by Wang Xinwu

[translation by Paul Brennan, Dec, 2014]

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - portrait

Portrait of the author


Author’s Preface
一 八翻手之源流
One: The Origins of Bafan Boxing
二 八翻手之真義
Two: The True Significance of Bafan Boxing
三 八翻手之特長
Three: The Special Characteristics of Bafan Boxing
第一路 抱拳挣錘式
Line 1: Embracing Fists & Break-Free Punches
第二路 進退連環式
Line 2: Advancing & Retreating with Continuous Techniques
第三路 撇身捶式
Line 3: Torso-Flung Punch
第四路 葉裏藏化式
Line 4: Flower Hidden Under the Leaf
第五路 仙人掌舵式
Line 5: Immortal Steers the Boat
第六路 羈王捆猪式
Line 6: Emperor Ties up a Pig
第七路 二龍戲珠式
Line 7: Double Dragons Play with the Pearl
第八路 擺肘壓打式
Line 8: Swinging Elbow, Press & Strike
A Brief Discussion of Bafan Boxing


When I was child, I was frequently ill, so much so that at the age of four I could not even walk. My parents worried about me and constantly taught me exercise. Once I was eight, I was instructed in Long Boxing and practiced leaping and jumping. After a long time, my body gradually strengthened. When I reached the age of fifteen, I traveled to Jintai, where I learned from Xu Yusheng of Jingzhao, and the Manchurians Ji Zixiu and Wu Jianquan. While Xu taught me Taiji’s “thirteen dynamics”, I also learned Yue School Bafan Boxing [known varyingly as Bafanshou, Bafanmen, Bafanquan, etc.] from Liu Enshou of Hengshui, Hebei.
     Developed from Yue School Sanshou, its methods were devised during the reign of Emperor Guangxu by “Big Spear” Liu Jingyuan, called Dekuan, who was a Shaolin exponent. Liu Enshou was the top student of Liu Dekuan. His skill was refined and deep, and his fame spread quickly. He once said of himself that he trained in the art for nine years straight without a break. From this we can see the dedication of the older generation.
     I learned from my teachers for nearly five years. My ears still ring with their instruction as though it was but yesterday. At that time, many of my fellow students were specializing in Taiji Boxing, fearing that Bafan Boxing would be too much work. I found that Ji Zixiu was a student of Liu Shijun of Xiong County [in Hebei]. A fellow student of Liu Dekuan, he was an expert in Sanshou and Taiji. Xu Yusheng had learned from Liu Dekuan for several years, and mastered both the internal and external systems. Thus I frequently asked him for instruction.
     With such a well-rounded education, I then understood why this particular boxing art was created. Chinese martial arts are traditionally divided into the two schools of internal and external. It is said that the internal school emphasizes softness whereas the external school emphasizes hardness, that the internal school discusses energy whereas the external school values technique. These words seem doubtful to me. Examining the true essence of martial arts, neither hardness nor softness should be emphasized, and neither technique nor energy should be neglected. Expertise in hard techniques requires an understanding of soft energy. Skill in soft energy comes from a knowledge of hard techniques. Therefore those who have attained a very high level have indeed taken different paths but reached the same goal.
     When the external school is talked of nowadays, what is usually meant is Shaolin, the Shaolin boxing skills being considered peerless throughout the world. Alas, its teachers and students have become so dispersed that the legacy has long been lost. Yet later generations of heroes have ardently committed to it, such as Liu Dekuan in creating Yue School Bafan Boxing. It is simple and easy to practice, practical rather than decorative. Through the painstaking study of all my teachers over many decades, and with the basic concept from Taiji of hardness and softness complementing each other, it is more than adequate for the tasks of both fitness and self-defense.
     In 1930, I founded the Taiyuan Martial Arts Promotion Society, gathering Shanxi’s famous experts to engage in research. My comrades then encouraged me to both teach this art and to publish a handbook on it, spreading it widely by way of detailed descriptions so as to keep authentic Shaolin from sinking into oblivion.
     – written by Wang Huajie, called Xinwu, of Fenyang, Shanxi, at the Third Area Army General Headquarters, autumn, 1930



Bafan Boxing is descended from Shaolin. When I was a boy, I watched a fellow villager practicing Zimu Boxing. He said he had learned from Big Spear Liu. I asked about the source of it, but he was unable to tell me. Its movements and postures were very unique. When I traveled to Jintai and received instruction from Liu Enshou, I then understood that Bafan Boxing is in fact Zimu Boxing, and that it gets its name [“ba fan” meaning “eight turnings”] from its endless changing. It is also called Yue School Continuous Boxing. Tradition has it that Yue Fei obtained the Sanshou method from the mountain monk Li Quan. It began with only nine techniques, then all the postures were altered and it became twenty techniques to be practiced on both sides, and later development brought it up to three hundred and sixty techniques. It is said to have been passed down from the founder Damo. Its footwork was called the “hooking-leg twisting-turn” method. Later generations called the art Yue School Sanshou.
     In the Qing Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperors Tongzhi [1861-1875] and Guangxu [1875–1908], there was a Liu Shijun of Xiong County (also called “Xiong County Liu”) who obtained the authentic teachings and then instructed the bodyguards in the Beijing barracks. Liu Jingyuan (called Dekuan, known by people as “Big Spear Liu”) learned from him, then took the essence of it and compiled it into eight lines performed on both sides equally. Once one line is finished, you then turn around and continue into another, and so its energy is uninterrupted. By continuously transforming, its ingenuities go unobserved. And thus I suddenly realized that I simply had not seen the genuineness of what my fellow villager had been teaching.
     In this art, there are also the “middle eight lines” and the “later eight lines” [the material in this particular book being the “early eight lines”]. Liu Jingyuan during the Tongzhi era scrutinized and consolidated the basics of his teacher’s art, all of which originated from Yue School Sanshou. By beginning with this set and practicing according to its methods as described, you will thereby already have all you need to achieve a level of mastery, for it truly values quality rather than quantity. This Shaolin legacy is in danger of disappearing, and I hope you will not look down on it as being something that is merely ordinary.


A. Regarding it in terms of exercise:

The purpose of exercise is nothing more than to strive for the health of the body, but if it is performed too fiercely, it will not conform to physiological functioning, counterproductively resulting in disaster. The postures in the lines of this set are simple and the movements are performed moderately, helping the body to develop naturally. Left and right are trained equally without committing the error of overemphasizing either. It is a profoundly appropriate exercise for all levels and ages. It is also richly interesting, and so people will not get bored with it.
     After practicing it for a long time, physical power will have been enhanced without your even being aware of it, changing weakness to strength, as well as increasing alertness of nerves and sharpness of mind. For instructors, this is something that is suitable for training both individuals and large groups. Even if the movements are counted out, this will not have an adverse effect on the mentality or functionality of their applications. One of the distinguishing features of this art is that it is an organized martial system.

B. Regarding it in terms of application:

Training in boxing arts is for defending against bullies and ridding the world of villains.
Therefore the most important thing is to give particular attention to application. By relying on reckless courage, you will never win, and so you must drill the techniques and energies in order to use the art to control opponents. Within the eight lines of this boxing set, there is not a single posture that does not have technique, nor a single posture that does not have to do with energy. By means of hardness and softness in advance and retreat, transforming unfathomably, you can toy with an opponent as though he is a mere object in your hand. Through calmness and steadiness, and by never using flowery techniques for showing off to others, you will stand a chance.
     As for the methods of application contained within the movements of each line:
     Line 1 has methods of both attack and defense.
     Line 2 has the methods of pulling in front and striking.
     Line 3 has the methods of pulling to the rear and striking.
     Line 4 has the methods of seizing, locking, crowding, and striking.
     Line 5 has the methods of tying, grabbing, pushing, and throwing.
     Line 6 has the methods of tying, locking, pressing, and throwing.
     Line 7 has the methods of cutting, grabbing, tying, and striking.
     Line 8 has the methods of “swinging elbow”, then “press & strike”.
     In sum, the methods of the art are: pulling, striking, seizing, grabbing, pushing, crushing, stopping, cutting, elbowing, crowding, rolling, pressuring, tying, locking, pressing, and throwing. Since these techniques comprise everything you will ever need, what is contained within the art is abundance.


The various martial arts all have their specialties. Taiji Boxing is good at neutralizing. Xingyi Boxing is good at boldly rushing in. Bagua has it steps, Tantui its kicks, Long Boxing its agile leaping. They all have their unique abilities. The specialty of this art is targeting an opponent’s weak points and injuring his limbs. It wins by way of palm or fist. Its main methods are tying and grabbing. I am sure to be in charge of the opponent’s fate, because by not opposing him with any resistance, my strategies are guaranteed. When he is hard, I adapt. When he is soft, I beware. I control his hands above and his steps below. The movements of each line [except 1 and 3] start with the “pulling hand” technique, which is particularly unique, but the rest of the techniques will be constantly changing as the mind dictates.

