GENERAL EXPLANATIONS OF TAIJI BOXING FUNDAMENTALS
by Chen Jifu [Zhaopi]
[translation by Paul Brennan, Sep, 2019]
In recent years, Chinese martial arts have been getting vigorously promoted and boxing studies are at a high point. A competitive atmosphere has at last become fashionable and the groundwork of becoming a strong nation seems to have been laid. However, students need to select the best methods and train with a focused concentration. If you hope to learn such material, you have to practice it with reverence. At the very least, it can strengthen the body, but when used to its fullest, it is a means of defense against attack. If you choose the wrong methods, you will go astray in your training. If you pick an overly fierce style, one that uses excessive hardness, you will break your body down, or if you pick an overly flowing style, one that uses excessive softness, you will not build your body up. Both of these situations are due to ignorance of how to learn a boxing art.
Examining into our nation’s boxing arts, there are the Shaolin arts and the teachings of Damo, as well as Bagua and Xingyi, Large Reddening Boxing and Small Reddening Boxing, and so on. There are a great many styles, all trying to be unique, but they all strive to conform to the theory of the alternation of the passive and active aspects, the subtleties of movement and stillness, opening and closing, and of hardness and softness complementing each other, emptiness and fullness interacting with each other. Opposites form a cycle by way of one reaching its peak and giving rise to the other, suddenly switching roles over and over again, and the art that has no limit to these switchings is Taiji Boxing. It is the most authentic of all Chinese martial arts. Alas, masters of this art are rare nowadays. Although there are practitioners who use the name of the art to advertise themselves, they are only trying to appear skillful, to blur truth and falsehood in order to lure undiscerning students into following them.
The Chen style of Taiji Boxing, from the Chen Family Village in Wen County, Henan, is the original and genuine version. The unique achievements of the early masters have been continuously passed through generations, getting more analyzed and more refined over time. Those in our own era who pay attention to martial arts all know of it. Inheritors of the art who are breathing new life into it are Chen Fusheng [Chen Fake] and [his nephew] Chen Jifu [Zhaopi], who have long had the goal of breaking the art down to give a deeper understanding. Last year, many colleagues invited them to come to Beijing to help popularize Chinese martial arts. People from all walks of life eagerly came to learn their art. Those who have been receiving instruction from them have varying levels of aptitude, as well as varying amounts of time that they put into it, but despite these inconsistencies, they are perfectly capable of gaining some slight understanding, of getting at least a glimpse into the essentials, because through these teachers they have a superior means of studying an authentic boxing art, which they had not had access to until this time.
To make it easier for beginners, Chen Jifu has written a volume called General Explanations of Taiji Boxing Fundamentals, containing the practice set divided into seventy-four postures, explaining one by one the requirements, energy flow, and keys to every posture and movement. Having read through it, I am delighted by how simple and clear it is, and so I have supplied students with a few words of introduction. As for a more detailed analysis of the essence of this boxing art, that will appear in a later publication, and once it someday comes out and is shared with the world, then boxing students will have a compass to help them navigate their way through the art. I look forward to that day indeed.
- written by Li Qinglin of Guwenjing Village, while in Tianjin, Aug, 1930
CHEN CHANGXING’S TAIJI BOXING SONG
[It is not clear if the attributing of this poem and the next two texts to Changxing is meant to indicate that he is considered to be the original author of this material, that he is being credited as the honorary author in the absence of information as to who the original author was, or simply that he is the person who has passed it down.]
Move both vertically and horizontally, bending and extending, and then the opponent will not understand what you are doing.
Chopping strikes and downward pushes will help you get in,
but parrying away and plucking to the side will help you break through.
Hooking, warding off, crowding, catching – everyone understands these things.
But as for evasiveness and surprise, winning through cunning – is there anyone who comprehends these at all?
Feigning defeat or pretending to run away may look like failure,
but luring in only to then turn and smash through will bring great success.
To coil around and entrap or to connect and sweep aside are both very subtle,
but to slice through from any direction is downright magical.
When advancing with blocking, use a heart-piercing elbow.
When stepping straight into the fray, use a reddening punch.
There is a double kick, a low sweeping kick, a hang-his-face kick,
as well as threading kicks on each side, and stance-rooting kicks [i.e. stomps].
Brace forward in order to push down to the rear, letting there be no gap between these actions.
The notion of “threatening to the east but then striking to the west” has to be well-understood.
Creating pressure above and destroying stability below are things you must always keep in mind.
Advancing to attack and retreating to evade are decisions you must never think about for too long.
To hide your head and cover your face is instinctive,
but punching through to the solar plexus and slashing to the ribs are things that require training.
If the teacher does not understand these concepts,
then he is not qualified to determine whether the student’s martial skills are good or bad.
CHEN CHANGXING’S SONG OF TAIJI BOXING POSTURES
[This very loose poem seems to depict an early Chen Style practice routine. It is particularly significant because it quotes heavily from the posture poems in Qi Jiguang’s “Boxing Classic”, thereby providing us with a textual link between the Thirty-Two Postures and the Chen family’s art.]
Perform LAZILY PULLING BACK THE ROBE [name of Posture #1 of the Thirty-Two Postures], standing with superiority,
“then drop down and step out into SINGLE WHIP” [paraphrasing from the poem for #1].
“In the BIG-DIPPER PUNCH, your hands and feet coordinate with each other.” [quoting from #5]
“The technique of REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE was passed down from the First Emperor of the Song Dynasty.” [quoting from #3]
“When the CANNON AIMED STRAIGHT AHEAD thrusts out, it fills the opponent with terror.” [quoting from #30]
Using CENTERED SINGLE WHIP, who would dare to confront you?
“To perform SITTING-TIGER POSTURE, shift position by expressing with your feet.” [quoting from #28]
With the CROSSED STANCE posture, your hands and feet move nimbly.
“The BEAST’S HEAD POSTURE is like advancing with a shield.” [quoting from #18]
Use THROWING ASIDE HAUGHTILY [name of #11], “closing the distance and stopping him from getting far” [quoting from #25].
Use LONELY CANNON, then continue into DANCING SLEEVES GUSHING OUT FLOWERS.
Perform PHOENIX ELBOW IN A CROSSED STANCE [name of #29], then step forward with continuous left & right reddening punches.
Perform MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE, then TURN TO RIDE THE DRAGON [name of #6].
Send out CONTINUOUS CANNON FIRE [same as the “flurry of strikes” mentioned in # 6] to assault the most valiant generals and the best troops.
When the APE OFFERS FRUIT, who would dare to take it? “Even the toughest general would run away.” [quoting from #15]
Use HIGH FOUR-LEVEL PUNCH [name of #21], then “seal off the opponent’s kick” [quoting from #14].
With SMALL MAGIC PUNCH, be “like a raging fire penetrating his heart” [quoting from #23].
Strike out at him with SLASHING-HAND CANNON, then use PHOENIX ELBOW IN A STRAIGHT STANCE [name of #31].
Perform CANNON FROM THE CHEST, then go straight in with WELL-RAILING PUNCH [name of #15].
Do a SHIELDING-BODY PUNCH, then hang upward to expose him and use PUNCH TO THE CROTCH [name of #17].
“As the opponent moves to do a scissoring attack to your lower leg, kicking toward your knee,” [quoting from #15], go into GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG [name of #2].
Perform SUN-FACING HAND [name of #26] and RAISE THE DRUM [referring to #32].
With HEART-PROTECTING PUNCH, “focus on lowering with fast legs” [quoting from #9].
Using the PINCHED-ELBOW POSTURE [name of #12], “force him into a heroic retreat” [quoting from #26].
With a shout, SMALL CATCHING stops him from getting away. “It is like an eagle catching a rabbit, or a shot from a fully drawn bow.” [quoting from #29]
With DOWNWARD THRUST [name of #9], “he will not be able to handle your skillful surprise” [quoting from #13].
With THRUSTING BEHIND [name of #22], no one would dare to attack you.
“With SUN-FACING HAND, turn your body sideways to guard against the opponent’s kick.” [quoting from #26]
With SINGLE WHIP [name of #24], you can strike forward without having to hurry.
