The 8 Energies and 5 Movements of Taijiquan
Chen Xiang demonstrating the Hunyuan 13 Shi set at the 2015 Hunyuan meeting in Beijing, China. The 13 in the name refers not to the number of movements but the 13 techniques: 8 energies (ba fa) 掤 peng, 捋 lu, 挤 ji, 按 an, 採 cai, 挒 lie, 肘 zhou, 靠 kao, as well as 5 stepping methods (bu fa) 前进 qian jin (advance forward), 后退 hou tui (retreat/ draw back), 左顾 zuo gu (glance/step left), 右盼 you pan (glance/step right), 中定 zhong ding (central fixed). Video by: Douglas Martin
The martial art of Taijiquan is based on 13 principles (8 forces+5 movements). All movements of Taijiquan are built upon these principles & are used in various combinations within each posture, transition and application. Please watch the above video of Master Chen Xiang and watch this superb demonstration of these principles in his form which he calls the Hunyuan 13 Shi. Those familiar with the internal arts may notice the other (somewhat hidden) stylings of Qigong, Bajiquan (Eight Ultimate Style Boxing), and Shuai Jou (Chinese Wrestling). For the people interested in the culmination of these principles and power it garners should check out this older video of Chen Xiang testing fajin (explosive power) at Stanford University. [link]
- PENG– refers to the outward (or upward) expansion of energy.
- LU– often referred to as “roll back,” Lu is the ability to absorb, yield/deflect incoming force. There are 3 characteristics of Lu are: Yielding (Jan), Merging (Ian) & Adhering (Nien)
- JI– is often thought of as a “forward press,” however it also best described as a “squeezing out of space.”
- AN– is a downward movement of energy, best translated into “(relaxed) sinking.”
- CAI– (Tsai) translated into “downward pluck,” Cai is a combination of Lu and An.
- LIE– (Lieh) Lie or “Split” is a combination of Peng and Ji.
- ZHOU– Elbowing. In Chen style, elbows are overtly shown in all angles, with a coiling effect.
- KAO– when the arms are bound/distance is too close to punch, we can use a “Shouldering.”
- JIN– Advance forward
- TUI– Retreat back
- GU– Gaze/Step left
- PAN– Gaze/Step right
- DING– Center-Fixed