8 Energies Drills

Taught by Master Chen Youze, China National Coach, 3-time National Push-Hands Champion

Energies: Smooth, curving motions that flow from one to the next.
Corners: Movements with sudden, angular changes of direction.

4 Energies Drill: Peng, Lu, Gi, An

Start

  • Sink on right leg and step left as hands slide to the right.

1. Peng (“pahng“. Upward, circular)

  • Sweep hands left, circling from low to high, to back, as weight shifts to left and back to right.

2. Lu (“loo-eh“. Sideways circular)

  • Pivot on left heel, so foot points to back.
  • Sweep hands left, left hand across chest, right hand low,
    raising right foot to knee as right hand comes to body.

3. Gi (“gee“. Pressing)

  • Right forearm meets left wrist as body turns to back
  • Sink and step out deep with right foot.
    (If left quad is parallel to ground, it’s easier to go deep on next move.)
  • Push with arms as weight shifts to right, back of right hand outward, bracing with left knife hand/palm.
  • ba-keh (return?, prepare?): Open arms, palms up, as weight shifts to middle.

4. An (“ahn“. Push down)

  • Gather sky energy, pull down to chest, palms at sides, facing down.
  • Push energy down to ground as weight shifts to low left — twisting body to the right in order to go deep.

To continue in same direction:

  • Sweep hands in same direction, circling from low to high, to back.
  • Continue on the opposite side. (Same directions as above, but left becomes right)

To reverse direction:

  • Sweep hands in reverse direction, circling from low to high, to back.
  • Continue on same side, repeating the same series of movements.

4 Corners Drill: Tsai, Lieh, Chou, K’ao

Start

  • From standing position:
    • Left hand rises until arm is across chest, palm out. Right opens, palm forward.
    • Pivot on left heel, so foot points to back. Shift to left foot and turn to the left, raising right foot to knee.
  • As part of 8 Energies form, continue after one of several repetitions of 4 Energies Form
    • From final position, bring rear leg forward, pivoting and raising it to the knee, as front arm rises to chest and rear arm stays low, in position above.

1. Tsai (“chai“. Grasp or “pluck”.)
Application: Arm bar

  • 1. Step out with right foot.
  • 2. Arms circle up and over. Right comes outside and up. Left comes down centerline to dantien.
    Weight is centered. Hands grasp, making fists.
  • 3. Explode, exhaling forcefully for a fast, hard motion (alternatively, move at same deliberate pace):
    • Hips provide power as right hammer fist pushes to ground, left twist as it pulls to chest, finishing palm up, as weight shifts to left.

2. Lieh (“lee-euh“. Split.)
Application: Hands twist in opposite directions as one twists an arm and the other blocks the elbow so it can’t go.

  • 1. Hands open, extended left arm sweeps at chin level, palm up, as right wrist comes up, just inside of left arm.
    Twist to right. Left hand is in front, palm up. Right hand is at chest, edge outward.
  • 2. Sink to left.
  • 3. Explode, exhaling forcefully for a fast, hard motion (alternatively, move at same deliberate pace):
    • Right hand block/strike to front passing over left arm and left palm block/strike to rear as it sweeps past left hip, as weight shifts to right.

3. Chou (“choh“. Elbow strike)

  • 1. Weight shifts right/center as right arm drops, left circles up and out.
    Form fists as arms meet, right fist under left elbow, left fist facing front.
  • 2. Sink to left.
  • 3. Explode, exhaling forcefully for a fast, hard motion (alternatively, move at same deliberate pace):
    • Elbow strike to front, shifting weight to right.
    • Right fist finishes in front of chest. left finishes at hip, palm facing back.

4. K’ao (“kuh“. Shoulder strike)

  • 1. Hands open. Left arm sweeps low across body. Right circles up and out.
    Left hand circles to midline, palm up, right hand at side of chest, palm facing to left.
  • 2. Sink to right
  • 3. Explode, exhaling forcefully for a fast, hard motion (alternatively, move at same deliberate pace):
    • Weight shifts to left (back) as shoulder strikes to rear and open left hand makes block/ridge hand strike.
    • Right hand joins the motion, not touching, but giving an energy assist/ block/strike behind left upper arm, next to elbow.

To continue in same direction:

  • Sweep hands down and back, circling to front.
  • Continue movements on the opposite side. (Same directions as above, but left becomes right)

To reverse direction:

  • Sweep hands up and forward, shifting weight to front foot and turning to the rear.
  • Continue on same side, repeating the same movements in opposite direction.

To finish:

  • Moving to the right, do the first three movements.
  • Then lift left knee, gathering sky energy to forehead as place left foot next to right.
  • Finish by pushing energy down.

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