Chen 38 Breathing (1)

For the second degree test, we are expected to pace the Chen 38 so it takes no less than 12 minutes. The key to meeting this requirement is correct breathing. The untethered mind may race ahead under test conditions, but the heart and lungs will not.


The movements of this form are complicated; a single movement may have as many as a dozen components. Correct pacing and rhythm depends on correctly placed inhales and exhales.

Nearly every move involves more than one full breath (inhale and exhale) plus at least one settle and/or fajin. Settles are complete exhales with full relaxation and pause. Fajin is an explosive movement with an outburst of air. Fajin usually follows an extended inhale, and may be followed by an extended exhale and settle.

Qishi: Lift knee (in); step left and settle (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui: One of the most complex movements in the form, the Buddha Stamp occurs five times, and each one is somewhat different from all others except in the signature stamp itself. The opener is the most complicated, with ten full breaths (in, ex) leading up to fajin (the stamp) and a final exhale and settle.

  1. Lift arms (in); lower arms (ex).
  2. Turn right (in); return (ex).
  3. Right over left (in); sink down (ex).
  4. Lift up (in); settle (ex).
  5. Reach back left (in); block right (ex).
  6. Pull in (in); push (ex).
  7. Turn left (in); kick/step (continue); settle (ex).
  8. Reach back (in); face front (continue in); settle (ex).
  9. Flick, brush (in); hold fist (ex).
  10. Raise fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Lan Zha Yi: Five full breaths.

  1. Form an X (in); lower hands and settle (ex).
  2. Lift left knee/step left (in); settle (ex).
  3. Lift wrist (in); shift left (continue in); lift knee (quick in); step right/settle (ex).
  4. Circle hands up and right (in); press to left (ex).
  5. Open arms (in); settle (ex).

Liu Feng Si Bi: Three breaths and settle.

  1. Press R (in); press down (ex).
  2. Block up (in); press down (ex).
  3. Push (in); settle (ex).

Dan Bian: This is the first of five single whips in the form, all identical, with four full breaths.

  1. Left reach (in); right reach (continue in); press across body (ex).
  2. Form beak (in); lift left knee and step (continue in); settle (ex).
  3. Turn to left (in); reach right (ex).
  4. Open arms (in); settle (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui (2): Much simpler: just three full breaths.

  1. Block down to left (in); black across to right (ex).
  2. Reach (in); face front (continue in); settle (ex).
  3. Flick, brush (in); hold fist (ex).
  4. Lift fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Bai He Liang Chi: Five breaths.

  1. Circle hands to form X (in); settle (ex).
  2. Lift knee/step back (in); settle (ex).
  3. Lift wrist (in); shift back (ex).
  4. Step in (in); step back (ex).
  5. Reach out and up (in); settle (ex).

 Xie Xing: Four breaths.

  1. Turn left (in); turn right (ex).
  2. Qin na (in); push (ex).
  3. Circle arms/lift knee (in); Step (continue in); settle (ex).
  4. Brush knee (in); push with right (continue in); open arms (ex).

Lou Xi Ao Bu: Four breaths.

  1. Circle/press hands (in); hands down to left (ex).
  2. Push up (in); load up (continue in); press forward (ex).
  3. Lift knee (in); step and load (continue in); push (ex).
  4. Circle arm/step up (in); Qin na (ex).

Yan Shou Gong Quan: Two breaths.

  1. Lift knee (in); step left (ex).
  2. Load punch (in); fajin (ex).

Jin Gang Dao Dui (3): Three breaths.

  1. Lift fist (in); touch fists (ex).
  2. Pull fists back (in); sweep right leg (continue in); rest fist (ex).
  3. Raise fist (in); fajin (pound fist) and settle (ex).

Continued: Chen 38 Breathing (2)

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