Words of instruction

The names of some movements make reference to animals (Snake Creeps Down). Others invoke imagery (Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon). But many are instructive: Step Up and Punch Down, for example. Here are some words that recur in the various forms, telling you what to do.

strike with heel

You Deng Jiao = Strike with heel right

Jin means advance; Bu is a step. So Jin Bu is step forward, or advance a step. Tui is step back or retreat, so Tui Bu is step back. Chui means hammer or beat with fist (maybe punch)–this being martial arts, we see a lot of chui!

  • Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui = Step forward, intercept and punch
  • Jin Bu Zai Chui = Step forward and punch down
  • Jin Bu Zhi Dang Chui = Step forward and punch to groin
  • Tui Bu Kua Hu = Step back and ride the Tiger.

The four movements that comprise Grasp the Bird’s Tail (Lan Que Wei) are Peng, Lu, Ji, and An, the first four of the eight energies: ward off, pull back, press and push. The music we practice to has someone calling the names. She says, “You Lan Que Wei: Peng, Lu, Ji, An.” That’s Grasp the Bird’s Tail on the right.

  • Lu Ji Shi = Roll back and press

Chuan is thread, pass through, or penetrate. Zhang is palm. Shou is hand. Xie is slanted or diagonal.

  • Tui Bu Chuan Zhang = Step back and pierce palm
  • Yun Shou = Cloud hands
  • Ti Shou = Lift hands
  • Xie Fei Shi = Slant flying
  • Xie Dan Bian = Diagonal single whip

Zhuan Shen is turn body.

  • Zhuan Shen Zuo Deng Jiao = Turn body left heel kick
  • Zhuan Shen Ban Lan Chui = Turn body, block, parry, punch
  • Zhuan Shen Bai Lian = Turn body and sweep the lotus

P.S. The animals I have encountered so far are He (crane), Hu (tiger), Che (bird such as sparrow or peacock), Ma (horse).

  • Bai He Liang Chi = White crane spreads wings
  • Du Li Da Hu = Stand on one leg and hit the tiger
  • You/Zuo Da Hu Shi = Right/left hit the tiger
  • Gao Tan Ma = High pat on horse
  • Ye Ma Fen Zong = Part the wild horse’s mane

P.P.S. The “Jin” in Jin Ji Du Li is not the same as the “Jin” that means advance, as in Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui. The former has a level inflection and means golden (golden rooster stands on one leg). The latter has falling inflection. In context, this is not a problem, but for me it’s hard to hear (and pronounce) the difference.

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