形意拳七疾/Xingyiquan Qi Ji – Xingyiquan’s Seven Quicks

七疾者, 眼要疾, 手要疾, 腳要疾, 意要疾, 出勢要疾, 進退要疾, 身法要疾也。習拳者具此七疾, 方能完全制勝。所謂縱橫往來, 目不及瞬, 有
如生龍活虎, 令人不可捉模者, 唯持此耳。

The Seven Quicks are: Eyes must be quick, Hands must be quick, Feet must be quick, Yi must be quick, Going must be quick, Advance & Retreat must be quick, & Body Method must be quick. Those who train Boxing must have these Seven Quicks, only then can one gain totally overpowering victory. What is called Vertical & Horizontal Going & Coming, the eyes blink too late, it is like a lively dragon & animated tiger, causing people to miss the pattern, only grasping the handle.

The Arrogance of the Eternal Beginner: Reacting to the Obvious with Shock

 

(video from Monkeysteals Peach Youtube channel)

You probably recognize this video. Back in May of this year, an incident took place that reignited the debate between realism & traditionalism in the martial arts. It caused a huge stir in China, but the repercussions echoed everywhere.

I wrote a rather (very) angry piece in responses to the whole thing, but delayed posting for reasons I didn’t understand at the time. I now see that my reaction, my anger, was only barely related to the incident in the video. The real issue was my disapproval of a certain type of egotism that has plagued the World of Martial Arts most likely from its very beginning: self-deception.

My opinions aside, self-deception is a curse that many, many people have suffered from in the course of human history. Unfortunately, just as many will suffer from it in the future, as humans are unlikely to ever be “cured” of this problem.

If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit that my disapproval has a selfish edge to it, in that dealing with people who lie to themselves bothers me. It bothers me much, much more than it should. I feel I shouldn’t have to deal with people who try to make up for a lack of talent & hard work with fantasy play. Another problem to deal with someday, ultimately.

In the World of Martial Arts, the dangers of self-deception are much greater than they would normally be. For normal people, it leads to missed opportunities, or embarrassment at worst. Only rarely does it result in injury or death. But for a martial artist, that proportion is almost always inverted: one who lies to themself about their skills is likely to meet an unpleasant end.

That is the exact situation depicted in the video above: realistic skill vs unrealistic assumption resulted in a firm punch in the mouth. Only one man was hit, but a good portion of a nation had their self-image damaged. Luckily, it was only an exhibition match & not the more traditional sort of “real” fight. Despite years of practice, a person regarded as a master martial artist was humiliated, shown to be nothing more than an elaborately embroidered beginner.

It’s shocking to say the least, but hardly rare in the World of Martial Arts. When one encounters this, it is normally in a new student or raw beginner, & not an established teacher with decades of experience. Still, self-deception remains self-deception & that doesn’t change, even after decades of involvement with a given activity. And self-deception can take many forms.

“The Eternal Beginner,” is the name I use to refer to one expression of self-deception that is all too common in the martial arts. You can recognize this type by their regular & deliberate attempts to derail class time. It absolutely must be about them, whatever “it” may be: group practice, solo practice, partner exercises, you name it. The Eternal Beginner tries to get all eyes on themself, as often as possible

There are more than a few subtypes, as always, that elaborate the basic idea & provide a foundation for response. Let’s take a look at some of the most common.

•The Born Genius: Perhaps the most frustrating subtype, the Born Genius has no experience, no physical skills, & usually no athleticism. But they know better than you, & the teacher, & the founder, & everyone who has ever been in a fight.

•The Know-Nothing Know-it-All: A close cousin of the above, the Know-Nothing Know-it-All contradicts at every turn with asinine questions, smugly delivered asides, & personal opinions grounded in prepubescent fantasy “experience.” They usually lack friends & sexual experience, in the normal social setting.

