Laojia Yilu: Tricks and Horse’s Mane

In section four, after the single whip that follows Push Mountain (Tui Shan), we do forward and backward tricks and Part the Wild Horse’s Mane right and left:

  • Forward Move (Qian Zhao)
  • Backward Move (Hou Zhao)
  • Part the Wild Horse’s Mane (Ye Ma Fen Zong)

Zhao (招) means maneuver, move, or trick. Here’s the video:

Part the Wild Horse’s Mane:

And finally, a video of section four through Part the Wild Horse’s Mane:

Ready for Yu Nu Chuan Suo and the end of section four!

Poison Hands

We are learning the Kung Fu Tiger Crane 108 as our secondary project in class (Laojia Yilu is our primary focus). The first section of the 108 is Poison Hands, a study of just the blocking movements with the hands.


The names (translations) we use are as follows. So far, I’ve had no luck finding Chinese names.

  • Suppress the Tiger Hide the Dragon
  • Beauty Looks in the Mirror
  • Crosswind Bends the Willow
  • Push the Flower Up the Sleeve
  • One Finger Divides China
  • Press Ten Thousand Pounds
  • Dragon Leaps from the Sea
  • Dragon Plays in the Water
  • Four Fingers Face the Sky
  • Dragon Serves the Pearl
  • Dragon Spits the Pearl

Repeat on the other side, except after Dragon Serves the Pearl comes Wind Punching Method. Video resources:

Applications for sword

There are thirteen techniques for swordplay. I have found several versions of the list, including:


Above, Amin Wu is doing 32-sword, and this is dian jian: point sword. Here’s the list

  1. 点: Dian – point
  2. 刺: Ci – stab
  3. 带: Dai – carry
  4. 劈: Pi – chop
  5. 抽: Chou – pull out
  6. 提: Ti – lift
  7. 击: Ji – hit
  8. 格: Ge – block
  9. 洗: Xi – clear off
  10. 绷: Beng – split
  11. 绞: Jiao – stir
  12. 压: Ya – press
  13. 截: Jie – intercept

The first seven are exemplified in 32-sword. Master Zhang (first link above) provides good descriptions of how all of them work as applications of sword forms. I am wondering how liao, gua, and sao fit in. Also, is lan just a synonym for ge or jie?

From Tao of Tai Chi, I’ve also found a list of techniques for the Tai chi broadsword: upper cut, under cut, cross cut, chop, split, lift, stab, block, pull coiling, push, intercept and parry.

Miyamoto Musashi

Love this video. Miyamoto Musashi was a legendary Samurai swordsman, but here he’s using a short staff–what we call the flute.


And here’s a cool documentary on the Samurai by Mark Dacascos (about an hour and forty-five minutes long, on YouTube).


My interest is Tai Chi, which is Chinese, whereas the Samurai are Japanese. And although Tai Chi is a martial art, my interest is more in the art than the marital part, more about health than fighting. But this is pretty exciting stuff.

Also, in the short clip, I recognize some of the moves we practice in flute form, including two-handed poke at the end of the form, which he is about to execute below.

If you haven’t read Shinju, by Laura Jo Rowland, I recommend it. It’s a satisfying nail-biter of a detective story, set in 17th century Tokyo. The main character, Sano Ichiro, is a Samurai and the most admirable protagonist ever. Here’s a lovely old Japanese woodblock of Musashi from Wikipedia:

Miyamoto Musashi (Wikipedia image)

Samurai Miyamoto Musashi

Nei Kung

Nei Kung means internal work. Ten postures and exercises are specifically designed to build the strength and flexibility needed for Tai Chi. Master Gohring uses the Nei Kung set to help beginning Tai Chi students get up to speed in their physical conditioning. More advanced students benefit from regular practice as well.

The primary sourcebook for CK Chu's Nei Kung system

The primary source book for study of Nei Kung.

