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Yin Style Bagua Isometric Strengthening Practices

A beginning guide to isometric strength posture training

By He Jinbao
Translation by Matt Bild
Yin style bagua, according to the form and meaning of the Eight Trigrams, has eight
established animal systems, distinguished as follows: Qian trigram lion system interlocking
palm, Kun trigram unicorn system reversing the body palm, Zhen trigram dragon system
holding and lifting palm, Xun trigram phoenix system windmill palm, Kan trigram snake
system moving with the force palm, Li trigram rooster system lying step palm, Gen trigram
bear system turning the back palm, Dui trigram monkey system enfolding palm. Their
developmental methods are divided into four main areas: standing, turning, striking, and
changing. Standing refers to standing strengthening practices; turning is circle turning
practice; striking means fighting techniques; changing is variations or transformations in
technique. Each animal system has its own corresponding standing strengthening practices.
Qian Trigram Lion System Standing Practice

The Book of Changes states: Qian is supreme stillness, The Qian trigram is comprised of
three lines of yang, it has the meaning of continuity and not being broken. The lion system
takes the form of the Qian trigram. Therefore, while training the standing strengthening
practice for this system, you must be one qi, upper and lower, inside and out.
Training the lion system standing posture will benefit the function of the brain, strengthen
bones and connective tissue, open up and remove blockages in the qi meridians, build qi,
build strength, improve fighting ability and resistance to attack, improve the body’s sense of
touch (martial “listening” ability), and develop a solid foundation for turning, striking, and
changing practices.

I. Preparation
The practitioner should face south with his back to the north. Stand upright with both feet
together, arms naturally hanging at the sides of the body. Calm the mind and quiet the
breathing. Relax the whole body and focus the spirit.

I. Beginning (left side)
1. The left foot opens horizontally out to the left side three foot lengths, ending up standing
with the feet parallel to one another. Your center of gravity should be
placed between the two feet. At the same time, the two arms rise up,
palms down, from the sides of the body to shoulder height. As the
hands rise, you should have the feeling of lifting something up.
Mentally, you should focus on the laogong point on the palms
gathering in qi. Both feet are planted, the yongquan point hollowed
out, with the toes grasping the ground. The breathing should be fine,
long slow, and even.
2. The body sinks down, both palms press down as both legs bend
slightly into a half horse stance. The four fingers of each hand are
held together, with the thumb tucked in towards the laogong point,
forming the ox tongue palm.
III. Holding the posture (left side)
Turn the waist to the left, the left hand moves, palm up, past the
head in a flinging down motion to the left, stopping at shoulder
height. The right hand stabs out to the left, the elbow should be even
in height with the top of the head, the upper arm about a fist width
away from the ear. Both arms thus form the “lion opens his mouth”

Requirements for each part of the body during standing practice

1. The head should push up slightly, tuck in the chin a bit, the neck
should be straight. The eyes should watch the middle finger of the left hand.
2. The chest should be slightly concaved, the back protruded a bit. Contract the anus and
lift up the testicles. The tongue should be placed against the roof of the mouth, and the qi
should be sunk down in the dantian.

3. The waist turns to the left at about 45 degrees, the head turns to the left at about 75
4. The left wrist is level, upright, square, and straight. The palm is facing up. The palm and
forearm turn to the outside and stab forward. The upper arm folds back in, with a slight
pulling back in away from the direction in which the forearm stabs. The left elbow is above
the heel of the left foot. Relax the shoulder and drop the elbow. The angle between the
upper and lower sections of the left arm is about 150 degrees.
5. The right wrist hooks down, the right palm is facing down. The palm and forearm wrap
back in and stab forward. The upper arm turns out to the outside, with a bit of pulling back
away force (containing the meaning of rolling out, wrapping back in, pulling away, and
drilling forward).
6. Both upper arms expand out while both forearms have a hugging in force. Both palms
stab forward. The left arm contains the thought of sweeping, cutting, chopping, and
hooking. The right arm contains the idea of shocking, blocking, seizing, and grasping.
7. The left upper leg presses down, the lower leg’s strength moves up. The right upper leg’s
force lifts up, while the lower leg steps down with force. The toes of both feet grasp the
ground as the two legs use force in an opposing manner.
IV. Closing

The body turns to the right, the face looks back to the south. The center of gravity is shifted
to the right leg. At the same time, both hands naturally move to the front of the chest
forming a crossed shape, left over right, the center of both hands facing inward. After the
arms cross, they then separate and move down and then back up in an arc, coming down in
front of the chest, palms down, the fingers of each hand pointing inward toward the fingers
of the other. At the same time, the left foot draws back in next to the right foot, knees
together. Both eyes are kept level. Adjust your breathing as the body gradually stands back
up straight, returning to the preparatory posture.
V. Right side

Performed opposite to the left side, all requirements are the same as listed above.

Kun Trigram Unicorn System Standing Practice

The Book of Changes states: The method of Kun is to follow. One who acts as Kun, obeys.
The unicorn system takes the form of the Kun trigram. Therefore, while training the
standing strengthening practice for this system, you must be mild and gentle above and
below, inside and out.
Training the unicorn system standing posture will benefit the function of the spleen and
stomach, invigorate the blood circulation and produce qi. Relax the muscles and enliven the
meridians, strengthen connective tissue and bones, increase flexibility and adaptedness. It
will help to develop a sensation of empty quickness and the feeling of rising up in flight to
help develop a good foundation for turning, striking, and changing practices.

I. Preparation
The practitioner should face south with his back to the north. Stand upright with both feet
together, arms naturally hanging at the sides of the body, calm the mind and quiet the
breathing. Relax the whole body and focus the spirit.

II. Beginning (right side) Breakdown of the movements:

1. The right foot opens horizontally out to the right side three foot lengths, standing with
the feet parallel to one another. Your center of gravity should be placed on the right leg. At
the same time, the two arms slowly rise up, palms up, from the sides of the body to
shoulder height. As the hands rise, you should have the feeling of lifting something up.
Mentally, you should focus on the laogong point at the center of the palms gathering in qi.
Both feet are planted, the yongquan point hollowed out, with the toes grasping the ground.
The breathing should be fine, long slow, and even.
2. The body sinks down slightly, both palms naturally lower as both legs bend slightly into a
half horse stance. The four fingers of each hand are held together and slightly curled in,
with the thumb held in, forming the ox tongue palm.
III. Holding the posture (right side)

The head turns to the right, the waist turns with the head. The right hand is lifted up until it
is at shoulder height. At the same time, the left hand moves upward past the head, then is
brought down and to the right until it is about a fist width below the right elbow, thus
forming the “Unicorn spits out her tongue” posture. The front hand is extended out in the ox
tongue palm, the rear hand is hidden, waiting in ambush, below the front elbow.
Requirements for each part of the body during
standing practice
1. The chest is slightly concave, while the back is
protruded a bit. Pull in the abdomen and lift up the
buttocks. The tongue is held against the roof of the mouth.
The neck should be held straight and you should look at
the pinky finger of the right hand. Your intent should be
focused on the mingmen point at the small of the back.
2. The waist turns to the right at about 105 degrees. The
head turns about 90 degrees to the right. The right hand is
held, palm up, at shoulder height. The upper and lower
arms are revolving to the outside and stabbing forward.
Relax the shoulders and concave the chest. The angle
between the upper and lower sections of the left arm is
about 150 degrees.
3. The palm of the left hand faces up, the arm pressing
downward and slightly turning outward. The left hand
being held about a fist width away from the right elbow,
directly above the heel of the right foot. The left elbow is
also about a fist width in front of the solar plexus. The
angle between the upper and lower sections of the left arm
is about 120 degrees. The left arm is held with a pulling
back away force, such that the two arms are using an opposing force.
4. Both arms cover to the inside, with a slight rising upward as well. The right hand contains
the thought of bumping, striking, chopping, and stabbing. The left arm contains the thought
of sticking, adhering, soft, and following.
5. The force in both the upper and lower legs lifts upward. The right leg is set in the center;
the left leg is pushing forward. Both legs are using an opposing force, in the midst of mutual
IV. Closing
The body turns to the left, the face looks back to the south. The center of gravity is shifted
to the left leg. At the same time, both hands naturally move to the front of the chest
forming a cross shape, right over left, the center of both hands facing inward. After the
arms cross, they then separate and move down and then back up in an arc, coming down in
front of the chest, palms down, the fingers of each hand pointing inward toward the fingers
of the other. At the same time, the right foot draws back in next to the left foot, knees
together. Both eyes are kept level. Adjust your breathing. The body gradually stands back
up straight, returning to the preparatory posture.
V. Left side
Performed opposite to the right side, all requirements are the same as listed above.