•The Pure Eternal Beginner, a.k.a. The Coward: They can’t, they just can’t. For whatever reason, be it “an old injury” that “never healed,” or a past trauma that’s still unresolved, this subtype will usually display real fear at the prospect of physical exertion or unfamiliar motion. I have never seen one of these types improve, no matter the teacher. The Coward can’t move forward because they won’t move forward.

•The Too Tough, Too Street-Wise: The inverse of The Coward is the Too Tough, Too Street-Wise type. Possibly the most normal & emotionally mature of all, they merely transform the fear they feel at entering unknown territory into false bravado. Prone to stories of ultimate badassery, they scowl & scoff at ideas & exercises in direct proportion to the novelty of those ideas & exercises. Basically, these are the guys that want to fight everybody in a “Tai Chi for Health Class.” In my experience, this is the easiest type to shake out of Eternal Beginner behavior. Unfortunately, it is also my experience that this is the ONLY type that  an be shaken out of that behavior.

•The Disciple of Bruce: You know this guy. We all know this guy. Genuinely enthusiastic, genuinely wants to learn, & super pumped to finally be an official student of their chosen style. There’s just one problem: no matter the style, no matter the teacher, this guy is a wanna be Bruce Lee through & through. He can’t do anything without mean mugging. He can’t work with other students without hard grilling. He can’t move, at all, without loudly making “WAH-TAAAA,” noises. The Disciple of Bruce is why people in your family & social circle don’t take your interest in martial arts seriously. The Disciple of Bruce is oblivious to all criticism, all instruction, & all reality. They also exhibit the widest range of variation in expression among these subtypes. Some are normal until class gets going, some absolutely will not, cannot, practice or demonstrate their style without their “Kung Fu Outfit.” They may talk a lot of trash, or they may be truly devoted to self-improvement & display genuine humility. Personally, I think this is the largest segment of the Eternal Beginner group. It’s not that they don’t want to advance, it’s that they can’t let go of preconceptions.

•The Fraud: Anyone who is obviously out of shape, obviously a beginner, obviously looking to socialize & not sweat is a Fraud. The Fraud enrages me whenever I see them, as they will attempt to usurp control of the class the second they enter the room. No hesitation, no remorse, no humility. This is a truly toxic individual who must be expelled immediately for the sake of the class. The Fraud will steal from you, the Fraud will lie about you. The Fraud is basically a non-political SJW. Destroy them as soon as you find them, or everything will be ruined. You’ve been warned.

Of course, you may not have encountered these types. It’s entirely possible that I’ve assumed my personal experience is more widely spread. In any case, the underlying point stands: some people refuse to learn & prefer to play act instead. But there is one bright spot when dealing with these types.

The look on their faces when an experienced teacher outflanks them, diffusing all the attempts to derail or side track the class. It can be as simple as a dryly delivered “No,” or as elaborate as a series of warnings over the course of several classes. Whatever approach is taken in the end, the Eternal Beginner must be neutralized for the good of the other students.

I’ve always enjoyed that look of shock, that disbelief the Eternal Beginner becomes lost in when challenged. Many of them seem to be well-versed in passive-aggressive “Weakness Kung Fu,” to a degree inversely proportional to the Kung Fu being taught. As a result, they fall into shock when neutralized.

It is my firm belief that the subversive/defiant behavior of the Etranal Beginner, whatever the subtype, whether deliberate or unknowing, is a result of a negative mindset. One marked by a need remain in control. Ultimately, it is helplessness & powerlessness that are the defining characteristics of Eternal Beginners.

The great improvement to a student’s mindset, increased confidence, & emotional maturity, are the primary benefits of studying the martial arts, apart from the overall improvement of health. The Eternal Beginner throws all that away & denies their fellow students the opportunity to grow. They seek to remedy their feelings of powerlessness in a social setting, usurping control while avoiding responsibility. Obviously, they’d be better served following along & building themselves up, as that is the point of studying martial arts: transforming what is weak into what is strong.

