The Yang 108

The Yang 108 is the traditional Yang-style empty-hand long form and the major component of our first degree black sash curriculum for Tai Chi at Master Gohring’s Tai Chi and Kung Fu. The form originated with Yang Luchan and was widely promulgated by his grandson, Yang Chengfu, in the first half of the 20th century.

Here’s a cool video–not exactly a video; rather a succession of stills of Yang Cheng Fu performing the 108 moves:

You can see that the names of the movements are provided in Chinese and German. I’d like to study the stills and the Chinese names to see how this compares to the list I have arrived at. And I wonder if I can find a list of the names from Yang Cheng Fu himself? I wonder what the source for this video was?

The Yang family today lists 103 moves in basically the same form; here’s the Yang Family long form, which does not include a shoulder strike after Lift Hands. There are other variants of this form, some of which differ only in how the moves are counted, others making a difference in how the form is actually done. All this makes me appreciate the modern Chinese campaign to standardize.

Quibbling over the most authentic way to count the moves, or what exactly to call them, doesn’t seem very important to the practice of Tai Chi, but I am hung up on it anyway! My list below is based on the names mostly as we learn them at Master Gohring’s (but not exactly) and the Chinese as best I can gather from sources such as this list of the movements, which is close to ours but differs in a few details.

  1. Preparing Form – Yubei Shi
  2. Commencement – Qishi
  3. Ward-off Left – Zuo Peng
  4. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  5. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  6. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  7. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  8. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  9. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  10. Playing the Lute – Shou Hui Pipa
  11. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  12. Right Brush Knee Push – You Lou Xi Au Bu
  13. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  14. Playing the Lute – Shou Hui Pipa
  15. Left Brush Knee Push – Zuo Lou Xi Au Bu
  16. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  17. Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  18. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
    [Second section:]
  19. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain – Bao Hu Gui Shan
  20. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  21. Diagonal Single Whip – Xie Dan Bien
  22. Fist Under Elbow – Zhou Di Chui
  23. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  24. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  25. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  26. Slant Flying – Xie Fei Shi
  27. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  28. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  29. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  30. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Ao Bu
  31. Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  32. Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  33. Turn and Strike with Backfist – Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui
  34. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  35. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  36. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  37. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  38. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  39. High Pat on Horse – Gao Tan Ma
  40. Separate Right Foot – You Fen Jiao
  41. Separate Left Foot – Zuo Fen Jiao
  42. Turn and Strike with Heel Left – Zhuan Shen Zuo Deng Jiao
  43. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  44. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  45. Step Up and Punch Down – Jin Bu Zai Chui
  46. Turn and Strike with Backfist – Zhuan Shen Pie Shen Chui
  47. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  48. Strike with Heel Right – You Deng Jiao
  49. Hit the Tiger Left – Zuo Da Hu Shi
  50. Hit the Tiger Right – You Da Hu Shi
  51. Strike with Heel Right – You Deng Jiao
  52. Box the Tiger’s Ears – Shuang Feng Guan Er
  53. Strike with Heel Left – Zuo Deng Jiao
  54. Turn and Strike with Heel Right – Zhuan Shen You Deng Jiao
  55. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  56. Withdraw and push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  57. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
    [Third secton:]
  58. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain – Bao Hu Gui Shan
  59. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  60. Diagonal Single Whip – Xie Dan Bian
  61. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  62. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  63. Part the Wild Horse-s Mane – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  64. Ward-off Left – Zuo Peng
  65. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  66. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  67. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  68. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  69. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  70. Ward off Left – Zuo Peng
  71. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  72. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  73. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  74. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  75. Snake Creeps Down – Xia Shi
  76. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg – Jin Ji Du Li
  77. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg – Jin Ji Du Li
  78. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  79. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  80. Repulse Monkeys – Dao Nian Hou
  81. Slant Flying – Xie Fei Shi
  82. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  83. Strike with Shoulder – You Kao
  84. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  85. Brush Knee Push – Lou Xi Au Bu
  86. Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  87. Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  88. Turn and White Snake Spits Out His Tongue – Zhuan Shen Bai She Tu Xin
  89. Step Forward, Block, Parry, Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  90. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  91. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  92. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  93. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  94. High Pat on Horse – Gao Tan Ma
  95. Pierce Palm – Chuan Zhang
  96. Cross Form Kick – Shi Zi Tui (?)
  97. Step Forward and Punch to Groin – Jin Bu Zhi Dang Chui
  98. Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Lan Que Wei
  99. Single Whip – Dan Bian
  100. Snake Creeps Down – Xia Shi
  101. Step Up Seven Stars – Shang Bu Qi Xing
  102. Step Back and Ride the Tiger – Tui Bu Kua Hu
  103. Turn and Sweep the Lotus – Zhuan Shen Bai Lian
  104. Bend Bow Shoot Tiger – Wan Gong She Hu
  105. Step Forward Block, Parry and Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan hui
  106. Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  107. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
  108. Close Form – Shou Shi

Ha! I just typed that from memory! I’ll have to double-check.

I’ll post more (maybe much more) on this form, including links to video sources and applications. I love all the new material I’ve learned since I got my black sash, but this form remains my favorite and (as Master Gohring says) my core discipline.

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