Nei Kung was created by Grandmaster CK Chu (1937-2013) as part of his Eternal Spring system for health, self-defense and meditation. His book (above) describes the ten postures in detail with excellent illustrations. Master Gohring offers video demonstration and instruction of all the postures.

Then ten postures and video links are:

  1. Embracing Horse
  2. Ride the Wild Horse (includes general discussion of Nei Kung by Master Gohring)
  3. Playing Guitar
  4. The Compass
  5. Double Dragons Leap from Sea
  6. Rhinoceros Gazes at the Moon
  7. Ride the Tiger (Additional demo)
  8. Phoenix Spreads Wings
  9. Hit the Tiger (On the cover of CK Chu’s book above!)
  10. Owl Turns His Head

The eight important points for Nei Kung are listed below. The ten postures and eight important points are on both the first and second degree black sash tests. Repetitions and durations of postures for beginning, intermediate and advanced students can be found in the book. For the black sash test, we are required to hold Embracing Horse for 20 minutes.

  1. Head suspended
  2. Toes in, knees out, pelvis tucked under
  3. Chest concave
  4. Body rounded
  5. Shoulders and elbows down
  6. Waist loose
  7. Kua (hip joints) loose
  8. Deep breathing

Additional video can be found on Master Gohring’s YouTube Channel.

Yang Applications

For the black sash, both first and second degree, we are tested on self-defense applications of the Yang 108. The list and applications may vary slightly from year to year. This is the list for 2014 (as far as I know! I may be in for a surprise).


