I often pick Long Feng up on my way to the park. When an interpreter isn’t handy, we need to be able to agree on plans.

Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow? 你要我来接你的明天?

Ni yao lai jie ni de mingtian? 


I will pick you up tomorrow.  明天我去接你

Míngtiān wǒ qù jiē nǐ.

We already know how to say next week/xiage libai and next Saturday/xiage libai liu so we can just substitute those for mingtian/tomorrow.

Will you pick me up tomorrow? 你明天来接我?

Nǐ míngtiān lái jiē wǒ?

Sometimes she comes with her husband:

You don’t need to pick me up tomorrow.  你不需要来接我的明天

Nǐ bù xūyào lái jiē wǒ de míngtiān.


And the time options are:

Seven thirty                  7:30            七点半                Qi Dian Ban

Seven forty-five            7:45           差一刻八点       Cha Yi Ke Ba Dian

Eight o’clock                 8:00           八点                    Ba Dian

That’s AM. Chinese time is on a twenty-four hour clock. And just in case:

Don’t come if it’s raining!  不来,如果下雨!

Bù lái, rúguǒ xià yǔ!

Extra credit:

Car                                                    汽车                    Qiche

Park                                                  公园                    Gong Yuan

Chen 38: Additional Instruction

Master Gohring has recorded an introduction to Chen style Tai Chi in several parts.


In addition, he’s made video demonstrations of a number of movements and sections within the Chen 38.

One last video: Mr. Figg leads the Chen 38 up through Fist Under Elbow.

When I Google the Chen 38, what comes up most often (apart from our own videos above) is the (or a) competition set. Here is a video of the competition set that Master Gohring teaches: American Chen Tai Chi Competition Form. Our Yang competition set is just a subset of the regular Yang moves, but the Chen competition set is quite different from the 38…and looks formidably difficult to me!

The Chen 38

Grandmaster Cheng Jincai is a student of 18th generation Chen Master Chen Zhaokui. From Cheng Jincai, Master Gohring learned the Chen 38, which is currently one of the main requirements for the second degree black sash in either Tai Chi or Kung Fu at Master Gohring’s martial arts academy.

Cheng Jincai

Grand Master Cheng Jincai – Chen 38

The Chen 38 takes between ten and fifteen minutes to perform; for the test, we should take no less than twelve minutes. The stance should be low, with thighs roughly parallel to the ground, but not everyone is able to achieve this.


Master Gohring demonstrates the Chen 38 in two parts with English names. In background audio (sometimes hard to make out) Cheng Jincai provides Chinese names and breathing.

Master Gohring Chen 38

Chen 38: Part One | Part Two

Two more videos of the whole form:

In addition, Master Gohring has made several instructional videos for the opening section and for certain specific movements later in the form. I’ll list these in a separate post: Chen 38: Additional Instruction.

Names of the movements

The following list of names was provided by Master Gohring, who teaches the Chen 38 at his black sash Academy in Austin (where I have studied since 2010). These are the names used by Grandmaster Cheng Jincai.

The form may begin as usual with Yu Bei Shi (Preparing Form) and/or Qishi (Commencement),but the first movement is the Buddha Stamp..

