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Yang Tai Chi Family Secrets - Part 2

by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, April 9, 2012

This is a translation of a Yang family poem titled, "The Secrets of Total Applications" by Yang, Yu (Ban-Hou). Each section is followed by commentary by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.

"The techniques of Taijiquan are marvelous and unlimited. It produces (the movements of) Wardoff (Peng), Rollback (Lu), Press (Ji), Push (An) and Grasp the Sparrow's Tail (Lang Que Wei). Walk (move) diagonally into Single Whip (Dan Bian) to occupy the chest area. Returning the Body and Lift the Arms (Ti Shou Shang Shi) to seal (protect) the center. Pick up the Moon from the Sea Bottom (Hai Di Lao Yue) and vary it into the Spread the Wings (Bai He Liang Chi). Using the picking hands (poking) to attack the soft tendons (lower part of ribs) without mercy. (The application of) Brush the Knee and Step Forward (Lou Xi Yao Bu) must be found diagonally. The variations of poking in Wave the Hands for Pi Ba (Shou Hui Pi Ba) are essential. (When) the body is closed (to the opponent), use the sideways elbow to attack. This will protect (your) center and (allow you to) use the reverse fist strike and become a hero again. (When) Step Forward for Parry and Punch (Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui), apply it to the lower ribs. As Seal as Close (Ru Feng Si Bi) is used to protect the center (of the body). The variations of the Cross Hands (Shi Zi Shou) techniques are unlimited. Embrace the Tiger to Return to the Mountain (Bao Hu Gui Shan) to complete the pluck (Cai) and split (Lie)."

This song has listed the thirty-seven postures of Yang style Taijiquan and also some of its applications. In this first section, it includes the postures of Wardoff (Peng), Rollback (Lu), Press (Ji), Push (An), Grasp the Sparrow's Tail (Lang Que Wei), Single Whip (Dan Bian, ), Lift the Arms (Ti Shou Shang Shi), Pick up the Moon from the Sea Bottom (Hai Di Lao Yue), Spread the Wings (Bai He Liang Chi), Brush the Knee and Step Forward (Lou Xi Yao Bu, ), Wave the Hands for Pi Ba (Shou Hui Pi Ba), Step Forward for Parry and Punch (Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui), As Seal as Close (Ru Feng Si Bi), Cross Hands (Shi Zi Shou), and Embrace the Tiger to Return to the Mountain (Bao Hu Gui Shan). In total, there are 15 postures in this section.

Among these fifteen postures, it mentioned that when you execute the technique of Single Whip, it is used to attack the opponent's chest and the technique of Lifting the Arm is to seal and protect your body from the opponent's attack. The techniques of Pick up the Moon from the Sea Bottom and Spread the Wings can be used to attack the front lower ribs area effectively. When you apply the technique of Step Forward for Parry and Punch, you should apply it from the diagonal direction. Wave the Hands for Pi Ba can be used to bore through and neutralize an incoming attack. When the distance between you and your opponent is close, elbow strike can be used easily. Also, a reversed fist strike which follows the elbow's strike can be very powerful. Step Forward for Parry and Punch is aimed to the area of the front lower ribs. As Seal as Close is used to protect the center of the body. The technique of Cross Hands can have many variations. Finally, the technique of Embrace the Tiger to Return to the Mountain should be completed with pluck (Cai) and split (Lie).

