螳螂拳八剛十二柔法/Tanglangquan Ba Gang Shi’er Yao Fa – Tanglangquan’s Eight Hard & Twelve Soft Methods

八剛法/Ba Gang Fa – Eight Hard Methods

太山壓頂/Tai Shan Ya Ding – Mount Tai Crushes the Head

迎面直統/Ying Mian Zhi Tong – Head on Straight Thrust

順步雙掌/Shun Bu Shuang Zhang – Smooth Step Double Palm

疊肘硬供/Die Zhou Ying Gong – Folding Elbow Hard Supplying

貼門靠壁/Tie Men Kao Bi – Attach to the Door & Bump the Wall

硬崩低伏/Ying Beng Di Fu – Hard Smash & Subdue from Below

左右雙棍/Zuo You Shuang Gun – Left & Right Double Clubbing

捽捋兩分/Zu Lu Liang Fen – Seize & Brush Both Separate


The Hard is able to beat the Soft, like a strong blade cutting off flesh. The muscles & bones simultaneously open, like a stone pestle smashing powder, the dregs & residue are transformed, as soon as it moves it cannot be resisted, straight ahead without returning. Perhaps you say, “I am hard, & others are also hard. How do I proceed?” Serenity has the ability to succeed because if I don’t admit I’m especially in danger than I won’t be rigid, & that is all. Hardness then is not victorious, such as fine jade, it is extremely hard. Although Beigong has a crystal point, it seems like it’s worthless, or Jing Ke’s dagger, when surrounded it’s difficult to use. It could even be said that as soon as hardness of this sort encounters a good Kunwu blade it’s pared & cut at will, & so hardness isn’t worth talking about. Honestly, though the whole world values having Kunwu’s hardness it cannot brake jade, & moreover softness is in jade. Therefore, the Hand Methods are able to be used.

十二柔法/Shi’er Rou Fa – Twelve Soft Methods

When perceiving hardness then use “Returning Hand.”

First use “Entering Hand,” then use “Stealing Hand.”

First use “Intercepting Hand,” then use “Rolling Hand.”

First use “Clubbing Hand,” then use “Leaking Hand.”

Meet a straight strike then use “Hooking Hand.”

First use “Plucking Hand,” then use “Entering Hand.”

First use “Dragging Hand,” then use “Advancing Hand.”

First use “Knocking Hand,” then use “Entering Hand.”

First use “Pouncing Hand,” then use “Entering Hand.”

First use “Raising Hand,” then use “Entering Hand.”

First use “Opening Hand,” then use “Folding Hand.”

First use “Adhering Hand,” then use “Breaking Hand.”


The Soft is able to restrain the Hard, the small can control the large. There is the rat’s fight with the elephant. Large & small mutually reduce, halt, & cut each other short, thus the rat is able to follow its nose to enter & eat the elephant’s brain. Although the elephant’s power is great, a thousand of them couldn’t defend against it. As soon as they encounter a rat hole then the soul flies & the vigor scatters in unmanageable fear of the rat, no matter what. Therefore, the method for keeping elephants is to dig four holes in the ground. You have to order the elephant to walk through them, as it won’t dare to move. This is also a way of testing the small is able to control the large. There is carnelian, which is hard & yet extremely smooth, & horse’s hair, which is thin but also supple. Thus, if you wish to cut carnelian you have to use horse’s hair. That is, this example can allow you to comprehend the principle of the soft is able to restrain the hard, though the Teeth & Tongue Metaphor is even more particularly clear.


When perceiving hardness then use Returning Hand is, I extend a single hand, & the opponent meets it, intercepting it very fiercly, then I Return my hand in order to avoid his edge. Relax the hand in order to file his sharpness & return to advance it, this is the method of Empty, Solid, Dodging, & Cheating, too. First use Entering Hand then use Stealing Hand is, the opponent is just about to extend a hand, I also extend first & stealthily overtake him. Maybe the opponent is above & I’m below, maybe the opponent is round & I’m straight, his hand hasn’t arrived & my hand has already got him. These types of Hand Methods must be fast to win.


