SCIENTIFIC MARTIAL ARTS
by Wu Zhiqing
[originally published as 應用武術中國新體操 Using Martial Arts to Make China’s New Calisthenics in 1919/1920, (known more commonly as just 中國新體操 China’s New Calisthenics), then published in serialized form in 武術 Martial Arts Magazine in 1921 as 應用科學之國術 Applying Science to Martial Arts, and finalized in book form during 1921 as 科學化的國術 Scientific Martial Arts]
[translation by Paul Brennan, Feb, 2019]
Physical education is an excellent teacher indeed.
– calligraphy by Wang Zhengting
On willpower, energy, essence, spirit:
To be unconquerable even by armies – that is what it means to have willpower.
To be sent down many detours and yet never be frustrated – that is what it means to have energy.
To be focused on one thing and not distracted by many – that is what it means to have essence.
“To have wisdom beyond the comprehension of others – that is what it means to have spirit.” [Mengzi, chapter 7b]
– calligraphy by Lin Chuanjin of Minhou County
PREFACE BY SHEN ENFU
For thousands of years, the “great civilization of the East” was our China. It has of course had a rich cultural influence upon the world and supplied educators with much to research. However, it is characteristic of our eastern nation to have typically emphasized things that happened to aristocrats and rarely to ordinary people, feeling that the history of a culture generally comes down to the rise and fall of emperors, kings, and generals. As for society at large in the lanes and fields, the experiences of farmers, laborers, and merchants have mostly been tossed aside, a loss which I deeply feel. When I think about our nation’s culture, I see that it has laid particular stress upon the study of literature and art precisely because it has been so obsessed with the nobility. Martial arts or any of the other skills of the common people have rarely been considered worthy of being classified among the essential aspects of our culture.
Examining into our nation’s history, although martial arts schools have many tales of people with astounding abilities, there is information about the heroes themselves but a lack of information about the actual skills they possessed, and likewise, although our military histories have many records of great achievements, there is information about the strategies used but a lack of information about the actual skills that the soldiers used to carry them out. Are martial arts therefore absent from China’s cultural essence? No, not at all. They are to be found in the exhibitions of itinerant performers or the teachings of mystical monks. But the hope that they might be made a part of educational curricula and become a field of study, the idea of spreading them until they are common knowledge among the people, is something that is previously unheard of.
Whatever people do, they develop a way of doing it, and thus it can become a craft. Once something is a craft, it can be turned into a course of study. And once something is made into a course of study, it will have its textbooks. This should be especially true for our nation’s martial arts, since they contain refined principles and sophisticated methods. They are an outstanding and grand feature of our ancient civilization. Although there are not many specialized books that have been passed down, there are nevertheless still capable people to pass on these teachings. Japan has its Judo masters to spread their culture of Bushido. Europe in the middle ages had its knights to set an example and now in modern times has its many skillful boxers. These are reasons why the great powers are considered “great”. Our nation is now in a state of anxiety and weakness. Is there not an urgent need for our martial arts masters to get up and inspire us?
Wu Zhiqing, determined to promote these arts, established the Martial Arts Association and has been using the knowledge he has accumulated on the subject to produce new teaching materials, such as this book which is soon to be published and then widely supplied to various educational institutions. Someday it will have spread beyond schools of physical education and stand as a proud banner for us all, for it can also serve as a very practical means of educating the masses as a whole. Therefore I have written these few words to tell martial arts students about it.
- Shen Enfu, April, 1921
PREFACE BY LIN CHUANJIA
A strong mind dwells in a strong body. When the body is not fit, the mind is not really awake. One slips into a befuddled lifestyle and loses self-awareness. Since our defeat in 1894 [1st Sino-Japanese War], our “sleeping tiger” of a nation began to stir, so I decided to join a military academy. But because my body is too small and I am too nearsighted, I was not accepted. In 1896, I instead established one of the Modernization Schools, where one thing that we taught to the children was physical education based on the Yijinjing exercises. For the last twenty years, I have not been able to avoid the suffocating humidity when traveling in the south or the biting frost when traveling in the north, and so while journeying through fifteen provinces [in his work as an educator, geographer, and historiographer], I have relied on such exercises to stay healthy and keep my mind sharp.
Heilongjiang is a place that still has respect for the martial quality. I taught there with my wife for ten years. I have recently graduated in a martial arts course at the famous Jingwu Athletic Association. However, I am more like a steadfast Liu Fengchi than a superhuman Guo Junhuang, who galloped his horse hundreds of miles in a day, as I carried the Five Classics [Book of Poems, Book of History, Book of Rites, Book of Changes, Spring & Autumn Annals] under my arm to pass on Confucian teachings in places like Ulaanbaatar, which takes a peculiar courage indeed.
The south struggled, but the north conquered, and everything in between is now a mix of cultures. Calmly put, Manchuria and Mongolia are vast territories that contain unstoppable peoples, soldiers always ready to fight. Such peoples enabled Genghis Khan’s conquests to spread all the way into Europe and are now the glory of our “five great ethnicities” [in top-down order on the Republican-era five-colored flag representing the five ethnic groups in China: Han Chinese (red), Manchus (yellow), Mongols (blue), Hui or Chinese Muslims (white), and Tibetans (black)].
I hope that Wu’s preachings will get students of southeastern Chinese culture to resolve upon self-strengthening, which starts with books like this. Build up your energy for the new tasks that lie ahead. Physical education has a great many uses in industry and ethics, and is not just for the military. Ancient lessons have taught us: “If you do not learn to control yourself, you will destroy yourself.” [paraphrasing from Zuo’s Commentary to the Spring & Autumn Annals, 4th year of Duke Yin: “An army is like fire. If it is not restrained, it will incinerate itself.”] But to be prepared for war during peacetime is better for everyone, as the Americans have shown us.
- sincerely written by Lin Chuanjia of Minhou County [in Fujian] [This preface is undated, but it was obviously written around the same time as the surrounding prefaces since Lin died in Jan, 1922.]
PREFACE BY XIE QIANGGONG
The modern world is a scientific world. Science in the world is like the brain in the body. Without a brain, the body would have no mind. Without science, the world would not have a civilization. The majestic and magnificent world of modern civilization is indeed built upon precise and ingenious use of scientific phenomena. However, science does not categorize things into “civil” or “martial”. It is ordinary people who cling to dubious notions of civil knowledge versus martial knowledge. Because founding a nation over such a huge territory cannot be achieved by relying on either the civil or martial quality on its own, martial arts have to be equally considered to be an element of modern civilization. Martial arts can also be considered to be a science and not merely an “art”. How indeed can any skill not involve scientific principles?
Our Chinese nation is famous throughout the world for its ancient civilization. In the days of emperors and kings, the pioneering work of founding a state was still a military endeavor. At such a time, martial arts practitioners were favored by rulers and this had an influence on the culture of the society. More martial arts experts emerged and more martial arts texts appeared, and so the science progressed. But when the nation was at peace, it turned to civil matters and abandoned military concerns, and then its people increasingly weakened. After just a few decades, the martial arts community was reduced to a precarious existence, on the edge on being forgotten. For thousands of years, our society’s customs and knowledge shifted according to the whims of its rulers, something that gives us cause to sigh with regret.
Similarly, the nobles of Europe in the Middle Ages all supported knights and had respect for skillful warriors, and so their martial arts became more and more refined. When feudalism later ended, the knights disappeared with it, and the martial culture of Europe gradually declined. Thus both China and foreign nations face the same sense of having lost something.
However, our nation’s martial arts were passed down to future generations and treated like cultural heirlooms. (Because there were so many, Japan took from the surplus of our martial arts to create their Bushido. After embarking on their period of modernization, they added scientific knowledge to their arsenal and then used their skills to defeat Russia, even with all her specialized weapons, surely a glorious achievement.) Looking over our nation’s martial arts, although styles classified as “northern” or “southern”, “Shaolin” or “Wudang”, have been preserved, they have not progressed. They therefore cannot be used to add to our national defense. Why? Because unless they are organized into a specialized system of study, they will not conform to a scientific methodology. If we are narrow-mindedly fixated on one style or another, our martial arts as a whole cannot be popularized and further developed.
Wu Zhiqing founded the Martial Arts Association in Shanghai, just over a year ago, but its membership has since increased to such an extent that branch schools have spread south into Fujian and Guangdong, and even as far away as France. Its future has limitless prospects. Wu has made a specialized study of martial arts for many years and asserts that martial arts are intimately related to science. “The plan is to rescue the nation, and martial arts are the key to that plan. But if we do not rely on scientific means to improve and popularize these arts, we will never make any progress toward that goal.” His general plan for the studying of martial arts runs thus:
1. It has to be in accordance with physiological principles and not go against the requirements of health.
2. It should follow a psychological approach, seeking for the student’s knowledge to be accurate, ambitions to be noble, and emotional state to be lively. A musical rhythm can also be used as a means to help the student feel more engaged in the exercise.
