style is the footwork. If specializes in footwork. When sparring, the spirit must concentrate. If the opponent just moves, your foot must immediately move. The first thing you learn is bagua is to run. If you move too late, you are like a heavy bag.

In regard to the footwork, with each step the place of the body changes. This place change protects you, and at the same time you can attack the opponent. This is why running the circle practice is so important. But how to run fast? First you must understand single weight and the mind not focusing. If you are double weighted you cannot be, as the classics say, smooth like water, strong like a mountain.

9. Know yourself, know the opponent. You must analyze your opponent's fighting idea. For instance, if he is tense, focused, always careful about his balance, changes the angle of attack, show you different open spots, moves around a lot, and such. In yourself, you must consider how to defend and attack. Sun Tzu's Art of War says, "Know yourself. Know your opponent. One hundred times fight, one hundred times win." You must train very hard to catch this. If you do not really understand, do not fight.

In the beginning, you must be at the same level with your opponent to practice sparring. Do not have a big difference in level or size. This will prevent injury to the weaker partner.

10. Chi Kung and external training. this means in and out together. Old martial arts people have a saying, "Inside develop breathing, outside skin, muscle and bone." the reason you practice the breathing method is to exercise the lungs, in order to make them stronger and take in more oxygen. You want to make the breathing deep and smooth to let the chi run in the whole body.

As far as the external is concerned, you exercise A) the skin to make it thicker in order to protect the muscles and bones. You exercise B) the muscles to make them strong in order to have more power. Because no matter how high the level of qigong, if the muscles are weak, when you make contact in sparring you will have weakness and pain. In such a situation the qi will come up, the body will tense and you will be slow.

No matter what development method you use, you must follow what the classics say: "do not develop part of your body." If you do, later all the movements will lose their harmony. Mind, qi, breathing, and power cannot be separated or you will lose your power.

The last external element you develop is C) bone. these must be solid. Example: knuckles, forearm, shin. Any place you are going to contact an opponent must be solid. Then, when sparring, you will not be hurt and won't have problems of the sort, for instance, as when the muscles are weak

TWO KINDS OF POWER :

One of the reasons we divide martial arts into two separate categories is the difference in power. By two categories, I don't mean hard and soft. Hard and soft are not good terms to describe martial styles. Hard and soft better describes the difference between tense and relaxed. Any martial art that is practiced too tense becomes what I call a hard style.
Internal and external are the categories that use very different types of power. Power itself is one criteria that determines whether a martial art is internal or external.
EXTERNAL
These are styles that use what I call push power. This is power generated by muscle force. Better conditioned people are better fighters with external power. When they hit something the sheer force behind their punch or kick down or knocks out the target. Problems happen when the opponent is larger and stronger than the defender. That's where internal martial arts excel.
INTERNAL
True internal martial arts do not use muscular force. Power is a vibrating power that hits and stimulates pressure points. It is also direct stimulation of pressure points done during joint locks, throws and submission techniques.
Many external martial arts have internal power forms or advanced training techniques for the use of internal power with external actions. However, these are usually reserved for advanced students.
Internal fighting styles, like jujitsu, start students from day one on pressure point manipulation. Others, such as China's tai chi chuan, teach students large, relaxed movements before instruction in explosive, vibrating power.
When that explosive power training does happen it is expressed in Chen tai chi's forms as sudden whip-like power techniques, mixed with relaxed circular movements. Chen stylists use the slow, relaxed movements to teach the relaxation necessary to properly express fa jing or explosive power.
Yang style tai chi practitioners learn their fa jing movements in a form called the small circle form. Again explosive, vibrating power is mixed with techniques using slow, graceful movements.
Internal striking power is sometimes described as relaxed, tense and relaxed. This means the internal stylist starts with loose, relaxed action, tense the striking hand at the moment of impact and immediately relaxes after the strike. This allows a rebound effect that causes vibrations directly into the opponent's pressure point. Here are several examples of internal power pressure point techniques in Yang tai chi chuan. First, direct pressure point manipulation. The technique called play the fiddle is often taught as an elbow lock, obtained by straightening and twisting the opponent's arm with one hand on his wrist and the other above the elbow on the upper arm. Advanced tai chi practitioners know how to manipulate the pressure point above the elbow with their thumb, easily convincing the opponent to go anywhere the tai chi stylist wants them to go.
Another tai chi pressure point manipulation technique is done with roll back. Roll back is commonly done as an elbow lock, pressing downward against the forearm, while the other hand pulls upward on the opponent's wrist. However, roll back is even more effective when a pressure point in the biceps muscle is stimulated with a downward shaving motion of the tai chi practitioner's forearm.
A tai chi pressure point strike using fa jing power is the brush knee technique. Often taught as a downward block and push, brush knee is a pressure point strike to the point located below the pectoral muscles in the chest. If hit correctly this point can cause instant unconsciousness. the brush knee hand deflects an oncoming blow, pulls the punching hand downward, while the tai chi stylist's other hand strikes, with whip-like power, the pressure
point in the opponent's chest.
Parry and punch is a good example of tai chi pressure point strike and direct manipulation techniques. Against a grab, the tai chi stylist loosens the grabbing hand with a circular motion that brings his or her knuckles straight down on the bone and pressure point located behind the attacker's grabbing arm, immediately above the elbow. This is parry. Punch is a finishing punch to the attacker's now exposed floating rib pressure point.
Tai chi isn't the only Chinese martial art that qualifies as an internal art. Bagua and hsing-i are also internal martial arts, using the same loose, relaxed power, directed at pressure points.
Some martial arts, such as hapkido and kuk sool won combine internal with external training. However, both hapkido and kuk sool won keep the pressure point manipulation and strikes separate from their external muscular power seen in kicks and punches. They are almost like getting two martial arts in one.
A good external stylist is just effective as a good internal stylist. The difference is that not everyone can be a good external fighter. Some of us are weaker or smaller than our attackers. Internal power gives all of us the same capabilities as our assailants.

Pa Kua Chang :

Training -   Pa Kua Chang is well noted for having a very comprehensive training structure. Due to this and because it is better to learn experientally, I will only provide an outline. Essentially these boil down to three fundamental points, the drive for simplicity, flexibility and individuality. It is these features which make a Pa Kua master so unpredictable in fighting as he can rapidly 'change' ,in line with the I Ching through a bewilderingly wide variety of techniques.

  Pa Kua is typically taught along two distinct practice methods. The former is called the pre-birth method and deals with circle walking techniques exclusively. It is used for health and for fighting. The other method is the post-birth method which utilises straight lines and is solely for defence purposes.

  Typically any good instructor will begin teaching with the health component before teaching the self-defence aspect so as not to exacerbate any ailments. 

    Theory -  Pa Kua is a martial art based around natural principles. Practical theory then forms an integral part of it and it  also means that two practitioners doing seemingly very different techniques can still be performing Pa Kua. (See Taoism)

    Fundamental components -  The actual fight training methods are footwork inc. the 'signature' circle walking, forms inc. the famous 'eight mother palms'/'eight trigram palms' , weapons, co-ordination and fluidity (ch'i kung, nei kung and wai kung), tactics and strategy, Rou Shou or 'soft hands' and Chin Na (joint manipulation). 

    Kung Fu Body -  This is the first task to accomplish before the student is ready to begin specific exercises to acquire certain skills. The aim is prepare the person by improving their co-ordination and fluidity. There are three aspects to this.