八卦掌三十六歌訣/Baguazhang Sanshiliu Gejue – Baguazhang’s Thirty six Song Secrets: Part 7

歌二十四/Song Twenty four

力足發自筋與骨,骨中出硬筋相隨。  足根大筋通腦脊,發招跟步力能摧。

The Li is sufficient when generated from the tendons & bones, in extending, the bone is stiff within & the tendons mutually follow.

The big tendon in the heel connects to the back of the head, the strength is capable of devestation when emitting maneuvers usingvthe Following Step.

歌二十五/Song Twenty five

眼到手到腰腿到,心真神真力又真。  三真四到合一處,防己有餘能勝人。

The Feet arrive, the Hands arrive, the Waist & Legs arrive, the Xin is Real, the Spirit is Real, the Li is also Real.

With the Three Reals & Four Arrives combined in one place, you’ll have an abundance with which to defend yourself & gain victory over other people.

八卦掌三十六歌訣/Baguazhang Sanshiliu Gejue – Baguazhang’s Thirty six Song Secrets: Part 6

歌十九/Song Nineteen

人道掌法勝在剛, 郭老曾言柔內藏。  個中也有人知味, 剛柔相濟是所長。

People say with the Palm Methods success is in hardness, Old Master Guo once said the soft is concealed within.

There is someone who knows the taste, one should be good at the Hard & Soft Mutually Aid.

歌二十/Song Twenty

剛在先兮柔後藏,柔在先兮剛後張。  他人之柔腰與手,我則吸腰步法揚。

Hardness first & Softness concealed afterwards, Softness first & Hardness extending afterwards.

If other people’s waist & hands are soft, I use Sucking in Waist to propogate the Footwork.

歌二十一/Song Twenty one

用到極處需轉身,脫身化形不留痕。  如何變化端在步,出入進退腰先伸。

You must Turn the Body to make use of arriving at the point of extremity, Escaping Body Change the Shape without leaving a trace.

What ends in change & variation is located in the Steps, in Exiting & Entering, or Advancing & Retreating, the waist must extend first.

歌二十二/Song Twenty two

轉掌之神頸骨傳,轉項扭項手當先。  變時縮頸發時伸,要如神龍首尾連。

The Spirit of Turning Palm is manifested from the neckbones, in Turning the Neck or Twisting the Neck, the hands should act first.

Withdraw the neck when transforming, & Extend the neck when emitting, it must be linked Head to tail like a Spiritual Dragon.

歌二十三/Song Twenty three

打人憑手膀為根,膀在肩端不會伸。  欲要進時進前步,若進後步枉老神。

When Striking people, no matter the Hand used, the upper arm is the root, the shoulder end of the upper arm should not completely extend.

If you intend to Advance then Advance the Forward Step, similarly Advancing the Rear Step is in vain, it uses “Spent Spirit.”

形意安身炮/Xingyi An Shen Pao – Xingyi’s Self Defense Pounding

安身炮/An Shen Pao – Self Defense Pounding is the most complex of the Xingyi Duilian, as it teaches the practioners to become familiar with the use of the style’s key strategic principles. It is very realistic in its approach, as befits Xingyiquan.

•預備勢/Yubei Shi – Preperation Posture

Upper Hand & Lower Hand face each other in Left San Ti Shi

•第一換/Di Yi Huan – 1st Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Advance Step Right Beng Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Retreat Step Left Depressing Palm & Right Beng Quan

•第二換/Di Er Huan – 2nd Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Left Pi Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Left Smooth Stance Pao Quan

•第三換/Di San Huan – 3rd Exchange 

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Dodge Step Right Pi Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Dodge Step Right Pi Quan

•第四換/Di Si Huan – 4th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Left Double Intercepting

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Left Reverse Stance Cut the Neck

•第五換/Di Wu Huan – 5th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Right Double Intercepting & Right Beng Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Withdrawing Step Pull, Knock, & Hit