“Using HOLD UP A FOOT AS BAIT causes the opponent to recklessly advance.” [quoting from #7]
Do a thrust punch in a horse-riding stance. No one would dare to oppose it.
Do a SKIPPING STEP [a variation of the name for SUDDEN STEP (#13)] while rubbing inward.
With RUBBING THE EYEBROW RED, you will be unbeatable.
Perform GO DOWN INTO THE SEA TO CAPTURE THE DRAGON,
GO UP THE MOUNTAIN TO TAME THE TIGER,
WILD HORSE FLIPS ITS MANE SIDE TO SIDE,
and ZHANG FEI BEATS THE DRUM.
Perform WILD GOOSE WINGS, following up with a “thrusting kick to his belly” [quoting from #27].
“Chop away an incoming kick, then step right into the opponent’s center.” [quoting from #8]
Perform SPARROW EATS AN EARTHWORM [name of #25], which is an action of lowering, then CLIMB THE STEPS TO THE ROYAL COURT.
Standing on one leg, the HAWK SHOWS ITS CHEST [i.e. “spreads wings”].
WHITE GOOSE SHOWS ITS WINGS,
BLACK TIGER BLOCKS THE ROAD,
MONK HU BEGS FOR ALMS,
SWALLOW TAKES UP MUD,
TWIN DRAGONS PLAY WITH THE PEARL,
and OVERTAKING WITH THE MAGIC SPEAR.
“QIU LIU’S TECHNIQUE involves a left parry and a right palm strike.” [quoting first line of #8]
“For the GHOST KICK, go in with a front feint and then a back sweep.” [quoting from #16]
Turn around with a reddening punch,
then perform TYRANT LIFTS THE CALDRON,
HAN XIN SETS AN AMBUSH IN THE SURROUNDING HILLS,
THRUSTING TO THE FRONT AND REAR,
GUANYIN PRESENTS A PALM,
BOY PRAYS TO BUDDHA,
TURN AROUND AND CROSS THE SEA,
TURN AGAIN AND POINT THE WAY,
JINGDE LEAPS OVER THE STREAM,
SINGLE WHIP RESCUES THE LORD,
BLUE DRAGON PRESENTS A CLAW,
HUNGRY HORSE LIFTS THE BELL,
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS,
and ARHAT POUNDS THE PESTLE.
Do a LOW FOUR-LEVEL PUNCH, then perform THE KING OF QIN DRAWS HIS SWORD,
then FULL OF FILIAL PIETY, FIGHT OFF THE TIGER,
and then ZHONG KUI FALLS ON HIS SWORD.
Use PEARL ON THE BUDDHA’S HEAD, looking around the hall with seriousness,
then HAIRPIN TOWARD THE DOOR, and then COVERING HAND, REDDENING PUNCH.
Use a downward pressing hand, then step forward with sealing and catching.
Withdrawing to the rear, PUSH THE MOUNTAIN WITH BOTH PALMS,
then use ARHAT SUBDUES THE DRAGON.
Turn to the left with a reddening punch in a right horse-riding stance, then turn to the right with a reddening punch in a left horse-riding stance.
Use left & right bracing sleeves,
then turn around and perform BRUSH KNEE IN A CROSSED STANCE.
Do a palm strike, then turn around and perform INVITE A GUEST THREE TIMES.
Perform COVERING HAND, REDDENING PUNCH, then BOTH HANDS PROP UP THE BRIDGE.
Turn around, bringing a fist across, and perform PHOENIX LANDS ON THE SUNNY SLOPE.
Turn around, perform HIGH FOUR-LEVEL PUNCH [name of #21].
Perform GOLDEN ROOSTER DRIES ITS WINGS, then TRIDENT PROPS UP THE SKY.
Use left & right bracing shoulders,
then EMPEROR SUBDUES DEMONS.
Step forward and perform IRON FLAGPOLE,
step back with OFFICIAL DRAGS HIS WHIP-ROD,
and step forward again with BLUE DRAGON SWINGS ITS TAIL.
Clap together both hands, then perform IMMORTAL BEATS HIS CHEST.
[Use PHOENIX ELBOW IN A CROSSED STANCE (name of #29), then stomp and do a reddening punch twice.]
Perform IMMORTAL CARRIES THE TRAY,
NIGHT DEMON SEARCHES THE SEA,
LIUHAI CATCHES A TOAD,
and MAIDEN CARRIES THE GOLDEN BOX.
Do a throwing hand, then a gathering hand, swishing palm, deflecting hand, and pushing hand.
Perform AFFIX THE SEAL AND SEND THE LETTER.
Turn around and perform SURGE THROUGH THE BACK.
Send out a cannon strike from your chest, then perform COVERING HAND, REDDENING PUNCH.
Turn around and send out inserting kicks.
Perform FIFTH SON’S TRANSFORMATION TECHNIQUE.
Give diagonal thrusts to the temples with two flowering branches [similar to the double punch to the ears].
Withdraw and perform DOUBLE DRAGONS REACH OUT TO THE HOUSE.
Send out a cannon strike from your chest that no one would dare to get in the way of.
Step forward, sending out a seeking hand that does not fail to find.
Brush past your knee and send out an overturned punch. Then withdraw, your fighting skill worthy of bragging about.
Lure above while aiming below and give no mercy at all.
Do a stealth step and send out a flying kick to smash him.
Do three rapid spearing punches, striking as fast as the wind.
Quickly turn around, anticipating by guarding your groin.
Gather forward with LION HOLDS THE BALL.
Reach out a hand and smash him with a kick.
Turn around and do a double kick, never missing.
Drill straight through with double fists, then turn around.
Protect your knee and consolidate your ground.
Withdraw with a guarding elbow and then show him a flourish. Who would dare to resist you once you have done a powerful grab and immediately thrown him down?
Step forward with FLOOD DRAGON LEAVES THE WATER.
Strike behind, then turn around and go forward with grave intent.
Do three rapid punches, then go forward with a ward-off strike.
Performing DRAW THE BOW TO SHOOT THE TIGER, who would not be afraid? [name paraphrases “crossbow trap set in wait for a tiger” from #10]
Withdraw away from his incoming stance, then go forward with SLASHING THE GRASS.
Jump forward, following through with RED-SAND PALM.
Stabbing out to the face brings peace by “making him see stars. Who would then dare to test his skill against yours?” [quoting from #7]
CHEN CHANGXING’S TEN ESSENTIALS OF TAIJI BOXING
[The attribution to Changxing in this case is more likely to be purely honorary since the text appears to have been mostly copied from 岳武穆形意拳術要論 “The Essentials of Yue Fei’s Xingyi Boxing Art” in Li Jianqiu’s 1919 Xingyi manual.]
1. THE CORE PRINCIPLE
It is always the case that what disperses will have its way of reintegrating, what separates will have its way of rejoining.
So it is in the world. There are four compass directions, then eight, then too many to keep track of, but each has its place [meaning every specific angle of direction can be more conveniently generalized into the area it belongs within the basic compass points]. Things are numerous, then innumerable, then a haze of meaningless detail, but all things have their basic sources [by which they can be more understandably grouped and classified under].
Everything is distributed from a single source to which everything ultimately returns. The same is true in the study of boxing arts. In the case of Taiji Boxing, the endless variations consolidate into nothing but a matter of energy. Even though there is a variety of postures, there is only one energy.
This single energy goes from head to foot, inwardly filling your organs and tissues, outwardly covering your muscles and skin, and from your four limbs to your many bones, all are joined together to link into one [“a single thread”]. If smashed against, it does not leave a gap. If crashed into, it does not break apart.
When your upper body is about to move, your lower body naturally goes along with the movement. When your lower body is about to move, your upper body naturally takes charge of the movement. Once your upper body and lower body are in motion, your middle section correspondingly moves. With your middle section moving, your upper body and lower work in harmony.
Inside and out are linked together. Front and back are relying on each other. When we talk of linking into one, this is what is meant. But it is crucial that you do not force it to happen or try to sneak up on it, for that will not make it work.