3. It has to be structured in a pedagogical sequence, in order to best cultivate the talents of individuals and be spread more efficiently to the rest of society.
4. The training has to have a similar function to the rules of graceful dance, that of reforming the cruder habits of society, of boosting one’s moral instinct and elevating one’s character.
Equipped with these four points to ground martial arts research, it can be called “martial arts science” or “scientific martial arts”. In this way, it is a valuable branch of study that can give us an edge in this modern competitive world. Wu is now offering what he has learned to the world, using principles of physiology and sports training, a psychological approach, and a pedagogical structure to make a series of calisthenic exercises. Any one of these exercises is a simple yet superior means of developing skill. When combined, they are a continuous series of practical hand techniques. Looked at with a narrow view, it serves as a lively and graceful dance which facilitates social interaction. Looked at with a broader view, it is a cunning weapon for defending the nation. Here then is Chinese Bushido. How could exercises like these not be a feature of our New Culture Movement?
Those who promote martial arts to rescue the nation have to understand that they also need science in order to rescue the nation. Therefore it is the more scientific martial arts that deserve to be considered the real martial arts, and they are also the ones that reveal the wonderful effectiveness of science. Wu is about to send this book to the printers in order to spread the knowledge it contains to a wide audience. Thus I have written this preface to supply a brief overview.
- written by Xie Qianggong, April, 1921
PREFACE BY TANG XINYU
There is really nothing new in the world, everything being built from fundamental elements, and thus inventions come simply from skillfully putting those elements together. There are also really no new truths in the world, everything being derived from fundamental principles of nature, and thus insights emerge simply through persistently applying powers of deduction. And therefore the skills of a particular era will serve the needs of that era and the skills of a particular nation will be characteristic to that nation.
Ancient skills are not necessarily suitable for the modern world. European and American skills are not necessarily suitable for China. Different circumstances bring different ideas. The same is true for our forms of exercise. German and Japanese calisthenics emphasize strengthening the body for military use, whereas British and American calisthenics emphasize boosting the spirit to make better workers. Although their methods serve different purposes, they are each based on their nation’s innate patterns of exercise, suitable for each nation’s particular circumstances, and express the character of that nation.
Ignorant people choose any form of exercise, giving no thought to whether it is appropriate. They are following a strategy of “whittling the foot to fit the shoe”, not noticing the effects of trying to bring equality to one’s shortcomings by way of reducing one’s strengths. And then there are those who seek to return to the past in every little detail in order to preserve our national culture. They fail to understand that circumstances and ideas change over time. In both cases, such people lack skills of invention and powers of deduction.
Our nation’s people have an innate skill, which is not as good as it used to be even though its use has varied from one era to another. Our nation’s people also have an innate character, which will not get developed if the training is not right. Looking at the wider view of our situation in modern times, we should not be too militaristic, like Germany and Japan focusing on training their armies, but we should also not be too sanguine, like Britain and America putting their attention simply on the people being able to make their livelihood. The guiding principle of the physical education we choose for our nation should undoubtedly be somewhere between the two.
What is our nation’s innate skill? Our martial arts. What is our nation’s innate character? Benevolence and righteousness. If we can take our innate skill and our innate character and adapt them for modern times, then we can pick the right methods of physical education most suitable for our goals, and by adding in the best forms of training, we will able to respond to our present situation. We have to get the right mix of the emphasis of Germany and Japan with the emphasis of Britain and America [i.e. training for both fighting and health], and then our nation will be able to stand tall in the world.
My colleague Wu is an expert at martial arts, and particularly understands the true significance of physical education. Therefore based on what he has learned from his own training and what he has discovered through teaching it, he has taken China’s native martial arts and added scientific methods to create a new form of physical education, which he put into a book called Using Martial Arts to Make China’s New Calisthenics, the title recently changed to Scientific Martial Arts. Once the manuscript was completed, he asked me for a preface.
I have carefully gone through his arrangement of exercises and methods of applying them, and have found that they strongly conform to principles of physiology, psychology, and pedagogy. They are more than adequate for increasing health, and can enhance one’s sense of enjoyment, as well as cultivate good character. It is truly the height of physical education studies and is an especially good means for preparing us to deal with whatever situations might arise. I sincerely offer these few words, though I am sure that more knowledgeable people can put it better than I have.
- Tang Xinyu, April, 1921
PREFACE BY CAI JUEZAI
Our nation’s martial arts have never been outclassed, and this is because they are imbued with philosophical principles. Without fully mastering an art, it is truly difficult to understand it thoroughly. As systems later diverged into styles, authentic teachings were lost. This is on one hand because practitioners who misused their skills were expelled from society, and on the other hand because practitioners who had an incomplete knowledge of the art did not have a thorough understanding of how it worked and so were not able to pass on the true teachings. This is truly a pity.
My fellow student Wu Zhiqing of She County [in Anhui] has studied martial arts for more than ten years. In teaching and training, his tireless love of learning has earned him great respect from people. In 1919, Wu gathered together his comrades to establish the Chinese Martial Arts Association in the southern part of Shanghai. After not even a year had gone by, membership had already risen to more than a thousand people.
Having garnered such deep regard from society, he in return has drawn from his learning to write a book which he originally titled Using Martial Arts to Make China’s New Calisthenics, the title now changed to Scientific Martial Arts. He wishes to make martial arts easier to popularize, something that can be practiced in ordinary schools. These arts can also be thought of as both a method of fitness and a means of longevity, and so the benefit this would bring to people would by no means be insignificant. Because this gives us real hope for the future of martial arts, I sincerely write this preface.
- Cai Juezai, April, 1921
– The purpose of this book is to popularize physical education, and therefore I have selected material that is extremely straightforward and which is both practical and easy to practice. I have experimented with this material in the Shanghai YWCA Teacher-Training School, the Establish-the-People High School, the Jiangsu 2nd Teacher-Training School, Shanghai County 1st College, Municipal Uniformed Elementary School, Spreading Benevolence Elementary School, Harmony & Peace Elementary School, 2nd Teacher-Training Attached School, and the Raising Talent Elementary School, as well as the Jiangsu Educational Association, the Physical Education Research Association, and of course the Chinese Martial Arts Association, and have in each case obtained excellent results.
– For this book, I have selected from the best exercises from various styles of Chinese martial arts and adjusted the movements in accordance with principles of physiology, psychology, and pedagogy. I would not dare to claim that these exercises are perfect, but they are all on the side of the realistic rather than the absurd, which is why I have called the book Scientific Martial Arts.
– The material in this book is suitable for use in high schools and teacher-training schools. People in individual households can also use it to practice, and thereby become free of ailments of the brain, lungs, intestines, and so on, and enter into a state of better health.
– Beyond the detailed explanations, there are also photos of each posture in order for you to more clearly understand how to practice these exercises, free from any frustrating confusion.
– The plan is to divide this material into four parts over three volumes, part one in the first, parts two and three in the second, and part four in the third. Apart from this first volume being ready to go to the printers, the later volumes still need work. Once I am fully satisfied with the results, they will then be published. [The later volumes were apparently never produced, perhaps indicating that Wu had ended up unsatisfied with them after all, or possibly the interruption of such work due to his several years of military service during the 1920s drained the momentum for this particular project. Whatever the case, part one was considered important enough on its own to be republished in 1930.]
Mankind developed according to the laws of evolution. Conforming to those laws brought survival and defying those laws brought death. Our Chinese nation was founded more than four thousand years ago. Within that time, so many nations have perished, their people vanquished, that I cannot even place a number to it. But our nation has not disappeared because we have had sufficient means of self-preservation. And what are these means? The magnificence of our culture and the development of our military. But alas, in modern times our culture has been affected by so many new inventions and our military has slipped into constant decline.
Despite my shallow abilities, I founded the Chinese Martial Arts Association in Shanghai in order to gather my comrades and do research into our cultural essence, hoping to preserve these arts and develop them further. I strongly feel that our modern situation is not the same as it was in earlier times. We are now in an era of cultural progress and scientific competition. Martial arts training has failed to make use of a scientific approach and yet can be greatly improved by it. Although it may be difficult to convince society of this, the outcome could otherwise be that these arts will end up being lost altogether, and that would have a terrible effect on the future of our nation.
I will now touch upon how physiology, psychology, and pedagogy are relevant to martial arts, addressing each of these things below:
1. The Relationship Between Martial Arts & Physiology:
Everyone seeks happiness. This is only natural. But every kind of happiness is rooted in the health of the body. If you do not seek happiness, then never mind. But if you do seek it, it is entirely dependent on physiology, and so clearly it is a matter of striving for physical health. A saying goes [from Master Lü’s Spring & Autumn Annals, book 3, chapter 2]: “Running water never goes stale and a door that gets used does not get rusty hinges.” One’s life naturally requires exercise. Exercising the body is just as important as being clothed and fed. One cannot go without clothes and food for a single day, and one also cannot go without exercise for a single day.
