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
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.
7. Timing and chance
9. Know yourself, know the opponent
10. Chi Kung and external training.
1. When you practice, keep the whole body
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Pa Kua Chang :
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
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
2. Nei kung- utilise and enhance muscle groups, ligaments and
tendons which are usually underdeveloped and
3. Wai kung- all obvious movement and
Animals : Kua 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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
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' 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
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
2. Gu Chi - this is "after
heaven" chi and is derived from food. It is the chi of the
3. Kong Chi - this is "after
heaven" chi but is derived from air and is the chi of the
4. Zong Chi - the gathering of both
the Gu Chi and the Kong Chi (Chi of the
5. Zheng Chi - This is "normal"
chi and is the product of the Zong Chi being metabolised by the
6. Ying Chi - the nutritive Zheng Chi
that nourishes the organ and
7. Wei Chi - the defensive Zheng Chi that
circulates on the surface of the body and protects it from
8. Zangfu Zhi Chi - this is Zheng Chi
that flows through the
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.
disharmony can be internal or external. Internal disharmonies are
called the "seven emotions". They include Joy, Anger,
Sadness, Grief, Pensiveness, Fear, and Fright.
According to Eastern philosophy is a state of over excitement or
agitation and leads to problems with heart fire.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
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 :
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
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
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.