Questions and Answers about Yin Style Bagua

An interview with He Jinbao

Interview conducted by Matt Bild on March 13, 2005

Bagua has eight animals, each having a different force. Can you describe each kind
of force? For example, what is Qian trigram force, kun trigram force, etc. and how
these forces relate to the part of the body used to emit force e.g. the lion using the
waist to emit force, the phoenix using the shoulder, etc.?

As you stated, most people think that bagua has eight forces. This isn't a complete
understanding. Each animal has many different forces, but one of those forces is primary.
For example look at the lion system. It primarily practices the waist. Emitting force from the
waist is most important. You could however also use your shoulder, elbow, or leg to emit
force. Because it doesn't matter what kind of development, it is a sum total of the
coordination of all parts of the body that produce this kind of thing. In simple terms, it is a
one-sided understanding to say that there is just a use of one force (per animal). It's not
that it's an incorrect understanding; it's just not complete. It's more of an idea of which
aspect is stressed. For example, the lion uses the waist to emit force. The waist is the most
difficult to practice. It gives a lot of benefit to the major organs of the body. The motions of
bending and rising and lowering of the waist help the circulation of the conception and
governing vessels and the belt channel. So we practice the waist as a way to even out the
alignment of these important channels. So through strengthening the waist we are
strengthening the belt channel - to balance and coordinate the belt channel with the
conception and governing vessels. So when you practice the lion system at its most
complete level, the waist, legs, arms, and thought are used at the instant of emitting force far as the practice requirements of Yin Style Bagua, you should practice to the most
complete, flawless and coordinated state. You want to be prepared.
He Jinbao

the waist controls and evens out all of these components. So that's what is meant by the
simple common phrase use the waist to emit force. That phrase is generalized, but quite a
bit is contained in its meaning. So, if in a fight you are positioned very close to the
opponent, you might not use the waist much at all, you might just use the arm or shoulder
to slightly nudge the opponent and send him flying. But as far as the practice requirements
of Yin Style Bagua, you should practice to the most complete, flawless and coordinated
state. You want to be prepared. When you go to use it (in a fight), you might not need that
much. So in simple terms, to say that each animal is just one kind of emitting of force isn't
incorrect it's incomplete. Including the phoenix system. The phoenix, or any system for that
matter, will use the waist, legs and body when emitting force. It's a matter of what is
stressed. Through the practice of each animal system, you'll get a grasp of its specialty and
emphasize its strong points. Another example would be the bear system. The Gen trigram
upside down bowl. In common language, the body should feel like you're carrying
something on the back. So when you practice bear, you want to think a lot about the back.
This will help you to coordinate the body and conform to the practice requirements of this
system. In the rooster system, you want to think a lot on the slight concaving of the chest.
The Li trigram is empty in the middle, so we hollow out the chest. When you hollow out the
chest, this will cause the back to also be held taut. Conversely, if you practice bear and
concentrate on rounding the back, it will also cause the chest to concave. But, as we
practice internal martial arts, the mind's intent is primary. The area you're thinking of in the
two systems is different and the balance of strength and relaxation will be different between
the two postures. You see, if you intentionally concave the chest, the chest concaving will

use seven tenths of your effort, rounding the back three tenths. If you think of rounding the
back, the back will use seven tenths, concaving the chest three tenths. There's no way in
rounding the back that the chest won't be involved at all. It's like what I was just saying
about emitting force. Each of these postures from the animal systems will have an individual
balance between the component parts. In the practice of the dragon system, it is the Zhen
trigram, thunder. The feet are representative of this trigram. This system requires the use
of the legs to emit force. This requires that when you practice the movements should be
long relative to the other systems. So, in our bagua, with all these animal systems, with the
yang trigrams, there is short, middle and long hard force. With the yin trigrams, there is
also long, medium and short force. They're all quite different. In the lion system, mostly it
requires that you give the opponent a feeling of being pressured and having his space
intruded upon. Speaking objectively, if you practice well, you should have this, in addition to
the ability to meet the opponent evenly, and the ability to evade the opponent. It's not that
the lion wouldn't have dodging and evading out of harm's way. Why? Because the lion is a
combination of all the animals. The Qian and Kun trigrams are what create all the other
trigrams. But lion emphasizes the invading and pressuring method, not the others. With the
unicorn, you could also use a forcing transforming. Like with bear and phoenix you have
transforming movements that also use strength. It's like if you have some frozen food, and
you want to eat it now without waiting for it to naturally thaw, you can put it in the
microwave oven and force it to melt quickly (using that method) you'll get a quicker (better)
result than normal. Our martial art draws many things from everyday life. Look at the lion
system, the thought and intent of forcing the opponent should be emphasized I am primary.
But being forceful to the opponent will be relative to the strength and skill of the opponent
you face. So once you practice to a certain level in lion, you'll adjust how much force you
use to the situation of the opponent you are fighting. But at the beginning of studying lion,
you want a strong emphasis on the self, not worrying about adjusting for the opponent.
Unicorn, however, starts with an emphasis on the opponent, not at all emphasizing your
own strength and intent of force.

Can you explain the various methods of force used?

First of all, using the waist to generate force (Qian trigram force), there would be a turning
the waist with the strike (waist and strike both going in the same direction). In addition,
there is the dantian expanding out slightly. In this method, the waist doesn't move, but the
belly dantian expands out. Another method would be the waist turning with the strike, then
at the instant of contact, the waist will turn back in the opposite direction of the strike
known as a moving against emitting force method. Basically, these three kinds are the
foundation methods of emitting force for the Qian trigram.
The snake system should use a binding (winding) strength. It usually emphasizes a pulling
back in and encircling. The first method emphasized for pulling in and encircling is use of
the arms. Secondly, the body is used to achieve this. Finally, there are leg/stepping
methods used. But the most important aspect of the use of force of the snake system is a
returning / coming back in (towards your own body). This encircling and pulling in is also to
serve to enable you to emit power. These three methods using the arms, body, and legs to
entwine and pull in the opponent are so that you can emit your force in a circular motion.
The bear system has a Gen trigram force. Gen is commonly used in Chinese to refer to
something that is not crisp, or will not snap or break easily like how an apple is really crisp.
Foods on the other end of the spectrum would be very soft. Then something Gen would be
in the middle of the two. It's like the kohlrobbie, it's not really crisp, but there is some
hardness to it. It's not pure crispness. For the bear system, it uses Gen force the first
requirement being that the force is short. The back is used to emit force, to determine the
striking of the hands. One kind is to use the back to control the hand / arm striking

