Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 4
This is the fourth part of Marshal Yue, Fei's "Ten Important Theses" an excerpt from Xingyiquan—Theory, Applications Fighting Tactics and Spirit. This is Theses No. 6, 7, and 8. For Theses 1-5, see Parts 1 through 3.
6. Thesis of the Six Combinations (Liu He Lun)
Xin combines with Yi, Yi combines with Qi, and Qi combines with Li are the three internal combinations. Hands combine with feet, elbows combine with knees, and shoulders combine with hips are the three external combinations. These are called "Liu He" (the six combinations). The left hand combines with the right foot, the left elbow combines with the right knee, the left shoulder combines with the right hip. The same for the other side. Then, the head combines with the hands, the hands combine with the body, and the body combines with the stepping. These cannot be thought not to be the external combinations. The heart combines with the eyes, the liver combines with the tendons, the spleen combines with the meat, the lungs combine with the body, and the kidneys combine with the bones. These cannot be thought not to be the internal combinations. In this case, how can there be only six combinations? They are divided only for discussion. In all, (when) one place moves, nowhere does not move; when one place combines, no place is not combined. Then the five shapes and hundreds of bones will all be useful.
In Chinese culture, the Xin is considered the mind generated from the emotions, and the Yi is the mind generated from the wise and clear judgment. The emotional mind is able to make you excited and the wisdom mind is able to calm you down. When you train Xingyiquan, you must learn to use your wisdom mind to govern your emotional mind, and then they can be united. When you have this combination, your Yi can be concentrated and can effectively lead the Qi so that the Yi and Qi can be combined. Once your Qi and Yi combine and the Qi can be led effectively by the Yi to the muscles to energize them, then the muscular power (Li) can be raised to a higher level and thus the Qi and the Li are combined. All these three combinations are internal and cannot be seen.
Externally, there are also three combinations. These are the hands and the feet combine, the elbows and the knees combine, and the shoulders and the hips combine. Other than the above six combinations, other portions of the body should also be related and combined. In addition, the internal and the external should also be combined. Only when you have achieved all of these combinations can your entire body act as one unit both externally and internally. The-five shapes (Wu Xing) means the head and the four limbs.
7. Thesis of the Seven Advancings (Qi Jin Lun)
The head is the leader of the six Yangs and is also the master of the entire body. The five sensing organs and hundreds of bones do not but rely on it. Therefore, the head cannot but advance. The hands move first, and their foundation and root are in the shoulders. If the shoulders do not advance, then the hands will hesitate and not advance. Therefore, it is important that the shoulders must advance. Qi is gathered in the Zhongwan cavity and the key is in the waist; when the waist does not advance, then the Qi is weak and not solid. Therefore, it is important that the waist must advance.
The head here means the idea and the raised spirit. Since they are the origin of any action, the head is the master of the entire body. Therefore, in a fight, you must generate your idea and raise up your spirit first. If you are afraid, your mind will not be clear and your spirit will be weak. In this case, how can you win the fight? In the actual movement, the hands should not hesitate. Since the shoulders are the root and the foundation of the hands, the shoulders must also advance. If the shoulders do not advance, how can you expect the hands to advance?
Qi gathers in the Lower Dan Tian near the Zhongwan and Qihai cavities on the front of the waist. Therefore, the stored Qi must also advance. If it cannot advance, then you will not have abundant Qi to energize the entire body and raise up your fighting spirit.
Yi is threaded throughout the entire body, and the movements depend on the stepping. If the stepping is not forward, then the Yi is in vain and cannot do anything. Therefore, the stepping is important in advancing. Then, when attacking the left, the right must be advanced, and when attacking the right, the left must be advanced. These are the seven advancings. They are not what is called the advancing in touching the ground (i.e., moving forward). To conclude their importance, before advancing, the entire body may not have the Yi connection and be related to each other, however once talking about advancing, then the entire body does not have the appearance of delaying and hesitation.
In addition to the above four advances, the other three are the stepping and the two sides. If you have the Yi of advancing, but your legs are not obeying your mind, then everything will be in vain. Strategy wise, you must also be skillful in advancing sideways. Left and right can be either substantial or insubstantial. If you are able to grasp the tricks of these seven advancings, you will gain the advantage in battle.