1. Ch'i kung- is rather complex but basically means more efficiency in the body's circulation through meditation and breathing exercises.                                              

2. Nei kung- utilise and enhance muscle groups, ligaments and tendons which are usually underdeveloped and ignored.                                                                               

3. Wai kung- all obvious movement and stances.   

    Pa Kua AnimalsKua Chang has eight animal forms which relate to specific fighting styles.  Each student learns a form their teacher believes they are most suited to based on their personality and physical appearance. The style chosen determines the progress made and training structure for the individual.

  The animals are the snake, dragon, lion, hawk, bear, phoenix, unicorn and the monkey. ( Note: sometimes they are given different names such as swallow and giraffe). Each has certain specific strengths, for instance the lion is supposed to have a playful nature aswell as courage and strength whilst speed and pinpoint accuracy are the hallmarks of the hawk and agility, fantastic physical dexterity and speed for the monkey.  

    Palm training  :   Is at the core of Pa Kua Chang. To begin with very simple exercises are practised until the exponent is fluid and fast. Then one additional aspect is added on. Eventually the beginner will get around to the 'Eight trigram/'mother' palms which are fundamental to this martial art. These are static upper body postures usually performed whilst doing the circle. Also the 64 Palms are taught. These relate to specific techniques which each have multiple applications and thus considerable time and effort is also spent on this.

    Footwork :  Is an integral aspect as it is essental for evading attack and maneuvering around multiple opponents. It starts off very simply and usually along straight lines. Later it takes on a more circular nature in accordance with Chinese philosophy and sound strategy. A critical component of this is the development of rooting whereby the person has a stable footing. This is very important as it allows the practitioner to move whilst striking, a feature which is unique to Pa Kua.

ii) Circle walking (a defining signature of Pa Kua Chang) :  A major component and one that is an ongoing part of training with no end due to the various permutations available and skill required.

iii) Pole training : Not the most complex exercise but certainly one which requires great dexterity and offers a feel for the practical application of the footwork. Below is a demonstration of a four tee-pee pole arrangement by Master Park Bok Nam.

Chin Na
  Joint-locking is a useful addition to the Pa-Kua Chang arsenal making use of all 360 joints. Whilst it is practical against an inexperienced fighter is rarely used against anyone skillful as when an opponent is moving quickly as it is difficult to grasp them and it is also very defensive so only a master would use chin-na against able opposition.       

 Kicking
  A wide variety of techniques are used particularly in the Yin style (indeed Yin Fu was noted for his ability to counter any offensive kicking techniques.) Usually they are below waist height as any higher is mostly counter-productive. Indeed the Yin schools typically have 72 special kicking methods.

Weapons training


  Centres around the four traditional weapons of the Chinese martial arts: thestraight double-edged sword, the broadsword/knife, the staff and the spear. There are others aswell but they are not used as often including needles fitted on a ring, two-handled broadsword, long handled broadsword, double broadsword, large broadsword, antler broadsword, double-headed spear, trident spear, club, seven star pole, cane, double hook knives, crescent moon knives, yin and yang pens, sun and moon knies and nine sectioned chain whip and                'deer horn knives.'

HEALTH :
The Chinese Holistic Approach -
  The Chinese treat the body in a holistic manner. This is why they focus on three aspects. They are Jing (essence), Chi (vital energy) and Shen (spirit). In other words they see the mental, physical and spiritual as being inseparably linked unlike western medecine. This is why they treat a health problem by looking at the cause rather than the symptom following the maxim that 'prevention is better than cure'.

  In the West some medical practitioners are now converting to this way of thinking. The late pioneer of stress-research, Dr. Hans Selye, was emphatic that mental stress could lead to a host of physical malfunctions, ranging from heart attacks to alcoholism and obesity. He discovered that the body reacts the same to pleasure and success, failure and sadness. In other words, what we perceive as good and bad experiences can and do cause stress, and in fact, everyone is under some degree of stress even when asleep. Hence the obvious route to take is one of moderation which is what Taoists advocate.   

 An invigorating alternative to Tai Chi :
  Aside from Pa Kua's many obvious benefits, it is also a very useful means to stay healthy into old age. As with Tai Chi, (a 'soft' martial art nowadays used only for health purposes, part. the Cheng-Man-Ching short form) it makes use of the body's natural energy channels to maximise the efficiency of the body's 'Chi'.

'Chi' is  a term which is often misconstrued here in the West. Perhaps the simplest way of understanding it is to say that it represents the body's vitality and that orientals see it as an energy constantly flowing around the body. It is a mistake to think of it as a physical entity. In fact the Chinese character for Chi is gas (or energy) setting atop the character for rice. hence, the energy that is food.

Below is a diagram of the main energy channels acc. to Chinese thinking.

There are many different types of chi which affect the body. Below is a brief outline.

1. Yuan Chi - the original or "Before heaven" chi, this is the chi that is immediately inherited at the time of birth. In the West we would probably say this refers to DNA and the genes we acquire from our parents.                              

2. Gu Chi - this is "after heaven" chi and is derived from food. It is the chi of the spleen.                                                                                                                        

3. Kong Chi - this is "after heaven" chi but is derived from air and is the chi of the lung.                                                                                                                          

 4. Zong Chi - the gathering of both the Gu Chi and the Kong Chi (Chi of the chest)                                                                                                                                  

5. Zheng Chi - This is "normal" chi and is the product of the Zong Chi being metabolised by the Yuan Chi.                                                                                     

6. Ying Chi - the nutritive Zheng Chi that nourishes the organ and tissue.         

7. Wei Chi - the defensive Zheng Chi that circulates  on the surface of the body and protects it from external disease.                                                                         

8. Zangfu Zhi Chi - this is Zheng Chi that flows through the organs.                    

9. Jing Luo Zhi Chi - this is the Zheng Chi that flows through the meridians

  As a martial artist one must understand all of these and how they inter-relate. Undoubtedly the main focus for many would be the Wei or defensive chi. This is what protects us from an attacker's blow or allows us to smash through boards and bricks with our bare hands. To develop wei Chi, we must not only concentrate on meditation but also on our diet and exercise. wei Chi is a type of Zheng Chi, Zheng Chi originates from Gu (Food) and Kong (air) Chi. If one has a poor diet or does not participate in a regular exercise program the Zong Chi will suffer disharmonies thus inhibiting the development of the wei Chi. Disharmonies include deficient chi; the process of growing old and illness, sinking chi; leads to organ prolapse, stagnant chi; bruising, and rebellious chi; chi flowing in the wrong direction. An example of rebellious stomach chi would be hiccups or vomiting.

Chi flows from the chest, down the front of the arms to the fingers. It then travels up the back of the arms to the head. The chi then travels down the back to the feet and back up the front of the body to the chest. This flowing chi is the Jing Luo Zhi Chi. It travels through the meridians of the body that can be best described as electrical channels. There are 12 main channels; 8 extraordinary channels; 12 transverse luo; 12 tendinomuscle channels; 12 divergent channels; and 16 longitudinal luo. The transverse and longitudinal luo and the tendinomuscle and divergent channels are merely "connections" between the main and extraordinary channels. There are points along these channels that are chi vortexes which we know as "the pressure points" used in pressure point striking. These points are the exact same points used in acupuncture and acupressure.