motions, another is to use the back to directly strike; yet another is to use the back to
control the attacking motions of the legs. So you see, with the eight animals, where could
we say the difference is? With the lion system, you mainly use the waist to whirl and turn to
drive the limbs to attack. With the bear system, we use the back to control each of these
various attacking areas (parts of the body) and to use the back to enter on the opponent.
Now, the dragon system should have a long strength. The most important aspect is placing
emphasis on springing off the back leg. The dragon system method of emitting force is to
use the legs, but the angles of emitting force are all different. Depending on the direction of
the striking arm in relation to the leg, there end up being three basic types: wide open
(almost a tearing feeling considered to be a moving against force), straight (off the leg) and
whirling around.
So again, this is still different from the moving with and moving against forces used by the
lion system. Like I have said about lion, it uses a moving with, an expanding of the dantian,
and a moving against. These mainly emphasize the waist. These three methods can bring
into play many different areas of the body; the arms, the torso, the legs (using the waist is)
the most complete. In the snake system, the most important thing is the encircling emitting
of force. It's not only going out away from your body that you can emit force, emitting while
coming back in is possible as well. So snake is the reverse of other systems in that you will
emphasize harming the opponent with movements that come back in toward your own
body. The encircling can use the arms, body and legs. It's quite different. The bear uses the
back to strike. First, the back moves the arms. Second, the back directly strikes; leaning
strikes, crashing strikes, squeezing strikes, pressing strikes, etc. Third, the back also
controls the legs.
Dragon system, however, is different. The dragon uses the legs to emit force. You burst off
of the legs. The force then travels from the legs through the waist out to the hands. In this
way, the path traveled by the force is long. In Yin Style Bagua, this is known as a type of
long force. The main thing the legs control (in the dragon system) is hand strikes. As far as
the hand strikes, basically there are opening up, coming together in the middle and round
and slippery. The angles are different on each. Amongst the really wide angles, there are
long medium and short strikes. But that's relative to each other; in all (in comparison to
other animal systems) they're all long. In addition, we often say the phoenix system uses
the shoulder to emit force. The shoulder is used in this way to facilitate agility. What's
different about this is that the shoulder is used to carry the waist. The shoulder is primary,
but the waist is also used. In this way, the secondary use of the waist can have a moving
with or against the strike, or expanding of the dantian. These are still different form the lion
system, as the phoenix uses the shoulder to carry the waist into the strike, whereas the lion
uses the waist to control the strike. The phoenix uses the arm (shoulder) to decide the waist
movement. So in a way, the phoenix method is the opposite of the lion; the lion speaks only
of the waist to determine the strike, the phoenix speaks of the strike (turning and changing
of the arm and shoulder) to determine the waist forming a moving with, against, or dantian
expanding motion.
The rooster system uses the elbow to emit force. Using the elbow to emit force is also
considered a type of short force. It has a hard and crisp feeling. The shortness if the force
makes it very fast. The elbow emitting force has three main types; the elbow carrying the
shoulder, the elbow carrying the waist, and the elbow carrying the legs. Although it in
broader terms is a short force, it still separates into long, middle and short variants.
Next is the unicorn system. The unicorn, objectively speaking, also uses the waist. You
might also say it uses the waist accomplish its objective. With the lion you use the waist to
emit force. With the unicorn, you use the waist to remove force. How is the waist used to
remove force? Well, there isn't an expanding of the dantian method as previously

mentioned. There is a (waist) moving with removing, moving against removing, and
transforming removing. The (unicorn) reverse palm is a moving with the force. It is stated
very clearly that the unicorn is upper, lower, inside, and outside harmonious smoothness.
So first, we have a moving with removing (of the opponent's force). Secondly, we have a
moving against the opponent's force to remove. The opponent may assume that you can
only use a moving with motion to remove his force; moving against is also possible. Finally
there is a transforming removing this is a relatively higher level. The unicorn emphasizes a
round and slippery strength and a whirling force.
Finally, the monkey system. The main emphasis of the monkey system is on leg methods.
But the central location used to emit force is still the waist. The main methods of using the
force are the knees, hip and body. The waist is still the central axle of the force. The force
emitted should be very hard. Yin Style Bagua leg techniques are all a very hard force. Not
crisp hard, very hard. That is Dui trigram force. Something crisp is something that can snap
very easily. Something Gen is something that is firm, but not easily breakable. So when I
say the legs are hard, this is slightly different from the meaning of crisp.

Can you describe what shocking force is like? Lion, phoenix and bear systems all
have a shocking attack method. Is the shocking force itself different in each of
these animals, or is it differentiated via the striking hand forms used?

First of all, shocking is a type of force. What kind of force? It is an internal force. A control
of the body is required in order to give rise to internal power. The force itself, the strikes
used to deliver it, and the areas to be struck are different than other attacking methods.
The angles of the strikes and rising, lowering, and whirling movement of the body are also
different from other methods. All of these aspects help the shocking force achieve various
results. From the point of view of force, shocking has straight, angular, and round. One
basically can use these three kinds of shocking force. For example, speaking of the lion
system shocking strikes, the requirements are hard, violent, and crisp. The phoenix system
shocking strikes should be clean, orderly, and fast. So this is different than the hard,
violent, and crisp of lion system. The bear system is still different. The shocking force it
uses should be a little sticky, full, and thick. In addition, the targets struck by each system's
shocking strike are generally different. The lion practitioner generally uses the arm to strike
the opponent's arm, head, or chest. These targets are chosen to do maximum damage to
the opponent. The phoenix system will generally tend to shock strike the opponent's spine
(neck), arms, or ribs. The bear system will tend to strike the opponent's chest, lower
abdomen, and back. The bear will use either the back or the arms to deliver this shocking
force. I have said that shocking is a type of internal force. As I mentioned, there are many
elements that are involved in the generation of this force. You could use the back, the arm,
or the shoulder to shock strike. The bear will mostly use its rushing, penetrating, and
carrying strikes with a shocking force. The phoenix will use dodging, extending, and
chopping to shock. The lion will use sweeping, cutting, chopping, and hooking with a
shocking force. But this is an absolute. For example, the lion also will use a rolling shaking
shock. So these attacking method characters (sweeping, dodging, rushing, etc.) are used to
emphasize the characteristics of each system, but there are also many shocking methods
used outside of the sixty-four attacking methods. You could rolling shock, wiping shock,
covering shock, et cetera. They're all different strikes, but they all want to have the proper
length of force for a shocking strike, to obtain the desired shocking strike result in the
opponent's body. This also includes the distance that your force should enter into the
opponent. The objective of using a shocking strike is to allow your force to enter inside the
opponent's body. You must have a control of the depth of your force entering into the
opponent's body. For example, if I use a lion shaking shock strike to the opponent's arm,

the result should be to damage the opponent's neck vertebrae. There are some strikes
where the result will not happen at the point of contact. However, if you used the same
strike to the elbow, you might break the elbow and damage the vertebrae as well. This is
one reason why when we practice we must tuck under the chin to strengthen our own neck
vertebrae. The bear system back leaning strike uses the outside to strike, but harms the
inside of the opponent. You might say the lion strikes one place causing harm to another,
whereas the bear strikes the outside of the body causing harm to the inside. The phoenix is
more direct where it shock strikes is usually where the opponent is harmed. The angles
used are different amongst all of these. For example, dropping straight down like a
chopping shocking strike. If the strike goes straight down, without any change in the
movement of the arm, then that is considered a chop. If you add a slight rotation to the
forearm as you bring the arm down, this will create the shocking force. So in this instance,
the technique must be modified slightly to bring about a shocking force. In this way, the
arm contains the ability to change. As the arm is coming down, the opponent won't be able
to judge what is going on. In addition, adding a rotating inward motion to the forearm can
also add the effect of a carrying strike as you make contact with the opponent's forearm. In
a side note on this theme, the rooster system does not have the character for shocking
amongst its attacking methods.
...if you want to get your shocking force emitted the most completely, it requires the
combination of a lot of component elements to all come into place; the angle of the strike,
rising or lowering of the arms, and the help of the body.
He Jinbao

But the character for its rising and shifting strikes often employ movements with a rotation
of the forearm to cause the opponent to rise up and shift off his root. These could be
considered to contain a type shocking force in application due to the movements of the
arms while executing these strikes. My point being that through a slight change in the
motion of the arms when executing any strike, you could change the force used into a
shocking force.
Now, if you want to get your shocking force emitted the most completely, it requires the
combination of a lot of component elements to all come into place; the angle of the strike,
rising or lowering of the arms, and the help of the body. Now if you want a lighter shock,
you could just use the arms to shock strike. To add a greater degree of force, you could put
your waist into the strike, a most complete force is generated when the rising or lowering of
the whole body is involved. In summary, shocking is a kind of internal force which is created
through the combination of many different components.
What is listening ability in martial arts? How should it be understood?

The term listening force is made from the character for listening with the ear and the
character for strength or ability. Now form the martial arts point of view, of course this is
not the meaning of just listening with the ears. If you can practice to a high level, you
should use the sense of touch to get a feeling of the degree of force used by the opponent.
To express this idea, practitioners will usually say that they listen to or hear your force. If
you really want to get an accurate sense of your opponent's force, you must make contact.
If you don't make contact, there is no way you can have an accurate feel of his force. In Yin
Style Bagua, the saying is that you touch with the skin and hair on the forearm. Of course
when we say skin, there are many layers to the skin and of course nerves, this is all
contained in that meaning.
In order to arrive at a good level of listening ability, first you must studiously practice your
development. Through a long period of practice, including the movement of the functions of
qi, your heart will have this sensitivity; your mind will have thought this over.