To be successful in one’s career equally requires a good attitude and physical stamina. Both a full spirit and a strong body will be obtained through exercise. Therefore within a given day, beyond just going to work, there has to be time set aside to cultivate body and spirit. This will not only make you even better at performing your job, it will thereby also have a huge effect on your financial situation. This is because with a healthy body and full spirit, you will not suffer from any illness, and thus you will not need to buy any medicines. Therefore you will prosper at work and save money at home. Surely there is no higher happiness in life.
2. The Relationship Between Martial Arts & Psychology:
Martial arts are a very practical form of physical exercise. If an exercise only has value in principle and not in reality, your attitude toward it with each passing day and night will change, gradually finding it to be tedious and uninteresting, and it will be difficult to get any enjoyment out of it. Is this not an enormous flaw? Beyond bringing health, martial arts are also intended for self-defense. Sports such as soccer or basketball have a competitive mentality, which causes people to never tire of repetitive practice because they are working toward winning games.
Throughout my years of experience of teaching exercise, I have tried to find ways to prevent students from getting bored, and so every time I teach a lesson I make adjustments to the material, bringing some variety, keeping it fresh. If I do not do this, I cannot get the students to increase their interest and find pleasure in what they are learning. In the case of teaching martial arts, the training has a quality of never being finished. The reason it does not become boring is because it is working toward a goal. When something has real-world application, it is easy for people to admire it. Would people feel this way if it was only for health? Therefore martial arts are a practical form of physical education and appeals to our sense of wanting things to be useful.
3. The Relationship Between Martial Arts & Pedagogy:
To absorb knowledge, we need to have three things: intelligence, spirit, and health. But among these three things, health is the most important. Spirit and intelligence can thereafter be obtained through training. Human beings make a living as a group, and so even a simple level of knowledge is enough to make a living [because gaps in knowledge are compensated for by others in the group specializing in and carrying out other necessary tasks]. But if you do not keep your body healthy, you are cutting yourself off from this means of surviving [by being unable to serve a useful role that contributes to the group]. Therefore training the body is of the greatest help in teaching students.
Our martial arts emphasize boxing arts. Our boxing arts are our nation’s special skill. They exercise the whole body evenly and are thus suitable for young and old alike. No other methods of exercise deserve to spoken of in the same breath. These arts can train your body and liven your spirit. They also have a dual function: on the small scale, they can defend the body, and on the large scale, they can protect the nation. They serve to safeguard both the individual and the group. To engage in close-quarter combat without skill in these arts would make victory very hard to achieve.
Martial arts therefore train methods of hand, eye, body, and step. They work both mind and body in tandem, and develop one’s natural instincts. They cultivate the qualities of hard work, determination, focus, and perseverance, as well as enhance memory and help build one’s sense of morality and duty. All of these qualities are keys to education and are things that human beings need to learn in order to survive.
I am not highly intelligent, but I have written the above explanations with sincerity. Based on our nation’s innate cultural essence and what I have discovered through the course of teaching it for several years, I have written Using Martial Arts to Make China’s New Calisthenics, but after some discussion, I have decided to change it to Scientific Martial Arts, which instead means to use scientific methods to improve our martial arts, to get them to better conform to principles of physiology, psychology, and pedagogy in hopes of making them more practical and easier to popularize.
This material is to be divided into four parts: [part 1] a combined set of martial arts exercises [the subject of this book], [part 2] an analysis of the functions of the hand techniques, [part 3] explanations for using these skills to ingeniously defeat opponents, [part 4] adjusting the exercises into a more lively and graceful dance-like series of movements by the addition of using musical instruments to create a metronome effect for them, thereby cultivating both mind and body simultaneously. [Parts 2–4 unfortunately exist in concept only. We can speculate that the reasons for this might have been that the first part was probably all that was needed to popularize these exercises among educational institutions, that parts two and three might have been of interest only to martial enthusiasts, and part four was perhaps unnecessarily eclectic.] The benefits of these exercises will not be meager, but inevitably I have made some errors. I hope my comrades throughout the nation will come forward and instruct me.
SCIENTIFIC MARTIAL ARTS
Section 1: AN EXERCISE FOR THE FOUR LIMBS (which also works the waist area)
Type of exercise:
This is a method of advancing involving movements of all of the limbs and turning around.
Name of the exercise:
SUDDENLY TURNING AROUND WIELDING PALMS WHILE ADVANCING & RETREATING
Keys to the exercise:
The main idea is to train methods of hand, eye, body, and step. This is basically a scenario of dealing with opponents attacking in front and behind, of striking at the one in front of you and then dodging around behind the other. After striking to one [photo 2], carry upward and use a covering step to advance toward the other [photos 3–5], and then you will be able to dodge around the danger presented by him [photo 6]. Once you are dodging, if you want to take control and subdue this opponent, you must then turn around and attack him with a chop [photos 7 & 8]. When turning, you have to shield your whole body by turning very quickly, and thus you will be dodging more effectively. This is an example of avoiding danger and defeating an opponent with an unexpected maneuver, a crucial principle in dealing with such situations.
Preparation posture on the left side:
Stand at attention with your elbows wrapped back, your gaze level. Your chest is sticking out, your torso upright. Your legs are together, your feet spread to make a sixty degree angle. Your fists are placed at your waist, your elbows pointing behind. See photo 1.1a:
1. Your left fist becomes a palm, rises from your waist, passes in front of your forehead, goes in front of your right shoulder, and pushes down until in front of your right armpit. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.1b:
2. Then your right fist becomes a palm and goes from your right armpit, threading out over your left palm, and extending to the right, the fingers pointing upward, fingers together, the palm edge facing to the right, your left palm near your right shoulder with the center of the hand facing inward. Each palm is making a shape like a willow leaf, and thus it is called a “willow leaf” palm. Your gaze is toward your right palm. Your torso goes along with the movement by turning slightly to the right and your left leg extends [to the left], your right knee bending to make a ninety degree angle, the weight sitting onto your right leg. See photo 1.2:
3. Your left palm goes from your right shoulder and extends to the left, the fingers pointing downward, the back of the palm near your left leg, as your torso slightly turns to the left. Your gaze is toward your left palm. See photo 1.3:
4. Your left palm passes along your [left] leg and carries upward as your left leg bends and your right leg straightens, the left side of your waist stretching, and your torso goes along with the movement by turning slightly to the left. Your left fingertips are at nose level, your right fingertips at headtop level, and your elbows are covering inward. Your gaze is toward your left palm. Your arms look as though they are carrying a shoulder pole, and thus this technique is called CARRYING A POLE WITH WILLOW-LEAF PALMS. See photo 1.4:
5. Your left palm thrusts upward as your right palm hangs downward. At the same time, your right leg goes along with your right arm by stepping forward, your body correspondingly going suddenly forward, your right toes touching the ground, making a T-shaped stance. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.5:
6. Then your torso turns to the left rear as your right foot takes a large step forward, the leg bending, your left leg straightening, your torso lining up with your right leg as you dodge your left side away. At the same time, your left palm chops to the rear, your right palm carrying in front. Your gaze is toward your left palm. See photo 1.6:
7. Then your body turns to the left, your belly drawing back, as your left foot withdraws a half step [your right pivoting inward] for the thigh to pull in next to your right thigh, making a left empty stance, and your right arm at the same time arcs inward. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.7:
8. Then your left foot retreats a large step behind your right foot, your right leg bending, your left leg straightening, making a right bow stance. At the same time, your left palm hangs down and then carries upward as your right palm thrusts up and then chops down, your arms making a curved shape. Your gaze is toward your right palm. See photo 1.8:
Then finish by standing at attention [withdrawing your right foot] and making the wrapped-elbows position.