When the moment comes for movement, be like a dragon or a tiger, expressing as fast as lightning, and when the moment comes for stillness, be silent and calm, staying put as stable as a mountain. When still, all parts are still, inside and out, above and below, and without any part feeling out of place. When moving, all parts are moving, left or right, forward or back, and without any part pulling the posture off course. Truly it is like water as it fills in downward, too much to be resisted, or like a cannon going off, too fast for you to cover your ears.
There is no contrivance of pondering, nor any worrying about plans, for truly it will happen in its own time. To get any benefit means the energy has to be built up day after day, and that means working at it for a long time for that to begin to happen. As for the wise teaching of the “single thread” [Lun Yu, 4.15 & 15.3], you must be patient and hear it many times until it is deeply ingrained, “broadening your knowledge to gain understanding” [from the “Da Xue”, chapter 42 of the Book of Rites], and therefore be aware that it is not a matter of difficulty or ease, just a process of doing your best.
You must not skip steps or rush through it, but go step by step and in the right order. That being the case, your bones, limbs, sinews, and sections will link up naturally, above and below, inside and out, smoothly connecting. Thereby the dispersed are reintegrated, the separated rejoined, and all your limbs and bones returned to being a single energy.
There has never been anything in the world that will maintain its state forever without reversing its condition, nothing that stays perfectly consistent without its course becoming corrupted. Because a thing has opposite states built into it, it will at some point reverse its condition. This is an eternal principle.
It is usually the case that a discussion of boxing is simultaneously a discussion of energy. Energy is a single thing, but it can be divided into two parts, such as the two parts of breathing. Breathing breaks down into passive and active aspects. As punching cannot happen without its states of movement [punching] and stillness [not yet punching / having already punched], so too breathing cannot be without its exhaling and inhaling: exhaling is active and inhaling is passive.
Rising is active and lowering is passive. Active energy rising is active, but active energy lowering is passive. Passive energy lowering is passive, but passive energy rising is active. These are distinctions between passive and active. What about “clear” and “murky”? What rises is clear and what lowers is murky. The clear is active and the murky is passive.
When separated, they are described as the passive and active aspects. When mixed together, they are described as a single energy. Energy cannot be without its passive and active aspects. Along the same lines, the body cannot be without its movement and stillness, the nose cannot be without its inhalations and exhalations, and the mouth cannot be without what comes out from it [as in talking] and what goes into it [as in eating].
This is the concept of the eternal cycling of opposites. Although energy divides into two, the two are actually one, and so if you are intent upon this path of study, be careful not to get too obsessed over either of the two [at the expense of the one].
3. THE THREE SECTIONS
Energy fills your whole body, but the body is divided into many sections and subsections, too many to discuss without going off on a long tangent away from discussing martial arts, and so we will simply divide the body into three general sections of an upper section, a middle section, and a lower section, as well as a root section, a middle section, and a tip section for the limbs.
For instance, in the body, the head is the upper section, the chest area is the middle section, and the legs are the lower section.
In the upper section [the head], the forehead is the upper section, the nose is the middle section, and the mouth is the lower section.
In the middle section [the torso], the chest is the upper section, the belly is the middle section, and the elixir field is the lower section.
In the leg, the hip is the root section, the knee is the middle section, and the foot is the tip section.
Correspondingly in the arm, the shoulder is the root section, the elbow is the middle section, and the hand is the tip section.
In the hand, the wrist is the root section, the palm is the middle section, and the fingers are the tip section.
Based on the previous example, it is then obvious enough how the foot is to be sectioned [ankle, sole, toes].
Thus from your headtop to your feet, every part has three sections. The point is that if there is no dividing into three sections, there will be no areas of awareness. If the upper section is not understood, there will be no decisiveness. If the middle section is not understood, your torso will be an empty nothing. If the lower section is not understood, you will be toppled over. Therefore we cannot afford to overlook the body’s three sections.
When expressing energy, it has to be the case that all the tips move, the middle sections follow, and the root sections hasten to back them up. This describes how the sections are divided.
To describe how they join, then from headtop above to foot below, all the limbs and bones are united into a single section, in which case it can no longer be said that there are three, and certainly not three within three. [The final message of this discussion of division is thus to return to the first principle of unification.]
4. THE FOUR ANTENNAS
Examining beyond the sections of the body, there are then the “four antennas”. The antennas are the leftover parts of the body. They are not addressed initially when discussing the body, and hardly dealt with at all when discussing the energy. A punch expresses outward from inside, and energy goes from the body into the antennas. Thus if the use of energy does not come from the whole body, it is empty rather than authentic, and if it does not reveal itself in the antennas, then even if it is there, it is still empty. The antennas must therefore also be given attention. The hands and feet may be the extremities, but they are not the endpoints.
What then are the four antennas?  Firstly, there is the head hair. It has nothing to do with the organs or limbs, and thus would appear to be irrelevant, but the hair is the antenna for the blood, and the blood is the sea in which the energy swims. Although it is not necessary to consider the hair when talking about the energy, we cannot talk about the energy without considering the blood. So since we have to consider the blood, how can we not at the same time consider the hair? The hair should be pricking up under the cap, which indicates the blood is in a state of sufficiency.
 The tongue is then the antenna for the muscles. The muscles are a sack for holding the energy. If the energy is not able to reveal itself in the tongue, then the energy is not at full capacity. If the tongue keeps wanting to press up behind the teeth, this indicates that the muscles are in a state of sufficiency.
 The teeth are the antenna for the bones, and  the nails are the antenna for the sinews. Energy is born in the bones and unites with the sinews, and so if it is not apparent in the teeth, it will also not show up in the nails, and if it does not show up in the nails, it will not manifest in the sinews. For the energy to indicate sufficiency, the teeth will be wanting to bite through sinew and the nails will be wanting to scratch through bone.
Once they are thus, the four antennas are in a state of sufficiency, and that being so, naturally the energy will be too. It will then not be the case that it is empty rather than authentic, nor that even if it is there, it is still empty.
5. THE FIVE ORGANS
In boxing arts, we discuss postures, and to do that, we discuss energy. The posture is made by the five organs in the body, for the energy is generated from the five organs. The five organs are truly the source of our life force and the basis of generating energy. They are the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys.
The heart relates to the element of fire, which blazes upward. The liver relates to the element of wood, which bends and straightens. The spleen relates to the element of earth, which supplies abundance. The lungs relate to the element of metal, which obeys and overthrows. The kidneys relate to the element of water, which soaks downward. These are the relationships for the five organs. Their energies must be maintained at the right level, for they each play their role within a cooperative whole, and this is why a discussion of boxing arts has to address this concept.
Within the chest is where the lung energy is positioned. It is the canopy for the other organs. When the lungs move, the other organs are unavoidably affected. At the center of the chest is the heart. The lungs are wrapped over it and protect it. Under the lungs and above the diaphragm is where the heart energy is positioned. The heart is ruler over [the other body parts associated with] the element of fire. When it moves, all the other fire correspondences [such as the vessels, the blood, and the tongue] accord with it. Behind the ribs on the right side is the liver, and on the left side is the spleen. To the sides of the lumbar vertebrae are the kidneys. Positioned in the waist, the kidneys are the first stage in the processing of innate energy and are thus the basis for the other organs. When the kidney fluid is sufficient, all of the five elements have vitality. This explains the positioning of the five organs.
The five organs have their fixed positions within, but also have special areas of association throughout the body. However, they are too numerous to describe here [though there was plenty of room for them in Li Jianqiu’s book]. More general relationships in the body are: central areas are related to the heart, hollowed areas are related to the lungs, boney areas are related to the kidneys, sinewy areas are related to the liver, and muscular areas are related to the spleen.
To analogize their intentions, the heart is like a fierce tiger, the liver like an arrow, the spleen energy is great and inexhaustible, the lung energy is the most aware of change, and the kidney energy moves fast as the wind. The right practitioner will naturally intuit these things, whereas words are simply not adequate to get the message across.
6. THREE UNIONS
Once the five organs have been understood, then the concept of “three unions” has to be discussed. Mind is united with the intention, energy united with power, sinews united with bones – these are the three internal unions. Hand is united with foot, elbow united with knee, shoulder united with hip – these are three external unions.