"In (the technique of) Punching under the Elbow (Zhou Di Kan Chui), there is a hidden hand (for protection). Step Back Three Times and Reverse the Forearm (Dao Nian Hou) to sink the body for retreating and twisting force. The technique of Diagonal Flying (Xie Fei Shi) can be used often without being in vain. To execute Pick Up the Needle from the Sea Bottom (Hai Di Lao Zhen) the body should bow accordingly. Fan Back (Shan Tong Bei) can be achieved by pressing and supporting upward. Turn, Twist Body, and Circle the Fist (Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui) is a posture of dodging and neutralizing. The body should advance from sideways to accomplish this technique (Step Forward, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch, Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui). There are techniques of sealing and seizing hidden in the wrist with reverse action. Attack the arm with the Wave Hands in the Clouds (Yun Shou) three times. Stand High to Search Out the Horse (Gao Tan Ma) is used to intercept the coming poking hand. When applying the Left and Right Separate Foot (Zuo You Fen Jiao), the hands must seal (the opponent's attack clearly). Turn and Kick with the Heel (Zhuan Shen Deng Jiao) is used to attack (the opponent's) abdomen. (When using the skill of) Stepping Forward and Strike Down with the Fist (Jin Bu Zai Chui), (you must) thrust toward the opponent directly."

Punch under the Elbow (Zhou Di Kan Chui) means beware of the fist under the elbow. The fist is to attack the center of the opponent's body. To execute the technique of Repulse the Monkey (Dao Nian Hou), you must first turn your forearm to reverse the situation. For example, when your hand has grabbed the opponent's wrist, you turn it over to lock the opponent's wrist. Therefore, you must have strong turning and twisting Jin. The are many applications of Diagonal Flying (Xie Fei Shi) which can be applied in different situations. When you apply the technique of Picking Up the Needle from the Sea Bottom (Hai Di Lao Zhen), in order to reach the opponent's groin (i.e., needle), while your left hand is locking his elbow, you must bow slightly in order to reach his groin with your right hand. Fan Back (Shan Tong Bei) is used to lock the opponent's wrist and elbow and raise it upward to expose the opponent's armpit for further attack. Whenever your elbow joint is plucked, the most effective way to solve the problem is to dodge your body to the side while Circling the Fist (Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui) to attack the opponent's face. There are many possible applications in Step Forward, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch (Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui). To execute this technique, you should approach the opponent from a sideways orientation, instead of directly facing him. In this action, there is an effective technique of seizing and sealing the cavities in the opponent's wrist area (e.g., Neiguan). When you apply the technique of Waving Hands in the Clouds (Yun Shou), one hand is used to seize the opponent's wrist while the forearm of the other hand can lock or break the opponent's elbow. Stand High to Search Out the Horse (Gao Tan Ma) uses one hand to intercept and raise the incoming attack while the other hand is used to poke the armpit area (Jiquan, H-1). When the Jiquan cavity is attacked, a heart attack can be initiated. Naturally, you may also use both hands to lock the opponent's elbow upward. When you apply the technique of Separate Right Foot (Fen Jiao), you must be sure that your opponent's arms are sealed. When the heel kick is used in Turn and Kick with the Heel (Zhuan Shen Deng Jiao), you are aiming at the abdominal area (i.e., Lower Dan Tian). Finally, in the technique of Stepping Forward and Striking Down with the Fist (Jin Bu Zai Chui), after you have sealed the opponent's arm or kicking leg, you must approach his center quickly so you can also use your fist to strike downward to his groin.

Chinese text

"Turn the body, use The White Snake Spits Poison (Zhuan Shen Bai She Tu Xin) to change the situation. Plucking the opponent's hand and attacking (his) two eyes. The Right Heel Kick (You Deng Jiao) is used to tread (the opponent's) soft ribs. Left and right dodging the body, the technique of Taming the Tiger (Fu Hu) is refined. The upper (hand) is to strike the ribs at the lower chest (i.e., solar plexus). The technique of Attacking the Ears with the Fists (Shuang Feng Guan Er) is effective. Left Heel Kick (Zuo Deng Jiao) is used to defend against the opponent's right heel kick. Turn the Body and Kick with the Heel (Zhuan Shen Deng Jiao) is aiming at the knee cap. The Wild Horse Parts Its Mane (Ye Ma Fen Zong) is to attack the place under the armpit. The Fair Lady Weaves with Shuttle (Yu Nu Chuan Suo) is used to seal the four corners. Use the single arm to neutralize (the incoming force) and (the other hand) attacking upward. The applications of the left and the right are all the same. Single whip to Creeps Down (i.e., The Snake Creeps Down, She Shen Xia Shi) is to follow the coming force and enter. (Then) use The Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg to occupy the advantageous position."