10 | Y S B
Our practice methods of standing, striking, turning, and changing all contain elements of
practicing listening skill. Listening skill, objectively speaking is something that will arrive
naturally once you've practiced to a good level in these areas. Chinese medicine for
example, requires that you go and read the pulses of live patients. If you don't, you'll never
have a sense for being able to read a patient's condition. But first of all, before you do this,
you must study, you must know the where and why of the meridians. In martial arts, we
must first practice to obtain a developed strength. So first, you must put in time studying
and practicing. Secondly, through this study and practice, you will improve and know where
the opponent's vulnerable spots are. Finally, you can go to use it. For example, the
shousanli point on the forearm. If you strike it, you can numb the arm so that the opponent
is unable to use his arm. At the instant when the hands go up in a fight, you will be able to
listen to the opponent's force and be able to be sure of the result you will get by striking a
certain place on his body. So listening ability, in all is an important part of the overall
picture in martial arts. This includes your power of vision, perception of when a
fighting/dangerous situation might occur. But in narrower terms, listening ability could be
described as if I touched your arm and closed my eyes, I could get a sensation of where you
(your strength) were going. Then I would know how I should change and which force should
I use. Including the amount of force I should use and the basic direction of movement I
should use to react.
Will practicing standing strengthening, turning the circle, striking, and changing
somehow affect the body to facilitate this listening ability?

Using the four main areas of practice, the meridians of the body will become unimpeded;
the circulation of blood through the circulatory system will also be smooth and unimpeded.
This will include improvement to your sense of touch and overall sensitivity. So as all these
are being improved through continual practice, your listening ability will be strengthened.
Does Yin Style Bagua have a push hands practice method? Is it important to
practice? What difference does it have from taiji push hands?

Yin Style Bagua has push hands. But we only use single push hands training. Why? From
what was commonly said by the old practitioners, single push hands at the start two people
practicing a type of strength with each other. At the beginning they will resist each other
with strength. After a long period practice, both people are exhausted and have no strength
left, so they will naturally begin to listen for the sensation of the opponent's force use
listening skill.
So could it be said that our method of push hands is according to the Qian and Kun
philosophy of first practicing yang, then later practicing yin unlike taiji which
stresses not using force from the start?

Our training method at the beginning is that both people must use force. You must practice
with strength. You must endure to the point of where you have no strength left, and you will
naturally be at a point of not using force. At the extremity of yin, yang is produced, and at
the height of yang, yin comes to be. It is that same theory. So when two people practice
with strength until reaching the point of having no more strength, that is a pure listening
skill. Through this kind of practice you are bringing the hard force to its extremity to
produce a pure soft strength.
We practice the single push hands methods. Double push hands with a moving step is
actually a type of sparring practice. If the both hands are pushing at the same time,
mutually pressing arms, this is actually a type of exercise between two friends. In Chinese,
we call it a type of contract hands we both agree beforehand what the rules are for safety.
In Yin Style Bagua, however double push hands would just be fighting. Because it is only

11 | Y S B
with an acquaintance that you could practice something like double push hands. If you tried
it with someone you're not sure of, the opponent might try something on you. So that's the
difference of Yin Style Bagua push hands practice with other styles like taiji quan.
So could it be said that through developmental practices, push hands practice, and
applications practice with a training partner that these will combine to develop
listening ability?

How is internal power developed?

Internal development is also a combination of various things. First of all is our standing
practice. When training the standing postures, you must add a lot of thought.
What kind of thought?

Because you want to train for fighting, you should add a type of heavy forceful feeling to the
arms or the feeling of striking power. First of all, the posture and position of the hands must
be accurate. The angles must be appropriate. In that way, the qi and blood can be
unobstructed. It's not that just by standing there idly you can develop internal power. If you
have no thought and your posture is incorrect, your angles are inappropriate and your qi
and blood are obstructed, then your limbs will end up feeling numb and you still think you're
getting internal development?
In addition to standing practices, there are other internal development practices. For
example, you could singly practice the dantian region by slowly repeatedly expanding the
dantian. Thinking expand expand expand. This is a type of self-massage. Through practicing
this you can strengthen and make more durable the internal organs. Through time, the
strengthening of the organs will have a positive effect on the external body, and the effect
of adjusting the balance of yin and yang in the organs. Over the course of time, your
internals will be strong. Once they are strong, if you add the martial developmental
practices, the combination of the two will produce internal power. So it requires the
combination and coordination of both aspects, having just one isn't enough. Why is it that
martial arts talk about developing the hands, eyes, body, waist, and stepping? It's all a
combination of elements. In broader terms, we (martial arts) have the use of kicking,
grasping, throwing, and striking. Everything is a combination of many factors.
Now, turning the circle is also to help for internal development. The practice of internal
development like other development has still practice and moving practice. I've stated many
times that through turning practice, a body that is stiff and obstructed can become
unimpeded and agile. A person with clumsy stepping can develop nimble and agile stepping.
If your body is stiff and clumsy, the qi and blood are obstructed the meridians are not
flowing smoothly, how can you talk of having internal development? So to just speak singly
about one practice method of developing internal power is not complete. Now turning
practice at the beginning is just a basic practice, but over time it can become a very
profound practice. One, through turning you can adjust the nervous system. You can also
arrive at a state of practicing the essences and transforming them to qi, then transform the
qi to become spirit.
This process of essence transforming to qi transforming to spirit is there an
intentional practice method for it, or does it naturally become enhanced through
our practices?

There isn't a special practice method for it, it occurs naturally. Many people ask, should I
use this or that breathing method? At the beginning you do not want to think about all

12 | Y S B
different breathing methods. It's like I have told people, if you're turning too fast, you'll
know because you're out of breath. If there's no change whatsoever in your breathing, that
proves you're turning too slowly. According to each individual situation you must adjust the
practice. Because each person's body, habits, and nutrition et cetera are all different. One
person may practice for four hours and feel fine whereas another may be completely
exhausted after the same amount of time. It's like a marathon runner unsuccessfully trying
to compete in a hundred-meter sprint. Conversely, the sprinter would be dead tired trying
to run the marathon. A sprinter may only have to prepare for tens of steps, not so for a
marathon runner you'd need to take ten thousand. It is different stepping adjustment for
different purposes. Stepping for turning the circle at the beginning is supposed to be the
whole bottom of the foot stepping levelly down. But at the start you aren't able to
accomplish that. So a beginner can adjust and allow the front portion of the foot to come
down first. But you definitely do not want to step heel first. In Yin Style Bagua, we try and
step down with the whole foot levelly in order to adjust your balance; to adjust your yin and
yang. This kind of stepping can help you to save a lot of effort, to give you a really well
distributed arrangement. This is important because we turn the circle for long periods of
time. Our steps are small, but they are taken quickly. When breathing, you should take
natural breaths while turning. Slowly through practice, the functions and circulation of qi will
begin to be involved. Through time, all the systems of the body, including circulatory,
digestive, et cetera will all be benefited by the practices.
So the development of internal power is most benefited through the standing and turning
practice methods. Be sure to bout thought in while standing. Standing is also a type of
guiding and leading (dao yin) practice where enduring in a prescribed posture will affect the
internal circulation of blood and qi.
What is qigong? Some styles emphasize individual practice of qigong. How does
this relate to our internal development methods?

Qigong is currently very popular and en vogue. With bagua, it doesn't matter which aspect
you're practicing; it all contains qi. It all contains development. The idea is to put qi and
development together. At the beginning they are separate, then later on you put them
together to become qi-gong. This is an explanation from the point of view of the characters.
People nowadays, relatively speaking, don't like to practice a lot of basic things. They feel it
to be too bitter and uninteresting. Everyone chooses to go right for the high level practices.
I feel that things should go according to scientific rules of development. It's like with
humans, at the time you're born, you don't know how to speak. Slowly you learn. Slowly
you choose the things you are interested in studying, a type of profession, a partner, et
cetera. Everything requires progression in stages. If you're averse to using strength form
the start, the result won't be good. China has a lot of qigong associations and blue-ribbon
panels and the like. I've been to them. A lot of people who practice only qigong practice
themselves into a sorry state. So there are some things, to borrow a phrase from ancient
Chinese culture, which you can desire, but shouldn't strive to obtain. You can have the idea
of arriving at something, but you shouldn't be too insistent about getting there. With these
things like qigong or bagua, if you could practice to mastery in two days, then they wouldn't
be worth the money, so to speak. As far as determining whether a person's qigong is
practiced well or not, you should compare with yourself, not with other people claiming this
and that. As with a lot of things, you don't want to just take things at hearsay. He said he
had this and that benefit from this practice. It's not that everything everyone says will be
correct. Different people who teach or write books are all at different levels; the things they
write or say will reflect those differences. The length of time a person has been practicing,
the depth of understanding he has, all of this will come into play. In addition, a certain type
of qigong practice might fit with some people and not with others. Or like a vitamin
supplement might benefit some and harm others. Medicine is the same, you must listen to a

13 | Y S B
doctor tell you what kind of medicine you need; you can't blindly take whatever you feel
like. Is it a yang deficiency condition? Yin deficient? You must supplement the right thing. I
feel that qigong should be approached in the same way.
When we practice development, the first thing is the movement of the qi. Then comes the
movement of the strength. So we have qi and we have development (gong).
So the movement of the qi is practiced through holding postures like the standing
strengthening postures?
And the movement of the strength is through turning the circle and striking
practice, et cetera?

Yes, so when you have both of these together, that produces a type of qigong. It is qi and
strength put together well with development (gongfu). For example, why is it the average
person can't run a marathon? Because they don't have the training of portioning out their
breathing extremely accurately for the long haul of the race. I'm speaking in very simple
terms of the practice of the breath. I'm not willing to go into very mysterious discourses on
supernatural powers developed through qigong. So for example, these athletes, their breath
is used well and portioned out well. Then you add in training and time (gongfu).
Development is expressed in many ways in the body. First of all is time. If someone has
practiced, for example, running for ten years, and adds in good control of the breath, he will
arrive at a successful result. Again, it's the combination of elements. If you practice ten
years of running and developing your breathing, you will run well. If I just sit here and train
my breath for ten years without the running developmental practice, at the end of the time,
I won't be able to run a marathon. So you can't just blindly focus on the breath. The
practice of qigong is similar to out martial art practice. I feel that qigong also has standing,
turning, striking, and changing. Why do I say that? Because standing is the use of guiding
and leading energy (dao yin). Turning is also adjusting and using the qi. Including the
practice of strikes, you are using the techniques to control and determine the qi and
strength. With changing, you are adjusting the breath. Different techniques may accompany
different types of breathing. You may use a moving the breath with, against, or holding the
breath technique.
I feel that a lot of the qigong practitioners out there have changed these practical things
into very mysterious-sounding practices. If you blindly follow just one aspect, without an
understanding of the component parts that make it up, I feel that the result cannot be very
good. A lot of people who practice qigong with the idea that they're going to get to some
immortally high level, well they're just fooling themselves.
When you practice something, first of all you've got to have some thought about what
you're doing. There are some people who practice qigong for the purpose of strengthening
the body. If through the practice I feel that my body has improvement, there is an obvious
result, that proves I'm practicing correctly. Some people practice qigong for the purpose of
being unbeatable in a fight. If you don't arrive at this result, that proves that you're
Yin Style Bagua has qigong, but we don't usually talk about it. At least not in terms of
qigong. In this style, we first practice the yang fire, then enter the yin state. Practice the
spirit and return to the void. Then borrow the qi of heaven and earth. Four levels.
The singular practice qigong approaches certain things from a different vantage point than
our martial art. In out art, when we begin the traditional position is facing the south with
the back to the north. Qigong practitioners will usually face the east while training. Qigong
practitioners will practice for various reasons; some to adjust their own qi, others to expel

14 | Y S B
certain sick qi from the body, others still to gather qi from the surroundings or from other
people. So if your thinking is different, then your result will be different.
What are the benefits of practicing the bagua saber or straight sword?

First of all, the martial arts are a combined practice. It's the same for bauga. In Chinese
martial arts, it is often said that one must practice forms, long weapons, strike practice,
short weapons, shuai jiao, Chinese hackey sack, lion dance, et cetera - these are all a part
of martial training. It combines so many different things to give you very complete
development. First of all, forms practice requires your hands, eyes, body, methods, and
stepping to be coordinated, done to completion and practiced by the book. I tell you that
doing forms practice is to develop you into a successful fighter. But if you want to make
these forms flawless, you must practice single-action strikes. That will make each part of
the form correct. Why practice weapons? Because people can not only rely on themselves
for practice. Some things require help. If you've never picked up anything heavy before,
then all of the sudden one day go to lift something heavy, you'll hurt yourself. If you only
practice forms or strikes, that would not give a complete development to your muscle
strength and endurance or completely help make unobstructed your qi and blood
circulation. Because only through bearing the burden of the weight of a weapon can the
cardiovascular and pulmonary systems gain extra benefit. Also, through the body
accompanying the movement of the weapon, you can extend your thought longer (to the
extremity of the weapon). So you have the added challenge of coordinating your
movements with the extra weight of the weapon. These are some reasons for modern-day
practitioners to continue the practice of traditional weaponry. In the past, of course they
practiced weapons for use in battle. They carried weapons for protection.
Is the reason the Yin Style saber is so large and heavy because in the past it was
used for fighting cavalry troops?

Why is the saber so large? Well, our style is fairly unique. The weaponry if first of all meant
for use. It was meant to be used for killing. With everything in Yin Style Bagua, the
important aspect is use. The sheer size of the saber forces you to put in a lot of
developmental time. Just speaking of strength, if you don't even have the strength to be
able to skillfully handle your own saber, you're no martial artist. If you don't even have a
strong body and accurate thinking, then what martial art do you practice?
Of course Yin Style Bagua also has small weaponry. This enables you to compare and
contrast the two. These things should all be practiced. You shouldn't only practice the fist,
but not weaponry. Conversely, you shouldn't only practice weaponry without practicing
empty hand skills. It's like I've said, standing, turning, striking, changing a combination. If
all you do is standing practice, standing is mainly for improving the circulation of the blood
and qi and strengthening the functions of the organs developing internal strength. Turning
the circle mainly is to make a stiff and impeded body flexible and unimpeded, clumsy
stepping is also made nimble. In addition is puts the person in harmony with his
surroundings. Turning is also a type of qigong gathering in the qi of the earth. While
whirling around, the body can expel sick qi. Again, through the centrifugal and centripetal
forces at work, the body can adjust itself by either expelling or gathering qi.
So we practice weaponry in order to unite with these practices, to make them even more
complete. To make your body skill (motion) expressed even more flawlessly. The practice of
weaponry can carry with them and improve the more difficult areas of the body to practice.
So the practice of weapons can strengthen your development, and add to the effectiveness
of your techniques.

15 | Y S B
What are the different methods of practicing the saber, sword, and spear? Do they
affect the body in different ways?

In Yin Style Bagua, the saber separates into two main types of practice: the martial and the
cultural or refined. The refined saber method should be done with continuous round and
fluid movements. It would look a little like how people nowadays generally do martial
performance demonstrations. Martial saber is not. It requires that each technique be done
very cleanly. Each technique should be very defined and differentiated from every other
technique. Within the field of weaponry, there are hard and violent, there are soft and
smooth. The saber tends to emphasize the methods of force being thick and full.
The sword is different. It is often said that, the saber is king, the sword esteemed. It is also
said that a scholar will carry the sword, a warrior the saber. Our practice of the sword is
mainly different form the saber in that the sword emphasizes the use of body skill. It has
softer characteristics but the sword also has a strong martial practice method. You could say
that the sword could also break down into martial and refined practice methods just like the
saber does. Many of the attack method characters for the sword and saber are the same:
bursting forth, cutting up, arcing, stabbing, rising, rushing, sweeping, and slicing.
The sword practice generally causes the muscles to be achy; the saber causes the muscles
to be sore. It is a different result from the practice of the two and yet again a question of
the balance of yin and yang. It is an adjustment of your muscles.
Could it be simply stated that the saber mostly practices strength while the sword
mainly makes the body more flexible and agile?
Yes. For one thing, the saber builds strength. It can help to bring out your whole body force.
It mostly emphasizes the use of strength. The practice of the sword can take the strength
that you have and make it more rounded. It could be likened to the difference between the
lion and unicorn animal systems. The saber practices a horizontal and vertical force. The
sword emphasizes the practice of a round and slippery force. These weapons are meant to
accompany and help to develop the practice methods of our bagua.
The spear is used to develop internal strength and to develop the ability to explosively emit
force. It also practices a shooting and shaking force more than the saber or sword. The style
of each weapon is quite different.
With the standing strengthening practice taught by Xie Peiqi in his later years, the
stances are different than how you teach now. Is this difference important? Is it
acceptable to practice in that way?

Whether you practice with that type of stance or not doesn't matter both methods are
acceptable. Why is that? It's just like I have said with many things, at the start, you must
have set rules. If you want to practice set in place standing methods, then according to that
method, your feet and legs can't move they must stay set in place. What Dr. Xie was doing
was a type of moving step standing practice. I feel that both methods are acceptable. But
you must accord with your own needs. If you want to stand with one leg weighted and one
leg empty, that is fine, too. Both legs evenly weighted is also acceptable. Your center could
be moved slightly more to one leg or the other; this is fine, too. The same standing posture
can practiced using many different methods. Why? Because you want to adjust the way you
practice it according to your situation. The degree to which your body can handle the
posture, and the sensation you obtain can be used to adjust the posture to fit you.
You often state while teaching the standing strengthening postures that if you're
standing correctly, you can't hold the posture for more than a minute. If you can
stand for longer than two minutes, that proves you're standing incorrectly.

16 | Y S B
What I mean by standing for a short period of time is gong fu standing practice. Why do I
say that you won't be able to stand longer than one to two minutes? Because it requires
that your muscle and posture arrive at a point where you are developing yourself. So you
couldn't hold it for too long of a time. If you're holding the same posture, but the whole
body is relaxed, then you're using a nourishing health standing method. In that way, you
could stand for quite a long period of time. So, in our bagua, there is a yang standing
method and a Yin standing method. Like I had just said about a fighting intend while
standing, the yang standing method will make all the muscles contract and exert effort, as if
you were fighting an opponent. The Yin standing is comfortable. One method is putting out,
another is gathering back in. Both different.
So the time for standing is different for each person and each situation. So you
couldn't say that if you don't stand for three minutes, you won't get any benefit
from standing.

No, you couldn't. There are some things that do in fact require you to endure. There are a
lot of reasons. Maybe the body circulation is obstructed. Maybe the posture isn't very
correct. Maybe there are extraneous thoughts running through your mind. Maybe your force
isn't evenly distributed throughout your entire body. Perhaps your weight isn't evenly placed
on both legs. So want to try and correct all of these over the course of time.
So, in our standing practice, the strength wants to be used and distributed properly, the
arms want to roll out, wrap in, drill forward, and pull back. You will thereby arrive at the
objective of the qi and blood moving properly. Later on, when you move on to the relaxed
standing practice method, it will even out the circulation of the qi and blood. Almost like the
idea of how after turning the circle, we walk around in a relaxed fashion to allow our bodies
to return to the state they were in before turning. This standing method will allow the qi and
blood to return to the state they were in before your practice session.
How long of a period of time do you feel is best to stand the postures? Can this be
adjusted if you have been practicing for a long time and your blood and qi
circulations are unobstructed, does that mean the two minute rule no longer

If you can stand the posture correctly with strength and hold it for a long period of time,
then that is even better! When I talk about people not being able to stand past a minute or
two if it's correct, that's something I say to beginners. Obviously, a beginner won't be able
to correctly hold these postures for more than a minute or two. Of course, a practitioner
over time will have the following: one, qi and blood will be unobstructed, two, the muscles
will be accustomed to the angles and structure of the posture. In this way, the time you are
able to stand will be extended. But of course, the more correct you stand, the more obvious
of a sensation you will get from it. That's the overall meaning.
If you use 100% of your strength while practicing standing postures, how much
should be used to hold the posture while turning the circle?

50 to 60 percent.
What are your thoughts on training by striking objects such as heavy bag training?

Striking objects such as heavy bags is also a way of practicing. But Yin Style Bagua doesn't
use it. Through many years of practice and tradition passed down, and from the point of
view of the use of force, if you strike objects over a long period of time, you will develop a
pulling back of force on your strikes. Objectively speaking, if you strike objects, you won't
be able to develop a penetrating through force. It's not to say that through the practice of

17 | Y S B
striking objects you won't be powerful enough to hurt people; it's just that you won't have
as obvious of a result as through empty striking. It's just a question of comparison. Also,
humans have a lot of sensitive flesh, nerves, and meridians. If the meridians are damaged
over a long period of time, the external body, the listening ability of the flesh, et cetera
could all be affected. Looking at this from the point of strengthening and nourishing the
health of the body, striking objects isn't really appropriate. A lot of things are a
contradiction the more effort you put into training, the greater your chance of getting
injured. But we want to cut down on inappropriate training methods that might cause
unnecessary injury. So Yin Style Bagua has empty practice. One, the hands and arms don't
have as great of a chance of injury. Two, you will be able to develop a type of penetrating
through strength.
What are your thoughts on weight training practice to develop strength?

Weight training as a way of adding in an adjustment to the bagua training we do will have
benefit. But there is the question of balancing the two. If it is eight parts bagua and two
parts weight lifting, that's fine. If every day you practice eight hours of (martial)
development and two hours of weight training, no problem. With this, you have to look at
which one is primary. If you have someone who just weight trains, then have them try and
do one of our martial forms and be very fluid and coordinated, well they probably won't be
able to do it. What you practice is what you get. If you only practice throwing and wrestling,
your striking will be lacking. If you only practice striking, your throwing won't be good. If
you practice throwing and striking, that's all right. If all you practice is performance-
oriented things, well it doesn't mean that you can't fight you just won't be very good at it. If
all you practice is fighting, then your skills won't be very pleasing to the eye.
Is the type of muscle developed through weight training different than the type
developed through Yin Style Bagua? How can weightlifting be added in to bagua
practice how can muscle development be adjusted?

The two kinds of muscle aren't really the same. Like I just said, the balance of time between
the two is very important. Weight training causes short and compact muscle to develop. It
kind of pulls the muscle together in a round shape. Bagua requires that the muscle is pulled
long and strong. In addition, weight training basically focuses on the muscle itself; bagua
strives to practice the tendons more than the muscle. Also, bagua to a greater degree
strives to twist and turn the muscles from various angles during practice. Weight training
produces a more outwardly visible result with the muscle. If you practice a short period if
weight training in relation to your bagua, this will re-adjust the muscle. I do feel that weight
training has a positive effect on a bagua practitioner. If, for example, you don't have a
saber or sword, but still want the strength benefits, well, you could do some supplementary
weight training. Because with practicing development, you don't want to be narrow-minded
in that, if I don't have a saber I can't practice strength whatever you have around you, you
might as well use it. If some free weights are all that are available to you, then use them.
This is a method of blending in with your surroundings.
If all a person ever practiced was weight training, then of course the agility of the muscles
and body would not be what it could be.
Is adding in the practice of shuai jiao of benefit?

Shuai jiao, like qigong, is something that if spoken of on its own is actually a part that has
been taken from a complete whole. Martial arts including bagua contain kicking, grasping,
throwing, and striking. Kicking, as it is often referred to, contains all leg methods. One
character represents the meaning of all those things. Grasping means seizing and grasping
methods. Seizing and grasping skill contains many refined skills in its practice. An example

18 | Y S B
would be the way Brazilian ju-jitsu has taken traditional Japanese Jujitsu and specialized in
just the grasping methods this would fall under the category of seizing and grasping.
Throwing, this would include shuai jiao. Why is it in martial arts we say shuai (ti, na, shuai,
da) and not shuai jiao? Just using the character for throwing (shuai) has a broader
meaning. Saying shuai jiao puts limits on the scope of what you're saying. For example, you
can't strike, you mostly pay attention to leg methods et cetera. The idea of throwing in
martial arts contains hand and leg methods. In martial arts, there are a lot of throwing
techniques that are done just with the arms without involving the legs. If you look at the
jiao character of shuai jiao it is the foot radical put together with the coming together, or
exchanging radical. A lot of Chinese characters look like what they mean. So in martial arts,
we have using the arms, legs, and arms and legs together to throw the opponent. So I feel
that out martial art is more complete than shuai jiao. I hope that our practitioners will
develop completely they can execute their strikes effectively standing up, lying down,
wherever. So throwing is an aspect of training that cannot be neglected.
So if we include the practice of shuai jiao in our training, will it help with our
developing an alive force, being able to find and exploit the opponent's center
while learning how to maintain our own balance?

Yes. How should I put it? Shuai jiao is the same in this way as our saber, sword, or spear
practices. It will help with our bagua practice. Like I said, Yin Style Bagua is a sum total. It
contains many things. To practice it is difficult, to practice it well is even harder. At the
beginning, practicing shuai jiao will benefit your body's strength. It will help your breathing;
help you to learn to sink your qi. If you are too light and floaty, you'll get thrown. Sinking
the qi can be accomplished by thinking using the mind. It can also naturally sink when
you're trying to hold your ground, stand stable and not be thrown by a forceful opponent. In
addition, via shuai jiao practice you can learn to in the wink of an eye adjust and coordinate
your balance. If it's not coordinated you've just lost! If you can't change you're going to eat
dirt. Also, this practice contains a kind of listening skill. Listening skill contains the ability to
judge a situation. If you wrestle frequently, your nerves will naturally be used to the feel for
certain techniques you'll know instantly when someone is trying to move you in a certain
In addition, a lot of shuai jiao techniques came from martial arts. They have been changed
once in the shuai jiao system for purposes of safety. Through the practice of shuai jiao, you
can compare and contrast the techniques to those that we use in martial arts and help to
have a new, deeper understanding of and appreciation for our art.
In addition, adding in the practice of shuai jiao will help to separate the men from the boys
people who don't like to put effort into their training will be forced to do so, or else. If you're
lazy in your individual practices, you're fooling yourself. If you're lazy when someone is
trying to throw you down, nobody will be fooled.
Is there a traditional order or best order in which to study the eight animals of
Through my over thirty years of practice, I've slowly been summarizing these things. If you
want my opinion, I feel that you should practice the lion system first. I've been in
possession of Men Baozhen's book on this style for many years. I've been reading it for a
long time, but have only recently come to realize some of the meaning contained. Perhaps
for many years my development wasn't complete enough for the book to be of much use.
Maybe I hadn't realized certain things yet, or wasn't yet at the proper level. Now I've
realized that it is quite obvious what is stated, Qian and Kun create and set the 64
(hexagrams). So you should first practice the Qian trigram, and then practice the Kun
trigram. Through many years of practice, I've summarized that the Qian trigram is hard;
the Kun trigram is soft. The Qian trigram is visible; the Kun trigram is hidden. Speaking of

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force, the Qian trigram is horizontal and vertical force and a square strength. The Kun
trigram is a round and slippery strength, a spiraling force. This includes stepping and leg
methods; there are differences in both between the two systems. So there is a relatively
large difference between the two systems. The Book if Changes states that the Qian trigram
is pure yang, the Kun trigram is pure yin. So, according to what is written in Men Baozhen's
book First practice the yang fire, then the yin will enter to accord, practice the spirit and
return to the void. This conforms to the reasoning I am giving. In this way (after practicing
Qian and Kun) other animal systems will be very easy for you to pick up. In addition, only
the Qian and Kun trigrams represent their characteristics quite so obviously. Their practice
methods are somewhat more specialized.
As far as the question of how long should you spend practicing each animal, I feel that
really depends on each individual's situation. But in general terms, if you haven't spent form
three to five years, you couldn't possibly have gotten a very deep understanding. If you're
trying to as quickly as possible to take something in, you're not being very objective,
because this just takes time. It just takes time. Now a concrete number for how long will
very based on the individual's practice. If I say, you will get it in ten years. Then you go and
practice for ten years practice one day a year for ten years, well, that won't do.
After you've been practicing for a few years, you can go and investigate the other animal
systems. This isn't for the purpose of going to specifically practice them. It is to be able to
see the differences between the animals and to improve the practice of the animal that you
are doing.
When you say to investigate the other animal systems, do you mean to practice
their attacking methods, turn the circle with their postures; how should this best
be done?

You could try and practice their strikes. If for example, you practice the lion system and
want to try other animal system strikes, you could do them using the waist to emit force.
The waist gives the most complete, best result. It is also the most difficult to practice well.
But on the other hand, there are some types of strikes that don't give an obvious result with
the waist. An example being some of the bear system strikes meant to be used with the
back. You may use the waist to emit force, the result being a feeling that the whole body is
being used in the strike. The use of the waist has rising and lowering movements and
whirling and turning movements. So by adding a variety of different strikes, you can
improve the strength of the waist. Then you can use the waist to control various types of
In addition, through experiencing the different attacking methods of each animal, you can
get a feel for what that system contains and how it differs from others. Bagua each animal
has its own skills. So you have to add a lot of deep thought into this in order to add depth
to your techniques. As to myself, I had probably practiced for over ten years and still had
not grasped that the differences between each of the animal systems were so great. It has
only been recently that I feel I have really gotten an understanding of how different the
animals are. This is like Dr. Xie used to say, When you get a true understanding of one
thing, then you understand one hundred things. Like I mentioned, each of the postures of
the animal systems is different a type of guiding and leading practice. They also practice
different muscle groups in different ways. This, combined with putting in the practice
requirements of each of the animals, can create these large differences between the
systems. So I feel that at the beginning, one should practice lion, then practice unicorn. I
feel that if your situation allows, you should follow this order it is the unity of yin and yang.
Again, Dr Xie used to say of the eight animals, The father and mother had a lot of children.
If the children don't turn out like the father, then they'll be like the mother. Because if the
child doesn't have more of the father's components in him or her, then there will be more of

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the mother. It's just like with people; some will look like a particular parent, others will have
the same temperament as a particular parent. Someone might say to you, this is my
daughter. Then you say, Oh! She looks just like you! But if they hadn't told you, you might
never have noticed the resemblance. It's the same thing in out practices. When you know
[where the child trigrams came from], you'll notice the differences and similarities. I feel
that now everyone knows quite a bit [about this art]. And the things they know are at a
pretty high level. So the important thing now is how to practice to really use your body to
produce these different types of force. That's most important.
If a person's time to practice is limited, what are the areas of practice they should
focus on?

This varies according to the situation of each individual's body. And according to the
objective you have in training. If you're more advanced in years and your body isn't in the
best shape it has ever been, you should focus on strengthening the body. In this case, you
should focus on standing and turning practices. If you add in some strike and forms
training, don't emit force; just do the movements smoothly.
If you're young and don't have a lot of strength, or your strength isn't a full body strength,
and your time is limited, then I feel you should focus on strike training. You should add in
some turning practice to adjust your body after your strike practice is finished. You could do
forms training once in a while. In this situation, strike training is more important than
forms, because the forms are just made up of single-action strike combinations.
For people who are older and relatively healthy and want to adjust and regulate their
bodies, they should practice turning the circle and standing without using too much
strength. Pay a lot of attention to the coordination of the breathing. So you see, it is not
true of Yin Style Bagua, as some have said, that you must be young or you can't practice or
you must practice for more than two hours a day or you'll get no result.
Both young and old can practice. You just have to see what your objectives and thoughts
about practice are. What kind of result do you want? You can't fix a number and say this is
how long you must practice every day. Each person is different and will get different results
with differing amounts of time. Individuals must be mindful of and guided by their practice
What are the three basins?