If it is left hand united with right foot, left elbow united with right knee, left shoulder united with right hip, then right hand united with left foot, and so on, would also be true. In addition, head is united with hand, hand united with torso, torso united with step. Are these not external unions? Heart is united with eye, liver united with sinew, spleen united with muscle, lungs united with torso, kidneys united with bones. Are these not internal unions? But these are special variations of the term. The main idea is that when one part moves, every part moves, and when one part finishes, every part finishes. The five organs and hundred bones are automatic participants in this principle.
7. THE SIX ADVANCINGS
Once the three unions have been understood, there is then the concept of “six advancings”.
[1 – head] The head is the source of the six active meridians and is the commander of the whole body, from senses to bones. There is no part that does not rely on it, therefore the head must advance.
[2 – forearm] The hand is the first to go forth, but it is rooted in the forearm. If the forearm does not advance, the hand cannot go forward, therefore the forearm must also advance.
[3 – waist] Energy gathers in the wrist, but its engine lies in the waist. If the waist does not advance, the energy will not have enough energy to manifest. This is why it is important for the waist to advance.
[4 – step] Intention courses through the whole body, but movement lies in the stepping. If the step does not advance, the intention is unable to proceed. This is why it is essential for the step to advance.
[5 & 6 – right & left] Furthermore, when going forward with your left, you must advance your right, and when going forward with your right, you must advance your left.
These are the six parts that advance, each of them involved in the effort. The key to it is that before you advance, there should be no intention of movement anywhere in your body, and then when you decide to advance, your whole body acts without holding back.
8. THE BODY’S METHODS
Sending out your hand to strike the opponent depends entirely on help from the body. What are the methods for the body? To release and rein in, to go high and go low, to advance and retreat, to turn behind and turn to either side.
To release is to express power, sending it all in one direction so it does not get turned back. To rein in is to bind up power, building it up so no one will be able to resist it.
To go high is to raise the body up so it seems to be lengthened. To go low is to bow the body down so it seems to be squeezed in.
When it is time to advance, I advance, overwhelming his strength by valiantly charging straight in. When it is time to retreat, I retreat, luring his energy in so that he overcommits and falls forward.
When turning around to face behind, what is behind becomes what is in front. When facing to the left and right, I ensure no one dare attack me from the side.
It is important that these points not be turned into a restrictive formula. I must first observe an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, which will give me my strategy. I suddenly release and suddenly rein in, adjusting according to the situation, for I must not be stubborn about when to use one or the other. I go suddenly high or suddenly low, adapting as circumstances demand, for I must not hold to a preconceived pattern.
When it is appropriate to advance, I must not retreat and thereby make myself timid.
When it is appropriate to retreat, I should retreat, and yet with a readiness to advance. Therefore, advancing is a matter of advancing whole-heartedly, and retreating is also actually a matter of advancing.
When I turn around to face behind me, I have no notion of it as being behind. When I face to either side, I have no notion of them as being a left or a right. To sum up, operations are in your sight and adaptations are in your mind. [To clarify the summing up, your view of the situation is always forward and your sense of your changing surroundings is always inside you.]
Once these essentials have been grasped, they will become the basis for the whole body. When going forward, every limb will move uncommanded, and when withdrawing, every bone will arrive without a thought. However, these things first have to be discussed in order to be realized.
9. STEPPING PRINCIPLES
For your four limbs and your many bones, your movement is presided over by your stepping. Your step provides the base for your body and the crux for its movement. When fighting with an opponent, it is always the case that you are to use your whole body. But without your step, your body really has nothing to stand on. Adapting according to the situation lies with your hands, but the capacity for your hands to maneuver lies with your stepping.
When advancing or retreating, turning around or to the sides, you will have no vehicle to drive you there unless you step. When raising or lowering, expanding or contracting, you will show no ingenuity of adaptation unless you step. We say that “operations are in your sight and adaptations are in your mind”, and therefore you are to twist and turn in endless variations to stay out of danger, but this cannot happen without the step being in charge. However, it is crucial that you do not try to force this.
The movement begins mindlessly, its motivation arising unconsciously. When your body is about to move forward, your step [with the front foot] turns outward [to prepare]. When your hand is about to move forward, your step [with the rear foot] is already hastening forward. This quality will happen in its own time, arriving without your steering it, and is what is meant by “your upper body is about to move, your lower body naturally goes along with the movement”.
Stepping divides into front and rear, fixed and unfixed. When the front foot advances and the rear foot follows, they are fixed [i.e. front foot remaining forward, rear foot remaining in the rear]. When the front foot becomes the rear foot or the rear foot becomes the front foot, whether it be because of the front foot becoming the rear foot by way of the rear foot stepping forward, or because of the rear foot becoming the front foot by way of the front foot stepping back, they are unfixed [i.e. front foot and rear foot switching roles].
It is always the case in boxing theory that the crucial thing to grasp is the stepping. Whether you are lively or not is a matter of stepping. Whether you are nimble or not is a matter of stepping. The function of stepping is a huge factor.
10. HARDNESS & SOFTNESS
Applying boxing skills is simply a matter of energy and posture. Energy divides into strong and weak. Posture divides into hard and soft. Those with a strong energy incline toward postures of hardness. Those with a weak energy incline toward postures of softness. Hardness uses a thousand pounds of force to defeat a hundred. Softness uses a hundred pounds of force to defeat a thousand. This difference between emphasizing force or emphasizing skill is the reason we distinguish between hardness and softness.
Once this distinction is clear, there is a further distinction as to how we express them during movement. When energy flows outward and there is a calm solidity maintained within [i.e. motion outside, stillness inside], that is a posture of hardness. When energy gathers inward and there is a delicate mildness shown outwardly [motion inside, stillness outside], that is a posture of softness.
When using hardness, it must not be completely without softness, for if there is no softness at all, actions of coiling will lack swiftness. When using softness, it must not be completely without hardness, for if there is no hardness at all, actions of crowding will lack decisiveness. With hardness and softness properly complementing each other, the actions of sticking, adhering, connecting, following, agitating, evading, folding, emptying, warding off, rolling back, pressing, and pushing will all be executed with naturalness. You cannot decide to use only hardness or only softness. You have to have both. To apply martial techniques, this point must not be ignored.
KEYS TO APPLYING MARTIAL TECHNIQUES
[Much of this text is also drawn from “The Essentials of Yue Fei’s Xingyi Boxing Art”.]
Here’s a secret: “A punch starts from your mind, the fist following the path of your intention. You should always know both yourself and your opponent, and respond according to the situation.”
Mind and energy express as one. Your limbs act together. When stepping, it is a matter of direction. When turning around, it is a matter of position. Sometimes stick and flow, sometimes connect and follow. Sometimes leap and evade, sometimes turn and disappear. Sometimes ward-off and rollback, sometimes press and push.
Your punch can reach past three feet, but no farther than about five feet. When distant, do not send out your elbow. When near, do not send out your hand. Whether going forward or back, left or right, step with your punch [to get the fullest range]. You definitely need to be able to reach the opponent, and yet it will be even more effective if you can do it without telegraphing what you are up to.
Boxing arts are like combat arts. [Art of War, chapter 7:] “Appear where he does not expect. Attack where he is not prepared.” Attack and surprise. Surprise and attack. When he is empty, fill. When he is full, empty. To “avoid superior force and attack inferior” [AoW, chapter 6] takes care of both the first step and the last. When surrounded, fend them off with all the vigor of a dragon or a tiger. When facing a single attacker, simply obliterate him with your biggest guns.
Above, middle, and below should have an energy between them that is kept consistent. Body, hands, and feet should be bound together by acting in coordination. Though your hands should not rise and lower meaninglessly, proficient skill is entirely a matter of liveliness.
Previous generations said: “Be able to evade or engage, to harden or soften, to advance or retreat.” “Be as still as a mountain, as confusing as the alternations of the passive and active aspects, as limitless as the universe, as full as a warehouse, as vast as the ocean, as dazzling as the sun, moon, and stars.” “Observe for opportunities presented by his incoming attacks, sizing up his strengths and weaknesses.” “Await movement with stillness. Meet stillness with movement.” You will then be in a position to discuss boxing arts.
Here’s a secret: “A technique of borrowing his force is the easy way. A technique of going against his force is difficult. But if you revert to going against his force, the key is to get there first.”