Preparation posture on the right side:
Stand at attention with your elbows wrapped back, your gaze level. Your chest is sticking out, your torso upright. Your legs are together, your feet spread to make a sixty degree angle. Your fists are placed at your waist, your elbows pointing behind. See photo 1.9a:
1. Your right fist becomes a palm, rises from your waist, passes in front of your forehead, goes in front of your right [left] shoulder, and pushes down until in front of your left armpit. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.9b:
2. Then your left fist becomes a palm and goes from your left armpit, threading out over your right palm, and extending to the left, the fingers pointing upward, fingers together, the palm edge facing to the left, your right palm near your left shoulder with the center of the hand facing inward. Each palm is making a shape like a willow leaf, and thus it is called a “willow leaf” palm. Your gaze is toward your left palm. Your torso goes along with the movement by turning slightly to the left and your right leg extends [to the right], your left knee bending to make a ninety degree angle, the weight sitting onto your right [left] leg. See photo 1.10:
3. Your right palm goes from your left shoulder and extends to the right, the fingers pointing downward, the back of the palm near your [right] leg, as your torso slightly turns to the right. Your gaze is toward your right palm. See photo 1.11:
4. Your right palm passes along your [right] leg and carries upward as your right leg bends and your left leg straightens, the right side of your waist stretching, and your torso goes along with the movement by turning slightly to the right. Your right fingertips are at nose level, your left fingertips at headtop level, and your elbows are covering inward. Your gaze is toward your right palm. Your arms look as though they are carrying a shoulder pole, and thus this technique is called CARRYING A POLE WITH WILLOW-LEAF PALMS. See photo 1.12:
5. Your right palm thrusts upward as your left palm hangs downward. At the same time, your left leg goes along with your left arm by stepping forward, your body correspondingly going suddenly forward, your left toes touching the ground, making a T-shaped stance. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.13:
6. Then your torso turns to the right rear as your right [left] foot takes a large step forward, the leg bending, your right leg straightening. At the same time, your right palm chops to the rear, your left palm carrying in front. Your gaze is toward your right palm. See photo 1.14:
7. Then your body turns to the right, your belly drawing back, as your right foot withdraws a half step [your left pivoting inward] for the thigh to pull in next to your left thigh, making a right empty stance, and your left arm at the same time arcs inward. Your gaze is level. See photo 1.15:
8. Then your right foot retreats a large step behind your left foot, your left leg bending, your right leg straightening, making a left bow stance. At the same time, your right palm hangs down and then carries upward as your left palm thrusts up and then chops down, your arms making a curved shape. Your gaze is toward your left palm. See photo 1.16 [again followed by withdrawing into standing at attention and making the wrapped-elbows position]:
To suddenly turn around wielding palms while advancing and retreating is an exercise for the four limbs which also works the waist area. This exercise reduces excessive softness, livens the limbs, circulates energy and blood and stretches the sinews and bones. To get ready for the exercise, attention should be given to the major parts of the body that are involved in it. Listed below are the main muscles that are being worked:
(Used below are names for specific muscles based on the verified proper scientific terminology.) 1. Suddenly turning around wielding palms involves the arms spreading to the left and right, as well as the arms making arcs inward and outward.
A. Spreading the arms to the left and right works these muscles:
岡上 三角 斜方三分之一等肌肉
supraspinatus, deltoids, lower trapezius.
B. Arcing the arm inward works these muscles:
背闊 大圓 胸大 三角 肩胛下等肌肉
latissimus dorsi, teres major, pectoralis major, deltoids, subscapularis.
C. Arcing the arm outward works these muscles:
岡下 三角 小圓等肌肉
infraspinatus, deltoids, teres minor.
2. Advancing and retreating involves rotating the upper leg inward and outward, as well as bending and straightening the lower leg.
A. Turning the upper leg inward works these muscles:
闊筋模張 臀小 臀中 腰大等肌肉
tensor fasciae latae, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, psoas major.
B. Turning the upper leg outward works these muscles:
外閉孔 臂大 縫匠 恥骨等肌肉
external obturator muscle, gluteus maximus, sartorius, pectineus.
C. Bending the lower leg works these muscles:
縫匠 股薄 半腱 半模 股二頭 腓腸淺 蹠膕等肌肉
sartorius, gracilis, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, popliteus.
D. Extending the lower leg works these muscles:
股四頭 股直 股內側 股外側 股中間等肌肉
Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius).
In this exercise, the stepping is like a snake slithering through the grass and the turning is like a flash of lightning. With every movement, imagine there is a formidable opponent in front of you, and then you will perform it skillfully.
This exercise focuses on training methods of hand, eye, body, and step. It trains coordination of the nervous system and thus develops one’s fighting instincts. It cultivates the virtuous qualities of hard work, self-confidence, judgment, quick wits, courage, initiative, and perseverance. These skills in martial arts strongly conform to skills needed in teaching.
Section 2: AN EXERCISE OF REALIGNING (which also works the torso)
Type of exercise:
Lean forward and back, extending and retracting, exhaling when the hands are above, inhaling when the hands are below.
Name of the exercise:
CROSSED HANDS SPREADING A RAINBOW, MANDARIN DUCK HANDS
Keys to the exercise:
“Enter invisibly and then exit without a trace.” (This describes the actions of hooking and dragging, carrying and striking.) These words refer to a level of skillfulness and are not some just airy poetry. Once you have mastered these movements, you will awaken to the meaning.
From standing at attention with your elbows wrapped back, your feet spread apart to shoulder width. Your gaze is forward, your torso is upright, and your chest is sticking out.
1. Your upper body turns halfway to the left and your legs bend to make a horse-riding stance [left empty stance] as your fists become palms and cross to make an X shape in front of your knees, your upper body turning to the right [left]. Then your palms become hooks and drag apart to the sides to be in line with your knees. Your gaze is forward. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. Your arms from shoulders to hands are hanging down and making vertical lines. Because of your palms crossing, this technique is called CROSSED HANDS. See photos 2.1 and 2.2:
2. Your hooks become palms and cross to make an X shape, your elbows staying near your ribs, your upper body leaning back, your right [left] leg slightly straightening, left leg [right] slightly bending. Then your palms spread apart to the sides, your elbows still staying near your ribs, the centers of the hands facing forward, fingers slightly bent and spread apart. The shape is like lotus leaves, and so they are called “lotus leaf” palms. Your palms are positioned in front of your shoulders. Your belly is drawn back and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is forward. This technique is called CROSSED HANDS SPREADING A RAINBOW. See photos 2.3 and 2.4:
3. Your shoulders loosen and your palms pounce forward as your left [foot steps out and your right] leg straightens, making a stance of right [left] leg a bow, left [right] leg an arrow, though it can also done in a horse-riding stance. Your arms are level and form semicircles from shoulder to fingertips, the fingers pointing upward and spread apart, power expressing at the heels of the palms. This technique looks like an infant reaching out to be breast-fed, and so it is called INFANT GRABS AT ITS MOTHER’S BREASTS. See photo 2.5:
Perform this series of movements six times, then turn around to the left [right] and practice it on the other side.
4. [Your feet pivot to the left (right) to point their toes behind you,] your legs bending to again make a horse-riding stance [right empty stance] as your palms cross to make an X shape in front of your knees, your upper body leaning forward [while turning around to the right], Then your palms become hooks and drag apart to the sides. Your gaze is forward. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. Because of your palms crossing, this technique is called CROSSED HANDS. This is the same technique as in photos 2.1 and 2.2. See photos 2.6 and 2.7:
Your hooks become palms and cross to make an X shape, your elbows staying near your ribs, your upper body leaning back. Then your palms spread apart to the sides, your elbows still staying near your ribs, the centers of the hands facing forward, fingers slightly bent and spread apart. The shape is like lotus leaves, and so they are called “lotus leaf” palms. Your palms are positioned in front of your shoulders. Your belly is drawn back and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is forward. This technique is called CROSSED HANDS SPREADING A RAINBOW. See photos 2.6 and 2.7 [2.8 and 2.9]:
6. Your shoulders loosen and your palms pounce forward as your right [foot steps out and your left] leg straightens, making a stance of left [right] leg a bow, right [left] leg an arrow, though it can also done in a horse-riding stance. Your arms are level and form semicircles from shoulder to fingertips, the fingers pointing upward and spread apart, power expressing at the heels of the palms. This technique looks like an infant reaching out to be breast-fed, and so it is called INFANT GRABS AT ITS MOTHER’S BREASTS. See photo 2.8 [2.10]:
Then perform CROSSED HANDS again, the same as in photos 9 and 10 [6 and 7].
Perform this series of movements six times, then turn around and practice it on the other side another six times. This whole exercise is called CONTINUOUS MOVEMENT ON BOTH SIDES.
Exhale when your hands are above. Inhale when your hands are below. This expands your rib cage, increasing lung capacity, and exercising your diaphragm. Leaning forward and back causes your abdominal wall to stretch and contract, encouraging digestion. This also serves as a corrective moment, the expanding of your chest discouraging your spine from curving into improper angles. Listed below are the main muscles that are being worked:
1. Leaning forward and back involves the spine curving and straightening.
A. The spine bending forward works these muscles:
項最長 頭最長 前斜角 腰直 腸內斜 腹外斜 腹橫等肌肉
longissimus cervicis, longissimus capitis, scalenus anterior, dorsal erector muscle, internal oblique muscle, external oblique muscle, transverse abdominis.
B. The spine straightening works these muscles:
下後鋸 頭夾 項半棘 背半棘 斜方等肌肉
serratus posterior inferior, splenius capitis, semispinalis cervicis, semispinalis thoracis, trapezius.
2. Your body turning to the left and right involves rotation in the spine.
A. Rotation in the spine works these muscles:
腹內斜 腹外斜 項半棘 背半棘等肌肉
internal oblique muscle, external oblique muscle, semispinalis cervicis, semispinalis thoracis.