  1. Jin Gang Dao Dui – Indra Pounds with Tilt Hammer (Buddha Stamp)
  2. Lan Zha Yi – Lazy About Tying the Robe
  3. Liu Feng Si Bi – Six Sealing Four Closing
  4. Dan Bian – Single Whip
  5. Jin Gang Dao Dui – 2nd Buddha Stamp
  6. Bai He Liang Chi – White Crane Spreads Wings
  7. Xie Xing – Oblique Form
  8. Lou Xi Au Bu – Brush Knee Twist Step
  9. Yan Shou Gong Quan – Hidden Hand Punch
  10. Jin Gang Dao Dui – 3rd Buddha Stamp
  11. Pie Shen Quan – Lean with Back (Draping the Fist)
  12. Qing Long Chu Shui – Blue Green Dragon Emerges from the Sea
  13. Shuang Tui Shou – Double Push Hands
  14. Zhou Di Kan Quan – Fist Under Elbow
  15. Dao Juan Gong – Whirling Wind Arms
  16. Bai He Liang Chi – White Crane Spreads Wings
  17. Xie Xing – Oblique Form
  18. Shan Tong Bei – Flash the Back
  19. Yan Shou Gong Quan – Hidden Hand Punch
  20. Liu Feng Si Bi – Six Sealing Four Closing
  21. Dan Bian – Single Whip
  22. Yun Shou – Cloud Hands
  23. Gao Tan Ma – High Pat on Horse
  24. Shi Zi Bai Lian – Cross Form Kick
  25. Zhi Dang Chui – Punch Downward
  26. Yuan Hou Xian Guo – Ape Picks Up the Fruit
  27. Dan Bian – Single Whip
  28. Hu Xin Quan – Shield Heart with Fist (Protect the Heart)
  29. Xie Xing – Oblique Form
  30. Hui Tou Jin Gang Dao Dui – Turning Back and 3rd Buddha Stamp
  31. Lan Zha Yi – Lazy About Tying the Robe
  32. Liu Feng Si Bi – Six Sealing Four Closing
  33. Dan Bian – Single Whip
  34. Shuang Bai Lian – Sweep Leg with Both Hands
  35. Shang Bu Qi Xing – Step Up Seven Stars
  36. Xia Bu Kua Hu – Step Down to Ride the Tiger
  37. Bai Lian Dang Tou Pao – Sweep Leg and Cannon Forward
  38. Jin Gang Dao Dui – 4th Buddha Stamp

88-Step Taiji Quan

Long Feng surprised me one day by showing me Ba Shi Ba — 88 form. The surprise was that 88 turned out to be the traditional long form that I know as the Yang 108. And sure enough, if you look it up, 88 is supposedly the traditional long form.

Li Deyin Instructional Video on Youtube

Li Deyin Instructional Video on Youtube

What I call the Yang 108 and what Long Feng knows as the 88 are unmistakably the same form, but the differences are numerous. One movement is missing entirely–the shoulder strike–and some movements are almost unrecognizable, most notably Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain (Bao Hu Gui Shan).

In addition, nearly every single movement is styled a little (or a lot) differently, more like the modern Beijing-style forms that I’ve been learning from Long Feng. I take it that 88 is the traditional Yang long form as performed and taught in China today. Modern Tai Chi is highly standardized. It’s taught in universities in China and is a college sport.

Although it sounds like 88 would have twenty fewer movements, it’s not actually any shorter except for lacking the shoulder strike. The difference is in how the movements are counted. I haven’t studied the details, but I’ve watched (and followed) the whole 88, and it is the complete 108 (sans Kao). Lan Que Wei alone could account for the difference, depending on whether you counted each Peng, Lu, Ji and An separately.

The picture above links to an instructional video by Li Deyin, who has been an enormously influential Tai Chi Master and instructor in Beijing for many years. He created 42 and 48 forms, and is considered an authority on 88. The performer is one of his students.

I would love to learn to do the long form this way, but I am afraid of confusing myself in advance of my test. Maybe this spring.

History of Yang Tai Chi

The originator of Yang-style Tai Chi was Yang Luchan (1799-1871), who studied with Chen Changxing for 18 years. Yang was the first non-family member allowed to study with a Chen master.

Yang Luchan

Yang Luchan

Yang Luchan took his own style of Tai Chi to Beijing, where he trained many students and became very well known. In 1850, he was hired by the Imperial Family to train the palace guards. He was called Yang the Invincible because no one could defeat him in a fight (and allegedly, he never seriously injured his opponents).

Yang Luchan had three sons who also became influential Tai Chi masters. Out of the four major styles of modern Tai Chi (Chen, Yang, Sun, and Wu), three spring from the influence of Yang Luchan.