It says in writings on combat: “Strike fiercely and he will not be able to withstand you. Go directly forward and you will seize his center. Striking above or below, move like a tiger. Seem like an eagle descending on chickens in a coop. Having ‘diverted the river and turned back the sea’ [signifying a stupendous achievement], you do not need to be in a rush. Because ‘the phoenix has landed on the sunny slope’ [signifying the arrival of talent], your ability has become potent. When sun and moon go behind clouds, the world is changed. When martial artists clash, inferior and superior become apparent.”
Here’s a secret: “Advancing on an opponent requires advancing with your body. When body and hands are working in unison, then it is right. The trick to this is to study the principles [specifically of unification], and then it will seem miraculous.”
Previous generations had this philosophy of evade and advance, of attack and defense: “What are evading and advancing? Advancing is an evasion. Evading is an advance. It is not necessary to think about this too hard. What are attacking and defending? Defending is an attack. Attacking is a defense. Just shoot out your hand.”
Previous generations said: “Mind like gunpowder, fist like a bullet – with just a nudge of the trigger [i.e. with the merest thought], the bird cannot escape. Body like a bow, hand like an arrow – with the thrum of the bowstring, the bird falls like magic.” “Lift your hand like lightning flashing. When lightning flashes, there is no chance to close your eyes. Strike the opponent like thunder clapping. When thunder claps, there is no chance to cover your ears.” “As your left hand goes out, your right hand comes in. As your right hand goes out, your left hand comes in.” “Your fist shoots out from your center and comes down forward heavily, while your foot forcefully lifts and steps quickly through his center like surging fire.”
Stand on your right foot to advance with your left, then stand on your left foot to advance with your right. When stepping, first the heel comes down, then the toes grip the ground. The step should be steady and the body should stand sturdy. Leave the hand loose, then connect with a completed fist. Above and below, the energy should be even. Going out and coming back is controlled by your body. Let no part overemphasize nor underemphasize, nothing acting independently. Punch from the center, putting the power of your whole body into the hand. When one limb moves, the whole body moves along with it. When one part bends in, the whole body bends in, and when one part reaches out, the whole body reaches out. When reaching out, extend as far as you can. When bending in, curl up tightly. It is like a cannon that has been tightly packed, which will then shoot that much more powerfully.
It says in writings on combat: “Regardless of what kind of attack, be it lifting up, pressing down, striking out, thrusting through, shouldering, elbowing, using the hip, kicking, headbutting, using the hand to attack high or low, with the front hand and foot the same, the front hand and foot opposite, or whether it is done while advancing or retreating, interrupting his force, borrowing his force, or whether it be upward or downward, the various means of attack should all flow continuously one after the other.”
To arrive first and occupy the best position is a key principle of combat. Your joints should be coordinated. If they are not coordinated, there will be no power. When grabbing, the hand should be nimble. If it is not nimble, the opponent will adjust his position and get away. When attacking, the hand should be quick. If it is not quick, it will be too late. Your hands should strike with ruthlessness. If not ruthless, your actions will be inefficient. Your feet and hands should be lively. If not lively, you will be taking risks. Keep your mind sharp. If not, you will get tricked.
When attacking: “You should have the fierceness of an eagle. Be ruthless and daring, quick-witted and flowing. Never fear nor hesitate. Be like Guan Yu at the Battle of Baima or Zhao Yun at the Battle of Changban, invincible, striking awe into the enemy, breaking through waves of troops. In stillness, be like a mountain. In movement, be like a thunderclap.”
Here’s a secret: “The opponent’s incoming attacks should be carefully observed. If his head goes forward, he is about to kick. If his shoulder twitches, he is about to punch. If his torso turns sideways, he is about to step forward. If his torso leans in, he is about to leap at you.”
When a foot is coming, lift your knee. When a fist is coming, deflect it with your forearm. When he attacks directly, knock it away from the side. When he attacks from the side, prop up or press down. When he attacks with his left, connect to it with your right. When an attacks with his right, receive it with your left. At a distance, strike with hand or foot. When close in, strike with elbow or knee.
Consider the surrounding environment so as to strike from a superior position. Your hands should be quick, but your feet should be light, stepping like a cat stalking its prey. Your mind should be decisive and your gaze should be focused. When your hands and body act in unison, you are sure to win. If your hand arrives but your step does not, your attack on an opponent will not have its fullest effect, but if hand and step arrive at the same time, the defeat of the opponent will be like pushing grass aside.
It says in writings on combat: “Fighting experts first tend to the position of their feet, then perform their hand techniques.” “When attacking above, go for the throat. When below, go for the groin. When to the side, go for the ribs. When to the middle, go for the solar plexus. When attacking forward, the range can go beyond ten feet [by combining stepping with the hand technique]. When close in, it all happens within an inch.”
Here are some secrets: “When practicing, there seems to be an opponent in front of you. When fighting, it is as though no one is there.” “Do not fixate on a hand heading toward your face as being a hand nor an elbow heading toward your chest as being an elbow [instead focusing on the opponent as a whole].” “Once your hand rises up, your foot should be coming down. Once your foot comes down, your hand should be rising up.”
Your mind should be ahead of the opponent’s, your intention should defeat him, your body should attack him, and your step should walk through him. Your head should lift, your chest should go forward, your waist should be upright, and your elixir field should wield energy. From head to foot, there is a continuous flow.
It says in writings on combat: “If you are afraid, you will lose, and if you are incapable of observing a situation, you will not even be able to protect yourself.”
The one who moves first becomes the teacher. The one who moves after becomes the student. If you can be taught, you will want to advance. If you cannot be taught, you will want to retreat. Your courage should expand, but your mind should focus. Skillful application is entirely a matter of concentration. Starting from the core principle, wield the two energies, move the three sections, display the four antennas, unite the five elements, and so on. Constantly practice, daily transform. In the beginning, there is effort. After a long time, there is naturalness. The way of boxing arts is nothing more than this.
GENERAL EXPLANATIONS OF TAIJI BOXING FUNDAMENTALS – GROSS MOVEMENTS by Chen Jifu of Chen Family Village, Wen County, Henan
“Move with whole-body coordination, no part moving on its own.”
TAIJI BOXING BEGINNING POSTURE
Standing where you are, submerge your mind and calm your energy. Your heels are just over half a foot apart, toes turned slightly outward. See photo 1:
Your hands then lift up and push downward, the fingers pointing forward. Your body and arms are straightened. Your gaze is level.
ARHAT POUNDS THE MORTAR
Your hands in unison draw a circle, going upward from below and then from left to right, your left hand arriving in front of your chest, your right hand facing halfway to the right. Then your left foot extends forward, the toes pointing upward, the heel expressing strength, and your left hand reaches forward. Your right hand and right foot follow them forward, your right hand becoming a fist and going to the outside of your left hand, then downward from above to come down on top of your left palm, your right toes pointing downward, lightly touching down just over half a foot away from the middle of your left foot, which is fully on the ground. Your right hand and right foot then rise together and pound together, your right foot coming down just over half a foot away from your left heel, your right fist again coming down onto your left palm, both hands just over half a foot away from your solar plexus, your elbows bent outward. Your gaze is level. Your headtop has an energy of fullness. Your intention descends. See photo 2:
LAZILY PULLING BACK THE ROBE
Your hands spread apart, your right hand arcing downward from above, your left hand arcing upward from below, your hands drawing a large circle, neither one moving before or after the other, arcing in unison to cross in front of your chest, left hand on the inside, right hand on the outside, as your right leg extends to the right, the toes turned slightly outward. Then your right knee bends, your crotch opening to become rounded, your left toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your left hand arcs downward and aside to arrive at your left ribs and hold your waist, the thumb behind, the four fingers in front, the elbow sinking down, and your right hand arcs out to the right from in front of your chest, the fingers together, the palm spreading away to be facing halfway forward. Your body is upright. Loosen your shoulders and settle your waist. Your gaze is diagonal toward your right fingertips. Your intention descends. See photo 3:
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS
Your left hand goes in front of your chest, your feet staying where they are, as you draw in your right hand upward from below, and send it from left to right [i.e. making a clockwise circle]. Then both hands push out to the right, your left foot going along with your left hand by doing a follow step to the right, the toes pointing downward, lightly touching down about six inches away from the middle of your right foot. Your right hand is forward, fingertips pointing upward, palm facing outward, and your left hand is behind it, fingertips pointing upward, palm facing inward. Your hands are about a foot apart. See photo 4:
[No explanation is given here for the name 六封四閉, literally “six sealing four closing”. It seems likely that it is a variant of 六合四門 “the six unions and four gates” (the six unions being front-back, left-right, up-down, the four gates being north, south, east, west), which is an elaborate way of saying “all directions”, thus it has been rendered here as SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS. The version of the name in Yang Style is 如封似閉 “as though sealing, as though closing”. The common ground between the Chen version and Yang version is “sealing”. Chen Ziming in his 1932 manual considers this to be merely a transitional posture before moving in a completely different direction. It seems reasonable to establish an awareness of everything around you before changing direction, and so this moment is possibly more of an acknowledgment of a principle rather than a proper posture in its own right.]