第一路 抱拳挣錘式

Explanation of the name:
The two main actions that blend together the movements of this line are “embracing fists” and “break-free punches”, hence the name.


A preparation posture is a way of rousing one’s spirit before the beginning of a boxing set. It is similar to standing at attention in gymnastics, which braces spirit and awareness in readiness for movement. When the various martial arts begin their movements, they all start with this posture. If the lines in this boxing set are drilled individually, they must each start with this posture. If the set is practiced all the way through, this posture will be the beginning of Line 1.

Command: “Ready!”

Description of the posture:
Your body stands upright, arms hanging down, fingers pointing forward, palms facing the ground, feet at shoulder width. Your chest is slightly hollowed, your chin slightly withdrawn, your head pressing upward. Your gaze is forward and extends beyond thirty paces. Energy sinks to your elixir field. Both feet are fully touching the ground. Your hands focus energy all the way into the fingertips.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 1

Points for attention:
In this posture, you must gather your spirit and calm your energy. By taking a moment to stand still, you will then have a sense of alertness and adaptability.

Line 1, Part 1 (movements 1-5):

一 抱拳

Command: “Line 1… one!”

Description of the movement:
Your left foot steps out sideways to the left and you squat down into a horse-riding stance. At the same time, your hands make fists and extend straight upward in front of you, the centers of the fists facing inward, then sink down embracing inward, fists at shoulder level, arms bent and pointing upward, elbows drawn in toward your chest and pointing downward. Your spine is upright, buttocks tucked in. Your gaze is level. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 2

Points for attention:
In this posture, your feet must strive to be flat on the ground and should not be even slightly unsteady. The posture must be balanced and upright. Send power from your lower back to your fists. Bend inward and store it, waiting to issue, preparing to advance and attack.

Application explanation:
Whenever an opponent’s hand is striking toward my chest or belly, I can always use this technique to block to either side or also to attack his elbow or wrist joints. After the slightest touch, I then issue, continuing into an attack, for this posture is ready to spring out.

二 拗步擰身

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Your upper body turns a hundred and eighty degrees to the left, your feet pivoting to the left so that your legs are crossed with your right knee touching the back of your left knee. Your feet are making a T shape, left foot fully on the ground, right foot touching down with the ball of the foot, heel lifted. The posture of “embracing fists” has not changed.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 3

Points for attention:
When twisting your body, your feet are to have a lifting quality, thus you will turn nimbly. It is especially necessary to strive to move uniformly, upper body and lower coordinating with each other. Your feet should be stable on the ground rather than wobbling, moving with precision every inch of the way. To then issue in the context of stability, the result once you apply power will not be the errors of either excess or insufficiency.

Application explanation:
If an opponent strikes to my chest with fist or palm, I bring both my arms across to connect to and press down his incoming arm, or I use both arms to perform a fierce cutting strike. At the same time, I turn my body to absorb his arm and press in close to his body. When absorbing his arm, my front hand should tightly press down on the middle of his upper arm to press his arm close to his body, making him unable to do anything with it, while my rear hand presses down on his forearm and prepares to strike, like a bow being drawn to the full and waiting to shoot.
     The techniques in this line all emphasize defense. Lines 2-8 all emphasize attack. The purpose of twisting my body is to press in closer to his and disrupt his attacking arm. There are many variations. For instance, if my left hand gets grabbed by his left hand, I take advantage of the situation by pulling back my left elbow while twisting my body to the left, using my left wrist to press down his wrist and using my right fist to strike to his left elbow joint. He is sure to suffer pain and will pull back. It is the same technique for either side. It can be considered the same kind of technique as Taiji Boxing’s PLAY THE LUTE posture, which has this type of neutralizing energy.

三 拗步挣錘

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, your fists shoot out in unison to the left and right [as though breaking free from shackles]. Your stance has not changed. Your gaze is to your right hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 4

Points for attention:
When your hands shoot out to the sides, your lower back straightens, your whole body has an intention of sinking down, and your whole mind is attentive to the opponent’s changes and prepared to deal with them. Of particular note is the method of making a fist: the four fingers are tight together and curl inward with all their strength, then the thumb presses down on the fist eye. The tip of the thumb should not protrude beyond the foreknuckle of the forefinger. Wrist and fist must make a straight line instead of bending inward or outward. When punching, the fist eyes are facing upward, which will also be the case for the rest of postures.

Application explanation:
Continuing from the previous posture (Posture 2), after I connect to and press down, or do a cutting strike to the opponent’s arm, I seize the opportunity by using my right fist to strike to his chest or ribs. Whenever an opponent’s arm has been pressed down, I can then use break-free punches to strike him.

四 領手

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, draw in your right fist toward your chest, the fist and forearm rotating inward until the fist eye faces to the ground [to the right]. Your gaze is to the center of the fist. The upper arm is vertical, tight to your ribs, elbow bent. Your left arm stays as before. Your body is squatting down.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 5

Points for attention:
When drawing in your hand, your body should not lean forward, instead your spine must be upright. Your left arm should stay at the same height that it was, shoulder level, and should not droop downward.

Application explanation:
The intention of the “luring hand” is that once I have connected with the opponent’s arm, I go along with the forward direction of his force, drawing it in to dispel it. If I use my right hand to connect to his left arm (my hand being on top of his arm) and he carries it upward to the right, I send energy to my wrist and withdraw my right elbow to lure in and press down. Or if he carries me off to the side, then I use the outside of my wrist to hook his arm, causing his elbow to lift upward. Once I have dispelled his energy, I will then seize the opportunity to punch to his ribs. This is all a matter of sticking to the opponent. If there is not yet contact, then whether his hand strikes to my chest, ribs, or belly, I may use this posture to do a downward luring block, which is sure to keep his hand from being able to attack me, or I may simply send energy into my arm and do a cutting strike.

五 進步挣錘

Command: “Five!”

Description of the movement:
In the previous posture, you draw in your right fist, storing in wait to issue. In this posture, you then immediately advance your right foot and send your right fist striking out. Your left foot also slightly follows forward. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 6

Points for attention:
When your fist shoots out, the actions of hand and foot must be in unison. Be fierce and direct, moving with nimbleness. There should be a fixed size to your steps while practicing, thus when you come down into a stance, it will be stable and steady. Do not get into a habit of constantly wobbling.

Application explanation:
In this posture, when my right hand shoots out, it uses the energies of cutting and rolling as it thrusts out forward. The application for it is almost the same as in Posture 3. If my right hand then gets grabbed by the opponent, I use the previous posture’s luring hand technique to suddenly draw in, wrist rotating inward, whereupon he automatically lets go, and then I use this posture to strike forward, wrist rotating outward, fast as lighting. The back and forth of these actions is so quick, it is usually too subtle for an opponent to see.

Line 1, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four, five!”):

Every line in this set has a certain number of movements. The set should be practiced as a continuous flow all the way to the end. Strive for continuity rather than separated movements, which are for the purpose of convenience in the beginning of the training. The postures of each line are presented individually in detail, but once they have been practiced to familiarity, then every single movement is put together into a single flow.
     This line’s movements amount to five postures, as described above. Once you have performed the fifth posture, then you will repeat them [on the other side] starting from Posture 1 – EMBRACING FISTS (which is now commanded as “TWO!”).
     “Two!” – CROSSED STANCE WITH TWISTING BODY to the right
     “Three!” – CROSSED STANCE WITH BREAK-FREE PUNCHES, left hand forward
     “Four!” – left LURING HAND
     “Five!” – left ADVANCE, BREAK-FREE PUNCH
     Then continue into “THREE, two, three, four, five!” And then “FOUR, two, three, four, five!”
     The size of the practice area and the duration of practice will be determined by the instructor, but finish the line with an even number, performing the postures perhaps only twice [once on each side], or four times, or even six times. The only things that are different [in performing the movements on both sides] is the left and right of your hands and feet, and the directions [that your body is] aligned toward.

第二路 進退連環式

Explanation of the name:
In the movements of this line, the fists go back and forth, one striking during retreat, then the other striking during advance. The movements are continuous without pause, hence the name, causing the opponent to defend unsuccessfully and rendering him incapable of defending. Various martial arts postures are named with the same idea in mind.

