Chen Applications (2)

Notes for the Buddha Stamp (Jin Gang Dao Dui): Four applications correspond to the four parts of the movement.

  1. Block to the right, turn back, squat and rise;
  2. Reach back, block to the right, grab and pull in, push down;
  3. Step out to the front with the left leg; and
  4. Step up to cat stance with the right foot.

Qin naHere’s an interesting video on wrist joint locks from China Hand Kung Fu Academy. A Shaolin instructional video is long (5 minute intro and 32 techniques demonstrated) but clear and contains more information than we need for our test. We only need to learn select applications from the Chen 38.

The first application is complicated, involving more than one qin na (joint locking) technique.

1. Block a right punch with both hands and perform chin na on the wrist and elbow. The ugi (attacker) snakes out of the trap by straightening the arm and thrusting down. Follow the ugi down, apply arm bar, and then apply a second chin na on rising.

For the first qin na, grasp the hand on the outside (your thumb under the ugi’s palm) and turn it down. Block the elbow with the left hand while turning the body back to the left. Right and left hand squeeze together to apply pressure on the joint. For the second qin na, use the same grip and turn the palm up while pushing the elbow down with the left hand.

For the first qin na, the force comes from the body turning back to the left. For the second, the force comes from rising out of a squat.

2. Block a right punch with both arms and grab the right arm with the the right hand to swing the opponent around; pull in and push down.

3. Block a right punch with both arms, hold onto the right wrist with the right hand and strike the ugi’s right knee with the left heel.

4. While stepping up to cat stance, slap backhanded with the left (to the side of the face) and then strike to the groin with the upturned palm.

Chen Applications (1)

I have Mr. Jay Hayley to thank for these (and upcoming) notes on the martial arts applications of the movements in the Chen 38. The 13 movements for which we’ll do applications on the second-degree test are:

  1. Buddha Stamp – Jin Gang Dao Dui (4 apps)
  2. Lazily Tying the Robe –  Lan Zha Yi (2)
  3. Six Sealing Four Closing – Liu Feng Si Bi
  4. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi (2)
  5. Oblique – Xie Xing (2)
  6. Brush Knee Twist Step – Lou Xi Ao Bu (3)
  7. Draping Fist Over Body – Pie Shen Quan
  8. Blue Green Dragon Emerges from the Sea – Qing Long Chu Shi
  9. Fist Under Elbow – Zhou Di Kan Quan
  10. Whirling Wind Arms – Dao Juan Hong
  11. Flash the Back – Shan Tong Bei
  12. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  13. Overhead Cannon Fists – Dang Tou Pao

Some movements have more than one application; we have to know a total of 21. No videos are available. Six more posts with details:

Finally, here’s a summary–works as a cheat sheet.

Chen Short Form

While looking for the Chinese names for the movements of the Chen 38, I came across the 18-step Chen short form created in the 1990s by Grandmaster Cheng Zhenglai, who, like Cheng Jincai, studied with Grand Master Chen Zhaokui. Here’s a video of Cheng Zhenglai performing the Chen 18.

Chen 18

From the Cloud Hands discussion of this form, I’ve found the following movements common to my quarry, the Chen 38:

Buddha Stamp: Jin Gang Dao Dui
Lazy About Tying the Robe: Lan Zha Yi
Six Sealing Four Closing: Liu Feng Si Bi
Oblique Form: Xie Xing
Hidden Hand Punch: Yan Shou Hong Quan
Double Lotus Kick: Shuang Bai Jiao [I’m not sure about this one]
Cannon Fist: Dang Tou Pao

And of course a number of the names from the 38 are also in the Yang forms (Single Whip, Cloud Hands, High Pat on Horse, etc.). I am getting somewhat distracted by the different ways of Romanizing Mandarin Chinese, just because I hate to misspell, but my goal here is to be able to say the names, not write them.