This exercise looks very artistic, and yet it is also simple and easy to learn, as well as suitable for young and old alike. Once you have practiced it to a level of skillfulness, these actions of your hands, body, and feet will be full of vitality. This being the case, how could anyone not enjoy learning it?
This exercise not only toughens the body and livens the spirit, it is also useful for defending oneself against opponents. Since it can help ensure the safety of individuals within the group, it thus strongly aligns with the requirements of what should be taught in the modern age.
Section 3: AN EXERCISE FOR THE UPPER BODY
Type of exercise:
Standing in place, you work the flexibility of your palms, elbows, fingers, and wrists.
Name of the exercise:
Keys to the exercise:
This exercise contains the elements of reaching out to catch, drawing in to seize, locking up, hanging aside, and capturing to strike. The movements are a continuous extending and withdrawing, and are entirely a matter of using subtle hand techniques to skillfully defend against and counterattack an opponent. The ability to defeat your opponent by using unexpected maneuvers is a hallmark of martial arts.
From standing at attention, elbows wrapped back, your feet spread apart to shoulder width and your legs bend forty-five degrees to make a half horse-riding stance.
1. Your right fist becomes a palm and extends forward and diagonally downward, the fingertips pointing forward, the edge of the palm slicing toward the ground, the heel of the palm in line with and about three quarters of a foot away from your lower abdomen, with the arm straightening but the elbow covering inward. Your torso is upright, your chest sticking out, your gaze forward. The palm goes out as though it is slicing through an object, and thus this technique is called SLICING PALM. See photo 3.1:
2. Your right palm carries upward, the upper arm staying near your ribs, the elbow bending and covering inward. As the palm goes upward, the wrist turns outward so the center of the hand is facing forward. The palm then hooks to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing upward, the back of the hand a few inches away from the shoulder. First carry, then hook. This technique is called HANGING PALM. See photo 3.2:
3. Your right hand extends diagonally forward, sending the heel of the palm to strike an opponent. Your right shoulder loosens and extends along with the movement of the hand, and your torso slightly turns to the left. The fingertips are at nose level, the elbow covering inward. The palm is making a lotus-leaf shape, and thus is called a “lotus-leaf palm”. See photo 3.3:
4. Your right arm then chops downward and goes past your [right] thigh, the palm becoming a hook, after which it will drag back until behind the buttock, the elbow slightly bent. The actions of carrying upward and then dragging downward have to be quick, lively, and spirited. Your gaze is forward and level. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. These four movements are all performed in a half horse-riding stance. Your left fist remains in a wrapped-elbow position. See photo 3.4:
5. [Your right hand returns to your waist, then] your left fist becomes a palm and extends forward and diagonally downward, the fingertips pointing forward, the edge of the palm slicing toward the ground, the heel of the palm in line with and about three quarters of a foot away from your lower abdomen, with the arm straightening but the elbow covering inward. Your torso is upright, your chest sticking out, your gaze forward. The palm goes out as though it is slicing through an object, and thus this technique is called SLICING PALM. See photo 3.5:
6. Your left palm carries upward, the upper arm staying near your ribs, the elbow bending and covering inward. As the palm goes upward, the wrist turns outward so the center of the hand is facing forward. The palm then hooks to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward, the back of the hand a few inches away from the shoulder. First carry, then hook. This technique is called HANGING PALM. See photo 3.6:
7. Your left hand extends diagonally forward, sending the heel of the palm to strike an opponent. Your left shoulder loosens and extends along with the movement of the hand, and your torso slightly turns to the right. The fingertips are at nose level, the elbow covering inward. The palm is making a lotus-leaf shape, and thus is called a “lotus-leaf palm”. See photo 3.7:
8. Your left arm then chops downward and goes past your [left] thigh, the palm becoming a hook, after which it will drag back until behind the buttock, the elbow slightly bent. The actions of carrying upward and then dragging downward have to be quick, lively, and spirited. Your gaze is forward and level. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. These four movements are all performed in a half horse-riding stance. Your right hand remains as a hook behind you [remains in a wrapped-elbow position according to the photos]. See photo 3.8:
This exercise trains the major and minor arm muscles. Its actions of extending, withdrawing, and arcing are indeed excellent movements for working the upper arm. This rather complex series of movements is in accordance with the method of arranging exercises for the best physiological effects: “A third of the exercises should be complex.” Therefore this exercise is placed third out of the first three. Due to its complexity, it is indirectly an exercise for the brain. It is also an indispensable exercise for promoting health. Listed below are the main muscles that are being worked:
These actions of extending and withdrawing the palm, elbow, fingers, and wrist involve a variety of movements including the shoulder blade moving forward, downward, and back, the forearm bending and extending, and the palm going outward.
A. The shoulder blade going forward works these muscles:
前鋸 胸大 胸小等肌肉
serratus anterior, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor.
B. The shoulder blade going downward works these muscles:
斜方 胸小 背闊 胸大等肌肉
trapezius, pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major.
C. The shoulder blade going back works these muscles:
腰方 背闊 大菱等肌肉
quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi, rhomboid major.
D. Bending the forearm works these muscles:
肱雙頭 肱前 旋前圓 手與指之伸 手之伸等肌肉
biceps brachii, brachialis, pronator teres, hand & finger extensors.
E. Extending the forearm works these muscles:
肱三頭 肱前 手與指之伸等肌肉
triceps brachii, brachialis, hand & finger extensors.
F. The palm going outward works these muscles:
掌長 撓側伸腕短 尺側伸腕等肌肉
palmaris longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris.
This exercise trains quickness of eyes and hands. Whatever the speed of your movement, focus on switching nimbly from one movement to another. Practicing this kind of exercise will help to build a more ambitious nature and develop a more competitive mindset, and therefore it is a very useful psychological tool.
This exercise trains agility of both mind and hand. To become educated, you have to constantly increase your range of qualifications, because to deal with the world, you have to have the means to adapt to situations. Such an exercise is thus extremely helpful for one’s intellectual development.
Section 4: AN EXERCISE FOR THE WAIST & HIPS (as well as the whole body)
Type of exercise:
This is a method of staying where you are and performing a “snapping step”, as well as suddenly turning to the side and sending out a kick.
Name of the exercise:
Keys to the exercise:
Victory through martial arts often comes down to advancing and retreating. To advance and retreat effectively, your waist and hips have to function as a single unit. The movements of your fists and feet should be quick but should not be mistimed. For this exercise, your hands and feet have to work together. Your punches and kicks must shoot out with the nimbleness of mechanical springs, and then you will be able to achieve victory.
Stand at attention, elbows wrapped back, facing toward the south.
1. Your left foot takes a step out to the northeast as your fists become palms, which come together as prayer palms pointing toward the southwest and then fiercely jabbing toward the northeast. Then your left hand [again becoming a fist] pulls back to your waist, returning to the wrapped-elbow position, as your right palm becomes a fist and strikes toward the southwest, the center of the hand facing upward, the upper arm staying near your ribs. You are in a left bow stance, your torso facing toward the east. This technique is called GRABBING & JABBING. See photo 4.1:
2. Your left fist thrusts upward to the northeast until at nose level, your right fist at the same time withdrawing to be placed at your waist, again making a wrapped-elbow position. This technique is called PUNCH TO THE FACE. See photo 4.2:
3. Your right fist thrusts out diagonally toward the east to be at solar plexus level as your left fist carries upward. You are facing toward the east. Your torso is upright and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is forward. This technique is called BLACK TIGER GOES FOR THE HEART. See photo 4.3:
4. Your fists become palms and cross in front of your headtop [chest according to the photo], left palm on top, the palms facing outward, as your torso turns to the left. Your gaze is forward. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. This technique is called PASSING OVER THE HEADTOP. See photo 4.4:
5. Your palms lower to the sides and then come together in front of your chest as your right leg lifts. Your torso is upright and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is level. This technique is called EMBRACING THE MOON. See photo 4.5:
6. Your palms brace away toward the east and west, your left palm at headtop level, your right palm at shoulder level, as your right leg kicks out to the east, your legs straightening and making a ninety degree angle, your torso turning to the left. Your gaze is toward the east. This technique is called KICK WITH BOTH PALMS BRACING. See photo 4.6 [missing from the book, but we can fill the gap by reversing photo 4.12]:
7. Continuing from your right leg kicking out, before your right foot has fully come down, your left foot suddenly retreats, and then your right foot comes down next to your left foot. This action is called a “snapping step”. At the same time, your right hand [again becoming a fist] pulls back toward the southeast to make the wrapped-elbow position at your waist, and then your left palm grasps into a fist and strikes toward the east, the upper arm staying near your ribs, the center of the hand facing upward. See photo 4.7:
8. Your right fist thrusts upward to the northeast until at nose level, your left fist at the same time withdrawing to be placed at your waist, again making a wrapped-elbow position. This technique is called PUNCH TO THE FACE. See photo 4.8:
9. Your left fist thrusts out diagonally toward the east to be at solar plexus level as your right fist carries upward. You are facing to the east. Your torso is upright and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is forward. This technique is called BLACK TIGER GOES FOR THE HEART. See photo 4.9:
10. Your fists become palms and cross in front of your headtop [chest according to the photo], right palm on top, the palms facing outward, as your torso turns to the right. Your gaze is forward. Your chest is sticking out and your torso is upright. This technique is called PASSING OVER THE HEADTOP. See photo 4.10:
11. Your palms lower to the sides and then come together in front of your chest as your right [left] leg lifts. Your torso is upright and your chest is sticking out. Your gaze is level. This technique is called EMBRACING THE MOON. See photo 4.11:
12. Your palms brace away toward the east and west, your right palm at headtop level, your left palm at shoulder level, as your left leg kicks out to the east, your legs straightening and making a ninety degree angle, your torso turning to the right. Your gaze is toward the east. This technique is called KICK WITH BOTH PALMS BRACING. See photo 4.12:
This exercise involves a “snapping step”, which gives a shake to the internal organs, particularly stimulating the stomach and intestines, thereby aiding digestion. It also promotes better blood circulation and enhances the elasticity of the tendons in the joints. Listed below are the main muscles that are being worked:
1. The hands pulling back and jabbing forward involves the arms being pulled down, as well as the forearm bending and extending.