Line 2, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 2… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 5 of Line 1 a fourth time – your left fist striking out – turn around to the right to perform Line 2, Posture 1 of which is called PULLING HAND, “pulling” being the name of its energy. The form of the hand is neither palm nor fist. It is like grabbing an object and pulling it downward. When doing this posture, your right foot reaches out, advancing forward several inches, your left foot follows forward, and you squat down, both legs slightly bent, the weight shifted to your rear foot. At the same time, your right hand makes a “pulling” action, coming out forward from the left side of your chest and pulling, arm slightly bent, elbow sinking down, while your left hand, as a palm, is placed in front of your right shoulder, called “shoulder-guarding palm”, and is prepared to act. Your gaze follows your right hand to look forward. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 7

Points for attention:
When turning around, imagine there is an opponent behind you, for when you turn to the rear, the rear becomes the front. Your right foot advances to crowd the opponent, because it is difficult to strike him if you are too far away. The movements of your feet, body, and hands should occur in unison. The weight is on your rear leg. With both legs slightly bent, it is easy to advance or retreat, convenient for both attack or defense. Your gaze must go along with the movements of your body, hands, and feet, guiding them. Spirit should be contained within, dominance expressed outwardly. This technique wins by way of surprise. Make use of it as an initiating technique, for once it does its job, all the techniques that may follow from it will also be successful. Treasure it.

Application explanation:
Ordinarily when I am attacking an opponent, if I am the first to issue, I will use this technique, my front hand attacking and my rear hand guarding at my shoulder, the elbow covering my solar plexus. When my front hand comes out, it must strike to his face with the elbow hanging down. If he uses his rear hand to carry upward (both of us with our right hand forward and our left hand behind), then I pull his forearm downward and back, or pluck at his sleeve, causing him to lean forward, and I will then use the following technique to strike him.
     Or if he uses his front hand to carry upward (his left hand forward while my right hand is forward or his right hand forward while my left hand is forward), then I would concentrate on using the plucking energy to pull him in or send my rear hand forward from guarding at my shoulder to threading out from behind my elbow to pull on his arm, at the same time withdrawing my front hand to being the palm guarding at my shoulder, switching it to the defensive role. If he were to use his rear hand to attack my chest, I would then go along with his attack by pulling his wrist. I would not bother to start by striking to his head, but by luring out his hand.
     However, when I am pulling him, if my hand is having to reach out far to get to him, then even if I am pulling his wrist, energy will not be able to gather there and the result will always be his wrist escaping. If I am insistent upon pulling him, then I will not strike to his head, but if I lure him into being carried upward, my pulling will not be stable. But more than that, controlling him depends on being close to him. The closer I am to him, the greater the chance of success. When pulling his wrist or forearm, it is always best to be close to him, and if I strive to do the technique in this way, it will not fail me even once in ten tries. Surely this verifies the ingenuity of this technique.

二 上步撲面掌

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot takes a step forward, toes hooking inward, your right foot turning ninety degrees to the right, and you squat down, making a horse-riding stance, your upper body turned about a hundred and eighty degrees to the right. At the same time, your left palm pounces forward from your right shoulder, fingers pointing upward, palm facing forward, palm at shoulder level. Your gaze is now forward. Your right arm is slightly bent, elbow close to your ribs, top of the wrist at your solar plexus, still making a pulling posture.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 8

Points for attention:
After stepping forward, both knees cover inward. Both feet should be stable, touching down fully. For the pouncing palm strike to the face, the “pouncing” energy is not a pushing energy. The three parts of the movement – body, hands, and stepping – should act in unison. Your shoulders should loosen so the power from your spine can concentrate into your hands. The posture must sink down. The pulling and pouncing energies should coordinate with each other above and below, and flow without interruption. The intention of the pouncing energy is like pressing a seal into the red ink.

Application explanation:
This posture links with the pulling hand technique in application. Having pulled the opponent’s right hand, I step my left foot forward to hook his right foot (his right foot being forward) and use my left palm to do a pouncing strike to his face. If the strike is toward the eyes, it will produce tears, or if to the nose, there will be bleeding from his nose. If the strike is to his forehead, it will make his face turn upward, and crushing downward at that point will then cause him to fall. This kind of issuing is called “rubbing the forehead” or “wiping the brow”, common terms in Chinese martial arts.
     The “rubbing” energy has to do with tightly pushing on the opponent’s forehead as he tries to escape by tilting his head back. It is like drawing a semicircle from inward to outward as though flopping the hand over in a waving gesture, following through from the pouncing energy with all five fingers covering and crushing down on his head, keeping him from escaping.
     Pouncing energy emphasizes striking, the combined force of fingers and palm stamping heavily and quickly. It is often applied as a feint to surprise an opponent and draw out his other hand, though it is not predetermined to be either a feint or a real technique. If he is able to defend against it, then it used as a feint. If he is not able to defend against it, then it used for real.
     In this set, the two postures of PULLING HAND and POUNCING PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE form the fundamental essence of the art, countless transformations coming from these techniques. Once you have learned them to perfection, their subtleties cannot be communicated in words.

三 擒腕齊眉錘

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Your left hand switches to grabbing and covers downward. The weight shifting to your right foot, your left toes determinedly touching down, heel lifted, the foot withdrawing by hooking in about four or five inches. At the same time, your left grabbing hand withdraws to be in front of your chest while your right hand switches from pulling to spiraling out from your right shoulder as a fist, striking forward at eyebrow height, the fist eye facing downward. [Through some error, the book does not include a drawing for this posture.]

Points for attention:
When your left hand switches to grabbing, your right pulling hand goes to the right with a sinking energy. When your left toes scrape along the ground as the foot withdraws, your waist slightly twists to the left, your left hand also slightly withdrawing to the left. Your right hand’s eyebrow-height punch must issue in coordination with the movement of the left side of your body.

Application explanation:
When I pull the opponent’s right wrist and do the pouncing palm strike to his face, if he uses his left hand to do a carrying block, I then send my left hand down to grab his wrist and cover it downward while my right hand is pulling to the right, thus causing his elbows to meet. This method is called “locking”. (In this moment, his left arm is on top.) My left foot trapping his right heel is pulling back, hooking him in as my left hand grabs his wrist and leads it diagonally to the left, causing him to lose his balance, and he is sure to topple to my forward left. At the same time, I also use my right fist to strike out at eyebrow level, striking to his face, which is sure to bloody his head.
     The key to this technique lies in tangling his hands. But once his hands have been locked up, how should the rest of the technique be performed, and how is it to be performed smoothly and without doubt? For that matter, how to lock up his hands to get the best result when applying it in reality? When doing the pouncing palm strike to his face, if he pushes down instead of doing a carrying block, I then use my left hand to go along with his pushing energy and parry downward, then use my right palm to thrust straight ahead with a strike to his face. Or I may turn my right palm over (so the palm is facing upward) to prop up his arm and then pull, or pluck his sleeve and lead him diagonally to the left, and I can then strike using the eyebrow-height punch.
     When using this technique against an opponent, if I have already locked up his arms and I want him to topple but do not wish to injure his head, then I would use my left hand to diagonally lead his wrist and send out my right palm to push on his left shoulder, whereupon he will lean and stumble away. If I use the striking version, then I may use my right fist to strike to his left ribs, also a simple technique that will bring victory.

四 進步四平拳

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
After your right fist punches forward at eyebrow level, it then withdraws to be placed above your head. At the same time, your left foot advances hooking inward, your right foot following by sliding forward still on the ground, making a horse-riding stance, while your left fist strikes out forward.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 9

Points for attention:
In this posture, when your right fist withdraws, your left fist punches, and when your left foot advances, your right foot follows. These four parts are to be coordinated into a single action, issuing as one and arriving at the same time, no part out of synch with the rest. You especially must send power from your spine, through your arms, to be concentrated at your fists.

Application explanation:
When using the eyebrow-height punch to strike the opponent, if he uses his right hand to block upward, I then advance with my left foot and use my left hand, making a fist, to thrust a punch to his chest or ribs. Whenever I am fighting with an opponent, if he happens to lean his upper body back or carry my hand upward, I can always use this technique to attack him. But in order to be able to succeed with it, I must sit down as I thrust forward, and I must act decisively and with ferocity, by all means avoiding slovenly movement [“driving your boat through the mud”], for distractred slowness will lose me my opportunity.

Line 2, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):


“Four!” – ADVANCE with your right foot, right FOUR-LEVEL PUNCH

第三路 撇身錘式

Explanation of the name:
To “fling” is to fling aside. The “torso-flung punch” is a posture of flinging aside with your body to punch an opponent. In martial arts terminology, “flinging” has an intention of turning around and folding up. The movements of this line are blended together by way of turning one way and then turning around the other, emphasizing body maneuvering, thus the name.