The 108 in Chinese (3)

There is quite a lot of repetition in the traditional long form. Grasp the Bird’s Tail followed by Single Whip is repeated four times in the third section alone. Cloud Hands is repeated for a second and third time. And the whole sequence from Repulse Monkeys to Hidden Hand Punch is repeated in part three with only a change from Strike with Back Fist to White Snake Spits Out its Tongue.

Snake Creeps Down

Yang Cheng Fu, grandson of Yang Lu Chan Snake Creeps Down, 3rd section of 108

So you only have to learn a dozen new moves in the third section. They’re among the most difficult movements in the whole form, though. The new names in the third section of the long form are:

  • Part the Wild Horse’s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  • Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shou
  • Snake Creeps Down – Xia Shi
  • Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg – Jin Ji Du Li
  • White Snake Sticks Out its Tongue – Bai She Tu Xin
  • Piercing Palm – Chuan zhang
  • Cross Form Kick – Shi Zi Tui
  • Brush Knee Punch to Groin – Jin Bu Zhi Dang Chui
  • Step Up Seven Stars – Shang Bu Qi Xing
  • Step back Ride the Tiger to the Mountain – Tui Bu Kua Hu
  • Turn Around and Sweep the Lotus – Zhuan Shen (Jiao?) Bai Lian
  • Bend Bow to Shoot Tiger – Wan Gong She Hu


History of Chen

Chen is the oldest and original style of Tai Chi, dating back possibly as far as the 14th century, when Chen Bu is said to have settled in Chen village (Chenjiagou) bringing with him a family martial arts tradition.

Confucius Institute: Chenjiagou (Chen village)

Confucius Institute: Chenjiagou (Chen village)

Seventeenth century documents make reference to the influence of Chen Wang Ting (1580-1660) in the development of a distinctive internal approach to martial arts that eventually gave rise to the various modern styles known collectively as Tai Chi.

The teachings of Chen Tai Chi were kept strictly within the family until the early 19th century. Chen Changxing (1771-1853) was the first Chen master to accept an outsider as a student; this was Yang Lu Chan, who eventually became the founder of Yang-style Tai Chi.

In the early 20th century, Yang-style Tai Chi became widely known in China, while back in the village, Chen remained obscure. Then in 1928, Chen Zhaopei was the first to bring Chen-style instruction to Beijing. He and his uncle Chen Fake soon established the Chen tradition as a leading style of Tai Chi.

Chen Tai Chi, along with many other Chinese traditions, was suppressed during the Cultural Revolution, but was restored to national prominence in the late 1970s and 1980s. International interest in Chen Tai Chi has been growing since the early 1980s with the support of the Chinese government.

Chen Fake’s students included Chen Zhaukui (1928-1981), who was in turn the teacher of Cheng Jincai, with whom Master Gohring studied.

For more detail, visit the Wikipedia page on Chen Tai Chi and The China Tai Chi Guide offers great, up-to-date information about Chen village for anyone who might contemplate going there to study.

Yang-style Short Form

Also known as the 37-step form, the short form was created by Cheng Man Chin, who studied with Yang Cheng Fu. Patience Tai Chi offers an interesting account of the history.

37 form

Cheng Man Ching: Yang Short Form

Here’s a video of Cheng Man Chin himself doing 37 form. The movements are styled much like what we do at Master Gohring’s school–but not exactly. One of my Chinese friends is showing me this one at the park on the weekends, and he does it somewhat differently yet. Minor variations in form are endless! I have gotten over being confused by it. For this one, I will try to mimic Cheng Man Ching’s style, since we have this example of the master himself.

The 37 movements are listed below as I’ve identified them, by the names familiar to me; the list on the Patience site is  probably more authentic. From this list, anyone who knows the 108 ought to be able to put together the short form.