With your feet staying where they are, your right hand closes inward from the outside, going downward from above, its five fingers pinching together, then spreads away outward, your left elbow spreading away to the left until the hand is in front of your chest. Then intention sinks into your right leg, your left leg extends to the left, the toes turned toward the left, and your right toes hook inward, your left knee bending, your right thigh bracing upward, as the fingers of your right hand hang downward, almost forming a hook, and your left hand arcs outward from in front of your chest to the right [left], the slower the better, with the fingers spread and pointing upward, the hand facing halfway forward. Your arms are spread open, but are slightly closed inward, shoulders loosening downward, elbows sinking down. Your body is upright, but your intention is that of descending. You are gazing toward your left fingertips out of the corner of your eye. See photo 5:
ARHAT POUNDS THE MORTAR
Same as before [Posture 2], except that in that case you were facing forward, whereas in this case you are turned to the left. See photo 6:
WHITE GOOSE SHOWS ITS WINGS
Your feet staying where they are, your arms spread apart, your right hand arcing downward from above, your left hand arcing upward from below, your hands drawing a large circle which brings them together in front of your solar plexus as your right foot takes a half step diagonally to the right rear. Then your hands again spread apart, your right hand going upward until over your left [right] temple, your left hand going downward until over your left knee, your left foot following your right foot, toes touching down about six inches away from the middle of your right foot. Your knees slightly bend, thereby opening your crotch, and your waist has an energy of sinking down. Your gaze is forward. See photo 7:
Your right hand arcs diagonally from right to left at ear level, the palm facing forward, as your left hand goes to the rear, upward from below, passes your left ear, and lowers to be in front of your chest, the weight settled onto your right leg. Then your left leg extends diagonally to the left and the foot comes down fully, the toes slightly turned inward, the knee bending, your crotch opening to become rounded, your right toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your left elbow arcs below your left knee and the arm spreads away to the left, the fingers pinching together and hanging down, and your right hand arcs away from your right ear, the fingers pointing upward. Your gaze is toward your right fingertips. Loosen your shoulders and sink your elbows, energy descending. Your arms align with each other in such way that they seem to be making a bow shape. Your hands and feet are aligned toward the four corners, like the four corners of the eight trigrams diagram, hence “diagonal shape”. See photo 8:
BRUSHING PAST THE KNEE
Your hands brush past your left knee as your left foot withdraws, the toes touching down in front of your right foot. Your right foot is full, left foot empty, knees slightly bent, and your crotch has an energy of slightly closing. With your elbows slightly bent, your hands then extend, the fingers of both hands pointing upward, your left hand over your left knee and aligned with your left foot, your right hand over your right knee and aligned with your right foot. Your gaze is forward toward your left fingertips. (This is a method of “shrinking the body”.) See photo 9:
Your left hand reaches farther forward, then your left foot goes diagonally forward a small step, your left hand arcing to the rear, and then your right hand arcs away with a small circle to the rear [and back to the front] as your right leg wades forward, your right foot jumping in front of your left foot, the weight settling onto your right leg. See photo 10:
Your left leg will then extend diagonally forward to the left side as your left hand closes inward and your right hand spreads outward to the rear, and you will continue into DIAGONAL SHAPE.
DIAGONAL SHAPE [same as before (Posture 8)] – See photo 11:
BRUSHING PAST THE KNEE [same as before (Posture 9)] – See photo 12:
TWISTED STEPPING [same as before (Posture 10)] – See photo 13:
COVERING HAND, FOREARM PUNCH
Once your right foot has jumped forward with the twisted step, the weight shifts onto your right leg, then your left leg extends diagonally a half step to the left and both feet are now down fully, your left toes slightly turned inward, your right toes slightly hooking inward, your right thigh bracing inward, your left knee bending. At the same time, your right hand becomes a fist and slightly pulls back, your left palm closing outward [inward], and then the fist strikes out forward at solar plexus level, your left elbow striking out toward the rear, your left palm facing upward against your left ribs. Before your right fist strikes, the back of the hand is facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing outward. The fist turns over on its way out so that once it has struck, the back of the hand is facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing inward. Your intention descends and then energy is expressed at the “four antennas”. Your body is upright. Your gaze is toward the top knuckles of your right fist. Your right heel is twisted outward. Your waist has an energy of sinking down and your headtop has an energy of fullness. Do not allow your body to lean forward. See photo 14:
ARHAT POUNDS THE MORTAR
Same as before, this time facing the same direction as in Posture 2 [rather than Posture 6]. See photo 15:
Your hands spread apart downward as your left foot spreads away about a foot to the left, then your forearms draw large circles that arc outward, go upward from below, and bring your hands in to cross in front of your chest about four inches away from your solar plexus, the weight shifting to your left leg. Then your right leg extends a large step to the right, toes slightly turned outward, and the knee bends, your left toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward like a coiled spring, as your right shoulder and elbow arc below your right knee. (This technique contains the intention of the “seven-inch” bumping.) See photo 16.1:
Then your left hand spreads away to the left and the forearm draws a large circle that arcs inward, bringing the hand toward your left ear, downward in front of your chest, and spreading away outward so that the hand is grabbing your waist, the thumb behind, the four fingers in front, the elbow flinging inward, as your right hand becomes a fist and pulls back toward your right temple, the forearm forming a rounded brace. Your gaze is toward the tip of your left foot. There are three tips in a line: the tip of your right fist, the tip of your left elbow, the tip of your left foot. Your right ribs are opening toward the right, your left ribs closing inward. Intention descends to your elixir field and energy expresses at the four antennas. (In this posture, your whole body is closed on the left side. This helps to concentrate the power of the rightward strike in the following posture. These two postures together have an intention of “threatening to the east but then striking to the west”.) See photo 16.2:
BLUE DRAGON LEAVES THE WATER
With your feet staying where they are, your right fist sinks down, the forearm rotating outward and closing inward, then the fist strikes out diagonally forward and downward, your left hand at the same time spreading away outward, arcing upward from below, forward from the rear, and arriving in front of your chest. When your right fist issues power, your left elbow at the same time suddenly strikes out to the left, the palm facing upward against your left ribs. While your hands arc, your crotch has an energy of curling inward and your knees alternately perform a twist [left knee, then right knee]. When your fist strikes out, your lower body finishes in the same position as in the DRAPING-BODY PUNCH. Your right shoulder is closing inward, your left shoulder opening outward. (Contained within this technique is an intention of “golden silk coiling around a pole”.) See photo 17.1:
An alternate posture to this is the BACK-FOLDING BUMP. See photo 17.2:
Your left hand first goes in front of your chest, toward your right hand, and your hands arc from right to left. Then your right foot takes a step forward with the foot sideways as your hands push to the right, your left foot following to the right, toes touching down about six inches away from the middle of your right foot. Your gaze is toward the fingertips of both hands. See photo 18:
GUARDING FIST UNDER THE ELBOW
Your right heel expresses strength and pivots around, turning the toes inward, your left foot withdrawing to the left, so that you are facing to the left. At the same time, your left forearm goes from the front to the rear, then upward from below, drawing a large circle so that the elbow is positioned hanging down with the hand leading upward, the fingers pointing upward, as your right forearm goes outward from the inside and then from right to left so that the palm is facing upward underneath your left elbow [despite the “fist” in the name of the posture]. Your right elbow is making a rounded shape just over half a foot away from your torso. Your gaze is forward. Your waist has an energy of sinking down, energy returning to your elixir field. See photo 19:
RETREAT WITH TWISTING FOREARMS
Your right hand arcs forward, going along with the direction of your right foot, and your left hand arcs to the rear, going along with the direction of your left foot as your left foot retreats, the leg straightening, toes touching down. Your left hand is leading the left half of your body and your right hand is leading the right half of your body. Your forearms each arc inward from the outside, your hands each going upward from below, making a large circle. See photo 20.1:
Your feet alternately press to the rear, each leading its respective half of the body as your body alternately turns to each side. See photo 20.2 [which now shows the right foot stepping back]:
Your waist has an energy of sinking. Your chest is empty and your lower abdomen is full. Energy in your elixir field moves outward, like wind urging a windmill to turn. Your gaze is forward. Your left foot retreats two steps and your right foot retreats one step [therefore retreating left, right, left]. Your hands will then rollback to the left and cross each other [to transition into the following posture].
WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS (same as before [Posture 7]) – See photo 21:
DIAGONAL SHAPE [same as before (Posture 8)] – See photo 22:
SURGE THROUGH THE BACK
Your elbows sink down, your feet staying where they are, and your hands do a rollback to the right, your left hand finishing in front of your chest, your right hand finishing to the outside of your right ribs. Then your right forearm draws a large circle upward and inward to do a rollback together with your left hand, your left foot withdrawing, your right heel twisting to turn the toes inward, your left toes touching down beside the middle of your right foot. Once the rollback has brought your left hand to the outside of your left ribs and your right hand in front of your right ribs, your left hand turns to go upward behind you and your right hand covers downward, the shoulder following it down, your buttocks sticking up, your right hand closing toward your left foot. See photo 23:
Your right palm then props up, going along your left leg until above your left knee, your left hand pressing down until level behind your buttocks, and your left foot jumps in front of your right foot, the weight shifting onto your left leg with the foot pivoting inward as your right foot jumps behind your left foot, your right forearm arcing upward and then lowering in unison with your right foot, the weight shifting onto your right leg, your left forearm arcing inward, the hand covering inward. (Your left foot will then go diagonally a half step to the left to perform COVERING HAND, FOREARM PUNCH.) This technique uses energy from your elixir field to turn your body all the way around, switching emptiness to fullness and fullness to emptiness, luring the opponent in.
COVERING HAND, FOREARM PUNCH – See photo 24:
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS – See photo 25:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR – See photo 26:
(The three postures above are all performed the same as before [in Postures 14, 4, and 5].)
Your left hand comes inward to be in front of your chest, then arcs out to the left from above, your left foot going along with your left hand by arcing outward from the inside. As your left hand and left foot arc to the left, your right hand arcs to be in front of your chest, going downward from above, and your right foot follows your left foot. See photo 27.1:
Your hands then alternate arcing inward in front of your chest and then outward to be no more than eighty percent extended. They go no higher than nose level, no lower than navel level. Your feet also alternately step toward the left, each foot coming down fully as it does so. When your left hand arcs to the left, your gaze goes toward your left hand. When your right hand arcs to the right, your gaze goes toward your right hand. See photo 27.2:
Sink your elbows, pull down your ribs, loosen your shoulders, and liven your body. The movement recycles ceaselessly. This technique has an intention of raising up in order to press down and pressing down in order to raise up.
RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE
After waving toward the left, your right foot goes a half step diagonally to the right as your hands cross in front of your chest about six inches away from your solar plexus and then spread apart in unison. Then your right heel expresses strength, the toes turning inward, your left foot withdrawing behind, the toes pointing downward, touching down just over a foot away from the middle of your right foot, as your left hand draws a small circle in front of your chest that brings the palm facing upward against the front of your left ribs and your right hand pushes out forward from your right ear, the fingers pointing upward, the palm facing halfway forward. Your knees are slightly bent, your tailbone tucked in. Your intention descends. Your gaze is toward the fingertips of your right hand. See photo 28:
RIGHT INSERTING KICK
Your shoulders loosen and your hands go to the left, then your left foot hops forward a half step, jumping in front of your right foot, as your hands cross, coming together in front of your chest about four inches away from your solar plexus. Then your right foot kicks upward as your hands spread apart in unison, your left hand striking out to the rear, your right hand striking forward onto the top of your right foot. Energy settles onto your left leg. Your gaze is forward. See photo 29:
LEFT INSERTING KICK (same as on the right side [except with left and right reversed]) – See photo 30:
PRESSING WITH A HEEL
After shooting out the LEFT INSERTING KICK, do not bring it down, instead let it hang from the inside of your crotch, as your right heel expresses strength and turns its toes inward, your hands coming together about four inches away from your solar plexus. See photo 31:
Then your right foot forcefully presses down as your right [left] foot presses out, your hands spreading apart to the west [east and west].
WADE FORWARD, TWISTED STEPPING
Your left foot comes down, your right hand arcing to the rear, then your right foot steps forward, your right hand spreading across forward [moving inward], and your left foot jumps forward to be in front of your right foot, your left hand going inward to spread across forward, your right hand arcing outward toward the rear. See photo 32:
IMMORTAL HANDLES EVERYTHING
Your left knee bends, the toes turning slightly inward, your right foot hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your left hand becomes a fist and goes diagonally to the left, spreading away upward, and your right hand becomes a fist and strikes downward in front of you. Your left shoulder opens outward as your right shoulder closes inward. (This posture therefore contains the intention of the BACK-FOLDING BUMP.) See photo 33:
Your right fist thrusts upward as your left toes turn inward and your right foot withdraws to the right, the toes touching down about six inches away from the middle of your left foot. Then your left hand goes upward from below, outward from the inside, going from your left ribs, as your left foot lifts, your right hand going inward from the outside toward your [right] ear. Then your right foot flies up, your right hand striking the top of the foot, energy expressing at the four antennas. (This posture is technique of jumping up.) See photo 34:
Your hands do a rollback to the left, your right foot withdrawing, the weight settled onto your left leg. Then your right leg extends diagonally to the right, the toes slightly turned inward, and the knee bends, your left toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your right elbow arcs out from below your right knee [and then inward above], your left hand spreading away outward to the left and then inward from the outside until in front of your chest, guarding your heart about a third of a foot in front of your solar plexus, the center of the fist facing inward. Energy is descending, returning to your elixir field. (This technique contains the intention of the “seven-inch” elbowing.) See photo 35:
Your hands do a rollback to the left, crossing in front of your chest about a third of a foot away from your solar plexus. Then your right foot goes forward with a twisting half step, the weight going onto your right heel, and your hands spread apart as your left foot flies up in an inward arc, your right [left] hand going to the right [left] to strike the inside edge of your left foot. See photo 36:
With strength expressing at your right heel, the toes are turning outward to the right as you spin around a complete circle to be facing where you started, both feet coming down fully and about three quarters of a foot apart. Your knees are slightly bent, tailbone slightly tucked in, and your hands have come together just over half a foot in front of your chest.