Line 3, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 回身架打

Command: “Line 3… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 4 of Line 2 a fourth time – right “four-level punch” – your right foot advances to the forward right, your right arm propping up, bent across at headtop level. At the same time, your left fist lowers from its position in the previous posture by striking out to the forward right until almost in front of your knee, your right leg bending forward toward the forward right, your left leg straightening behind, making a bow and arrow stance. Your gaze follows your left fist to look forward.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 10

Points for attention:
When performing Part 1, go to the forward right and then turn around. When performing Part 2, you will go to the left rear and then turn around. The rest of the movements from then on will be the same, switching left and right. In this posture, the hand propping up and the hand doing the planting punch must issue in unison. When stepping while turning your body, you should stretch with your waist to assist the posture. Send power up from your rear leg into your fists, but do not lift the heel off the ground.

Application explanation:
An opponent attacks from my forward right, or left rear [in the case of performing Part 3 of this line], so I turn my body while propping up with my front hand and using my rear hand to do a planting punch. Were I to use my left hand to cover his right wrist and my right hand to strike to his head, if he then uses his left hand to do a propping block, I would close in on his body, using my left arm to carry his arm upward and switching to using my right fist to strike to his ribs or belly.
     The application of this posture is roughly the same as Taiji Boxing’s MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE combined with its PLANTING PUNCH. However, the hand that props up has to be propping up his upper arm for it to be effective. It is particularly necessary to be near to his body – that is the key to it.

二 翻身雙捋

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, turn around to the left, your right foot pivoting on the heel about a hundred and twenty degrees. At the same time, both hands perform the “pulling” technique as a parabola, going upward with your body turning, then pulling downward, right hand above, left hand below, to be placed beside your left knee. Your left toes are touching down, withdrawing to be about six or seven inches away from your right foot to make a T shape, your right foot forming the top of the T. The weight is on your right leg. Your chest is slightly hollowed and your back has an energy of pressing out. Your gaze is forward.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 11

Points for attention:
When you turn your body around to the rear, your front foot becomes your rear foot and your rear foot becomes your front foot. Once your body has turned and the roles of your feet have been switched, the emphasis becomes the double pulling of your hands and the drawing in of your front foot. The double pulling of your hands must in this case be taking energy past your left knee. (With your left foot in front, your hands pull to the left, but in Part 2 they will be taking energy past your right knee.) Avoiding the opponent’s advance putting pressure upon your body is the purpose of the withdrawing step, which is likewise the other foot in Part 2. When performing the technique, each of the movements should be done quickly but smoothly.

Application explanation:
An opponent attacks me from behind, so I turn around and do a double-handed pull to his arm. He is sure to lean forward, but I must take his energy to the side, be it left or right, to avoid the pressure of his attack. Furthermore, while he is behind me, I must observe him attentively early on and wait for his hand to come out, then I turn around and pull him. I do not wait for his hand to hit me in order to know he is there, for by then my adapting to him would be ineffective and I would counterproductively be under his control.
     After succeeding with the double pull, if I do not use a downward block to seal off his possible strikes, then the simplest technique would be to use my right hand to cover his left arm while I let go with my left hand to lift and strike to his face as a fist (with left and right reversed in the second posture of Part 2) or go forward with a raising palm strike to his face.

三 進步架打

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Advance with your left foot, using your right hand to prop up and your left hand to strike out, both hands making fists, squatting down to make a horse-riding stance.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 12

Points for attention:
When advancing, your rear foot follows forward, making a horse-riding stance. Your shoulders and hips should be aligned with each other rather than twisting against each other. Your lower back should be upright. When performing the posture, use intention to send the power of your whole body into your arms.

Application explanation:
When I use both hands to pull the opponent downward, if his arm goes upward with a carrying block, I then use my right arm to block it upward and use my left fist to strike forward to his chest. Whenever I apply the pulling technique (regardless of single-handed or double-handed), if an opponent forcefully carries upward, I then send my other hand along with his resisting energy, propping up and striking forward. It works best in a stance of same hand and foot forward, but it would also be effective in a crossed stance.

四 上步鑽打

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Step your right foot forward, using your left hand to prop up and your right hand to strike out, again making a horse-riding stance.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 13

Points for attention:
DRILL & STRIKE is mostly the same as PROP & STRIKE with only minor differences.
It is also known as SPREAD & STRIKE. The hand that props upward does not need to carry very high, and it slightly spreads aside as you advance. In practical terms, it is very close to PROP & STRIKE. When propping upward, connect to the opponent’s wrist, then use a round energy to neutralize outward, drilling with your body and charging forward. When performing this posture, the movements of your hands and feet should be coordinated and quick, without the slightest hesitation, because in an actual situation you will not be able to advance if there is the slightest delay. Therefore when practicing, you must cultivate a habit of fluid speed.

Application explanation:
Once I am propping and striking, if the opponent blocks my left hand, I then neutralize outward. This may appear as carrying, blocking, hooking, or dragging, but the real intention is to make use of his energy in order to make him lose his balance, then take advantage of the opportunity and advance. When I then drill with my body and strike to his chest or belly, the energy of my hands has to be both calm and alert. Whenever I connect with an opponent’s arm, regardless of whether he blocks or parries, I always neutralize it outward and take advantage of the opportunity by using my other hand to strike forward. However, I can only succeed when striking by drilling with my body and advancing with my step, whereas I will be unable to make it work if I simply reach out in order to strike.

Line 3, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):

“TWO!” – TURN to the left rear, PROP & STRIKE
“Three!” – ADVANCE with your right foot, PROP & STRIKE

第四路 葉裏藏化式

Explanation of the name:
The name for this line comes from Yue School Sanshou. It is a description of the posture’s appearance. It is also known as PUNCH UNDER THE ELBOW and WAIST-DRIVEN PUNCH, which are both very fitting. As its movements are alternations of empty and full, and there many kinds of transformations, it is truly an ingenious group of techniques.

Line 4, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 4… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 4 of Line 3 a fourth time – your left fist striking out – turn around to the right rear and perform the pulling hand with your right hand, your left palm guarding at your shoulder, the same as in Posture 1 of Line 2.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 14

Points for attention: same as in Line 2, posture 1.
Application explanation: same as in Line 2, posture 1.

二 上步扣手

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Step your left foot forward to make a horse-riding stance, your body turning to the right, and use your left hand to cover downward until almost on top of your knee, level with your lower abdomen and your right hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 15

Points for attention:
Both the pulling hand and covering hand are neither fists nor palms, simply a matter of the fingers curling inward. In one case there is a pulling energy, in the other a covering energy. Your right elbow is near your ribs, your left elbow sinking down. Both knees are covering inward. Your spine should be straight.

Application explanation:
Having used my right hand to pull the opponent’s wrist, I now step my left foot forward to hook his right foot while using my left hand to cover his right arm, sitting down heavily. I thereby control half of his body, causing him to lose half of his power to resist, and then I will attack. Once I trap him, I am continuing to turn my body to the right, making him still more incapable of resisting. However, I must go only as far as is suitable and not make the mistake of either going too far or not far enough.

三 摜耳掌

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left hand does not shift from its position of covering, but your right hand hurls across with a palm strike, using whipping energy.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 16

Points for attention:
If your covering hand has no urgency, the opponent will be able to resist it. When your other hand switches from its pulling to hurl a palm strike to the ear, your body moves still closer to the opponent. During this hurling action, your shoulder should be loose, power stored in the palm.

Application explanation:
My left hand does not move from covering the opponent’s arm, but my right hand hurls across as a palm toward his face, aimed approximately at his temple. This technique is a feint, yet there appears to be danger within this attack.

四 攔腰捶

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Your body withdraws to the rear and you slightly draw back your left foot. Your right hand is withdrawing to be crosswise above your head, palm facing outward. Then use your left hand to prop up, arm bent until vertical, elbow sinking down near your ribs, and use your right hand to strike across with a “waist-driven punch” until placed below your left elbow, fist eye facing forward [upward], again stepping out with your left foot. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 17

Points for attention:
When your body withdraws and advances, your step draws in and goes out, your left hand props up, and your right hand strikes. All of these actions must occur in coordination with each other and never be separate from their intended application.

Application explanation:
When in the previous posture I hurled my palm to attack the left side of the opponent’s face, he is sure to use his left hand to do a carrying block, so I go along with his carrying energy and withdraw my hand after connecting with him. This is certain to cause his arm to straighten, so I slip my left hand behind his elbow and prop up to the side. The higher I go with this, the more effective it will be. I prop up until it is past my head, then use my right fist to strike to his left ribs. If I have hooked his foot, then the act of propping up and taking him across, coupled with my body twisting to the left, will make him topple without my having to strike him.
     Or when I hurl out my palm strike, if he does not prop up but instead covers downward, I then withdraw my right hand, turning the palm to face outward, and pull his left wrist, then as before I slip my left arm behind his left elbow. With my left arm folding inward and my right hand pushing outward, his arm can be broken. These kinds of techniques all have to be assisted by power from the waist, as in the “embracing elbow” posture [explained below in Line 6, Posture 4].