  1. Commencement
  2. Grasp the Bird’s Tail
  3. Single Whip
  4. White Crane Spreads Wings
  5. Brush Knee Push
  6. Playing Guitar (plus a second brush knee push)
  7. Step Forward Deflect Downward Intercept and Punch
  8. Withdraw and Push
  9. Cross Hands
  10. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain
  11. Grasp the Bird’s Tail
  12. Diagonal Single Whip
  13. Fist Under Elbow
  14. Repulse Monkeys
  15. Slant Flying [skip White Crane thru single whip]
  16. Cloud Hands
  17. Single Whip
  18. Snake Creeps Down/Golden Rooster (Right and Left)
  19. Separate Right Foot
  20. Separate Left Foot
  21. Turn and Strike with Heel Left
  22. Brush Knee Push (Left and Right)
  23. Step Forward, Deflect Downward, Intercept and Punch
  24. Grasp the Bird’s Tail
  25. Single Whip
  26. Four Corners
  27. Grasp the Bird’s Tail
  28. Single Whip
  29. Snake Creeps Down
  30. Step Up Seven Stars
  31. Ride the Tiger to the Mountain
  32. Sweep the Lotus
  33. Bend Bow Shoot Tiger
  34. Step Forward Deflect Downward, Intercept and Punch
  35. Withdraw and Push
  36. Cross Hands
  37. Feet Together

The form is only about five minutes long, but contains most of the unique movements of the 108 and much less repetition. The major kicking section is altogether missing. So are Part the Wild Horse’s Mane and Needle at Sea Bottom.

The 108 in Chinese (2)

I’m listing Chinese names for only the new moves in the middle section:

  • Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain – Bao Hu Gui Shan
  • Fist Under Elbow – Zhou Di Chui
  • Repulse Monkeys – Dao Juan Hong
  • Slant Flying – Xie Fei Shi
  • Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  • Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  • Strike with Back Fist – Pie Shen Chui
  • Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  • High Pat on Horse – Gao Tan Ma
  • Separate [Right/Left] Foot – [Zuo/You] Fen Jiao
  • Strike with Heel – Deng Jiao
  • Step Up and Punch Down – Jin Bu Zai Chui
  • Hit the Tiger – Da Hu
  • Box the Tiger’s Ears – Shuang Feng Quan Er

Zhuan Shen is turn body; turn body and strike with heel left would be Zhuan Shen Zuo Deng Jiao. Turn around and strike with back fist would be Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui.

Here’s a list of the 108 moves in Chinese (but no audio). Repulse Monkeys is completely different: Dao Nian Hou.

Ba Fa

Ba Fa means Eight Energies. It’s also the name of a short Chen-style form consisting of only 16 movements corresponding to the eight energies: blocking, pulling, pushing, pressing, grabbing, breaking, elbowing and shouldering.

Ba Fa

Master Gohring demonstrates Ba Fa

Video by Master Gohring shows Ba Fa from the back at a walk-through pace. Movements are as follows:


  • Block (step left, fingers pointing right)
  • Pull Back (shift back left, close with right foot, step forward right)
  • Push (shift back to right cat stance, step forward right to push)
  • Press (open to left, press down, step back up left to shoulder width)


  • Block (step back right, fingers point to left)
  • Pull Back (shift back right, close with left, step forward left)
  • Push(shift back to left cat, step forward left to push)
  • Press (open to right, press down, step up right feet together)


  • Grab (Step left)
  • Break (block up left, pull back and down left)
  • Elbow (step left, right)
  • Shoulder (Step left, right, walk back)


  • Grab (step right)
  • Break (block up right, pull back and down right)
  • Elbow (step right, left)
  • Shoulder (step right, left, walk back)

The 108 in Chinese (1)

I think I’ll try to learn the whole 108 in Chinese. This might take a while! But I can do the first section, right now:

  • Commencement – Qishi
  • Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  • Single Whip – Dan Bian
  • Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  • Strike with Shoulder – Ma Bu Kao
  • White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  • Brush Knee Push – Luo Xi Ao Bu
  • Playing Guitar – Shou Hui Pi Pa
  • Deflect Downward, Intercept and Punch – Ban Lan Chui
  • Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  • Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou

For Strike with Shoulder, I’m using the name for Lean-in Horse Stance (42-form), which is a strike with shoulder. Kao is the name of the shoulder-striking energy. Tai Chi Wizard lists it as You Kao (right shoulder strike), so maybe that would be better.