A. Pulling the arms down works these muscles:
背闊 大圓 斜方下三分之一 胸大等肌肉
latissimus dorsi, teres major, lower trapezius, pectoralis major.
B. Bending the forearm works these muscles:
肱二頭 肱前 肱前 前旋圓等肌肉
biceps brachii, brachialis, pronator teres.
C. Extending the forearm works these muscles:
肱三頭 胸大 橈側伸腕短 尺側伸腕等肌肉
triceps brachii, pectoralis major, extensor carpi ulnaris.
2. Suddenly turning and kicking to the side involves the upper leg raising in front and then the leg extending to the side.
A. Raising the upper leg and extending to the side works these muscles:
梨狀 內閉 孖上孖下 縫匠 闊筋膜張等肌肉。
piriformis, internal obturator, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae.
Psychological & pedagogical aspects:
Same as in the previous exercise.
Section 5: AN EXERCISE FOR QUICKNESS (as well as explosiveness and jumping)
Type of exercise:
This is an exercise for developing ability for explosiveness and jumping.
Name of the exercise:
Keys to the exercise:
The main idea is to train agility in the body and nimbleness in the hands and feet. It is an excellent exercise for improving dodging, turning, and advancing, and most of all for moving over large distances. Constant practice of it will make your hands and feet quick, so that you will be able to attack when you advance and defend when you retreat. Move as though flying, fast as wind. You should be able to rush in and subdue an opponent even when he is more than ten paces away. This is an important martial arts principle.
Stand at attention, elbows wrapped back:
Your gaze is forward, chest sticking out, your torso upright. Your heels are together, toes spread apart to make a ninety degree angle. Your hands grasp into fists and your arms bend into ninety degree angles as your fists are placed at your waist, elbows pointing behind you.
1. Raise your left palm, stepping out with your left foot:
Your left fist becomes a palm and stands straight, raising upward from your [left] hip as a willow-leaf palm, the elbow covering inward. At the same time, your left foot steps forward, the toes touching down, the leg bent to a forty-five degree angle, your right fist remaining in a wrapped-elbow position, your right leg slightly bent. To get the posture to be precise, the fingertips of your palm should be at shoulder level, the arm making a half circle, and the shoulder should be pulled forward enough to be in line with your nose, the elbow should be in line with the knee and toes [of your front leg], your front elbow should be in line with your rear elbow, and your front knee should be in line with your rear knee. These are called the “five alignments”. The shape [of your front arm] is like a crescent-moon ax, or what is called a “broad ax”. See photo 5.1:
2. Extend your right leg:
Your right leg lifts with the knee bent to make a ninety degree angle, then extends forward with the toes pointing diagonally upward, pushing out forward with power expressing at the heel, then immediately comes down. This action is known as a “crushing kick”. See photo 5.2:
3. Your right foot comes down in front of your left foot and then your left leg lifts forward, the knee bending to make a ninety degree angle, the toes lifted so that the sole of the foot is facing slightly forward. At the same time, your left palm swings downward and to the rear, withdrawing to your waist, while your right fist becomes a palm and stands straight, raising upward from your right hip as a willow-leaf palm, the fingertips at shoulder level, the elbow covering inward. The arm is making a half circle, the elbow is in line with your [left] toes, and your front knee is in a line with your rear knee [hip]. When your left foot comes down, it does so with a snapping energy, advancing as though walking on a tightrope, going forward with a “scraping step” [which is another way of describing the crushing kick]. This technique is called RIGHT SCRAPING KICK. See photo 5.3:
4. Your left foot comes down in front and then your left leg lifts forward, the knee bending to make a ninety degree angle, the toes lifted so that the sole of the foot is facing slightly forward. At the same time, your right arm swings downward and to the rear, withdrawing to your waist, while your left palm carries upward as a willow-leaf palm, the fingertips at shoulder level, the elbow covering inward. When your left foot comes down, it does so with a snapping energy, going forward with a scraping step. This technique is called LEFT SCRAPING KICK. Continue in this way over and over, advancing with scraping kicks. While you advance as though walking on a tightrope, your arms swing forward and back. It is a continuous movement on both sides. If you want to stop, then when your left foot goes out with a scraping step, your right leg steps forward [into an empty stance] and you halt in the broad-ax posture [on the other side]. See photo 5.4:
Both sides are worked equally as you lift each leg and advance with scraping steps, which livens the hips joints. This exercise can also stimulate the intestines and stomach, thereby aiding digestion, and can prevent constipation. Listed below are the main muscles that are being worked:
1. For the movements of the hand carrying forward and hanging down to swing behind:
A. Raising the arm forward works these muscles:
三角 喙突肱 胸大 肱二頭等肌肉
deltoids, coracobrachialis, pectoralis major, biceps brachii.
B. Lowering the arm behind works these muscles:
背闊 大圓 斜方下三分之一 胸大等肌肉 舉大腿 伸小腿
latissimus dorsi, teres major, lower trapezius, pectoralis major.
2. For the movements of raising the upper leg and extending the lower leg:
A. Raising the upper leg works these muscles:
縫匠 闊筋膜張 恥骨 A股直等肌肉
sartorius, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, rectus femoris.
B. Extending the lower leg works these muscles:
股四頭 A股直 B股外 C股內 D股中等肌肉
Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius).
This exercise trains nimbleness in the hands and feet, and promotes naturalness in jumping. Suitable for young and old alike, this is an exercise that is easy to learn and very enjoyable. It can also help increase a person’s fortitude, and so it is of great psychological relevance.
This exercise can develop quick wits, judgment, decisiveness, courage, boldness, awareness, and vigilance. These are excellent qualities to have, are especially relevant when it comes to teaching, and are indeed necessary for teachers to be able give good guidance.
Section 6: AN EXERCISE FOR SLOWNESS (i.e. a harmonizing movement)
Type of exercise:
Standing in one place, your fingers, wrists, and forearms sway back and forth. The torso also twists and the legs are correspondingly extending and bending along with it.
Name of the exercise:
DIVERTING THE RIVER AND TURNING BACK THE SEA
Keys to the exercise:
The gist of the exercise is the practice of continuously inhaling and exhaling during these actions of seizing and locking. If you want to study the true essence of martial arts, this [coordinating of breath with movement] is a fundamental principle.
From standing at attention, elbows wrapped back, your feet spread apart to shoulder width and your legs bend forty-five degrees to make a half horse-riding stance.
1. Your fists become palms and swing out to the left with your right palm facing upward and left palm facing downward, your torso going along with your hands by twisting to the left. Your gaze is toward your hands. Your left arm is horizontal and bent, the forearm in front of your chest, and your right elbow is near your [right] ribs, the arm bent, the forearm horizontal in front of your solar plexus. The thumb and fingers of each hand are making a slight claw shape. The palms are facing each other above and below, about three quarters of a foot apart. See photo 6.1:
2. Then your palms rotate as your arms switch their positions above and below. Your right arm is horizontal and bent, the forearm in front of your chest, and your left elbow is near your [left] ribs, the arm bent, the forearm horizontal in front of your solar plexus. The thumb and fingers of each hand are making a slight claw shape. The palms facing each other above and below, about three quarters of a foot apart. See photo 6.2:
Your hands in this seizing position move slowly across to the right, your torso going along with your hands by twisting to the right. See photo 6.3:
3. Then your palms rotate as your arms switch their positions above and below. Your right elbow is near your [right] ribs, the arm bent, the forearm horizontal in front of your solar plexus, and your left arm is horizontal and bent, the forearm in front of your chest. The thumb and fingers of each hand are making a slight claw shape. See photo 6.4 (after which your hands will again go slowly across to the left):
Repeatedly go back and forth in this way, with your fingers seeming to be ripping silk, which will increase skill in the fingers, but your arms should not be exerting strength. With your waist going along with the movement, your torso swaying, you will go back and forth smoothly. By drawing in clean air [inhaling as the hands rotate] and expelling stale air [exhaling as the hands go across], you will get the knack of it.