Line 4, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):

“Four!” – right hand propping up, left WAIST-DRIVEN PUNCH

第五路 仙人掌舵式

Explanation of the name:
This focuses on powerfully throwing an opponent. When you issue power, you must have a stable energy, then your throwing will be precise. When throwing, the posture is as though your hands are working a rudder, hence the name. Also called PUSHING A MOUNTAIN, it is the same kind of technique as Taiji Boxing’s SEALING SHUT and Xingyi Boxing’s tiger.

Line 5, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 5… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 4 of Line 4 a fourth time, turn around to the left and perform the pulling hand with your left hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 18

Points for attention: same as before.
Application explanation: same as before.

二 上步撇面掌

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Stepping your right foot forward, your body turns a hundred and eighty degrees to the left and your right palm goes forward from your left shoulder with a reverse palm strike, palm facing inward. Your left hand remains in its posture from the pulling hand technique, placed crosswise in front of your belly.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 19

Points for attention:
This posture’s movement is the same as the pouncing palm strike to the face in Line 2, except that in that case the palm was facing outward, whereas in this case the palm is facing inward and the back of the hand is striking the opponent.

Application explanation:
Having used my left hand to pull the opponent’s left wrist, I now advance with my right foot to hook his left foot while using my right hand to do a backhanded strike to his face. This induces him to do a propping block with his right hand and I will then turn over my hand to pull on his wrist. This technique is a feint for the purpose of throwing him by way of the two following postures. If I were instead to use a striking method, the general idea for that was already described in Line 2.

三 合手

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Your right hand turns over and gathers in downward, your left hand increasing its pulling energy to also be gathering in downward, your elbows binding in toward your ribs. Your upper body slightly bends, the posture squatting down.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 20

Points for attention:
When your hands gather downward, you are grabbing an opponent’s wrists. Your arms and his are thus making an X shape. Your elbows bind in toward your ribs as your body bends and squats, thus the whole of your strength will be sinking down and it will not be easy for the opponent to pull away. Furthermore, when you store power and then issue, the technique you perform is sure to succeed. It is called “gathering hands”, but the meaning is “grabbing”.

Application explanation:
When my hands connect with the opponent’s, I pull his wrists and gather downward, my body slightly bending, my elbows nearing my ribs, so that I am storing power to the fullest. At this moment, he may struggle, but since I am already prepared to throw him out, his struggling only helps me to issue power. Whenever I pull downward with both hands, he is sure to lean forward. Once leaning forward, he will struggle to back off, a natural instinct. If he has the skill of identifying energy, he would go along with my gathering technique and advance, and then I would evade with my body while pulling diagonally with a single hand, causing him to lose his balance, then raise a hand to strike to his face.

四 推山掌

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Advance with your right foot, pushing forward with both hands, your left foot following forward. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 21

Points for attention:
When your hands push, you should concentrate all your strength in your palms. Advance with your step and stretch your waist to assist the power. However, once you have pushed out, your elbows should not go past your knees and your arms should not straighten all the way, and should instead maintain some quality of storing. When your rear foot follows your front foot forward, it must move nimbly rather than dragging along the ground, which would be the opposite of an energy of advancing.

Application explanation:
When I apply the gathering hands, if the opponent struggles, I advance while pushing on his elbows. Having gathered inward, I then push forward. If his hands are already spreading open, I can then push to his chest to throw him out. The issuing of power in this technique should be in good order rather than sloppily carried out, and then it will be effective enough that it cannot be defended against. The various throwing methods are all variations based on this technique. You can get the general idea from this one and then extend it to the rest.

Line 5, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):

“Four!” – advancing with your left foot, MOUNTAIN-PUSHING PALMS

第六路 羇王捆猪式

Explanation of the name:
The name of this line fully describes fierceness and invincibility. The main word is “tie”. Tie up the opponent and throw him away. No one can resist against it. Although the name may be somewhat lacking in elegance, it would not be convenient to change it, for it expresses so authentically the “tying” within the technique. It is the same as the “shaking braids” technique of Shuaijiao.

Line 6, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 6… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 4 of Line 5 a fourth time, turn around to the right and perform the pulling hand with your right hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 22

Points for attention: same as before.
Application explanation: same as before.

二 橫攔掌

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, step your left foot forward while extending your left hand from your right shoulder, going across with a “stopping” technique, palm facing inward.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 23

Points for attention:
A pouncing palm strike to the face involves striking an opponent with the palm facing outward. A flinging palm strike to the face involves striking an opponent with the palm turned to be facing inward. This “sideways stopping palm” involves striking across to an opponent’s face with the forearm, the palm facing inward, and lures his other hand into blocking. Although these palm techniques have slightly different names, their function is the same. When sending the palm out, the most important thing is stability, thus preparing this striking technique to switch to the pulling technique that follows.

Application explanation:
When I send out my palm and my arm goes across with a reverse strike to the opponent’s face, it is almost the same as a pouncing palm strike to the face or a flinging palm strike to the face. If he happens to use his left hand to seize my left wrist, I slightly step my left foot out to the forward left and use my left hand to diagonally prop upward, as in the beginning of Line 3, Part 2, in which I then use my right fist to do a planting punch to the opponent’s left ribs.

三 捆手

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Your left palm turns over to face outward, making a seizing posture, and pulls downward to the left. Your right pulling hand is again using pulling energy as it goes slightly upward to the right, lifting and twisting.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 24

Points for attention:
The intention of this technique is to use one hand to control both of the opponent’s hands,
one hand pulling while the other is lifting into place. It is a different energy from the gathering hands in Line 5 because this technique flows right into the throw that follows, which simultaneously contains a striking attack. But as to whether or not any technique can follow from the gathering hands or the tying hands, this entirely depends on how effectively either of those techniques is carried out, and in this regard they are the same. The most important thing is that both hands put forth energy in unison, responding together. By putting value on exploring the practicality of a technique, we can naturally come to understand its subtleties.

Application explanation:
Having used my right hand to pull the opponent’s right wrist while doing a sideways stopping palm to attack his face, he is sure to do a propping block with his left hand. I promptly turn over my palm to seize his left wrist and pull down, at the same time lifting [my right hand upward] and twisting, causing his right arm to get pressed down behind his left elbow. Thus I can deflate the situation by way of the tying hands technique. At this time, my left hand has seized and pushed down his [left] wrist, thereby controlling both of his hands by pushing them closer to his own body, “tying” him up tightly. If I worry that he will shake me off, it would be better to apply the technique in the following posture, for the simplest thing to do would be to let go with my right hand and strike to his left ribs. Or I could also apply the eyebrow-height punch from Line 2.

四 滚擠手

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Your hands loosen in unison. Your left arm bends into a “rolling pressing” technique, and once rolled outward, the palm is facing outward. Your right arm at first assists the rolling pressing of your left arm, then continues into a forward push, using throwing energy. Your left foot at the same time advances, right foot following.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 25

Points for attention:
When advancing with the rolling pressing action, your hands must issue in unison. When performing the tying hands, this energy is stored and waiting to be issued. Once your step has advanced, your stance becomes stable and heavy, and the whole of your spirit is focused forward.

Application explanation:
If the opponent has been trapped by me in the previous posture, I let go with my left hand and use my forearm to slide upward along his left forearm until our elbows are crossed, then I do a rolling press outward, my right hand pushing on his left arm. Use of gathering energy assists the power of the rolling becoming a throw, but I have to change from one to the other very rapidly so he is unable to escape. If I do not let go with my left hand and I use only my right hand to push on his left arm, he is sure to lean and fall away.
     The previous methods of striking forward have often been a matter of suddenly propping up both of the opponent’s arms and striking, as in Line 2’s PROP & STRIKE, and is a situation that will also appear in Lines 7 and 8. The result would be a powerful strike, but not a powerful throw. The version in this line is a method of throwing and striking applied simultaneously.

Line 6, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):

“Two!” – step your right foot forward, SIDEWAYS STOPPING PALM
“Three!” – TYING HANDS
“Four!” – right foot advancing, ROLLING PRESSING HANDS

第七路 二龍戲珠式

Explanation of the name:
This line is so named because of its third posture – REACHING FINGERS [a double-finger poke]. It is also known as HOLDING THE LUTE, which manifests in the course of the fourth posture – EMBRACING ELBOW – because its appearance in that moment is as the name implies. Understand its essentials, especially cutting, grabbing, tying, and striking. These four terms are fundamental to this line, cutting in particular, which is used in two of its postures. This line might seem to be the same thing as Line 4, but is actually different.

Line 7, Part 1 (Postures 1-4):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 7… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing posture 4 of Line 6 a fourth time, turn around to the left and perform the pulling hand with your left hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 26

Points for attention: same as before.
Application explanation: same as before.