  1. Ward-off right/left: RIGHT punch. Pivot on right heel to get out of the way of the blow while blocking with the right arm. This is a yielding ward-off. Then step into the attacker with a left blocking blow to the body. [Note: weight on left leg; adjust right foot position as needed.]
  2. Grasp the bird’s tail: RIGHT punch followed by left, then by two-handed rush. Step in to block with the right arm while the left hand checks the elbow. Block left punch with left and pull the attacker past you. Press back on the left shoulder. [Note: be prepared to step back with the left foot.] The attacker comes straight on, arms outstretched. Block the arms apart from inside and push the attacker away. [Note: let the ugi come in close enough to get a good push with the legs.]
  3. Single whip: LEFT punch. Deflect and send the attacker past you by shifting to the left foot, and grabbing the left wrist with the left hand. Transfer the wrist to the right hand and shift back to the right (whipping the ugi around). Step into a chop to the neck with the left hand. [Note: ugi should protect the neck, as this can easily be a very sharp blow.]
  4. Lift hands: RIGHT punch. Block with the right, check the elbow down with the left and strike the chin with the right hand while shifting some weight onto the right heel. [Note: start with weight on the left foot; right foot makes the kick stand.]
  5. White crane: RIGHT punch and kick. Block the kick down with the left hand, blosk the punch up with the right.
  6. Brush knee push: BOTH sides. Block a right punch with the left hand and/or left punch with the right hand. Step forward on the side of a block and push the attacker back with the other hand. [Note: step in with the block on the same side as the punch; i.e., block a left with the right, right with left to expose the chest.]
  7. Playing guitar: RIGHT punch. Step back on the right foot, out of reach. Strike the elbow with the left and the forearm with the right while shifting forward onto left heel. [Note: be prepared to step back more or less, depending on the reach of the punch. Strike above the elbow when sparring to avoid injuring the ugi’s elbow.]
  8. Step forward, deflect etc: RIGHT punch. Block a punch with the right arm while checking the shoulder with the left, step in and punch to the body. [Note: weight on left, T-step onto right. Step left into punch.]
  9. Embrace tiger return to mountain: RIGHT kick. A right kick is aimed at the body from behind right. The right arm catches the leg and holds it up until the ugi can be pushed away with the left.
  10. Fist under elbow: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the left, grab and pull the left wrist. Strike with beak/wrist in the back of the head (middle of back when sparring). Simultaneously hammer punch with the right fist and stomp behind the left knee to take the ugi down. Pull the left wrist up with the left hand and force the shoulder down with the right, transferring the weight to the right foot. Lean forward onto the left heel to complete the arm bar. [Note: take a little time to get all the component moves in place. Start with weight on the right foot. After stomping, step inside with the right. Don’t forget to step forward onto the heel of the left foot when cranking the arm.]
  11. Repulse monkeys: BOTH sides. Catch a left-leading punch with the left, twist and pull up while turning to the left and forcing the shoulder down with the right. Catch a right punch with the right, turn to the right, twist and push down with the left. [Note: be sure to sink rather than bending over.]
  12. Slant flying: LEFT punch. Block with the left, grab the left wrist with the left hand and pull down while stepping right behind the attacker’s left foot. From under the ugi’s left shoulder, lift the right arm to throw the ugi over your back. [Note: step well in with the right to get leverage. Start with weight in the left.]
  13. Needle at sea bottom: RIGHT handed grab on the right wrist. Trap the ugi’s hand with the left. Turn the right palm to your face, then to his face and down. [Note: This works best if the movement with the right hand is circular (clockwise) and ends up pointing down.]
  14. Fan through back: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the right hand and step into a blow with the heel of the hand into the chin or face. This movement follows Needle at Sea Bottom, so the starting position is somewhat bent over. [Note: ugi should protect the face.]
  15. Cloud hands: BOTH sides. Block a right punch with the right arm, stepping left and checking the elbow with the left hand. Block a left punch with the left arm, closing with the right foot. Yield (lu) when warding off the right; turn into the left punch with peng.
  16. High pat on horse: RIGHT punch. Hook the punch aside with the left and chop into the neck with the right. [Note: start with weight on the right and don’t forget the cat stance with the left.]
  17. Heel kick: LEFT punch. Block the punch with the left hand and push the ugi with the heel. [Note: start with weight on the left foot and place the right at optimum distance before starting the kick. May hold on briefly with the blocking arm for balance.]
  18. Four corners: BOTH sides. Block with the right against a right punch from behind; block with the left against a left punch from in front. One hand blocks, the other pushes (or strikes under the chin).
  19. Snake creeps down/Golden rooster: RIGHT punch deep. Block down and out with the left and circle back up to the ugi’s right shoulder. With the ugi’s right arm pinned, bring the right elbow down on the ugi’s head while simultaneously kneeing him with the right leg.
  20. Step back ride the tiger: RIGHT kick. Crossed wrists strike down to deflect and catch the kick. Right chop to the neck. [Note: start with weight on the left, step back with the right. Go to left cat stance with the chop. Ugi should protect the neck.]
  21. Sweep the lotus: RIGHT punch. Block with the right hand and transfer to left while pivoting on the right heel heel. Step all the way around and plant the left foot. Coming out of the full turn, contact the ugi with the right hand while crescent-kicking in the back (of the head in theory; middle of the back in practice). [Note: weight is on the right foot to start, as if from Ride the Tiger, but shift onto the left foot with the block. Be careful about the distance of the step back with the left.]

Notes for Ugi: Protect for Single Whip, Lift Hands, Fan Through Back, High Pat, and Ride the Tiger (all blows to the neck or face). Be prepared to:

  1. Ward-off R/L: Right punch
  2. Grasp the bird’s tail: Right then left punch, then rush
  3. Single whip: Left punch
  4. Lift hands: Right punch
  5. White crane: Right punch/kick
  6. Brush knee push: BOTH sides
  7. Playing guitar: Right punch
  8. Step forward etc: Right punch
  9. Embrace tiger: Right kick
  10. Fist under elbow: Left punch
  11. Repulse monkeys: BOTH sides
  12. Slant Flying: Left punch
  13. Needle at sea bottom: Grab R w/ R
  14. Fan thru back: Left punch
  15. Cloud hands: BOTH sides
  16. High Pat: Right punch
  17. Heel kick: Left punch
  18. Four corners: Both sides (R behind)
  19. Snake creeps: Deep right punch
  20. Ride the tiger: Right kick
  21. Sweep the lotus: Right punch

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).