Chi is one of the 3 treasures that are the essential components of life. Chi - energy, Jing - essence, and Shen - spirit. When the three treasures are in harmony the individual is radiant, physically fit, and mentally sharp. Just as developing one aspect of chi affects another, so does it affect the other two of the three treasures. One should find a balance of the three treasures through meditation, exercise, and living well in general. Any disruption of the three treasures leads to an imbalance of the whole. This imbalance can be manifested as physical or psychological abnormalities. 

Causes of disharmony can be internal or external. Internal disharmonies are called the "seven emotions". They include Joy, Anger, Sadness, Grief, Pensiveness, Fear, and Fright. 

Joy - According to Eastern philosophy is a state of over excitement or agitation and leads to problems with heart fire. 

Anger - Anger includes resentment, irritability, and frustration. It affects the liver resulting in stagnation of the liver chi. The liver energy rises to the head causing headaches, dizziness and in the long run high blood pressure. It will eventually cause problems with the stomach and spleen. 

Sadness and Grief - Unresolved sadness and grief that becomes chronic creates a disharmony in the lungs making the lung chi weak and interferes with the function of circulating the chi. Normal expression of sadness and grief is sobbing that originates in the lungs with deep breathes and expulsion of air with each sob. 

Pensiveness - is the result of to much thinking. The organ most affected is the spleen. Pensiveness causes a deficiency in spleen chi that causes fatigue, lethargy and the inability to concentrate. 

Fear and Fright - Affect the kidney when it becomes chronic. Kidney chi lessens and leads to a decrease in kidney yin.

External causes of disharmony include the "six pernicious influences" or "six outside evils". These "processes" or "evils" include; wind, fire, cold, dryness, dampness, and summer heat. A brief explanation of each is provided.

Wind - This is a yang pathogenic influence. Wind disharmonies are characterized by a sudden onset such as the common cold. As the wind disharmony takes hold, the symptoms turn to heat as yin transforms to yang to show fever, sore throat, dry mouth and thick yellow phlegm. Internal liver wind is very serious and can lead to conditions such as epilepsy and stroke. Wind is related to spring according to the five elements theory. This suggests that an individual is more susceptible to external wind disharmonies in the spring.

Fire - This also is a yang pathogenic influence. Fire leads to a large group of heat type symptoms: fever, inflammation, red eyes, hot skin eruptions, and an aversion to heat. It has a drying effect on the body fluids causing dry skin, constipation, and scanty urine. Extreme cases of fire disharmony include: hyperactivity, mental agitation, delirium, and mania where the heat disturbs the shen.

Cold - This is a yin pathogenic influence. Sudden onset leaves the individual feeling chilly and headachy with an aversion to cold, general body aches and no sweating. If not dealt with, cold can affect the lungs, stomach and spleen. This leads to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cold can also affect the liver channel especially in the genital area causing pain and discomfort.

Dryness - This is a yang pathogenic influence. Dryness follows the same symptoms as fire but with more emphasis on drying up the body fluids. This influence can lead to cracked dry skin, dry lips, nose, and a dry cough. Dryness is associated with the fall.

Dampness - This is a yin pathogenic influence. When dampness invades, it leads to sluggishness, tired and heavy limbs, and a general lethargy. Bodily discharges are sticky and the tongue will have a sticky coat. The spleen is especially susceptible to dampness. This will inhibit the transportation and transformation functions leading to abdominal distension and diarrhea. Dampness can also affect the joints leading to stiffness, aching, and swelling. These symptoms are predominate in the morning. Dampness is associated with late summer.

Summer Heat - A yang pathogenic influence that follows fire. It is associated with the height of summer. Summer heat depletes the chi and bodily fluids leading to exhaustion and dehydration.

  As one can see chi is a complex matter but in general one can say that when orientals practice 'Chi Kung' (a.k.a. 'Qi Gung') or Chi exercise they seek to maximise the efficency of the body. This differs from the West where the emphasis is on muscle power which  enhances potential power but can easily become counter-productive if too much stress is used. 

  As regards for martial arts self-defence there are two main types of 'chi' strikes, heavy and light. Also it is said that there are four levels of chi development and that to acquire them one should recognise that 'the mind leads, the chi follows the mind, the blood follows the chi, and the strength follows the blood'.

  It should not be confused with the Japanese 'ki' which although similar is distinctly different since it only refers to the individual 's spirit and virtue. 

The benefits of Chi Kung -

  Are numerous including the lowering of blood pressure, stabilisation  of the digestive system, improved nerve order and treatment for those with low energy. This makes it beneficial for the elderly and weak. Chi Kung can also help with the recovery from injuries to the joints, spine and muscles. It has been very influential in Chinese society since the time of the ancient text the 'Nei Jing' (Inner Classic of Medecine).

   How does it work? - in terms of physical movement the constant turning and spinning movements stimulate the joints and muscle to provide a work out for many areas of the body that are not normally exercised. These movements also stimulate acupuncture cavities by compressing and relaxing the muscles around them, loosening stagnant energy, and allowing Chi to circulate smoothly.

The internal approach to martial arts -

  'The more on the outside the less on the inside, the less on the outside the more on the inside' so goes a saying referring to the internal approach to the martial arts whereby powerful forces are generated with little visible movement. It is the drive for maximising efficiency which unifies Pa Kua with Tai Chi and Hsing I and separates them from the 'external' Shaolin arts which approach this aspect slowly and not at the outset. Hence they are often referred to as being part of one family, the 'nei ja'.

'Taoists believe that the training procedures of a martial art must first and foremost invigorate the mind and body. Combat training is secondary but still very important '.

  T o go into any detail would be difficult given the complexity of it. However it can be compared to yoga as training involves an emphasis on breathing techniques, flexibility and meditation and an all round natural lifestyle. In particular there is a desire to cultivate the 'Tantien' -the three primary centres in the human body where chi collects, disperses and recirculates, namely the mind, middle of chest and the lower abdomen. They govern the energetic anatomy of a person. The practices of the three tantiens are at the operational root of all the Chinese chi practices.   

Yueh Fuei's Ten Important Theses on Hsing I Chuan :

Thesis of Integrity
From the beginning, that which is discrete must have its unification. The divided must be combined. Therefore, between heaven and earth, all that is disordered has its abode, all the thousand branches and the confusion of then thousand endings, all have their origin. This is because one root divides into ten thousand branches, and ten thousand branches all belong to one root. These events are natural.

This theory is applied to the martial arts. It is also numerous. The important point is the thousands of changes and the ten thousand variations. Nothing but postures and nothing but Chi. Although the postures cannot be classified, the Chi, however is, one.

About what one means; from top to the bottom of the feet, internally there are viscera, bowels, tendons, and bones. Externally, there are muscles, skin, the five sensing organs, and hundreds of bones of the skeleton, mutually combined and become one. When struck will not open, when hit will not decompose. The top wishes to move, the bottom automatically follows. The bottom wishes to move the top will automatically lead. The center section moves, the top and the bottom will coordinate. Internal and external are combined, the front and the rear mutually required. This is what is called threading into one.

This cannot be reached through force or done from imitating. When it is time to be calm, it is quiet and transparent. In this position, you are steady like a mountain. When it is time to move, move like thunder and collapse. The speed of emitting is like lighting. In addition, when calm, there is nothing that is not calm. The surface and the internal, the top and the bottom, all without disorder and the meaning of inhibiting each other. When moving, there is nothing that does not move. The left and the right, the front and the rear, all without antagonizing, and the shape of swiftly moving around. It is just like water flowing downward. It is so powerful that nothing is able to stop it. It is fired internally. When shot, not fast enough to cover your ears. Without considering thinking, without bothering to plan, simply reach the goal without expectation. This is reached without intention, then isnít it the natural way?