二 截錘

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, step your right foot forward, your right hand making a fist and striking downward to make a line with your left hand, your hands just over a foot apart. At the same time, your body turns a hundred and eighty degrees to the left, your knees covering inward as you squat down into a horse-riding stance. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 27

Points for attention:
The step forward in the previous line uses a palm attack, whereas in this line it is a fist pressing down. Your upper body must give attention to evading on the left, because when you actually apply this technique, you must defend against the opponent’s right hand reaching out and striking at you. However, even if you have an intention of evading, stay close to his body and do not draw away from him. Power must be concentrated at your right fist, and when it presses down, your stance should also be sinking down.

Application explanation:
If an opponent uses his left hand to attack me, I then use my left hand to pull his wrist while advancing my right foot and using my right fist to cut downward onto his left elbow, the middle of his upper arm, or behind his funny bone. Whenever I am not yet connecting to an opponent’s body or my wrist has been seized, I can use a fist to do a cutting strike to his forearm. But using both fists in succession, the front fist chopping outward followed by the rear fist cutting inward, is not quite the same thing.
     If a cutting strike to his arm is done when very close to his body, it will be a chop to his head and then continue downward to reach his arm, making it extra brutal. If I unsuccessfully use my left hand to pull his left wrist, and his right hand is already on its way to strike me, I then apply this technique, advancing and using my right fist to do a cutting strike to his right arm.

三 探指

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the cutting fist technique, your right fist becomes a palm and covers downward while your left hand reaches out forward with its forefinger and middle finger extended, hand at about head level. Your right foot is forward and you are making a bow and arrow stance.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 28

Points for attention:
When your right palm covers downward, use sinking energy. When your fingers reach out, you must send energy to the fingertips. Move it there by way of intention. Your upper body should be upright, not leaning forward or back, nor inclining to either side. When your fingers reach out, the intention is to poke the opponent’s eyes. You should perform this as if your opponent is your own height, going neither too high nor too low, which would go against the real intention [i.e. producing habits of pointing uselessly over an opponent’s head or jabbing jarringly at his sternum]. This technique is a feint to lure him in. Catch him by surprise and then quickly advance upon him. The more forward the reaching energy goes, the more the covering energy will increase. You should pay particular attention to this.

Application explanation:
After I apply the pulling hand and cutting fist, my right fist becomes a palm and covers the opponent’s arm downward while my withdrawn left hand reaches out its fingers to gouge his eyes. This technique is a feint, yet if I am quick and he is too slow, this fake technique will become real. If I focus entirely on reaching out my fingers to poke his eyes, then when I cover his arm downward, there will be more of a pulling energy, and he is sure to now lean forward. With his body suddenly leaning forward and unstable, his hand drops back, too busy to attack me, and so I seize the opportunity to reach out with my fingers to injure his eyes. I could also use all five fingers to poke together or to rake his face with what is called an “eagle’s claw”. The purpose of this technique is different depending on whether it is fake or real and should be carefully distinguished.

四 抱肘直打

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
Your upper body twists to the left, your left hand withdrawing halfway and becoming a fist placed about three or four inches in front of your chest, your right arm extending upward to the left, the palm turning over and carrying upward to the right. You now look as though you are holding a lute. Your right foot has slightly withdrawn and the weight has shifted to your left foot. Your upper body then twists to the right to be squared forward, your right arm carrying outward as your left fist strikes out to the solar plexus, your right foot slightly advancing, left foot following, and you are again making a bow and arrow stance. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 29

Points for attention:
When your left hand withdraws, your upper body twists to the left and your right arm carries to the upper left. When your left fist strikes forward, your upper body twists to the right and your right arm goes outward with a “rolling carrying” action, the movements corresponding to each other, linked precisely. When the hand carries outward, carry upward until the forearm folds in to the point that the fist is almost at the shoulder and the elbow is at your ribs.

Application explanation:
This posture emphasizes cutting. The embracing elbow is for cutting away the opponent’s arm. It is the waist-driven punch from Line 4 adjusted in its function. Half of this posture is the hand carrying outward, cutting away his arm from behind, and the movement then continues into the punch, striking to his soft ribs. If my right hand has covered his left arm and he now attacks me with his right hand, I then use my left hand to block slightly outward, the right side of my body closing toward his, and withdraw my right hand to slip behind his right elbow. Sticking to his elbow, I then do a rolling carry to the right, pressing tightly behind his elbow, while my withdrawn left hand goes forward to attack his right ribs. In this technique, I use my right hand to do a rolling carry to his arm, but if I were to instead pluck his sleeve, called “twining under”, that would also be very effective.

Line 7, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four!”):

“Two!” – step forward, CUTTING FIST
“Three!” – right REACHING FINGERS
“Four!” – EMBRACING ELBOW, STRIKE STRAIGHT AHEAD with your right fist forward

第八路 擺肘壓打式

Explanation of the name:
This set emphasizes tying and grabbing in order to defeat an opponent, techniques which require getting close to his body for them to be effective. It does not value flowery techniques and redundant poses, or striking at him from far away and hitting him by getting lucky. It discards the superficial and focuses on the practical. Of all the lines in this set, it is this one that contains the most tying and grabbing. Its secret to defeating opponents is skill in employing the elbow. The action of the “swinging elbow” should be an unpredictable change, and then the connecting technique of “press & strike” should especially follow from it crisply. Hence the name for the line is SWINGING ELBOW, PRESS & STRIKE.

Line 8, Part 1 (Postures 1-5):

一 捋手

Command: “Line 8… one!”

Description of the movement:
After performing Posture 4 of Line 7 a fourth time, turn around to the right and perform the pulling hand with your right hand.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 30

Points for attention: same as before.
Application explanation: same as before.

二 撇面掌

Command: “Two!”

Description of the movement:
Step your left foot forward, your left hand going forward from your right shoulder with a backhanded strike, your body turning a hundred and eighty degrees, and make a horse-riding stance. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 31

Points for attention:
This posture is the same as the pouncing palm strike to the face in Line 2, except the palm in that case was facing outward, whereas in this case it is facing inward for the back of the hand to be striking the opponent.

Application explanation:
After my right hand pulls the opponent’s right wrist, I step my left foot forward and use my left hand to do a backhanded strike to his face.

三 擺肘指襠錘

Command: “Three!”

Description of the movement:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left hand makes a fist, the elbow sinks to your belly, and your upper body twists to the left. With your elbow tightly clamping to your ribs, the wrist rotates and swings outward as your right fist does a punch to the crotch, your stance changing to a bow and arrow stance. See the drawing:

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 32

Points for attention:
When your left elbow swings outward, it must be touching your left ribs, deliberately clamping tightly. Use power from your waist to move your upper body outward. When your left leg bends forward, the toes and knee should be closing in on each other.

Application explanation:
After I use my left hand to do a flinging palm strike to the opponent’s face, I drop my elbow, clamping his right arm, and twist outward, my right hand becoming a fist and striking to his lower abdomen. Or when my left palm strikes to his face, if he grabs my wrist and pushes down, I then go along with his pushing energy by bringing my left arm down to cover his body, using the elbow to press down his right arm, while withdrawing my right hand, which becomes a fist and does either a lifting punch or a punch straight to his face.
     As soon as I connect with an opponent [in the PULLING HAND posture], if my right wrist gets seized while he also uses his left hand to attack my head or chest, I do not need to struggle against it, I simply step forward and use my left hand to parry and press down his [left] arm instead of doing the flinging palm strike to the face, then once it has been pressed until almost below chest level, I use my elbow to obstruct his [right] hand seizing my wrist. With my left elbow going to the left and my right hand going to the right, spreading apart in unison, he will either let go or get a broken thumb. (Once my right fist is free, it attacks his chest. My posture has now performed the “swinging elbow” aspect of it, but my right fist happens to be striking to his chest rather than his crotch. This is a technique of defeating an opponent’s grab and knocking him down, and we must not look upon this posture only as a striking method.)
     If when my right wrist is grabbed by the opponent and I use my left hand to strike to his face, my left hand then gets seized so that my arms are crossed, my left arm on top, right arm under, the method of escaping is to forcefully withdraw my left hand. This is called “asking energy”. When he feels this energy, he surely will also forcefully withdraw. I will then go along with his force, extending my left arm straight ahead, and take advantage of the situation by squatting down, storing power at my waist, and suddenly dropping my elbow and swinging it outward to clamp his right arm, thus freeing my right wrist to be able to make a fist and strike forward. At this time, even if he is still holding on to my left wrist, there is no benefit in doing so, for there is nothing he can do with it. (If both of my wrists are being held by him, but with my right arm on top, left arm under, it is the same as described above, but with left and right reversed.)
     This technique has still other methods. For instance, if I were to instead use my right hand to forcefully press against his body with asking energy, he is sure to counter by forcefully pushing out toward me, so I take advantage of the situation by advancing my body, moving my right hand downward, staying close to my chest, as my left arm clamps over it. His right forearm is now clamped below my chest. It is as though my left forearm is the flap of a pocket and his right forearm has slipped into it from above. I can now easily pull out my right wrist, as well as turn over my left hand to cover his left wrist, and my right hand can strike him at leisure. (You need to understand that the use of the swinging elbow divides into clamping over and clamping under.)
     If my left hand happens to cover an opponent’s right wrist and he uses his left hand to seize my right wrist, I can again use asking energy to draw him out, sending his left hand into being clamped by my right forearm. My right fist then pulls away and strikes to his left ribs. Once his hand has been clamped, if I make a fist and pull it away, I might not be able to free it, but if I pull it away first as a palm, it can slip out.
     There are a great many ways to apply this posture, but all of its methods are a matter of limitlessly adapting. Writing down every scenario would be tiresome and tedious. The examples above amount to but a hundredth of a percent, and now that you have the gist of it, you can seek the rest on your own.