8. Thesis of the Body's Maneuvers (Shen Fa Lun)
What are the body's maneuvers? Simply, they are Zong straight forward, Heng (sideways), Gao (moving high), Di (moving low), Jin (advancing), Tui (retreating), Fan (reversing), and Ce (beware of the flank). Zong is releasing the posture forward and not returning. Heng is to enwrap the (opponent's) Li, opening up the way, which cannot be resisted. Gao is to extend the body, and the body has the tendency to grow (high). Di is to press down the body and make the body have the shape of drilling and seizing. When it should be forward, then forward. Bounce the body and straight forward bravely. When you should retreat, then retreat. Lead the Qi back and convert the posture into yielding.
Zong in Chinese means vertical and directly forward or backward, and has the feeling of moving freely. When you apply these ideas to Xingyiquan, it means free to get in on the opponent while keeping your body upright. Heng in Chinese means sideways, and has the feeling of forcing your way in violently. Therefore, when this word is applied in Xingyiquan, it means to force or to push obstacles to the side. In order to clear the way effectively, Heng also has the meaning of wrapping, coiling, sticking, neutralizing, and many other techniques. Without these key techniques, Heng would only be a sideward block. Simply put, Heng means to enwrap the opponent's power and lead it to the side.
Gao means high or rising. In Xingyiquan it means the raising of the body in coordination with the drilling of a hand or leg. Di means low or falling. In Xingyiquan, it means to lower the body with a curling motion. Jin means to enter or to advance. In Xingyiquan, it means to step or to charge straight forward. Tui means to retreat or to get out of a disadvantageous position. Fan means to reverse or to turn around. In Xingyiquan, it means to beware of the rear and to turn your body around. Naturally, you must also know Ce, which means to beware of the sides so that you can dodge an attack, or you may enter from the side to attack the opponent.
As to turning the body and beware of the rear, the rear is the front. When I beware of the left and right, this will make no one dare to resist me from the left or the right. You should not be inhibited. First, inspect the opponent's strong and weak points, and then skillfully apply my (i.e., your) key tricks (i.e., techniques), sometimes suddenly forward and suddenly sideways. Forward and sideways are changeable following the situation and you cannot set a general rule to follow. There is suddenly high and suddenly low, they can be switched anytime, you cannot be stubborn in the rules and talk about the situation. When it is time to advance, you cannot retreat, if you retreat, then the Qi strength is weakened. When it is time to retreat, then retreat to prepare for an advance.
When you are in a battle, you are not fighting against only one enemy. Very often you will be attacked from the rear. Therefore, you must beware of the rear and consider it as important as the front. In this case, there is no difference between where the front is and where the rear is. You should treat the sides the same way. When you are in a fight, you must beware of the four directions and be capable of attacking in any direction. Your strategy and techniques are alive and can be applied to any situation. In this case, the enemy will not be able to figure you out and he will not dare to resist you. In order to achieve this marvelous ability to move, your strategy and techniques should not be restricted by conventional, conservative rules or principles.
Therefore, advance is for advancing and even retreating, it also relies on retreating for advance. If you turn the body to beware of the rear, (even when you) beware of the rear, still never feel it is the rear. When you beware of the left and right, the left and right are never felt to be left and right. In all, the key is in the eyes, and the change is from the heart, then when the key is held, it is applied to the body. When the body is moving forward, it does not need an order, the four limbs are forward. When the body is retreating, then hundreds of skeleton bones are all in their positions scientifically. (In this case) how can we not talk about the body's maneuvers?
When you have reached this high level of fighting, when you advance you are advancing, and even when you are retreating you are still advancing. Retreating is only a strategy for advancing. You should train yourself to be capable of fighting in every direction. Then there is no difference between front and rear and left and right. Through careful inspection with your eyes you will understand the opponent's intention. Then your heart (mind) will naturally and clearly react to the opponent's strategy. The eyes and the heart cannot be separated. They act like one. Only then can the body follow the heart's intention automatically and naturally without confusion.