This is an exercise of regulating speed of movement, causing the heartbeat to gradually calm down, which will lead to further physiological benefits.
Same as in the previous exercise [in that it increases fortitude]. This movement is also calm and harmonious, leisurely and contented, wonderfully carefree.
This movement can cultivate calmness and restraint, perseverance and planning, hard work and initiative, all good qualities essential for teaching, and which show the teacher to be a good leader.
Section 7: A BREATHING EXERCISE
Type of exercise:
The arms rotate back and forth, and extend and retract, to assist the lungs at drawing in clean air and expelling stale air. This is an exercise of inhaling and exhaling.
Name of the exercise:
RETURNING TO A PRIMORDIAL STATE
Keys to the exercise:
The main idea in this exercise is to use the working of the arm muscles to get the lungs to expand and energy to course through to the elixir field. This is a key to energy training in martial arts. [This may seem contrary to the usual idea of relaxing muscles to let energy flow through.]
From standing at attention with your elbows wrapped back, your feet spread apart to about shoulder width.
1. From the feet-apart wrapped-elbows position, your arms brace away to the sides as you exhale, your palms facing to the sides, fingertips pointing upward, fingers spread open. This stretches the arteries and veins so that energy and blood can more easily flow through. Then your arms slowly rotate toward the rear until the palms are facing upward as you inhale. Then your arms slowly rotate forward again [to return to the position of bracing outward with the palms facing to the sides] as you exhale. Do these rotations back and forth six times. For the movement of the arms, you should be exerting strength as you brace away to the sides in order to receive greater benefit. You will be able to tell from the sense of soreness in the energy channels and muscles around the ulna, radius, and scapula that this is also an exercise for developing strength. See photo 7.1:
2. Continuing from the previous posture, your arms slowly retract inward to be beside your ribs [as you inhale], then slowly go downward to hang straight with the fingers pointing forward [as you exhale], the fingers then slowly curling in to form fists [returning to the wrapped-elbows position]. This concludes the exercises. See photo 7.2:
The function of this exercise is purely to exhale carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen. Human beings require oxygen even more than food and water, therefore breathing has enormous physiological relevance.
Mengzi said [Mengzi, chapter 2a]: “[The mind leads the energy,] the energy fills the body.” After long-term breath training, energy fills the four limbs and you will have the heart of ten-thousand heroes.
Studying is an entirely mental occupation. But if you have no energy, how would your mind be able to function? Through training the breath, your energy will be sufficient to get your mind fully switched on, and thus you will be able to cure lethargy for learning.
– – –
[This book was later reprinted by 大東書局 Great East Bookstore in Nov, 1930, expanded by an additional preface and a postscript, which are included below.]
PREFACE TO THE REPRINTED EDITION
The Revolutionary Army, fighting for “The Three Principles of the People”, unified China, established Nanjing as the capital, and carried out countless tasks that had been neglected. When the warlords governed, they typically paid no attention to martial arts. But now that we have made the leap to a proper party-run state, those in power take martial arts seriously. They have established the Central Martial Arts Institute, as well as branch schools in every province and city. Last year, the National Martial Arts Tournament was held in the capital and caused quite a sensation. This autumn, another national martial arts competition will be held in Zhejiang.
I remember that eight years ago the 5th Far Eastern Championship Games was held in Shanghai [May 30–June 4, 1921]. The participating athletes were from the three nations of China, Japan, and the Philippines [as well as a few competitors representing India, Thailand, and Malaysia]. The events were mostly track-and-field games and ball sports, in which it became clear that our nation was abysmally lacking in physical education. I found the performance of our countrymen humiliating, and every time I thought about it, I sighed that I was getting more inspiration from the example set by blond blue-eyed Westerners.
This year, I was chosen to be the president of the Jiangsu Educational Association’s Physical Education Research Department, while also presiding over the Chinese Martial Arts Association. I therefore felt it my duty to seek justice for our previous failure, and so I stood tall and walked into the preparatory office for the next Far Eastern Championship Games, where I asked for permission to give an exhibition at the Games to demonstrate our nation’s native martial arts and rouse our nation’s martial spirit.
I met with an American, Dr. John Henry Gray, who at first would not give his consent, saying: “Your country’s martial arts lack any value as real physical education. They don’t even conform to physiological requirements. If you gave a demo, I doubt the participants and spectators would want to watch it.” I heard this but refused to accept it and debated the point with him over and over. Then his colleague C. H. McCloy came in and acted as an intermediary. He strongly commended my research on making our martial arts more scientific and asked that I be given the opportunity to put on the demonstration. It was this that gained Gray’s consent.
The Educational Association later held a meeting in which they formally passed a resolution on the matter, and they also promoted me to presiding over the selecting of teaching materials. We held our exhibition at the Games. And then the County Bureau of Education circulated orders to all the schools to get ready to study martial arts! I subsequently presented our native martial arts to them in accordance with pedagogical principles, physiological processes, psychological requirements, and practical skills. I also wrote this book based on the lessons I had given, which quickly became considered a very relevant work.
Included below are some extracts of laudatory discussion from various circles about our exhibition at the Games:
From the Shanghai Evening News (May 7, 1921):
Secretary-general of the Chinese Martial Arts Association, Wu Zhiqing, author of China’s New Calisthenics, last night at 7 pm gave a banquet to entertain a wide range of guests, such as: Dr. John Henry Gray, who is the organizer of the Far Eastern Championship Games, the physical education expert Hao Boyang, martial arts master Ma Zizhen, businessmen Wang Yiting and Ye Huijun, educators Su Yingjie and Shen Enfu, journalists Shao Lizi, Ge Gongzhen, Xie Jiezi, and Xie Qianggong, women’s physical education experts Ms. Hao Yingqing and Ms. Bai Kefei, and so on, altogether more than forty people, both Chinese and Westerners.
In the middle of the banquet, Wu gave a demonstration. He then also discussed his more than ten years of research into martial arts and his physiology-psychology-pedagogy approach. He has recently changed the title of his book China’s New Calisthenics to Scientific Martial Arts. He has also personally taught this material in all levels of schools, which has visibly produced results, and it is now going to be a feature in the Far Eastern Championship Games.
Starting at 1 pm tomorrow (May 8), students from various schools will gather together at the public sports stadium to drill the exercises as a large group. Wu is taking this matter very seriously, fearing that if such an exhibition fails, Chinese martial arts may face a future of ridicule. Because of this, he has invited all of these distinguished guests to come and personally view a rehearsal demonstration of the exhibition for the Games. He nevertheless hopes that everyone present will not hold back any criticism in addition to merely giving encouragement.
Dr. Gray then delivered a speech about the triumphs of physical education, and said: “It all comes down to the three qualities of skill, dedication, and spirit. Wu is the embodiment all of these things. I very much look forward to seeing how the education of the Chinese people is preparing them for all types of athletic activity.”
Then Shao Lizi gave a speech strongly commending Wu’s use of science to improve this field of Chinese learning, Hao Boyang gave a speech about preserving China’s cultural essence by spreading such skills to the public, and Ms. Bai Kefei gave a speech about how Chinese women need to be just as healthy as the men, saying: “Wu has been teaching in our school for several years now that this material is not only for men, but should also be learned by women.”
At about 9 pm, some photographs were taken and then the guests went home.
A couple of reviews of the event in the Shanghai Evening News (May 9, 1921):
 Yesterday at 1 pm, the Establish-the-People High School, near the South Gate on Cathay Road, took over the public sports stadium just outside the West Gate to hold a special kind of springtime sports meet. There were altogether more than eight thousand people there to see it, both Chinese and foreign. Receiving all these guests were Principal Su Yingjie, the teachers from the school, and the students. The gathering was very organized, maybe because the Boy Scouts were also there to help out.
The reason for the gathering is that students from six schools (Shanghai County 1st College’s 2nd Teacher-Training Attached School, Harmony & Peace Elementary School, Municipal Uniformed Elementary School, Raising Talent Elementary School, and Spreading Benevolence Elementary School) are getting ready to demonstrate a large-scale drill exercise within this year’s Far Eastern Championship Games.
Thanks to instructor Wu Zhiqing, who authored Using Martial Arts to Make China’s New Calisthenics, recently re-titled as Scientific Martial Arts, this exhibition of exercise will be a spectacle that is definitely worth seeing. By 6 pm, the performing students were finally exhausted trying to get everything perfect for the event and it was time to go home.