•第六換/Di Liu Huan – 6th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Monkey Pulls Rope

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Retreat Step Right Zuan Quan

•第七換/Di Qi Huan – 7th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Right Pao Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Retreat Step Left Pi Quan

•第八換/Di Ba Huan – 8th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Right Thread the Ear

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Withdrawing Step Left Zuan Quan

•第九換/Di Jiu Huan – 9th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Advance Step & Steal a Hit

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Switch Step White Crane Spreads Wings

•第十換/Di Shi Huan – 10th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Switch Step Left Pi Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Monkey Pulls Rope

•第十一換/Di Shi Yi Huan – 11th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Snake Shape Palm

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Withdrawing Step Left Pi Quan

•第十二換/Di Shi’er Huan – 12th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Left & Right Cut the Neck

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Right Parrying Intercepting, Left Parrying Intercepting & Left Pouncing Palm

•第十三換/Di Shi San Huan – 13th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Monkey Pulls Rope

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Withdrawing Step Reverse Stance Right Zuan Quan

•第十四換/Di Shi Si Huan – 14th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Left Coiling Wrap the Arm & Reverse Stance Right Cut the Neck

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Left Double Intercepting

•第十五換/Di Shi Wu Huan – 15th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Stationary Left Cut the Neck

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Right Double Intercepting & Forward Step Smooth Stance Right Beng Quan

•第十六換/Di Shi Liu Huan – 16th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Retreat Step False Stance Left Depressing Palm, Right Dragon & Tiger Mutually Intersect

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Retreating Withdrawing Step & Reverse Stance Parrying Intercepting

•第十七換/Di Shi Qi Huan – 17th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Forward Step Brush from Below & Reverse Stance Right Cut the Neck

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Sparrowhawk Grabs Shoulder

•第十八換/Di Shi Ba Huan – 18th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Monkey Pulls Rope

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Left Brush From Below & Reverse Stance Right Cut the Neck

•第十九換/Di Shi Jiu Huan – 19th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Left Double Intercepting

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Smooth Stance Left Cut the Neck

•第二十換/Di Er Shi Huan – 20th Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Right Double Intercepting & Right Smooth Stance Beng Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Retreat Step Left Depressing Palm & Advance Step Right Beng Quan

•第二十一換/Di Er Shi Yi Huan – 21st Exchange

上手/Shang Shou – Upper Hand: Withdrawing Step Left Depressing Palm & Advance Step Right Beng Quan

下手/Xia Shou – Lower Hand: Left Pi Quan

•When reaching the limit of available space or upon completing a round of practice, Upper Hand & Lower Hand immediately reverse roles & return along the same path, continuing to exchange techniques as before. In this way, both partners play both roles many times over, & good command of the basic responses can be attained.

黃帝陰符經/Huangdi Yinfujing – Huangdi’s Hidden Tally Classic

觀天之道,執天之行,盡矣。

Observe Heaven’s Dao, grasp Heaven’s phases, that’s all.

天有五賊,見之者昌。五賊在心,施行於天,宇宙在乎手,萬物生乎身。

Heaven has Five Thieves, one who sees them is prosperous. The Five Thieves are in the mind, put in place by Heaven, the Universe lies in the palm of the hand, all things are born from the self.

天性,人也;人心,機也;立天之道以定人也。

Humans have Heavenly Nature; the Human Mind is the trigger; establish the Dao of Heaven in order to settle Humanity.

天發殺機,斗轉星移;地發殺機,龍蛇起陸;人發殺機,天地反覆;天人合發,萬化定基。

When Heaven emits its killing intent, the Dipper moves & the stars shift; when Earth emits its killing intent, dragons & serpents appear in the land; when Humanity emits its killing intent, Heaven & Earth are upended; when Heaven & Humanity emit together, then all things will have a fixed foundation.

性有巧拙,可以伏藏。九竅之邪,在乎三要。可以動靜。火生於木,禍發必克,奸生於國,時動必潰;知之修練,謂之聖人。

Human Nature has both cleverness & stupidity, it’s possible for both to be hidden. The perversity of the Nine Openings rest in the three most important. Both movement & stillness are thereby possible. When Fire is born from Wood, calamity develops & will overcome the Wood, when traitors arise in a country, their activity will cause its break down; one who cultivates awareness of this is called a Sage.

天地萬物之盜;萬物人之盜;人萬物之盜也。三盜既宜,三才既安。故曰:食其時,百骸理;動其機,萬化安。

Heaven & Earth rob all things; all things rob Humanity; Humanity robs all things, too. When the Three Robbers are in their proper places, then the Three Powers are peaceful. Therefore it is said: Eat when it’s time & the whole body will be ordered; move at the crucial moment & innumerable transformations secure.

人知其神而神,不知其不神之所以神。日月有數,大小有定,聖功生焉,神明出焉。其盜機也,天下莫不能見,莫不能知。君子得之固躬,小人得之輕命。

Humans know the spiritual as spirit, but they don’t know the reason why the non-spiritual is spirit. The Sun & Moon have their periods, the Large & Small are fixed, the Sage’s merit is born then, & the Spiritual Light emerges then. That theft is surely the trigger, in the whole world there is no one unable to see this, there is no one unable to comprehend this. When the Superior Person obtains it they solidifies them self, & when the Inferior Person obtains it they take life lightly.

瞽者善聽,聾者善視。絕利一源,用師十倍;三反晝夜,用師萬倍。心生於物,死於物,機在目。天之無恩而恩生,迅雷烈風,莫不蠢然。

Those who are blind are good listeners, those who are deaf are good observers. Reduce profit to a single source & the usefulness of the multitude will be ten fold; by reverting three times in a day & night the usefulness will be a thousand fold. The Xin is born from things, it dies from things, & the mechanism is in the eyes. Heaven is not kind & so kindness is born, the sudden thunder & violent wind make everyone disordered.

至樂性餘,至靜則廉。天之至私,用之至公。禽之制在炁。死者生之根,生者死之根。恩生於害,害於恩。愚人以天地文理聖,我以時物文理哲。人以愚虞聖,我以不愚虞聖。人以奇期聖,我以不奇期聖。

The nature of Perfect Happiness is abundance, the principle of Perfect Stillness is honesty. Heaven is extremely selfish, but operates with extreme fairness. Control of beasts lies in the Qi. Death is the root of life, life is the root of death. Kindness is born from harm, & harm from kindness. By means of the principles of Heaven & Earth stupid people become holy, by means of the principles of Seasons & Things I become wise. People worry the Sage because of their stupidity, & I worry the Sage because I am not stupid. People consider sagacity strange, I do not consider sagacity strange.

自然之道靜,故天地萬物生。天地之道浸,故陰陽勝。陰陽相推,而變化順矣。

Nature’s Dao is still, therefore Heaven, Earth, & all things are born. The Dao of Heaven & Earth is gradual, therefore Yin & Yang are victorious. Yin & Yang mutually push, & so variations follow.

是故聖人知自然之道不可違,因而制之。至靜之道,律曆所不能契。爰有奇器,是生萬象。八卦甲子,神機鬼藏。陰陽相勝之術,昭昭乎進乎象矣。

Therefore, the Sage knows that Nature’s Dao cannot be defied, & as a result regulate it. The Dao of Perfect Stillness cannot be bound to written words. Thus, possessing this wonderful tool gives birth to innumerable images. The Eight Signs & Sexagenarian Cycle, Spiritual moments & Ghostly hoards. The technique of Yin & Yang Mutually Succeeding clearly manifests & is put forth in form.