Because the Chi must be accumulated daily to gain benefit, Kung is trained for long term success. In contemplating the way, one passes through the holy door. One must wait until one has listened repeatedly and gained sufficient knowledge and has reached the stage where he suddenly comprehends, and has not ignored achieving through thorough training, then he knows that these things are not difficult nor easy. The achievement can be reached as an end by itself; cannot be through waiting and cannot be speeded up. Follow the steps and catch the pace, advancing according to the order. Only then will the organs, skeleton bones, limbs, and joints connect automatically, and the top and bottom, the external and internal not have difficulty communicating. Then those randomized will be gathered and those divided will be unified. The four limbs and hundreds of skeleton bones will all belong to one Chi.

Thesis of Yin and Yang
It is seldom heard that he who discusses striking, also discussed Chi. About the Chi, it is mastered as one but can be divided into two. What are these two? They are inhaling and exhaling. The inhalation and exhalation are the Yin and Yang. The striking cannot occur without moving and calmness. The Chi cannot exist without inhaling and exhaling. Inhalation is Yin and exhalation is Yang. The one, which is calm, is Yin and the one, which is moving, is Yang. Raising up is Yang and sinking downward is Yin. When Yang Chi is rising up it becomes Yang, and when Yang Chi is being transported downward it becomes Yin. When Yin Chi is being transported downward it becomes Yin, and when Yin Chi is being transported upward it becomes Yang. This is the discrimination of Yin and Yang.

What are clean and muddy? The one that rises up to the top is clean and the one descending downward is muddy. The clean Chi rises upward and the dirty Chi sinks downward. The clean one is Yang and the dirty one is Yin. It is important that Yang should be used to nourish Yin. Generally speaking, they are united as one Chi. If divided; they are distinguished as Yin and Yang. Chi cannot be without Yin and Yang, and it is just like man cannot live without having movement and calmness. The nose cannot be without inhalation and exhalation, and the mouth cannot be without exiting and entering. This is the unchangeable theory of natural cycling. However, though Chi can be divided into two, in fact, it is one. Those who like to study this should be careful not to restrict this.

Thesis of the Three Sections
Well, Chi is the root of the entire body, and the sections of the body should not have definite places/positions. What are called the "three sections" are the top, middle, and bottom. For the body, the head is the top section, the body is the middle section, and the legs are the bottom section. If talking about the top section, then the crown is the top section, the nose is the middle section, and the tongue is the bottom section. If talking about the middle section, then the chest is the top section, the abdomen is the middle section, and the Dan Tien is the bottom section. If talking about the bottom section, the feet are the ending section, the knees are the middle section, and the hips are the root section. If talking about the arms, the hands are the ending section, the elbows are the middle section, and the shoulders are the root section. If talking about the hands, the fingers are the ending section, the palms are the middle section, and the roots of the palms are the root section. From this, there is no need to talk more about feet. 

However from the head to the feet, all have three sections. Most important is that if there is not a distinguishing into three sections, then the meaning cannot be clear. If the top section is not clear, there is no dependence and no origin. If the middle section is not clear, then the entire body is void. If the bottom section is not clear, then you will fall by yourself. How can we ignore them? As to how the Chi starts to move, there is nothing but the end section must move, the middle section follows, and the root section urges. However, all of these discussions are but dividing into sections to talk about them. If we talk about when they are all combined, then form the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, the four limbs and hundreds of bones, all in one section, how can they be divided into three sections? Furthermore, how can we again divide each section of these three sections into another three sections?

Thesis of the Four Extremities
Try, in addition, to discussing the body and the Chi, to discuss the extremities. The extremities are the surplus ends of the body. Those who talk about the body have never mentioned these since the beginning, and those who talk about the Chi have also seldom discussed them. Striking is from the internal and emitted to the outside, and thus the Chi is from the body and reaches to the extremities. If the application of Chi does not originate from the body, this is void and not solid. If it does not manifest in every extremity, though solid it is still void. How is it possible to not talk about the extremities? However, these are only the extremities of the physical body and not the extremities of the Chi. 

What are the four extremities? The hair is one. Because the hair does not belong to one of the Five Phases and is not related to the four limbs, it seems this is not worth discussing. However, the hair is the ending of the blood and the blood is the ocean of Chi. Even though we do not use the hair to discuss Chi, we cannot ignore the blood in the generation of Chi. If we cannot ignore the blood, then we cannot but also be concerned with the hair. When the hair is strong enough to shoot up the hat, the blood ending is sufficient. Others such as the tongue is the ending of the muscles and the muscles are the Chi bag (capable of storing Chi). If the Chi cannot be manifested in the ending of the muscles, then there is not enough quantity of Chi to fill up the muscles. Therefore, the tongue should urge (push against) the teeth, then the Chi in the meat ending will be enough.

As to the ending of the bones, it is the teeth. The ending of the tendons is the nails. Chi is generated form the bones, which are connected to the tendons. If the Chi cannot reach the teeth, it means the Chi cannot reach the ending of the tendons. If you desire to have plenty, then it cannot be done unless the teeth are able to break the tendons and the nails are able to penetrate the bones. If able to do this, the Chi of the four extremities is sufficient. When the Chi of the four extremities is sufficient, the Chi will be plenty automatically. In this case, how can it be still void and not solid, or though solid still void?

Thesis of the Five Phases
When talking about striking, discuss the posture. When talking about the postures, discuss Chi. Man has five viscera, which therefore form the shape. From the five viscera, the Chi is born. The five viscera are really the original bearers of human nature and the source of growing Chi. They are named heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The heart is Fire and has the appearance of flaming upward. The liver is Wood and has the shape of curved and straight. The spleen is Earth and has the feeling of solid and sincere. The lungs are Metal and have the capability of initiating changes. The kidneys are Water and have the talent of moistening the lower body. This is the meaning of the five viscera, and they must be coordinated accurately with the Chi so that they are able to cooperate with each other.

This is why those who talk about martial affairs must not separate from them. The chest and diaphragm is the position of the lung primary Chi channels and cover all other viscera. Therefore, when the lung primary channel moves, all other viscera cannot be calm. The heart is between the two nipples and enwrapped and protected by the lungs. Underneath the lungs and above the stomach is the location of the heart primary Chi channel. The heart is the king of Fire, and once it moves all other primary ministerial Fires will naturally follow. Between the two flanks, left is the liver and right is the spleen. On the fourteenth section of the spine are the kidneys. These are the positions of the five viscera. However, all these five viscera are linked with the back spine and connected with the kidneysí Essence. As to the waist, it is the home position of the two kidneys. They are the first among the pre-heaven, and especially are the origin and root of all other viscera. Therefore, when the kidney Water is sufficient, then Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth will have the opportunity to create. These are the positions of the five viscera.

In addition, the five viscera existing internally have their definite positions. Manifested on the body, they also have their special positions. They are the neck, the top of the head, the brain, the bones, the back, and the waist. The two ears are the kidneys, the two lips and two cheeks are the spleen. The two hairs (head hair and body hair) are the lungs. The forehead is the leader of the six Yang organs and gathers the Essence of the five viscera (Yin organs) and actually is the main master of the head and face and is the governor of the entire body.