 The exhibition group for the Far Eastern Championship Games has just performed group formations of “The Great Wall”, “Kunlun Mountains”, “Ten Famous Mountains”, “The Pagoda”, and so on, earning them six swells of applause.
This exercise event is headed by Wu Zhiqing of the Chinese Martial Arts Association, who authored China’s New Calisthenics, lately re-titled Scientific Martial Arts. Their performance today is a rehearsal for the Far Eastern Championship Games. They were all dressed in white tank-tops and shorts, black socks, and each holding the national emblem several inches in front of their chests.
All the students were first arranged into their positions outside the stadium, then were led into the stadium by national flags and military band music. They made a full circuit of the field then lined up into rows, divided into six teams, and each team performed under the directions of an instructor. With the finish of each part of the demonstration came a surge of cheers.
On this occasion, only the first and seventh exercises were demonstrated, but they both produced thunderous applause. Among the exercises displayed, the group formations of “Kunlun Mountains” and “The Pagoda” were especially impressive. The movements of the students were very lively and the spectators all hollered their admiration.
A couple of reports on the Chinese Martial Arts Exhibition from the Far Eastern Championship Games Bulletin:
 As part of the 5th Far Eastern Championship Games, the Chinese Martial Arts Exhibition was held at 2:30 pm on June 4, 1921 [final day of the Games, apparently serving as a kind of closing ceremony], and was praised thus: “It can truly be said that this brings glory to the nation!”
1. The Entrance:
At 2:30 pm, the members of the Chinese Martial Arts Association and about five hundred uniformed school students entered the stadium, led by Wu Zhiqing. They first made a full circuit of the space, then lined up into rows and proudly sang the national anthem, a melodious sound that made the entire audience feel a sense of solemnity.
2. The Uniforms:
Members of the Martial Arts Association all wore specially made clothes for performing martial arts, but the bodies of the school students were uniformed in this way: white caps, white tank-tops and shorts, black shoes and socks. They each carried in their hands the national flag and wore the flag also as a design sewn onto the front of their shirts. With every movement, there was a dazzling display of color [since the flag at the time was the five-color flag] that was extremely pleasing to the eye.
3. The Program:
The exhibition was divided into three parts:
A. China’s New Calisthenics: In the interest of time, they performed only the first and seventh exercises.
B. They performed these group formations: 1. “The Great Wall”, 2. “Kunlun Mountains”, 3. “The Camel’s Hump”, 4. “Famous Mountains”, 5. “The Pagoda”.
C. They performed solo demonstrations of martial art sets, such as: Hong Boxing, Liuhe Boxing, Liuhe Staff, Single Saber, Cha Spear, Double Palms Through the Door, and so on. And two-person sets, such as: Waist-Grappling, Double-Headed Spears, Chaquan, Crescent-Moon Shovels, Double Choppers, Single Sabers, and so on.
Parts A and B were performed by groups of uniformed school students in unison. Part C was performed individually by members of the Martial Arts Association.
4. The Applause:
In the time between the performers entering the stadium and leaving it, there was continuous cheering, which inspired ever greater spirit from the performers and still greater cheers from the spectators, the cheers swelling to a peak six times. The performance was highly praised by both Chinese and foreigners, because everything was done with such lively spirit, skillful execution, and exquisite orderliness of movement.
The performers stood before a great many foreigners and did their utmost to show the cultural essence of our nation, making those foreigners aware of the value of our nation’s native martial arts. Truly it can be said that “this has brought glory to the nation”. Now people from both the East and the West will take our boxing arts seriously and it is to be hoped that our countrymen will at last rally together to preserve them.
China’s New Calisthenics, which Wu Zhiqing wrote in accordance with psychology, pedagogy, and physiology, has become highly valued as a textbook in schools. Our countrymen should encourage everyone else to read it too.
On the very same day, various Shanghai newspapers judged it as “truly worthy of being called ‘China’s New Calisthenics’”.
 Yesterday at this stadium in the southern part of the city, the Chinese Martial Arts Association sponsored a gathering of schools including Shanghai County 1st College’s 2nd Teacher-Training Attached School, Municipal Uniformed Elementary School, Harmony & Peace Elementary School, Raising Talent Elementary School, and Spreading Benevolence Elementary School to drill “China’s New Calisthenics”. Led by head coach Wu Zhiqing and each carrying the national flag and the banner for the Games, they arranged themselves into lines and entered the stadium. The front of their shirts was adorned with the national emblem, their clothes wore spotlessly clean, they marched in perfect order, and they all possessed a lively spirit. The performed their demonstration in this sequence:
1. When they sang the national anthem, they filled it with heroic spirit, a rendition better than any of this generation so far.
2. They then performed “China’s New Calisthenics”, or what is lately called “Scientific Martial Arts”. The movements were harmonious and full of spirit. It was unanimously praised by Chinese and foreign spectators alike declaring it “truly worthy of being called ‘China’s New Calisthenics’”. The author of the material divides the explanations in his book into perspectives from physiology, psychology, pedagogy, and the keys to each exercise.
3. They also performed a series of group formations which led to the snapping of some spectacular photographs that are sure to be treasured. They performed these group formations: A. “The Great Wall”, B. “Kunlun Mountains”, C. “The Camel’s Hump”, D. “Famous Mountains”, E. “The Pagoda”.
4. The cheers were a constant sound, which inspired still greater cheers from the spectators and ever greater spirit from the performers. Every part of the performance was met with thunderous applause and received the heartfelt praise of the spectators.
These experts of physical education and a wide variety of skills also came together to show martial skill in the form of the flashing of sword versus saber, the struggle of dragon versus tiger, a variety of two-person sets so skillfully executed that spectators gasped at how narrowly the performers were missing each other. Among the most impressive were eighty-year old He Yushan & Yu Zhensheng’s demonstration of Waist-Grappling, Yang Fengzhen & Wu Zhiqing’s two-person 4th Set of Chaquan, Luo Shuqing & Han Lingsen’s sparring with Crescent-Moon Shovels, which were all spectacular.
This exhibition at the Far Eastern Championship Games is very significant indeed and brings enormous prestige to martial arts.
It is clear from the writings above that our exhibition achieved great success and received wide appreciation, which indicates that this book also seems to have some value.
- written by Wu Zhiqing, Sep, 1929
Because our nation has had reverence for literary pursuits and looked down upon martial affairs, our martial arts have long been in decline. Among practitioners, whether they were mystical monks or wandering performers, the instructional poems were originally not very obscure, but then they gradually lost their simplicity [due to pressure to appear more scholarly]. Later generations were not paying attention to this effect and so the process dramatically increased until students are now utterly confused by the teachings that have been passed down.
I had long hoped for scientific methods to be used to bring these arts back down to earth, but had not yet seen it put into practice until Wu Zhiqing wrote China’s New Calisthenics, which demonstrates exactly this, and he urged me to give it a readthrough. I have since read through his book and have found that his notes on physiological, psychological, and pedagogical principles fit well with the more scientific presentation I have been advocating for, and I therefore feel I can declare it to be a martial arts masterpiece. His changing of the title to Scientific Martial Arts also seems entirely justified.
Making our martial arts scientific does not mean discarding our nation’s native martial arts and creating new ones in their place. Within this book, there is an exercise for the upper limbs [section 3] which is like the actions of “lifting to the sky” and then “pushing out with the palm” from Shaolin’s Eighteen Techniques; an exercise for the torso [section 2] which is like the actions of “black tiger stretches its back” and “using leg strength to knock down an opponent”, also from the Eighteen Techniques; an exercise for quickness [section 5] which is like the Shaolin principles of “absorb and send back, float and sink” and “be fast as wind and lightning”; a slow exercise [section 6] which implies the Taiji principle [from the Daodejing, chapter 10] of “focus on your breath and achieve softness” [and also resembles Taiji’s “clouding hands” movement]; an exercise of “suddenly turning around wielding palms while advancing and retreating” [section 1], which is similar to the Bagua technique of “blue dragon turns its body”; and a breathing exercise [section 7] that is reminiscent of the breathing arts passed down from Shaolin master Hui Meng, as well as the techniques of rousing energy in the elixir field found in styles in Henan and the exercises of “bucket-lifting power” found in styles in the Xi River area. There are also techniques involving “ducks” [section 2], “carps” [section 6], “hawks” [section 1], and so on, which are the same kind of thing as Hua Tuo’s Five Animal Frolics, Shaolin’s Five-Animal Boxing, or the Yue School’s Twelve Animals.
These are all based on our nation’s native martial arts rather than creating something from scratch. The act of “making our martial arts more scientific” means using scientific methods to improve our martial arts with the intention of making them more practical. Therefore when this new edition of the book comes out, although it of course will not have the immediate effects of strengthening the body, strengthening the masses, and strengthening the nation, it will nevertheless rectify many errors, and so I dare to predict that the martial arts community will sing its praises loudly.
- written by Lü Guanghua of Guangji, at the Central Martial Arts Institute, Dec, 1928