  • Yang Pan Hou, also retained by the Imperial Family, trained Wu Chuan-you, who along with his son created the Wu style of Tai Chi.
  • Yang Chien Hou trained his own son, Yang Chengfu, whose influence on modern Yang Tai Chi rivals that of his famous grandfather.
  • Wu Yuxiang developed the Wu/Hao style which eventually became Sun style.
Yang Chengfu (1883-1936)

Yang Chengfu (1883-1936)

Yang Chengfu’s Ten Important Points (published in the 1930s) define the modern Yang style of Tai Chi, with its slow, smooth and circular movements. Yang Chengfu was the first to popularize Tai Chi, offering classes to the general public in Beijing from 1914 to 1928.

Test Requirements

This notebook is my study guide for the second degree black sash test under Master Gohring in 2014. Requirements may vary somewhat from year to year. Also, please note that I have no role in setting test requirements (hardly!) and no written assurance of what will or will not be on the test. What follows is just my best understanding of what I need to prepare for.

For second degree we will be retested on the material for first degree. My account of first degree requirements is based on my own first degree test in 2012; so far, I don’t know of any changes in those requirements.

This post is incomplete and will be updated as the test date (in November 2014) approaches. The material for first degree can be found on Pommelhouse for the time being; it will eventually be updated and moved to this site.

Master Gohring awards my black sash in December 2012.

Master Gohring awarding my black sash in December 2012.

First Degree Requirements

Three forms:

  1. The Traditional Yang-Style Long Form (The Yang 108)
  2. Flute Form
  3. Yang Saber

Martial arts applications from the Yang-Style form

Nei Kung

Miscellaneous study topics:

  • Eight Energies (and push hands applications)
  • Ten Important Points
  • Some history of Tai Chi

Extra credit: Fast Form.

Second Degree Requirements

Four Forms:

  1. Chen 38
  2. Chen Sword
  3. Chen Saber
  4. Ba Fa

Martial arts applications from the Chen 38

And all first degree requirements above.

Chen Applications (Summary)

Here are the 21 required applications and key notes to remember, including the attacking move that is being defended and the type of defensive response.

  1. Buddha Stamp 1: Right punch. Block, Qin Na, Arm Bar, Qin Na.
  2. Buddha Stamp 2: Right punch from the side. Block, grab, and push.
  3. Buddha Stamp 3: Right punch. Block, grab and kick left.
  4. Buddha Stamp 4: [No attack!] Slap left, palm strike to groin with right.
  5. Lazy About 1: Wrist grab* from right. Break and grab, pull across and kick.
  6. Lazy About 2: Wrist grab from left. Trap, arm bar, Qin Na and push.
  7. Six Sealing: Left punch** from right. Block up, sink, push.
  8. White Crane 1: Wrist grab. Break and grab, pull across and strike palm up.
  9. White Crane 2: Wrist grab. Trap, circle and twist hand.
  10. Oblique 1: Right punch. Block, arm bar, Qin Na and push.
  11. Oblique 2: Ugi grabs arms. Trap and twist left.
  12. Brush Knee 1: Left punch. Block with left, pull down and push with right.
  13. Brush Knee 2: Right punch. Block up with right, strike with shoulder.
  14. Brush Knee 3: Wrist grab. Trap and Qin Na.
  15. Draping the Fist: Ugi grabs wrists. Sink and twist.
  16. Blue-green Dragon: [No attacking move.] Six blows of the Dragon!
  17. Fist Under Elbow: Right punch. Block up with left, punch ribs w/ right.
  18. Whirling Wind: Wrist Grab. Trap and twist.
  19. Flash the Back: Right punch. Block down right, grab, twist and throw.
  20. Cloud Hands. Right, left punches. Block with same hand.
  21. Cannon Overhead. Right punch, kick.*** Block, kick, block and punch.

*In every case, for the purposes of testing, the ugi grabs the right wrist with the right hand. Most applications have a mirror version if the ugi grabs the left with the left, and there are also variations for grabbing the opposite hand.