PRESSING WITH A HEEL
Same as before [Posture 31], except in that case kicking with your left foot, whereas in this case you are kicking with your right foot. See photo 37:
COVERING HAND, FOREARM PUNCH (same as before [Posture 14) – See photo 38:
SMALL CATCH & HIT
Your right hand first goes farther forward, your right foot jumping forward, then your right hand arcs to the rear from above, your left hand arcing from below, and your hands come together inward as your left leg extends forward, the toes slightly turning outward, the knee bending, and your right toes are hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, your right hand rising from beside your right ribs to be below your left elbow, striking to the left. (As your right forearm goes outward from the inside to draw a circle, this action contains the intention of striking with the elbow.) Your intention is now sinking down and energy courses through to your right palm. See photo 39:
COVER THE HEAD AND PUSH THE MOUNTAIN
Your body turns to the right, your right foot withdrawing, the toes touching down in front of your left foot, as your hands go below your right knee and spread apart, your forearms arcing outward from the inside, and your hands go upward from below toward your ears. Then your hands push out to the right, your right leg going along with them by extending forward, the knee bending, your left toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward. Your waist has an energy of sinking, your intention also sinking down. Your gaze is toward your right fingertips. See photo 40:
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS (same as before [Posture 4]) – See photo 41:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR (same as before [Posture 5]) – See photo 42:
INVITING IN FRONT
Your left hand goes toward your solar plexus, coming upward from below, and then the forearm goes outward from the inside, arcing to the left as your left foot goes a half step diagonally to the left and comes down fully, the weight settling onto your left leg. See photo 43:
Your right hand goes toward your solar plexus, coming upward from below, and then the forearm goes outward from the inside, arcing to the right as your right foot lifts toward the left, the toes touching down about six inches away from the middle of your left foot. See photo 44:
WILD HORSE SENDS ITS MANE SIDE TO SIDE
With your feet staying where they are, your left hand arcs to the left, your right hand following it to the left until at your solar plexus. Then your right hand arcs to the right, your right foot going along with it by stepping forward. See photo 45.1:
Then your feet alternately step forward [to complete a pattern of right, left, right] as your hands dance above and below, your forearms alternately arcing outward from the inside. See photo 45.2 [which shows stepping forward to the left]:
Liven your body so that energy descends and then spreads to the four antennas. This technique contains an intention of covering the head and face, and also of sneaking in to sheer aside the opponent’s knee. It is a method of attacking forward.
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS (same as before [Posture 4]) – See photo 46:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR (same as before [Posture 5]) – See photo 47:
MAIDEN SENDS THE SHUTTLE THROUGH
Your hands come together to the right, crossing as your right foot withdraws, the toes touching down about six inches in front of your left foot. Then your feet stomp downward, left foot first, then right, using the force of your body to produce a thunderous sound, your whole body having an energy of shrinking in. Then your left palm pushes forward, your right palm striking behind, as your left foot leaps forward, the quicker the better, like a cat pouncing on a mouse, and your whole body continues into turning [rightward] all the way around [as your right foot steps forward behind your left foot to become the front foot], your hands coming together in front of your solar plexus. (This is a method of leaping straight ahead.) See photo 48:
LAZILY PULLING BACK THE ROBE (same as before [Posture 3]) – See photo 49:
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS (same as before [Posture 4]) – See photo 50:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR – See photo 51:
WAVING HANDS – See photos 52.1 and 52.2:
(The above three movements are performed as before [in Postures 5 and 27].)
In the midst of waving your hands for the fourth time, your hands in unison go upward from below, arcing through a large circle [from left to right], your left palm arcing until in front of your chest, placed below your solar plexus, your right palm arcing until over your right knee. Energy settles onto your left leg and your right leg flies up, swings from left to right, your hands going from right to left to meet it, the palms hitting the outside edge of your right foot. See photo 53:
Then the foot comes down, the weight going onto your right leg.
DROP & EXTEND
Once the energy has settled onto your right leg, your arms spread apart like wings, your left heel expressing strength and pressing out toward the left, your right knee closing inward and onto the ground. Your right [left] leg is straight, your left [right] leg is bent, and energy is settled at your crotch. This is a method of crouching down to draw the opponent in. See photo 54:
GOLDEN ROOSTER STANDS ON ONE LEG
Your arms slightly lift and your crotch expresses a twisting energy, causing your body to rise up. Then your left hand pushes down as your right hand pushes up, your left foot coming down fully, the weight shifting onto your left leg, and your right knee bends forward, your right foot swiftly rising up to hang from the inside of your crotch. See photo 55.1:
Your right foot comes down as your hands go downward, spread apart, and then go forward from the rear, drawing large circles. Then your left hand pushes up from in front of your chest as your right hand pushes down, the weight shifting onto your right leg, and your left knee bends forward, your left foot swiftly rising up to hang from the inside of your crotch. Your gaze is forward. See photo 55.2:
RETREAT WITH TWISTING FOREARMS – See photo 56:
WHITE CRANE SHOWS ITS WINGS – See photo 57:
DIAGONAL SHAPE – See photo 58:
(The above three postures are performed the same as before [in Postures 20, 7, and 8].)
SURGE THROUGH THE BACK – See photo 59:
COVERING HAND, FOREARM PUNCH – See photo 60:
SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS – See photo 61:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR – See photo 62:
WAVING HANDS – See photo 63:
RISING UP AND REACHING OUT TO THE HORSE – See photo 64:
(The above six postures above are performed the same as before [in Postures 23, 14, 4, 5, 27, and 28].)
Your left hand spreads away downward to the left and your right hand spreads away upward to the right as your left foot goes diagonally to the left a half step, the toes turned inward. Then your left knee bends, your right toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your left hand comes in from above and your right hand comes in from below, your hands crossing, coming together in front of your solar plexus, your tailbone slightly tucking in. Intention descends back to your elixir field [in preparation to kick]. See photos 65.1 and 65.2:
PUNCH TO THE CROTCH
[The text here ought to be in the explanation for Posture 65:] Your left leg expresses strength and your right foot flies up, swinging from left to right as your left wrist twists to send the hand closing inward and the hand hits your right foot. [The explanation for the punch then starts from here:] As your right foot comes down, your right hand casts downward, your left hand leads upward, and your body turns [rightward]. Your right foot comes down where your left foot was standing, and so your left foot is lifting up, the weight shifting onto your right leg. Then your left foot takes a diagonal half step to the left and the knee bends, your right toes hooking inward, the thigh bracing upward, as your left elbow arcs out from below your left knee, the hand drawing back to hold your waist, and your right hand arcs upward from below and punches diagonally downward from your right ear. Your waist has an energy of sinking downward. Your crotch should be open and rounded. Your gaze is to the knuckles of your right fist. See photo 66:
APE OFFERS FRUIT
Same posture as SEALING OFF ALL DIRECTIONS [Posture 4]. See photo 67:
TRANSMUTING ELIXIR (same as before [Posture 5]) – See photo 68:
SNATCHING AN EARTHWORM
Your right hand goes inward from below and arcs to the rear, your left hand going inward from above and arcing forward, as your left toes point upward, the thigh lowering toward the ground, your right foot filling, your buttocks sinking down. Both hands are grasping into fists, your right hand behind extending diagonally upward, your left hand in front extending diagonally downward. Your gaze is toward your left toes. See photo 69:
STEP FORWARD, BIG-DIPPER POSTURE
Your left hand charges forward, your right hand and right foot following forward, your right hand going to the outside of your left hand and making a small circle around it so that your hands are crossed, your right toes touching down about six inches away from the middle of your left foot, both knees slightly bent. Your gaze is forward. See photo 70:
RETREAT, SITTING-TIGER POSTURE
Your hands first make a small circle [reversing the circle that was just performed] as your right foot retreats a half step, and then they go toward your left knee and spread apart below it, then go inward from outside in a large circle as your left foot follows [your right foot] back, toes touching down in line with the middle of your right foot. Your right palm is facing upward, left palm facing downward, your hands coming together crossed. Then your right palm pushes upward and your left palm pushes downward as your left foot jumps to the left [right], your right heel pivoting to turn the toes outward from the inside. See photo 71:
[Now that you have spun all the way around,] your right hand lowers from above, arcing until over your right knee, your left hand arcing upward from below until in front of your solar plexus. Your left leg is squatting, right leg bracing upward. [These last sentences really belong in the explanation for the following posture.]
First your left leg expresses strength. See photo 72:
Then and your right leg flies up and swings from left to right, your hands going to the right [from right to left] to meet it, the palms hitting the top of your right foot [the same as in photo 53].
CANNON AIMED STRAIGHT AHEAD
Your hands go to the right with a rollback, then upward from below, and arc to the left, your hands grasping into fists, your right fist about eight inches away in front of your chest, your left fist level with your right fist and extended diagonally above your left knee, your right knee bending, your left thigh bracing upward, the toes hooking inward. Your gaze is toward your left fist. See photo 73:
ARHAT POUNDS THE MORTAR (same as before [Posture 2]) – See photo 74: