三體式/San Ti Shi is the foundation of Xingyiquan, the basis of all exercises & techniques. Here, you can learn some of the theoretical approaches to teaching & training this most vital pattern. Plant the seed, cultivate it well, & your kung fu is sure to blossom. Enjoy!
形意拳三體/Xingyiquan San Ti – Xingyiquan’s Three Bodies
三體者, 天地人三才之象也。在拳中為頭手足是也。三體又各分為三節, 而內外相合。 頭為根節; 在外為頭, 在內為泥丸宮是也。脊背為中節; 在外為脊背, 在內為心是也。腰為梢節; 在外為腰, 在內為丹田是也。肩為根節, 肘為中節, 手為梢節。胯為根節, 膝為中節, 足為梢節。是三節之中, 又各有三節也。此理乃合於六書之九數。丹書云: “道虛無生一氣, 使從一氣產陰陽, 陰陽再合成三體, 三體重生萬物張。” 此之謂也。
What are the Three Bodies? The Three Powers, Heaven, Earth, & Humanity, are their image. In Boxing, they’re the head, hands, & feet. Each of the Three Bodies also divides into Three Sections, with Inside & Outside mutually joined. The Head is the Root Section; Outside is the Head, Inside is the Niwan Gong. The Thoracic Spine is the Middle Section; Outside is the Thoracic Spine, Inside is the Heart. The Waist is the Tip Section; Outside is the Waist, Inside is the Dantian. The Shoulder is the Root Section, the Elbow is the Middle Section, The Hand is the Tip Section. The Kua is the Root Section, the Knee is Middle Section, the Foot is the Tip Section. There are another Three Sections within each of these Three Sections. This principle thus accords with The Six Classes’ nine numerals. The Elixir Book says: “From nothingness, the Dao gives birth to the One Qi. Yin & Yang are produced from this One Qi. Yin & Yang then compose the Three Bodies. This is its meaning.”
形意拳九歌/Xingyiquan Jiu Ge – Xingyiquan’s Nine Songs
一, 身: 前俯後仰, 其勢不勁。左側右斜, 皆身之病。正而似斜, 斜而似正。
1. Body: Bowing Forward or leaning backward, such patterns aren’t strong. Left slanting & right tilting, all are the body’s illnesses. Upright & yet it seems Inclined, Inclined & yet it seems Upright.
二, 肩: 頭宜上頂, 肩宜下垂。左肩成拗, 右肩自隨。身力到手, 肩之所為。
2. Shoulders: The head should press upward, the shoulders should hang downward. When the left shoulder bends, the right shoulder should follow. When the body’s strength arrives in the hands, it is the shoulders’ doing.
三, 臂: 左臂前伸, 右臂在肋。似曲不曲, 似直不直。過曲不遠, 過直力少。
3. Arms: The left arm extends forward, the right arm is near the ribs. It seems bent, yet not bent, it seems straight, yet not straight. If too bent then there isn’t enough distance, if too straight the power will be inadequate.
四, 手: 右手在脅, 左手齊胸。後者微拓, 前者力伸。兩手皆覆, 用力宜勻。
4. Hands: The right hand is near the ribs, the left hand is even with the chest. The rear hand slightly supports, the lead hand strongly expands. In all cases, both hands cover, the use of strength should be evenly distributed.
五, 指: 五指各分, 其形似鉤。虎口圓滿, 似剛似柔。力須到指, 不可強求。
5. Fingers: All five fingers are separated, they’re similar in appearance to hooks. The Tiger’s Mouth is round & full, seeming both hard & soft. Power must reach the fingers, but it cannot be forced.
六, 股: 左股在前, 右股在後。似直不直, 似弓不弓。雖有直曲, 每見雞形。
6. Thighs: The left thigh is in front, the right thigh is behind. It seems straight but not straight, it seems bowed but not bowed. Although there is straight & bent, they all look Chicken Shape.
七, 足: 左足直前, 斜則皆病。右足勢斜, 前踵對脛。隨人距離, 足趾扣定。
7. Feet: The left foot is straight forward, slanted is illness every time. The right foot is in a slanting pattern, the lead heel is opposite the lower leg.
八, 舌: 舌為肉稍, 卷則氣降。目张髮聳, 丹田愈沉。肌容如鐵, 內堅五臟。
8. Tongue: The tongue is the Meat Tip, when it’s curled up then Qi descends. Eyes open & hair on end, the Dantian sinks ever lower. The muscles look like iron, the Five Viscera are solid within.