The Yintang, is the key place of the Stomach Chi of Yang Brightness. When the human nature starts at the Tianting, its functioning is approached from here. The Chi generated and developed is able to reach the six Yangs from the kidneys and it is really the main key place of the Tianting. Two eyes are both the liver. Studied in more detail, the tip (of the eyes) is the spleen and the bottom is the stomach. The big corner is for the heart channel and the small corner is for the small intestines. The white (of the eyes) means the lungs and the black is the liver. The pupil is the kidneys and is actually the Essence gathering of the five viscera. So, they (the eyes) are not only especially related to the liver.

The nose is the lungs, the two cheeks are the kidneys, the front of the ear doors are the Gall Bladder, and the high bones behind the ears are also the kidneys. The nose is the Earth Center and is the source of the birth and nourishment of the million objects. It is actually the master of the center Chi. The Renzhong is the meeting of blood and Chi, thrusting upward into the Yintang and reaching to the Tianting; it is also the most important place. Under the two lips is the Chengjiang and underneath the Chengjiang is the Dihe, correspond to the Tianting and also relate to the kidney channel.

The head and neck are the pathway to the five viscera and the main gathering place of blood and Chi. The front is the entering and exiting path of food and air and the rear is the ascending and descending way of kidney Chi. The liver Chi is thus spinning to the left and the spleen Chi is spinning to the right. Their relations are most important and are the key points in the entire body. The two nipples are the liver and the two shoulders are the lungs. The two elbows are the kidneys. The two shoulders on the back is the spleen. The ten fingers are the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The knees and the calves are both the kidneys. The bottoms of the two feet are the important places of the kidneys and the Yongquan are the cavities of the kidneys.

Generally, how the body is related is as follows. Those places which are convex are the heart. Those concave are the lungs. Those places where the bone is exposed are the kidneys. The tendons junction places are the liver. And where the flesh is thick are the spleen. Looking at them from the Yi, the heart is like a fiery tiger, the liver is like an arrow, the spleen with the unlimited strength of the Chi and Li. The distribution of the liver channel is the most variable spiritually, the movement of the kidneys; Chi is fast like the wind. When applied to the body such as the application of Chi channels, the places in the entire body which are related to these channels, ultimately they cannot be without having the meaning. Therefore, people studying should comprehend by themselves. This cannot be done through pen and ink. As to the production, conquest, and derivation, though there is some other discussion already, studying their key points, there is a total comprehension automatically. The Five Phases and the hundreds of parts of the body, after all, are one unit. The four bodies and the three centers are combined into one. Why do we have to pay attention to every channel and every branch or section of the body?

Thesis of the Six Combinations
Hsin combines with Yi, Yi combines with Chi, and Chi combines with Li are the three internal combinations. Hands combine with feet, elbows combine with knees, and shoulders combines with hips are the three external combinations. These are called Liou He (the six combinations). The left hand combines with the right foot, the left elbow combines with the right knee, the left shoulder combines with the right hip. The same holds true for the other side. Then, the head combines with the hands, the hands combine with the body, and the body combines with the stepping. These cannot be thought not to be the external combinations. The heart combines with the eyes, the liver combines with the tendons, the spleen combines with the meat, the lungs combine with the body, and the kidneys combine with the bones. These cannot be thought not to be the internal combinations. How can there be only six combinations? They are divided only for discussion. In all, one place moves, everywhere moves; one place combines, every place is combined. The five shapes and hundreds of bones will all be useful.

Thesis of the Seven Advancings
The head is the leader of the six Yangs and is also the master of the entire body. The five sensing organs and hundreds of bones do not but rely on it. Therefore, the head cannot but advance. The hands move first, and their foundation and root are in the shoulders. If the shoulders do not advance, then the hands will hesitate and not advance. Therefore, it is important that the shoulders must advance. Chi is gathered in the Zhongwan cavity and the key is in the waist: when the waist does not advance, then the Chi is weak and not solid. Therefore, it is important that the waist must advance.

Yi is threaded throughout the entire body, and the movements depend on the stepping. If the stepping is not forward, then the Yi is in vain and cannot do anything. Therefore, the stepping is important in advancing. Then, when attacking the left, the right must be advanced, and when attacking the right, the left must be advanced. These are the seven advancings. They are not what are called the advancing in touching the ground. To conclude their importance, before advancing, the entire body may not have the Yi connection and be related to each other. Once talking about advancing, then the entire body does not have the appearance of delaying and hesitation.

Thesis of the Body's Maneuvers
What are the bodyís maneuvers? Simply; Tzong (straight forward), Hern (sideways), Gau (moving high), Di (moving low), Jinn (advancing), Tuey (retreating), Faan (reversing), and Tseh (beware of the flank). Tzong is releasing the posture forward and not returning. Hern is to enwrap the Li, opening up the way, which cannot be resisted. Gau is to extend the body, and the body has the tendency to rise. Di is to press down the body and make the body have the shape of drilling and seizing. When is should be forward, then forward. Bounce the body and straight forward bravely. When you should retreat, then retreat. Lead the Chi back and convert the posture into yielding.

As to turning the body and beware of the rear, the rear is the front. When I beware of the left and right, nobody dare to resist me from the left or the right. You should not be inhibited. First, you must inspect the opponentís strong and weak, skillfully apply key tricks (strategy), sometimes suddenly forward and suddenly sideways. Forward and sideways are changeable following the situation and there is no general rule to follow. There is suddenly high and suddenly low, they can be switched anytime. Do not be stubborn in the rules and do not deliberate. When it is time to advance, then do not retreat. If retreating, then the Chi strength is weakened. When it is time to retreat, then retreat to prepare for an advance.

Advance is for advancing, and even retreating relies on advance. If you turn the body to beware of the rear, beware of the rear still never feel it is the rear. When you beware of the left and right, the left and right are never felt to be left and right. In all, the key is in the eyes, and the change is from the heart, then when the key is held, it is applied to the body. When the body is moving forward, it does not need an order, the four limbs are forward. When the body is retreating, then hundreds of skeleton bones are all in their positions scientifically. How can we not talk about the bodyís maneuvers?

Thesis of Stepping
When the five sensing organs and hundred skeleton bones decide to move, in fact, the stepping transports them. The stepping is the foundation of the entire body and the governing key to movement. Therefore, engaging in battle and matching the opponent relies on the body. Actually the main support of this is nothing but stepping. The changes that correspond to the situation and opportunity are in the hands. However, that which enables the hands to switch and move around is also in the stepping. Advancing, retreating, turning around, and beware of he sides; if not for the stepping, how to catch the opportunity to stimulate and also to rise, extend, and withdraw? If not for the stepping, how to demonstrate the marvelous variations? What is called the tricky keys are in the eyes, the variations are in the heart. Then it is possible to turn around and change angles, thousand variations and ten thousand derivations which prevent being forced into urgency. If not from the actions of stepping, how could it be done? Goals cannot be reached by force.