When you turn your body to initiate a sudden attack to the opponent positioned behind you with The White Snake Turns Its Body and Spits Poison (Zhuan Shen Bai She Tu Xin), if possible, pluck his wrist with one hand and use the other to attack his eyes. The target of the technique Kick Right with Heel (You Deng Jiao) is the lower ribs or solar plexus area. In order to execute the technique of Striking the Tiger (Da Hu) safely, you must move your body to the opponent's sides. The attack can be to the chest or under the armpit area. Attack the Ears with the Fists (Shuang Feng Guan Er) can be used effectively when the opponent is grabbing your chest. When the opponent is kicking at you, you can also use a kick to intercept the incoming kicks. Since the fighting range is close, normally, when a kick is used in Taijiquan, it will be low and often aimed for the knee area. When The Wild Horse Parts Its Mane (Ye Ma Fen Zong) is used, the attack is focused on the area under the armpit. The Fair Lady Weaves with Shuttle (Yu Nu Chuan Suo) is used to seal the four corners. One hand is used to block and raise up the opponent's incoming arm, the other is used to attack the area under the opponent's armpit. The Snake Creeps Down (She Shen Xia Shi) is used to coil and wrap the opponent's incoming arm and then immediately follow his arm to attack him. One of the effective techniques right after this posture is The Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg (Jin Ji Du Li). Use one arm to seal the opponent's arm while using the knee to attack the opponent's groin area.

Raising up the knee to attack the vital place (i.e., groin). (When) there is an injury at the lower area by two feet, it is hard to show mercy. When Cross Leg (Shi Zi Tui) is used, the soft bone (i.e., sternum) will be broken. Before using Brushing Knee and Punching Down (Lou Xi Zhi Dang Chui), Kao (i.e., bump) is first used as a vanguard. Step Forward to the Seven Stars (Shang Bu Qi Xing) is a posture of using the hands to block. Step Back and Ride the Tiger (Tui Bu Kua Hu) is to dodge directly. Turn the Body and Sweep the Lotus with the Leg (Zhuan Shen Bai Lian) should be executed carefully with the protection of legs. Draw the Bow and Shoot the Tiger (Wan Gong She Hu) is to raise up (the opponent's attack) and to attack (his) chest. Seal Tightly (Ru Feng Si Bi) is used to beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium. Then Close Taiji Hands (He Taiji) to complete the postures. The total applications of entire (Taiji), the Yi is the most important. The body is loose, the Qi is firm, and the spirit is condensed.

When the knee attacks the opponent's groin area, it can be vital and deadly. When Cross Leg (Shi Zi Tui) is used, first you trap and pluck the opponent's arms while using your leg to kick his sternum. When the sternum is attacked, death can result. In order to use your fist to attack the opponent's groin, you must first bump your opponent off balance and take this opportunity to attack. Step Forward to the Seven Stars (Shang Bu Qi Xing) is used to block the opponent's attack which will offer you an opportunity to kick him with your leg. Step Back and Ride the Tiger (Tui Bu Kua Hu) is to step back to avoid the opponent's attack or grab. Turn the Body and Sweep the Lotus with the Leg (Zhuan Shen Bai Lian) should be executed carefully to protect the legs from injuries and from attacks. Draw the Bow and Shoot the Tiger (Wan Gong She Hu) is to block the opponent's incoming attack upward and to attack the opponent's chest. Seal Tightly (Ru Feng Si Bi) is used to protect your center. Then Close Taiji Hands (He Taiji) to complete the postures. To execute all of the Taijiquan applications effectively, the Yi is most important. Moreover, the body should be loose, the Qi should be firmed, and the spirit must be condensed.

Read about Yang Tai Chi Family Secrets - Part 1 and the Yang family history.

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.


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