四 壓手點心錘

Command: “Four!”

Description of the movement:
After your right fist strikes out to the crotch in the previous posture, it withdraws to be placed at your right ribs, your upper body twisting to the right as you make a horse-riding stance. Your left forearm is blocking downward, pressing down until in front of your belly, and then its upper arm stays at your ribs as your right fist does a punch to the solar plexus, returning you to a bow and arrow stance.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 33

Points for attention:
When your left forearm presses down crosswise, it is using power in the same way as the cutting fist in Line 7, except in that case it is the fist that is pressing, whereas in this case it is the forearm that is pressing. During this downward pressing, your left upper arm stays tight against your left ribs and then its forearm does not move during the punch to the solar plexus.

Application explanation:
When applying SWINGING ELBOW, PUNCH TO THE CROTCH, if the opponent blocks downward with his left hand, I then use my left forearm to press down on his forearm, wholeheartedly acting to control the situation, while pulling back my right fist and then thrusting it out to attack his solar plexus. Or I send my right fist forward lifted upward to strike to his nose or chin. This is called “lifting up” because it has the same energy as lifting an object.

五 迎面錘

Command: “Five!”

Description of the movement:
Your fists cross at the wrists and carry upward above your head, right hand inside, left hand outside, your front foot slightly withdrawing. Then advance as your right fist does a strike to the face, the center of the fist facing inward, striking as a backfist, your left fist staying at head level.

《岳氏八翻手》 王新午 (1930) - drawing 34

Points for attention:
As for the footwork in this posture, withdraw during the carrying upward and advance during the striking forward – it must correspond to the movement. Be sure not to overly stick out your chest, which would affect your balance. In the movements of the previous several postures, advancing should contain an intention of retreating, and carrying upward must contain an intention of pressing downward. The most important things in practicing this boxing set are considered to be the energies of opening and closing, and of coming and going, also that using intention is superior whereas using strength is inferior. It says in the Book of Changes [hexagram 1] about the solid upper line: “The proud dragon will have regrets.” Play with this idea.

Application explanation:
While applying PRESSING DOWN, PUNCH TO THE SOLAR PLEXUS, if the opponent pulls away his hands and forcefully blocks upward, I use my left forearm to carry horizontally upward with my right hand on top, lifting high so my arms cross. After carrying upward, my right fist switches to striking to his face. Whenever I carry an opponent’s hand up to head level, I can always use this method to strike him, but I must act very fast to do so or I will be an open target below, and even if he does not get in with his hands, he could still kick me, like the three ways in which the snake of Mt. Chang can counterattack. [“Attack its head, its tail responds. Attack its tail, its head responds. Attack its middle, both head and tail respond together.” (Art of War, chapter 11)].

Line 8, Part 2 (“TWO, two, three, four, five!”):

“Two!” – step forward with your right foot, FLINGING PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE
“Five!” – left FIST TO THE FACE