The movements originate from no heart and the excitement is generated from no feeling. When the body wishes to move, the stepping will also move around. When the hands are going to move, stepping has already progressed to the urgent position. This happens without expectation, progresses without being pushed. Isnít this what is called the top wishes to move the bottom naturally follows? Furthermore, stepping is divided into front and rear. The one with definite positions is stepping. Also the one without definite positions is also stepping. Such as the front leg steps forward, the rear leg will follow. The front and the rear all have a definite position. If the earlier stepping steps later, and the later stepping steps first, also if the earlier stepping is used as the first stepping for the later, or the later stepping is used as the following stepping for the first, then the earlier and the later stepping will naturally not have definite positions. In all, when talking about the situation of the fist (style), the important point should be considered to be stepping. Lively or not is also decided by stepping. Agile or not also depends on stepping how great are the applications of stepping!

The fist (this style) is named Hsin Yi (heart-mind). In Hsin-Yi, the Yi (intention) originates from the Hsin (heart) and the fists are emitted according to the Yi. You must know yourself and the opponent, following the opportunity and responding with variations. The Chi in the heart is emitted. The four limbs all move. While the feet are raised, they are grounded. While the knees are lifted, they have number (specific techniques). While turning, there are positions. Combine with the shoulders and coordinate with the hips, three tips are matching, and the Hsin, Yi, and chi internal three are combined. The fist is combined with the feet, the elbows are combined with the knees, and the shoulders are combined with the hips, external three are combined. The palm centers, the sole center, and the Hsin, three centers and one Chi are mutually combined. When far, the hands are not emitted. The fists are used to strike within five feet and beyond three feet, no matter whether moving forward, retreating, moving to the left or to the right, every step corresponds with each fist (strike). The concept is marvelous if able to reach. The opponent cannot see your shape.

When the hands are emitted, they are fast like the wind and the arrow. The sound is like thunder. Appear and disappear like a rabbit. It is like a lively bird entering the woods. Encountering an enemy, like a giant cannon whose power can destroy a wall like a thin one. The eyes are sharp and the hands are fast. When you jump forward, it is straightforward for swallowing. Before exchanging hands, the Chi is already forward. Once the hands have entered, the agile movements are most marvelous. When you see an opening, do not strike. See the Hern, then strike. See the opening, do not stand firm. See the Hern, then stand firm. Top, middle, and bottom, hold the Chi steady. The body, feet, and hands are all following orders. They are not raised because of the opening and they do not fall because of the opening. The wisdom and skillful tricks all depend on the aliveness, ability to go, ability to fit in, ability to be soft, and ability to be hard, ability to advance, and ability to retreat. Not moving, steady as a mountain. As difficult to figure out as Yin and Yang. Unlimited like the heavens and the earth. Full like a huge granary. Extensive and abundant as the four seas. Bright and shining like the three lights. Inspect the opportunity of the opponentís attack and determine the advantages and disadvantages. There are advanced techniques to be calm and wait for the movement. There are borrowing techniques, moving to deal with the calmness. The borrowing techniques are easy and the advanced techniques are hare. The advances techniques should still be considered first.

Those who are exchanging bravery should not think about mistakes. Those who think about the mistakes find it hard to move even an inch step. Rise like a penetrating arrow and fall like the wind. The hands grasp the hands, attack forward. Every movement automatically combines secretly. Speedy like lightning in the sky and beware of the two sides, left and right. Turning to the rear is just like a tiger searching the mountain. Chop and strike are used, intrepid and indefensible. Chop the endings (limbs) and attack the face, aiming for the Jongtang. Thrusting upward and downward, it is like a tiger, also like an eagle swooping downward to a chicken coop. Do not be hurried in turning over the rivers and reversing the ocean. A single phoenix that dares to fly toward the sun can be said to be brave. The clouds are covering the heavens and the moon. The heavens and the earth interact; when martial arts are competed the winner and the loser can be seen.

When stepping, an inch apart and a step a foot. Chop forward to the face and step the right leg and advance with the left steps, following this method to move forward. Approaching the opponent, advance your body. The body and the hands arrive together, then can be real. Within the emitting, how to understand the secret application? When the meaning has been explained, its marvelous nature can seem to be supernatural. When a bird of prey enters the woods, it must not catch its wings. While an eagle is seizing a small bird, its postures are balanced in four directions. To win the victory, the four extremities must be gathered neatly. First, still need the hand to protect the heart. Plan the strategies and apply them skillfully, a spirit of thunder and a venomous heart is the best policy. The hands and the eyes are able to defeat the opponent.

What is dodging? What is advancing? To advance is to dodge and to dodge is to advance. Do not look for the distant answer. What is called a strike? What is called beware? To beware is to strike and to strike is to beware. The hands are just simply emitted. The heart is like gunpowder and the fist is like a canon ball. When the trigger is moved, it is hard for the bird to fly. The body is like a bow and bowstring and the hands are like the arrows. When the string is aimed ant the bird, the marvelous results will be seen. When the hands move, like lightning; lightning is so fast that there is not enough time to close the eyes. The striking is like thunder and it is so fast that there is no time to cover your ears. The five paths are actually the five entrances. Nobody protects them but you. When the left hand passes the cheek, the right hand will go. When the right cheekís hand is going, the left cheekís hand is coming. The two hands are bound fists and released to the face. The doors of the five gates are tightly closed. The fists are emitted from the heart and fall onto the nose. The feet are from underneath the ground. When a foot is raised fast, the heat Fire is flaming. The Five Phases are Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. The Fire is flaming upward and the Water is flowing downward. I have the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The Five Phases can mutually cooperate without mistake.

Thesis of Fighting
Grab the right; enter the left. Grab the left; enter the right. When stepping forward, the heels touch the ground first. The tip of the foot uses the toes to grab the ground. The stepping must be steady and the body must be solemn. The strike must be firm, solid, and have Li from the bones. While going, the hands are relaxed and when they reach the opponent they become fists. When fists are used, curl in tightly. When you grab, the grabbing must have chi. From the top to the bottom, the Chi must be uniform. Exiting and entering use the heart as master. The eyes, hands, and feet then follow. Do not be greedy and do not be deficient. The elbows should fall into the cave of the elbows and the hands should fall into the handsí cave. The right leg moves first and the tip of the shoulder moves forward. This is exchanging steps.

The fist is emitted from the heart, and the body urges the hand. The hand is grabbing with the heart and the heart is grabbing with the hand. The man moves and steps forward, every step and every fist, one branch moves, hundreds of branches all follow. There is a secret in emitting Jing, when one is grabbing, the entire body is all grabbing. When one is extending, the entire body is all extending. Extending must extend enough to enter; the grabbing must grab to the root. Like wrapping the cannon, wrap tightly, and restrained with Li. It does not matter whether lift striking, press striking, ward off striking, rotating striking, chopping striking, thrusting striking, drilling striking, elbow striking, shoulder striking, palm striking, head striking, forward step striking, backward step striking, smooth step striking, sideways step striking, and front, rear, left, right, top, and bottom; all hundreds of striking methods, all must mutually follow. Releasing hands first occupy the front door. This is called cunning.

The bone sections must be matched. If not matched, no Li. The hand grabbing must be agile. If not agile, then changes can occur. The emitting hand must be fast. If not fast, then too late. The rising hand must be alive. If not alive, then not fast. Striking must have follow-up. If no follow-up, then not effective. The scheming heart must be venomous. If not venomous, then not accurate. Feet and hands must be alive. If not alive, then they carry danger. The scheming heart must be refined. If not refined, then it will be fooled. When attacking, must be brave and fierce like an eagleís stoop. Be calm externally and audacious, and use the opportunity skillfully. Must not be afraid, hesitant, and suspicious. The heart is small and the bladder is big (brave). The face looks nice; the mind is venomous. Be calm like a scholar and move like the thunder striking.