**Six Sealing Four Closing and Brush Knee Twist Step (#1) are the only applications that start with a left punch from the ugi. Cloud Hands is practiced on both sides.

Cannon Overhead is the only combination. Ugi punches, defender blocks and kicks, ugi kicks, defender blocks and punches with both fists.

Chen Applications (7)

Last but not least: Whirling Wind Arms, Flash the Back, Cloud Hands and Cannon Overhead.

Dao Juan Hong (?) – Whirling Wind Arms: Ugi grabs the right wrist with the right hand. Trap the ugi’s hand with the left, pull back the right, and as the ugi’s grasp breaks, twist the thumb down to the left, stepping back left and chopping at the ugi’s neck with the right.

Shan Tong Bei – Flash the Back: Ugi throws a right punch. Block up with the right hand turned out and palm up (as in the form). Turn away from the ugi to the right, shoulder in the ugi’s armpit, left hand holding the ugi’s upper arm like a tray. Pull down on the right, twisting and lifting the right leg to flip the ugi over the back (if not break the arm).

Yun Shou – Cloud Hands: This is a simple block (Peng), right block against right punch or left block against left punch, spiraling the arm outward.

Dang Tou Pao (?) – Cannon Overhead: block a right punch with both hands to the right, the kick the ugi’s back with the right leg. With double back fists, block a kick, then punch the face and solar plexus simultaneously, left fist to the face, as in the form.

Chen Applications (6)

Pie Shen Quan – Draping the Fist Over the Body: this application is similar to the second app for Xie Xing, except the ugi grabs the wrists. Make fists and hold the arms straight (but not straight, of course) down and connected. Sink and twist (usually left), pulling down and back with arm you are turning towards. If the ugi is not uprooted, reverse direction and uproot on the other side.

Blue-green Dragon Emerges from the Sea

Blue-green Dragon Emerges from the Sea

Qing Long Chu Shi – Blue-green Dragon Emerges from the Sea: Ugi is on the right. Six quick strikes closely follow the form: flip the right hand over, hammer with the left, back fist down and up with the right while reaching and grabbing with the left, then punch to groin.

Zhou Di Kan Quan – The Ugi punches with the right. Block up to expose the ribs and punch. The force of the punch comes from a twist of the body that shifts the weight to the right leg and lifts the left to cat stance.

Here’s an interesting page on Chinese names of movements. I’ve been puzzled about Fist Under Elbow, which I see everywhere as Zhou Di Chui, but which we learn as Zhou Di Kan Quan, which is looking at the fist under the elbow. Chui is beat or hammer; Quan is fist. Here’s a forum discussion of Zhou Di Chui and Pie Shen Chui (International Yang Family Association), which seems to be strike with back fist; our Chen movement is Pie Shen Quan (cast the fist across the body).

Chen Applications (5)

Oblique (Xie Xing) and Brush Knee Push (Lou Xi Ao Bu) have two and three applications, respectively.


Oblique 1: The Ugi throws a right punch. Block with the right,to the right and down while turning right and pivoting on the right heel. Trap the ugi’s right wrist close to the right hip and use the left to create an arm bar. Then as the ugi falls forward, do a qin na and push down and away.

Oblique 2: The ugi grabs both arms above the elbows. Drape both forearms over the ugi’s arms, trapping them, sink and twist to the side (usually left), pulling down and back with the leading arm and up with the following arm.

Brush Knee Push 1: Ugi throws a left punch. Block with the left straight ahead, grab the wrist and pull straight down close to your left side while pushing out with the right on the ugi’s shoulder.

Brush Knee Push 2: Ugi throws right punch. Rock back on right heel and block up with the right arm. Step in and strike with the right shoulder.

Brush Knee Push 3: Ugi grabs the right wrist with the right hand. Trap with the left and circle the hand (look at the palm, show the palm). Sink and knife downwards with the right hand.