九, 臀: 提起臀部, 氣貫四稍。兩眼繚繞, 臀部肉交。低則勢散, 故宜稍高。
9. Buttocks: Lift the buttocks, & Qi will thread the Four Tips. Both holes curl up, the buttock muscles cross. If low then the power is disbursed, therefore it’s appropriate to raise the tip of the tailbone.
形意拳八字訣/Xingyiquan Ba Zi Jue – Xingyiquan’s Eight Character Secret
The Eight Characters are Thrust, Arc, Round, Agile, Embrace, Hang, Bend, & Straight. The Stake Method type of Boxing is standing for fixed periods of time. These Eight Characters are must have, therefore, so as to store up Li & nourish Qi, causing me to have no handles for the enemy to use. And so the Eight Characters each have three types, divided to relate it’s differences:
一曰三頂/the 1st is Three Thrusts
What are the Three Thrusts? The Head Thrusts Upward, with vigor as imposing as Heaven, the Head is the whole body’s master, & the upward Thrusting eases the opening of the Back’s Three Gates, the arm Qi causes it reach the Niwan when used for Spiritual Cultivation. The Palms Thrust outward, having Pushing the Mountain Skill, with the Qi threading through the whole body, & Li reaching the Four Limbs. The Tongue Thrusts upward, this is to have the appearance of a Roaring Lion Swallowing an Elephant, it is able to lead the Kidney Qi to ascend & descend returning to the Dantian to be used to solidify life. This is the meaning of the Three Thrusts.
二曰三扣/The 2nd is Three Arcs
What are the Three Arcs? Both shoulders must Arc, then the chest can be empty & broad, & the Qi & Li can reach the elbow. The back of the hand must Arc, then the Qi & Li can reach the hand, & the Stake Step Li will rich. The teeth must Arc, then the physique will tighten, this is the meaning of the Three Arcs.
三曰三圓/The third is Three Rounds
What are the Three Rounds? The spine must be Round, it’s strength urges the body, then the tailbone is centered & upright, & the Essential Spirit threads through the crown. The chest must be round, then the Li of both elbows will be complete, the Xin’s nest will be slightly collected, & the breathing will be smooth. The Tiger’s Mouth must be round, so that bravery & fierceness are on display, then the hands will have wrapping holding Li, this is the meaning of the Three Rounds.
四曰三敏/The fourth is Three Agiles
What are the Three Agiles? The Xin must be Agile, like an angry fox catching a mouse, then it’s able to change according to the situation. The eyes must be agile, like a hungry eagle clutching a rabbit, then it’s able to prepare by inspecting the circumstances in advance. The hands must be agile, like a hungry tiger seizing a sheep, then it’s able to gain the initiative by striking first, this is the meaning of the Three Agiles.
五曰三抱/The fifth is Three Embraces
What are the Three Embraces? The Dantian must be Embraced so that the Qi does not disperse, & striking the enemy will be accurate. The state of mind must be embraced so that in encountering an enemy there is a “master,” & you face change without changing. Both upper arms must embrace so that Coming & Going are without confusion, & the enemy may be received without danger, this is the meaning of the Three Embraces.
六曰三垂/The sixth is Three Hangs
What are the Three Hangs? The Qi hangs & so the Qi falls to the Dantian, the body is as stable as a mountain. Both shoulders hang down, then the arms are long & lively, with the shoulder urging the elbow forward. Both elbows hang down naturally rounding out both of the upper arms, & it’s able to solidify the ribs, this is the meaning of the Three Hangs.
七曰三曲/The Seventh is Three Bends
What are the Three Bends? Both of the upper arms should Bend, arcing like half-moons, then the Li will be abundant. Both knees should bend, bent like half-moons, then the Li will be thick. The wrist should bend, bent like a half-moon, then the Li will be collected. In all cases adjust the amount of extension or contraction accordingly, he idea is to use Jin continuously, this is the meaning of the Three Bends.
八曰三挺/The Eighth is Three Straights
What are the Three Straights? The neck is straight then the head upright, & the Jing Qi threads to the crown. The spine & waist are straight, then the Li can reach the Four Tips, & the Qi threads through the whole body. The knees are straight, then the Qi is calm & the Shen is harmonized, like a tree growing roots, this is the meaning of the Three Straights.