The opponentís approaching posture must also be carefully inspected, such as the feetís kicks, the headís bump, the fistís strikes and the shoulderís action, narrowing the body to advance, relying on the body to raise and emit, walking diagonally and exchanging stepping, intercepting strikes and retreating the body, and lifting and extending the leg for emitting. When wary of feet to the east, must prevent being killed from the west. The top is void, the bottom must be solid. So many tricks that the fingers are not enough for bending (counting). You must figure out the clever tricks and opportunities. The fast hand strikes the slow hand. The traditional sayings should not be ignored. Indeed have their knowledgeable opinion.

Rising, expect falling. Falling, expect rising. The rising and falling mutually follow each other. The body and the hands all arrive at the same time is the real method. The thighs form a scissors, and chop toward the eyebrows. In addition, turning around is like a tiger searching the mountain. The hands rise like lightning and fall like speedy thunder, the wind blowing the rain, the eagle seizing the swallow, the sparrowhawk entering the woods, and the lion catching a rabbit. When the hands are raised, the three centers match each other. Not moving, like a scholar. And moving, like a dragon and a tiger. If too far, the hands should not be emitted for striking. Two hands protect the sides of the heart. When an attack is from the right, intercept with the right and when and attack is form the left, intercept with the left. This is a short cut in intercepting. If too far, then move forward with my hand and when it is close, add the elbow. If it is far, then use the leg to kick and if it is close, add the knee. Far or close must be known properly. The fistís strike and the footís kick, from the head to the postures; inspecting the opponent can cause you to think of advancing. When there is an Yi, do not have shape (external appearance). When there is a shape, you will not win.

The method of defeating the opponent: inspect and be aware of the shape of the ground. When a fist is in an advantageous position, the hands must be speedy. The feet must be light (agile) and when the postures are moving, they are like a catís walk. The heart must be neutral and centered, the eyes are gathering essence, the hands and feet all arrive, must win. If the hands arrive but the feet are not arriving, then cannot obtain the marvelous trick. The hands arrive and the feet also arrive, striking the opponent is just like pulling up grass. The top strikes the throat and the bottom strikes the groin. The left or the right flank remains in the center. It is not far to strike ten feet away. It is close, it can be within only an inch.

When the body moves, like a wall collapsing. When the feet are falling, like a tree is growing roots. When the hands are rising, like a fired cannonball, thrusting straightforward. The body should be like a living snake, when the head is attacked, the tail will respond, when the tail is attacked, the head will respond, and when the middle section is attacked, then the head and the tail both respond. When striking forward, must be aware of the rear. Knowing forward, you should also know backward. The heart moves like a horse, the shoulders move with the speed of wind. When training, it seems there is someone in front of you and when you are exchanging the hands, even though there is an opponent, it is like fighting nobody. When the front hand rises, the rear hand urges closely. When the front leg rises, the rear leg follows closely. There are hands in front of you. Do not see the hands. And there are elbows in front of the chest. Do not see the elbows.

If you see an opening, do not strike, and if you see the opening, do not advance. The fist should not strike the false rising and also not strike the false lowering. When the hands rise, the feet must fall. When the feet fall, the hands must rise. The heart must move first and the Yi must defeat the opponent. The body will attack the opponent, and the stepping must be better than the opponentís. The front leg is like crossing and the rear leg is like sticking. The head must stick up and the chest must be exposed. The waist must grow and rise, and the Dan Tien must transport the Chi. From the top to the feet, the one Chi must thread through. Holding fear in the battle and the heart is cold, then surely not able to win. Unable to inspect the talking and view the color, surely not able to prevent the opponentís intention and surely not able to move first. He who moves first is the master, and he who moves second is the follower. Be able to think only of advancing and do not keep thinking of retreating.

The three sections must be clear, the three tips must match, and the four extremities must be gathered. Understanding the three centers will increase by one more power, comprehending the three sections will add one more technique, understanding the four extremities will increase one essence, understanding the Five Phases will increase the one Chi. Understanding the three sections, not greedy and not deficient, rise, fall, advance, and retreat will have more variations. Three rounds and nine turns are one posture (in each posture). The one heart must master all. Using the two Chi to govern the Five Phases, practice all the time, do not be delayed morning and evening. Crossing the legs (meditation) and striking (form practice) must often be forced. After the Kung (Kung Fu: energy and time) has passed, it will be natural. This is sincere language and not empty talk.

Tai Chi and the Internal Arts :

Tai Chi and the Chinese movement arts are all practiced to balance mind and body. It is primarily the emphasis and method of practice which distinguish one from another. Each exercise has the simple elegance and beauty of Chinese calligraphy. 
The natural state of the body is one of balanced motion, within and without. However, the restrictions of modern society inhibit even the simplest activities like breathing and walking. The aim of Tai Chi practice is to rediscover natural principles of motion by performing the postures slowly with relaxed attention. 
All students, or players, of Tai Chi can find a level of practice which suits their needs, from gentle and meditative to a more challenging discipline. When Tai Chi is practiced as inspiration for each day's activity, it makes every type of movement more enjoyable, efficient, and graceful.
The study of Tai Chi provides a sense of community in which people can explore the principles of balance.

Quotes :

1)Know yourself and know your opponent -you will not face peril in a thousand battles." Sun Tzu 

2)A champion is someone who gets back up - even if they can't. - Jack Dempsey 

3)Sweat in the gym;don't bleed in the streets. - Joe Frazier. 

4)Float like a butterfly sting like a bee -your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see. - Ali 

5)The human mind can subjugate anything - even real pain. - Bruce lee. 

6)When you have the advantage - you must attack,for any hesitation on your part could cause loss of that advantage. - Wilhelm steinitz. 

7)I've wrestled with an aligator - tussled with a whale - handcuffed lightening , thrown thunder in jail - last night I murdered a rock , injured a stone , hospitalized a brick - I'm so mean I make medicine sick. - Ali 


NEI GONG JING :

The chi circulates along the Ren meridian on the front of the body to the Du meridian along the back continuously. The power of fa jing is released along the shoulder well (jian jing) and the curved pond. Although there are many variations, they all rely on the same principle. If you can understand these points you will see the infinite possibilities of this Art. The chi rises through the coccyx. The chi goes down to the tan dien. As a result, the mind is brighter and the spirit is raised.

This part discusses the small heavenly circle of chi which flows from the ming men up along the Du meridian, over the head, through the palate, and down the Ren meridian to the tan dien. It has been said that when one opens the path of the small heavenly circle that he will enjoy good health. The reference to fa jing emphasizes the correct path that energy takes when striking with fa jing. Specifically, the chi passes from the torso to the palm via the shoulder well (jian jing) and the curved pond. The curved pond refers to a particular point on the upper side of the elbow when it is slightly bent. There are countless variations in technique but, when using internal power, you will rely on the circulation of chi and relaxation. Once you understand this simple yet profound point, you will see that the number of techniques are infinite. The key points are the principles of internal power. The techniques are incidental. This section closes by referring again to the small heavenly circle and its health benefits.

Once we understand the chi paths, we should study structure and alignment. The head is straight and rising. Flatten the shoulders to unlock them. Make the chest hollow. Make firm the lower back. The feet are firm and stable. The knees are bent and extended. The inner groin is deep and hidden. The rib cage is open and expanded.