First use Intercepting Hand then use Rolling Hand is, the opponent wants to intercept my hand, I draw near, follow the opponents hand & rolling enter, causing the interception to fall into emptiness. Left, Right, Above, & Below are most appropriate to use it. First use Clubbing Hand then use Leaking Hand is, clubbing is like intercepting & circling, leaking is like rolling & seperating.  This is also the method of Opening, Closing, Taking, & Shutting, too.


Meet a straight strike then use Hooking Hand is, the opponent directly straight thrusts, I receive his hand, hook & enter. If high then Upper Hook, if low then Lower Hook. Inside, outside, reverse, & upright are the extent of the patterns to make use of.


First use Plucking Hand then use Entering Hand is, one hand one grab. I come into contact, follow his hand, & enter, maybe Returning Hand Hooking Rolling, maybe Smooth Hand Pulling Twisting. Maybe I use plucking & dodging, maybe plucking & folding, maybe Center Gate Upright Entering, maybe inside, outside, or reverse entering.


Leaking is leading & taking, Knocking is side clearing. Pouncing is downward patting, it resembles depressing yet it’s cold. Raising is upward raising, it resembles putting aside yet it’s sensitive. The above mentioned Striking Methods together with Plucking Entering are rather similar. First use Opening Hand then use Folding Hand is, my hand intends to enter through the opponent’s Outer Gate. I make contact, roll, leak, & return bent. This is Folding Entering.


First use Adhering Hand then use Breaking Hand is, the opponent adheres to my hand & desires to use qinna on it. I immediately seize the opportunity, extend my palm to seize & control him, causing both his attempt at qinna & adhering to be useless, yet allowing my hand to be efficient.

以上手法,皆虛、實、開、合、閃、賺、騰、 挪,見剛而避,隨隙而入,自然如行雲流水,春蠶吐絲,迅利如石火電光,風檣陣馬,使人有拔山之力,難奏效于無人之境,陳百萬之師,難擊敵于不見之時,總之飛杵千鈞擊一毫而莫損,青絲一線擊虎背而有餘,蜻蜒鬥雞無過,閃賺騰挪之法,東青戲鵝祇憑批卻遵竅之能。搏虎擒龍,隨手而得,搴旗斬將,無往不利,故曰柔能剋剛也,要之,柔亦嘗無剛,只在善用其剛耳,剛則易折,柔以用之,尚何患乎,楚霸王百戰百勝,一敗而亡天下,此不善用其剛者也,漢王百戰百敗,一勝而得天下,此善用剛者也,此柔能剋剛之明征也,然則,人可不善其用剛乎。

The above mentioned Hand Methods are in all cases Empty, Solid, Opening, Closing, Dodging, Cheating, Clearing, & Shifting. When meeting Hardness then Avoid it, Follow the openings & Enter, naturally like moving clouds & flowing water. In Spring silkworms spit silk, as sudden as flaming stones & lightning, with an upright manner & charging disposition. In using people there is the Power to Pull up Mountains, there is difficulty showing results in No man’s Land say the Masters of millions, it’s still difficult to strike the enemy without having an opportunity. In short, with Quickly Poke 1000 Jin, strike a single hair & the whole body moves, like black hair threaded together, use Strike the Tiger Back & so have an abundance of success. A dragonfly won’t survive a cock fight, this is the Method of Dodging, Cheating, Clearing, & Shifting, . In Seize the Tiger & Capture the Dragon, the hands Follow & yet gain, Seizing the Flag & Beheading the General is being successful in every endeavor, thus it is said: “The Soft is able to restrain the Hard.” In brief, while it seems like the Soft lacks hardness, it is merely good at using the hardness as a handle. When Hardness changes it breaks, use softness instead rather than suffer. The Overlord of Chu fought 100 battles & won 100 victories, but one defeat cost him the Empire, in this case hardness was not well used. The King of Han fought 100 battles & suffered 100 defeats, while a single victory gained him the Empire, in this case hardness was well used. This is the Soft is Able to Restrain the Hard’s attacking in the open. As this is the case, perhaps people are not good at using Hardness!


16 thoughts on “螳螂拳八剛十二柔法/Tanglangquan Ba Gang Shi’er Yao Fa – Tanglangquan’s Eight Hard & Twelve Soft Methods

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