“Shou” with a smile-shaped accent (rising inflection) means hand or hands. With a straight line accent (level inflection) means gather or collect. Closing form, or feet together, is Shou Shi.

Grasp the Bird’s Tail consists of four movements: Ward-off (peng), Pull back (lu), Press (gi) and Push (an).

Zuo is left and You is right. Pronunciation audio for all these names can be found on the Lau Shi site; most of these movements occur in either 24 or 42 form.

Chen Sword

This form is required for the second degree black sash. The sword is double-edged and flexible, so it snaps when jabbed sharply. It’s the first sword form I learned; I now recognize some of the same movements in the Yang sword forms I’ve been studying.

Chem sword form

2010 Black Sash Graduation

The 2010 Black Sash Graduation video shows the form as we do it, which is the way Master Cheng Jincai teaches it. Here’s a video of Cheng Jincai performing Chen sword at the Legends of Kung Fu tournament. My Chen class performed it at the 2013 Graduation (I’m in the back in gold silks).

I don’t know the names of the movements, though I did find a list of movements on a site for the Dragon River School. I have my own notes describing the sequence; I’ll have to compare the two lists and see if I can make any sense of it. I’m not even sure that list is for the same form.

  1. Opening Form. Step left, sword across chest; shift left, turn right toes in, shift back, pivot on left heel, right arm forward; Step right, circle the arms and present sword; shift back, right toes in, open all the way around to left, return back around to right, sink, switch hands.
  2. Stand on right leg and SNAP DOWN.
  3. Step left and stab level.
  4. Slashing. Cut Right, left, right, left and turn.
  5. Step left and stab level.
  6. Over-the-head stab down behind.
  7. Stamp, step left and stab level.
  8. Slant Flying.
  9. Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon.
  10. SNAP horizontal.
  11. Slashing. Cut left, right, left.
  12. Sink and Pull Back.
  13. Stamp right.
  14. Stand on right leg and SNAP DOWN.
  15. Stab Up. Cut left and right, left knee, stab upward.
  16. Slashing. Cut left, right, left, turn right, left, right, open.
  17. Stab Up. Knee, step right, left, skip, stab upward.
  18. Stab horizontal. Pull around to left, sink and pull back, step up and stab horizontal.
  19. Twirl Sword. Step left, twirl right; step right, twirl left, turn and face front.
  20. Lunge. Step back with right foot, wipe blade and brush knee, stab overhead and catch right wrist with left hand.
  21. Over-the-head stab down behind.
  22. Fish: Turn back to front, cast overhead to cat stance, step up and horizontal stab.
  23. Slant Flying.
  24. Stab Up Left. Cut left, left knee, stab behind and up to left.
  25. Fish: Open and step right, left, right cat stance stab down.
  26. SNAP vertical. Open to right, recoil and snap open to side, sword up.
  27. SNAP. Turn to front, scoop on right, stamp, stand on right leg and snap down.
  28. Over the Shoulder. Step left throw sword up and over the right shoulder, right cat stance.
  29. Over the Shoulder. Step right and left throw sword forward, around and down in front, right cat stance.
  30. Slant Flying. Facing front.
  31. Recoil, hilt right, step right, left, right, fajin.
  32. Cut right and left, recoil, step right, left, right, fajin.
  33. Fish: Open step right, left, right cat stance
  34. Circle sword and catch.
  35. Slashing. Cut left, right, left, and open, right knee, step right and stab upward.
  36. Fajin. Turn back and stab down.
  37. Slant Flying.
  38. SNAP. Coil, step right, left, right, and SNAP horizontal.
  39. Over-the-Head stab behind.
  40. Horizontal SNAP. Facing front.
  41. Slashing. Left, Right turning, right, right, sink and pull, step up and stab horizontal.
  42. Close Form. Change hands, step left, slip sword, feet together, left hand circles down.

One more video, of Master Chen Zhenglei, is recognizably the same form, styled differently and with a different opening. I like it! And another variation has the opening that looks a bit like a Buddha Stamp, plus a bit more Fajin.