Here we have the next step in the development of internal power. After studying the pathways of chi, we should examine structure and alignment. This study will deepen our understanding of chi pathways as well as enlighten us as to the martial side of chi. The position of the head is as though it is being suspended from the crown by a thread that is pulling it up. There is a rising inclination here. Flatten the shoulders refers to relaxing them and allowing them to sit naturally. Their natural position being slightly rounded down to the sides and forward. This helps relax and hollow the chest. The term hollow here being used to emphasize the relaxation of the chest. Hollow as opposed to protruding. Firming the lower back results when the chi settles to the tan dien. The reference to the feet emphasizes the stability inherent when one is well rooted. Sinking the chi makes the lower half heavier and increases stability. The knees being bent and extended refers to a screwing action of the legs into the ground. The toes here will grasp the ground lightly as the heel push slightly to the outside. This has the effect of opening the inner thigh and helps the chi flow to the lower extremities. Also, it makes the inner groin open up which greatly increases the range of motion in the hip area. This explains the reference to the inner groin being deep and hidden. The rib cage being open and expanded refers to deep and relaxed natural breathing.

Breathing should be balanced and even. The force is relaxed and tight. First inhale and then exhale. The chi goes in and out. The chi also rises and falls. Inside is the tan dien which is the home of the chi. In the lower half of the body you should lift the anus. In the upper half of the body you should suspend the head. Standing or sitting, inhale through the throat and use the mind to gradually deliver the breath down to the bottom. There is a way for the chi going up. It is with the ribs rising. Also, there is a way for the chi going down. It is for the chi to go through the shu kuo.

The breathing being balanced and even is indicative of a calm and relaxed body and mind. The force being relaxed and tight refers to the state of the body. Specifically, the body should be relaxed yet structurally sound. Tight in this sense meaning tight in terms of connection and alignment. First inhale and then exhale. The chi goes in and out as well as rises and falls. This shows the relationship between breathing and chi. As you inhale the chi goes in and then out as you exhale. Actually, the chi does not go out per se. Chi is circulated within the body. The chi rising and falling refers to the circular path that chi follows in the body. The tan dien is the home of the chi. This is where we gather the chi. In the lower half of the body you should lift the anus. This refers to the hui yin which is located between the anus and the genitals. By gently lifting this area the Ren and Du meridians are connected. The upper half of the body suspending the head emphasizes the importance of relaxing and opening the spine. Standing or sitting means that no matter what you are doing, breathe deeply and relax the body so that the lungs can absorb as much air as is possible. This is done by breathing into the dan tien. The way for the chi going up and down refers to the natural path that the chi follows along the Ren and Du meridians. Inhaling the chi goes from the ming men up to the head and exhaling it completes the circle.

Now that you understand the key points of the chi, we will explain the key points about force. The key points of the force's path are circulation, passing through, penetrate, close, relaxation, courage, unitary, stability. Push down the shoulders to practice the stepping. Collapse the inner groin to stabilize the knee. Keep the groin as a circle to stabilize the hip. Lift up the chest to sink down the lower back. Lift up the jaw to straighten the neck. Fill the back to circulate chi to emit force. Relax the shoulder to emit force. Relax the sternum to emit force. Separate the spine to let the chi go down and look at the he gu to set up the gate. Know the strengths of forward and sideward. Forward gets its strength from sideward. Sideward gets its strength from forward.

This passage begins by emphasizing the importance of having a sound understanding of the fundamentals of chi before discussing force. Specific key points about force are listed. Circulation refers to having the pathways of chi open. Passing through means that the chi is unobstructed. Penetrate refers to the chi penetrating and filling the body. Close refers to the proximity between you and your opponent. Relaxation is the state of your body and mind. Courage means to keep calm and to be decisive in the face of danger without hesitation. Unitary means the body and mind should be connected as one. Stability is having a sound structure. By pushing down the shoulders to practice stepping is to avoid coming up out of root and structure when in motion. Collapsing the inner groin to stabilize the knee is a technique of relaxing the body to allow more of the body's weight to be supported by the skeleton. Keeping the groin as a circle to stabilize the hip is in effect making the groin in the shape of a U as opposed to a V. The makes it much easier for the body to follow the force of and opponent and to keep the body unified. Lifting up the chest to sink down the lower back refers to the relaxing of the torso to allow the body to sink and relax. The lifting of the jaw to straighten the neck is akin to slightly tucking the chin which raises the rear jaw bone thereby straightening the spine. Filling the back to circulate chi to emit force is to ensure that the proper structure is in place to allow the chi to flow completely unobstructed. If the lower back is hollow this will not be possible. Relaxing the shoulders to emit force is a comment on the relaxed body in general. If there is tension in the shoulders then the flow of chi will stagnate there and there will be a loss of power and possible injury to yourself. Relaxing the sternum is a reference to relaxing the chest which is necessary to maximize the issuance of force. Separating the spine means to relax and extend the vertebrae to ensure an open pathway for the chi. Looking at the he gu to set up the gate refers to keeping your eyes focused on your opponent through the tiger's mouth which is located between the index finger and your thumb. Knowing the strengths of forward and sideward, each getting its strength from the other. To maximize power in the forward direction, you must maintain good structure and relax specifically in the kua of the opposite side of the issuance of force in order to rotate the body to gain full benefit of the ground and structure. In term of emitting force to the side, you must pay particular attention to relax the kua on the same side as the issuing force so that you may go forward to wrap the energy around the opponent and attack from the weak angle.

Five chi are going to the original place over and over again. Four limbs and the head collect the chi wonderfully. Rise and fall, in and out, up and down, chi goes together harmoniously. The heaven and earth are very stable. The water goes up and the fire goes down. The head and the feet connect together very well. When you are quiet the brightness could be seen. When you move then you could fly.

Here the five chi refer to the element of the wu xing. Going to the original place over and over again is in reference to the continuous path that the chi flows. The original place is the tan dien. The four limbs and the head collect the chi wonderfully means that there is no place that the chi can not reach. Rise and fall, in and out, up and down, chi goes together harmoniously. This is in reference to the fluidity and continuity of the chi passing through the meridians. The reference to the heaven and earth and water and fire indicate that the chi of the body is in balance. When the chi of the body is allowed to flow smoothly through the unobstructed meridians the body will be connected as one. This explains the reference to the head and feet connect together very well. When you are quiet the brightness could be seen. The next sentence speaks of a brightness that is visible in the eyes of a person who is calm and has a strong chi flow. Often times after standing meditation you will notice the skin of a person becomes more pink as the flow of chi increases. When you move then you could fly means that a connected body can be very fast when triggered by a thought.

We have tried to present our understanding of the Nei Gung Jing so that others may benefit and find the true path to internal power. In doing so we have had several obstacles to overcome. Initially, the translation from old Chinese to new. Then, from Chinese to English. Anyone having any experience with foreign languages will attest to the difficulties inherent to such a task. But, we felt the project was worth the effort to inform more people about real internal martial arts. Again, let us emphasize that this information does not belong to any specific art. As some of you may know Mr. Yan's background is primarily Chen style Tai Chi and Mr. Dees' is Hsing-i. What we have incommon is obviously not form rather a common pursuit of structure, alignment and relaxation for health and martial purposes. We hope that you will study the information provided carefully.