劉德寬八卦掌一直六十四手九歌訣/Liu Dekuan Baguazhang Yizhi Liushisi Shou Jiu Gejue – Liu Dekuan’s Baguazhang Straight Line 64 Hands 9 Song Secrets

雙下沉掌歌訣/Double Lower Sinking Palm Song Secret

空胸拔背下塌腰,扭胯合膝抓地牢。
松肩撐肘下沉掌,提吸伸呼似雞形。

Empty the chest, draw out the back, & sink the waist down, twist the kua, close the knees, & grab the ground firmly.

Relax the shoulders, prop out the elbows, & sink the palms, inhale to raise & exhale to expand, just like the Chicken Shape.

抱掌歌訣/Embracing Palm Song Secret 

雙手抱月如捧嬰,含胸拔背似捆繩。
鬆肩墜肘提留腕,好似猿猴摘果形。

Both hands embrace the Moon as if holding a baby, containing the chest & extending the back is like tying a rope.

Loosen the shoulders & drop the elbows to keep the wrists raised, to be like apes & monkeys picking fruit in appearance.

獅子滾球掌歌訣/Lion Rolls the Ball Palm Song Secret

獅子滾球把腰擰,雙掌合對探身行。
左旋右轉來回換,收顏挺頸看掌心。

Lion Rolls the Ball holds while the waist twists, both palms face each other & combine to stretch the body while moving.

Left Whirling & Right Turning, repeatedly exchanging, Restrain the face, erect the neck, & watch the center of the palm.

雙托天掌歌訣/Double Supporting Heaven Palm Song Secret

雙手托天往前行,鬆肩墜肘肱如弓。
五指各分須貫力,虎口圓開掌心空。

Both hands support Heaven while moving forward, loosen the shoulders & drop the elbows, the arms are like bows.

All five fingers separate, the Li must thread through, the Tiger’s Mouth is round & open, the center of the palm is empty.

雙前撞掌歌訣/Double Forward Crashing Palm Song Secret

雙手平推擋前胸,緊背掙肘往前擁。
提膝伸腿走鶴形,鬆肩扣制掌心空。

Both hands evenly push to cover the chest, tighten the back & extend the elbows, supporting towards the front.

Lift the knee & stretch the leg to Walk with the appearance of a Crane, loosen the shoulders & hook to establish the empty centers of the palms.

指天劃地掌歌訣/Point to Heaven Scratch the Earth Palm Song Secret

指天划地上下掙,一陰一陽往前行。
鬆腰坐胯提膝腿,里直外扣擦地行。

Point to Heaven & Scratch the Earth extends above & below, one Yin & one Yang while moving forward.

Loosen the waist, sit the hips, & lift the knees & thighs, straight inside, hooked outside, wiping the ground while moving.

前後雙撞掌歌訣/Front & Back Double Crashing Palm Song Secret

一前一後陰陽掌,前塌後蹬力要掙。
緊背空胸氣下沉,邁步虛實要分明。

One Forward & One Backward Yin Yang Palms, the front collapses & the back treads, the Li must extend.

Tighten the back, empty the chest, & the Qi will sink down, empty & solid must be distinct in Striding Step.

推磨掌歌訣/Millstone Pushing Palm Song Secret

後肘先疊肘掩心,手在翻塌往前伸。
跟到前肘合抱力,前後兩手一團神。

First, the rear elbow folds so that it closes off the heart, the hands turns over & settle down while stretching forward.

Immediately following this, the elbows have Closing-Embracing Li, both the front & rear hands gather a single spirit.

老僧托缽掌歌訣/Old Monk Lifts Bowl Palm Song Secret

老僧托缽陰陽掌,手腳齊進前掌仰。

五指分開齊貫立,後手只在肘下藏。

Old Monk Lifts Bowl is Yin Yang Palms, the hands & feet simultaneously advance with the lead palm face up.

The five fingers are spread open while threading upward at the same time, the rear hand must be hidden below the elbow.