It is often said that bagua has upper, middle, and lower palm practice. In fact, the upper
and lower palms are just postures. There is no need to specifically practice them. If you
have the time and interest, you can try turning the circle with the upper and lower palm
postures. If for example, your upper body muscle isn't very developed, you could use the
upper palm posture to help build it. If your arms become tired out while turning, you could
switch to the lower palm posture. But these [upper and lower postures] are to serve to help
the middle palm -to help you to coordinate and adjust yourself. Many older practitioners
have told me that the upper and lower palms are just additional postures and that what is
important is to focus on the middle palm.
The techniques for the upper and lower palms are somewhat more restricted than those of
the middle palm. Once you raise your hands up into the upper posture, all you can do is
strike downward. Similarly, once your hands are lowered into the low posture, all you can
do is to strike upward from there. The middle palm is primary front, back, left, right, up,
down all are convenient to get to if you start in the middle.
Most others who practice Yin Style Bagua all seem to use the ox tongue palm and
practice the penetrating palm form. Why is it that only this particular Yin Fu - Men

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Baozhen - Xie Peiqi lineage now has the eight animal systems, and what is the
penetrating palm?

People were taught differently as the art was passed down. If for example, I learned lion
system and got very good at it and understood it deeply, maybe I'd just teach that to my
students. Yin Style Bagua states that knowing all the eight animals is not complete
knowledge of the system. But that's already a lot right there! On the other hand, if all you
know is the penetrating palm, that's not very comprehensive, either. The old saying from
this art is that the eight animals are the foundation; the penetrating palm is orthodox. The
penetrating palm can be used to keep outsiders from knowing what you're doing you can't
tell which animal system I practice. It can string together a lot of the different techniques
from the animal systems. The penetrating palm contains eight individual forms. They are
very similar to the Cheng style eight palm changes. The techniques used are of course
different than Cheng style.
There is every reason you can imagine for there being so few people who use the eight
animal systems nowadays; time spent with their teacher, willingness to endure with the
practices, some people learn enough to be able to fight, then stop studying, et cetera.
Other reasons would be that people would learn their own specialty in the art and not be
willing to exchange with other classmates.
I feel that the majority of Yin style practitioners practice the penetrating palm because there
is a saying that the penetrating palm is the highest level of practice. But in fact, it really
isn't 100% that way.
What then is the purpose of the penetrating palm? Why would people say it is such
high level training?

Well, if you have the skills gained through the practice of the basic eight animal systems,
then the things you can get out of the penetrating palm will be bountiful. To say that the
purpose of the penetrating palm is just to connect or link techniques together is not
complete. It's not only this meaning. If you have no techniques, then what is there for you
to string together?
From the point of view of the Chinese character chuan [chuan zhang] I feel that it must also
have the meaning of being fast.
I also have studied a form of penetrating palm. From my understanding of it, each of the
changes must have a different force contained in the technique. It is not the techniques
themselves that are so important. Each technique should contain scrubbing, rubbing, rolling,
turning over, shrinking, contracting, soft, sticking, and cleverness [9 gong fa]. The
techniques appear simple, but there is a lot contained within each one. So it is a form that
connects together many kinds of forces. That's how I understand it. A lot of people can do
forms, but they've lost the inner content of the techniques.
What kind of two person practices does Yin Style Bagua have?

This is also a part of Yin Style Bagua practice. I would suggest that people first practice a lot
on their own and gain a certain foundation and develop a certain amount of listening skill.
Then they could start trying out their techniques with other people.
Bagua has two-man set practice. That is a yet another method of improving skill. It
develops a certain type of skill in neutralizing the opponent's attacks. You can become very
familiar with your technique application through this. But, since the opponent's moves are
all prearranged, your changes will not be very plentiful. On the other hand, if you don't
practice set drills, your ability to change might be very good, but your ability to apply the

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changes effectively might be lacking. So you should practice both ways with a partner and
individually. People can create their own two man sets for practice: I'll strike you this way,
how will you defend it? Then from this you can extend and deepen your striking practice.
Two-man practice can also include shuai jiao, push hands, partner application training, et
You must be careful of the habits you develop through practice. A bad habit, once acquired,
is very hard to break.

Does the use of boxing gloves in sparring practice cause habits that we should be
aware of?

Using gloves, you will affect your sensitivity and limit a lot of the techniques that you use.
And you really can't do the full scope of seizing and grasping. It's not written in stone that
you can't use gloves and spar; it's just not optimal. It's just like fighting there are no rules
or restrictions on what you can do. As soon as you impose any kind of rule or regulation,
that's not the same your art is restricted. It will affect your ability to make full use of your
Can you talk about the internal organs benefited through the practice of the
various animal systems?

Each of the eight animals practices all of the organs. It's like the question of which animal
uses what body part to emit force they all use the waist and limbs.
Now if you have a particular organ that is less healthy relative to your other organs, certain
animal systems can give a more obvious improvement than others. But you can't say that
each animal system only practices one organ and that's it. Rooster system only practices
the heart. That's incorrect, because these systems are each a complete whole. It should be
stated as each has a more obvious emphasis on a particular organ. If your lung function
isn't 100%, the practice of the lion system may give a more obvious result than that of the
other animals. It also practices the belt meridian. The Kan trigram is represented by water.
Water is the kidneys.
The Gen trigram is represented by the mountain, which is made of earth. The bear system
practices the spleen, the Gate of Life (ming men) point, and the Governing vessel (du mai).
The dragon system would be the liver. Leveling out the liver function.
The phoenix system practices the area from dazhui to weilu. You could also say this is the
Governing vessel (du mai). The posture used by the phoenix system also benefits the
stomach greatly.
The rooster practices the heart and the Conception vessel (ren mai).
The Dui trigram monkey system works the respiratory system as a whole.
You have described various sensations that you feel during the practice of the
different animal systems. Will these sensations be the same for everyone? Should
we actively try and find certain sensations, or just let them come to us? Can you
list the sensations we should feel when practicing the various animal systems?

First of all, all of the animals will give you different sensations. Different people will feel
them to varying degrees according to time and correctness of practice.
The lion system, with its posture, should have a feeling of opening the chest and smoothing
out the qi. The body should beel asthough it is one qi very coordinated.

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The Kan trigram should feel comfortable in that the outside is soft, the inside is hard. The qi
should be full in the lower abdomen.
Does the qi full in the dantian (lower abdomen) mean that your body should have
a very heavy feeling?

Not heavy, it should feel full and plump. When we say the qi is sunk in the dantian, that is
relative to your own body, not to your surroundings. That is to say, it press down in the
dantian, but does not press or weight your legs or body down. You shouldn't have a feeling
that you are extremely heavy that's incorrect. Now, at the beginning stages of practice, why
do we concentrate so much on smashing the qi down? Because the qi has a tendency to rise
up when you are excited, which will cause you to be out of breath you must force it to stay
How should the qi be sunk down properly?

You use the mind to think of it sinking down. Use the body to concave the chest, round the
back and tuck under the buttocks. This will place the qi in the dantian. After it has been
placed there for a long period of time, it will naturally sink down to the lower part. You can't
force it to go down.
Now, the bear system should give a feeling that both hands naturally want to rise up. And
you should have a fairly obvious qi feeling while practicing it. This is the type of thing that
after many years you will arrive at. It's the same as with qigong practice - you don't want to
get caught up in trying to look too hard for a particular sensation.
The dragon system should have a feeling that the qi and strength are unimpeded and
smooth. You don't really put too much thought into the sinking of qi in the abdomen while
practicing dragon. The abdomen should be expanded, but in a more relaxed way. This will
produce the outside is still, the inside has movement inside the qi is allowed to move
naturally (as you aren't concentrating on sinking it down and holding it set in the dantian).
The phoenix system, when practiced well, can cause you to flow [unblock] the qi. Some
people may belch as a result.
The rooster system gives the chest a very comfortable feeling. The Li trigram is empty in
the middle. Like when you may stretch your arms in front of you when you yawn, you
naturally hollow out the chest and feel very comfortable.
The unicorn system causes you to have a feeling of the body being unimpeded. There is also
a feeling of being light, almost as if you were floating above the ground. The upper, lower,
inner, and outer are harmoniously smooth.
The monkey system will have an obvious feeling of the rising and lowering of the qi. As a
leg comes up to kick, the qi will quickly rise. As the leg sets back down, the qi will quickly

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