Now that I have roughly described this boxing art, I should conclude by summarizing its theory. However, my personality is the type that usually does not wish to waste words or seek to please the ear with wit. Furthermore, I have contempt for those who use exaggeration to influence people, or those who treat the art of keeping fit and defending the self as but a topic of gossip to follow a meal, or who produce writings that ridicule it, or those who argue over which style is best, those who compete to see who is the toughest, those who spread fairy tales to ignorant people, or those who get carried away by presenting the art in impenetrable language. When I look at what they are doing, I find they are only seeking after their own notoriety. At the very least, this is plain selfishness, and at its worst, people are getting downright cheated.
     We are in a renaissance era for Chinese martial arts, in which we are working to rescue them through seeking to rectify their flaws. It is best to cook their reality and their theory in the same oven, maintaining a down-to-earth attitude toward them with no esteem for empty words, even when written or spoken with elegance. Let us then examine for whether a practitioner is capable of [from Lun Yu, 2.13] “doing what he says he is going to do”. If he is not, then you can look upon him as you would a passing cloud. He has only understood a fraction of what he has learned and has produced his writings based on only that level of experience.
     When we do research into writings about these arts, so flauntingly declared, the essentials of martial arts reality has hardly even been dreamt of within them. Why do we care about these kinds of babbling discourses by authors who have gotten carried away with themselves? I cannot stand such texts, nor do I wish to learn from them, because they really only take the material as far as what is already known. The ones who do not presume to believe they have abilities that they do not yet actually possess wisely write of these arts only in terms of general ideas, and they strive to understand that which they do not understand and to be able to do that which they are not able to do. Therefore I hope that my martial arts comrades will all pay special attention to studying practical application.
     The methods of Yue School Bafan Boxing are simple, obvious, and extremely convenient to practice. They can be seen as a way of making one’s body fit, or they can be seen as a way of defending oneself against bullies. However, people who have doubts about its simplicity and ease, finding more pleasure in what is overly complicated, do not understand that martial arts applications value precision over profusion. The fewer the techniques, the easier they will be to apply. The more the techniques, the harder they will be to master. There are plenty of people in the world who have mastered a single technique or a single energy, and it is another thing altogether to master countless techniques and energies. As for these eight lines, they are transforming endlessly anyway. In mastering them, you will thus be sufficiently equipped for practical purposes. Seeking for more after that point, you will discover that the more you learn, the less you know. The lines of this boxing set have already been described in detail. Now it is time to summarize the theory. Pay attention to these methods of practicing the skills:
     To develop skill, you should pay attention to essential points when practicing the boxing postures. How should we go about practicing to then possess skill? In the lines of this boxing set, the “pulling hand” technique initiates seven [six] of the lines. It has already been explained that this technique is extremely important. When practicing, you must have it in mind that you are facing an opponent. The height and range that your hands come out must be firmly based in reality. You should be serious about it rather than just playing around with it. Where your hands and feet arrive, focus your entire spirit, like an eagle capturing a rabbit, like a cat pouncing on a mouse. The footwork is not a matter of advancing without retreating. You should be able to shift in any direction – to the front, back, left, right, or center. If an opponent crowds too close to you, then you must step back, but the size of your step should depend on being able to take control of his hand with a pull, adapting with instant speed. This is always so, whether stepping with your left foot or right.
     When practicing, have a heightened intention toward adaptation, then the movements of your feet will be extremely alert. However, while this is true for the boxing postures and movements, you must not be changing arbitrarily. For this reason, I have created a drill for applying the pulling hand technique which conforms to realistic function. After finishing a practice of the boxing postures, or indeed at any other time, students are to be divided into two groups which stand facing each other at an appropriate distance. Give the command for group A to perform pulling and for group B to defend against it. Those in group A should be determined to pull, those in group B determined to defend. They step as is natural, advancing or retreating, going to the left or right. However, when competing with each other thus, they are not allowed to mix in other techniques or to have thoughts of revenge. This is thus a method of realistically training the pulling hand technique which can simultaneously train the footwork. With the groups alternating their roles for three or more months of such training, the resulting ability to fluently apply techniques and not miss opportunities will arise remarkably quickly.
     The various techniques beyond this are methods of attacking critical areas and so must not be experimented with recklessly. As for the rest of the practical applications in the set, the movements are more complicated, but you can work on them in the same way, and you do not need to be too stubborn about how they are to be performed. However, when practicing practical applications, you must first understand their purpose, i.e. the reasoning within such-and-such a technique. As for the methods contained within each of the lines, be they locking or grabbing, tying or pressing, they are identical in this regard, for it is only the striking techniques that are obvious.
     The theory behind these principles is to develop the body in order to enhance innate ability in the context of applying the boxing techniques. After a long time, the various techniques and energies will all have been achieved naturally, without any intent and yet intentful, without any technique and yet full of technique. When practicing methods of attacking opponents, go beyond attacking according to the techniques and instead respond according to the opponent’s attacks, then you will naturally develop the ability to defend against them. When practicing methods of defending against opponents, go beyond defending according to defensive techniques, and then you will naturally develop the ability to sense a gap and attack. Give time to expressing your innate abilities and they will merge with the techniques and energies in the boxing set, and with rapid results.
     You can thereby become particularly competent at correctly dealing with opponents. However, if you always give in to the delight of practicing in this way, you will never give any time to actually practicing the boxing postures. This is a huge mistake. This boxing set as devised has very rich contents. One who can come to fully understand it will mature into one with a complete talent. When we practice applications together, it is only supplemental to practicing the set, and to intuit countless techniques after having achieved our first one is not going to happen without it. On the other hand, when we talk of developing skills, we should go beyond just practicing the postures and engage in appropriate supplemental training, and with a mind toward realistic application. Yet the way toward the greatest achievement in the art still lies with the postures. Practicing the postures of this boxing art can be divided into roughly two stages:
     1. In the beginning, greatly open and extend the postures, emphasizing calmly expressing power. As a result, blood will circulate better, muscles will operate more smoothly, and bones will become more solid. By practicing perseveringly, all illnesses will naturally be eliminated, you will be as strong as a tiger, your body will have robust health, and you will be able to apply the art.
     2. Your postures are to then gradually seek to become compact, storing internal power, a hardness that is not expressed. Hand, eye, body, and step act with liveliness and nimbleness. Within the set, there are techniques and energies. Although there is issuing without shape, the movements are full of intent. Wherever intention goes, technique and energy follow. In the subtlety of every movement and stillness, transformations cannot be observed. With an eye toward ceaseless progress, it will be like the power of Nature’s operations [referencing the Book of Changes, hexagram 1: “Nature acts with power, and so a great man ceaselessly improves himself.”]. Accumulating progress over the course of years, you will achieve success in the method.
     For those can sincerely develop these skills, Stage 1 will take two years, Stage 2 will take a further three years, and so it will take about five years to complete. As for supplemental training methods, they can be practiced whenever they suit you, but must never be overlooked.
     Previous generations had a saying: “During practice, imagine an opponent when there isn’t one.” Therefore when practicing, put yourself into it entirely, so that wherever your intention goes, it is making the situation genuine. When we talk of developing martial arts skill, it is not a matter of how many years you have studied, but of whether or not you can use intention, as well as whether or not you can correctly judge how to alternate between emptiness and fullness. When one has practiced the postures for many years but does not understand how to use intention, this is called “blind training”. Beyond the fitness of the body, there would be no skill developed worth speaking of. Thus pay no attention to counting years, but instead to clearly understanding techniques and energies. When your hands express with a something that is increasingly manifesting, then you will be able to reckon the degree of skill you have developed. I submit that those who have achieved after only a few years have approached it in this way.
     The way to develop skill requires daily progress in order to be heading in the right direction. What you do not understand today will become clear to you tomorrow. What you are incapable of this month you will become capable of next month. When the time you put into it is not sporadic and you do not make the mistake of taking the wrong path, then the thousand days within three years will certainly not be felt to be but a few, and yet you will not look upon the level of skill that you have developed as anything grand.
     The sequence and methods of developing the skills in this boxing art have already been explained, but to make practice and application to conform to each other requires extra attention. Here is more detailed explanation about fist, palm, and step:
     As for the fist’s posture, the four fingers tightly curl in, the thumb presses down on the foreknuckle of the forefinger. Whenever you are walking or sitting alone, make a fist in this way, gradually tightening it until fully tightened, then slowly release it, extending the fingers. Put your palms together and rub them back and forth to liven the muscles, bones, and blood. After a short rest, repeat this exercise of curling and releasing for as long as you are individually capable, until finally you are setting aside several hours each day for curling and releasing.
     In the beginning of practicing this method, if you do it for too long at a time, your fingers will be swollen and aching, and the movements will be awkward, but by increasing gradually, you will after a long time become accustomed to it and at last find it comfortable. Even if you pick up an embroidery needle and use it to write tiny characters, you will find your original degree of dexterity has not been diminished. When practicing this method, your fist must curl in evenly, your fingernails must be trimmed frequently, your arms must be extended and relaxed, and you must not complain easily.
     Once you have become accustomed to it, do not neglect other exercises by giving priority to this one. When practicing the set, you should give extra attention to the techniques. The fist is used to strike forward to the three targets of the face, solar plexus, or crotch, or to the three acupoints of Xuan Guan [between the eyebrows], Zhong Wan [midway between solar plexus and navel], or the elixir field. They are commonly known as “death points”, because if they are struck powerfully, the result will be death.
     Punching to the face with a vertical fist uses a colliding energy. The power is expressed from your waist.
     To use the back of the knuckles makes it a “backfist”. This uses pressing energy and jolting energy. The power is expressed from your shoulders.
     Punching to the solar plexus uses drilling energy, pointing energy, thrusting energy, and a “rolling slicing” energy. The power is expressed from your whole body. Use your body to urge your arm, your arm to urge your fist. Once it issues, there is nothing to hold it back.
     Punching to the crotch uses planting energy and inserting energy. The power is expressed from your spine.
     All of these forward punches value cool-headedness and shun excessiveness. If you wish to obtain the right timing and position, you should seek for the answer in your waist and legs as you apply your punches alternating left and right.
     An upward attack to the head with the bottom of the fist hurling across to either of the temples uses hurling energy and pressing energy. The power is expressed from your lower back.
     A middle attack to the waist or ribs uses pressing energy. The power is expressed from your upper back.
     A middle attack to the forearm uses cutting energy and pressing energy. You must use your whole body in a downward strike.
     Turning to the rear to press down an opponent’s arm with your fist uses pressuring energy and gathering energy.
     Whenever you attack forward with a thrusting punch, the practical application of the technique will generally be the same: regardless of the variations of the posture – carrying, blocking, hooking, stopping, etc. – the power through the forearm begins at the foot. Grasping this, you will understand the same principle in further cases without needing to be nagged about it.
     The posture and use of the palm have already been explained in the pulling hand technique. Within this boxing set, the energies roughly divide into pouncing, flinging, hurling, pushing, grabbing, parrying, issuing, carrying, dragging, and wiping. The postures are different because they are performed in accordance with different applications. With the lines of the set having been explained above, you have already seen how the names of the postures fit with their respective techniques and principles. Practice according to the applications and you will succeed at it.
     Though this set’s use of the palm is half of the time emphasizing pouncing, striking, seizing, grabbing, and the other half emphasizing luring the opponent and then surprising him, its decisive moments of victory tend to rely on use of fists. Thus in each of the lines, the palm techniques are feints, and in this way it is different from other martial arts which focus on winning by use of palms, though it is not actually biased one way or the other.
     As for footwork, this boxing set’s applications value precise steps over many steps, for this art is actually a unique method of close-range fighting. The footwork of its lines divides into a total of five kinds of steps:
     For forward applications, use a [1] “twisting step” – emphasizing hooking around the opponent’s leg. While using the pulling hand above, controlling the opponent’s stepping below, and thereby attack with a strategy that never misses.
     To close in on an opponent so he moves back is to use a [2] “charging step” – front foot advancing, rear foot following. Induce him to flee, then turn to face whatever might be behind you.
     A [3] “withdrawing step” starts by making use of retreat as advance, for to go back is to then go forward.
     When doing a [4] “sideways step” with your left or right foot, the intention is to crowd the opponent. The closer it is, the more stable it will be, emphasizing confidence of success.
     Squeeze your body into a [5] “folding step”. This is when you stay in the center, dealing with an opponent suddenly by adapting with your body. Once you get into the right position from that point, advance and no one will dare to get in your way.
     These five steps attend to every direction – forward, back, left, right, center – while you change endlessly in response to opponents. All of the boxing techniques are performed using only these five kinds of steps, but to specifically list each technique as it is used with each step would be tediously long. Within the five steps, there is also the concept of advancing without retreating, and this is actually the true meaning of the footwork.
     Of particular importance is that you must have a lowering energy when taking a step, whether it be into a horse-riding stance or bow and arrow stance, whether it be a charging step or withdrawing step. Whatever the step or stance, this principle is always the same.
     For the methods of fist, palm, or step, this gives the general idea. As for the use of fingers, wrist, shoulder, forearm, elbow, hip, knee, and foot, they especially have to be coordinated with each other for each technique to be at its most effective.
     To sum up, give free rein to your natural ability, and when using these boxing methods, do not use them to limit you, but to help you achieve the highest level. Its marvels will come from training with awareness. It is my constant hope that all of my comrades will promote this art until it has spread everywhere.

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