In Ba Gua Zhang, the 36 Songs and 48 Methods are rhymed mnemonics that delineate key points for training the forms and fighting methods. Each song and method details a specific aspect of body alignment, application and strategy. Students traditionally memorized the rhymes so that they could recall these important points while training.
Many teachers in China answer questions about Ba Gua by paraphrasing these rhymes. The first time one reads the 36 Songs and 48 Methods they seem abstract and confusing. Over time, as one trains and practices the forms, movements and applications, their meaning begin to unfold.
The 48 Methods of Ba Gua Zhang are accompanied here by a commentary of unknown origin, possibly attributable to Gao Zi Ying or to Guo Gu Min and can also be found in print in The Essentials of Ba Gua Zhang, by Gao Ji Wu and Tom Bisio.
The 48 Methods of Ba Gua Zhang
Ba Gua Zhang Shi Zhan Si Shi Ba Fa Ge Jue
手法步法要相随，Shou Fa Bu Fa Yao Xiang Sui,
手到步落力必微。Shou Dao Bu Luo Li Bi Wei.
手脚俱到腰欠力，Shou Jiao Ju DaoYao Qian Li,
去时迟慢难抽回。Qu Shi Chi Man Nan Chou Hui.
1. Body Method (Shen Fa)
Hand and foot method should follow each other,
The power must be weak if the hand reaches and then the foot lands.
Even if the hand and foot arrive at the same time, if the waist lacks power,
It is difficult to withdraw and will be slow and too late.
Commentary: This song talks about the requirements for the body method in fighting against the enemy. The “hand method and foot method must follow each other” refers to the cooperative combination of hand, eye, body method and step. When hand and foot arrive, the body also arrives. If the hand arrives and the step does not arrive it is not possible to form whole body power. The power is dispersed and weak in striking. Additionally, the movement of the hand and the foot depend on the power of the waist. Therefore it is said to be controlled by the waist. If the waist power does not arrive the attack will be slow and too late, without any speed and power. It will be difficult to withdraw the hand and arm. The body method occupies the first position of importance in attacking and defending skill.
2. Observation Method (Xiang Fa)
Observe first in encountering a group of enemies,
It is natural to retreat before advancing.
In retreating inspect the situation and understand the changes,
To wait leisurely for a fatigued enemy, to lead them effortlessly.
Commentary: In confronting a group of enemies it is necessary to use careful observation to figure out he enemy’s weak point. In attacking it is necessary to be able to advance and retreat naturally. By retreating before advancing and by inspecting the situation, it is possible to know yourself and know the enemy, and you are able to lead the enemy to miss their attacks. You are able to beat the opponent by smart force.
3. Stepping Method (Bu Fa)
Move the root before moving the tip,
Even fast hands are less effective than the half step.
It is only a half step to go in, to come out, to advance and retreat,
To control the hand, avoid attacks and calm the mind.
Commentary: The stepping method is very important in Ba Gua. In striking a person or releasing power use the root section, that is the stamping power of the foot should be transmitted to the waist and then to the tip section. The step method in attacking technique relies upon the rear foot, which drives the front foot forward. This footstep should be used in either advancing or retreating. After this step is practiced perfectly, it is possible to use it naturally and freely.
4. Walking Method (Mai Bu)
This skill comes from the curved step,
Changes in the two hands take place with the step.
Hitting upward, holding the lower position, blocking across and evade,
Pushing, upholding, taking and leading don’t leave the two arms.
Commentary: In the attacking and defending techniques, not only are there advancing and retreating steps, it is also necessary to attack the opponent with the curved step in accordance with the opponent’s standing position. Curve the step is also the basic step method in the circle walking of Ba Gua. The hand and foot should necessarily arrive at the same time and follow each other. It is necessary to change according to the situation in fighting. In fighting it is necessary to make changes accordingly and to do whatever you want freely. The positions of the movements and the movements of attacking, defending and retreating should not be too much. The hand method should not stay too far away from the body.
5. Linking Step Method (Lian Bu Fa)
It takes effort and time to learn how to walk forward.
It should be simple and natural to use the hand.
Touching hand and turning body, is empty hand,
The opportunity only appears before the skillful person.
Commentary: The step must be used actively in the attacking skills of Ba Gua and should not be limited to certain rules. The hand should come out simply and effectively, with real purpose hidden within the false purpose, which can mislead the enemy so that he cannot understand what you are going to do. For example, when the enemy attacks, I just turn and walk away to induce the enemy to miss his striking. Then when he is not ready, I take advantage and turn backward to strike him. This is also the means of older skillful masters. In the 64 forms, walk the horse and turn the head back, and dodge the body and change the shadow are exactly those techniques.
6. Step Storing Method (Dun Bu Fa)
Cannot be on the same line when storing steps.
It is necessary to be false in the front foot and to be real in the back foot.
If standing on the same line body will bend forward, and lean backward.
There will be no opportunity if the waist is short.
Commentary: Storing means to pause the step. In attacking techniques, it is necessary to shift between true and false. In pausing for a short time, two feet should not stand on the same line. It is requested to have one foot in the front and one foot in the rear. Motion should be contained in tranquility. Advance and retreat with continuous intention in the mind even if the power breaks. It is requested not to have double weightedness. Thus it is possible to avoid shortage of the waist power.
7. Hand Method (Shou Fa)
Opportunities will appear if the weight is on one side, and movements will be stagnant if there is double weightedness,
Hard externally and soft internally like the posture of holding a spear.
Cross push and inward hook depend on the body,
The waist and abdomen should follow in sucking the hand.
Commentary: In the attacking techniques it is necessary to avoid double gravity in the hand and foot methods. It is necessary to be false in one and real in another. Only by the clear distinction between the false and true, can the ability to deal with the changes be strong. It is also requested to be hard externally and soft internally, which means assistance between firmness and gentleness. When the opponent comes with a crossing hand, I just push it, when the opponent attacks inward, I hook it, in order to change the direction of the opponents power. Thus I can be stable and suck the hand by drawing in the chest together with the waist and abdomen in order to conquer the opponent.
8. Power Method (Li Fa)
People talk about sudden, springing, crisp, rapid and hard power,
I say sudden and springing power is very ordinary.
There is no distinction between crisp and hard power,
The release of power depends on the unity of mind and force.
Commentary: Sudden, spring, crisp, fast and hard refer to the five kinds of power in Ba Gua Zhang, particularly in Yin style Ba Gua. The spring power is composed of the sudden and fast power. So crisp power does not mean “not hard,” and hard power does not mean “not crisp.” In the attacking and defending techniques of Ba Gua Zhang it is requested to unite intention and image in releasing power (Fa Li), with fast movement and integrated power. It is also necessary to be distinctive in three sections. That is changes and usage of the root, middle and tip sections.
9. Power Storing Method (Cun Li Fa)
If one only knows how to use power, and does not know how to reserve it,
When power goes out it is like an arrow leaving the bowstring,
Ineffective and harmful,
If the defeat is light you lose the battle, if the defeat is serious you lose your body (i.e.: your life).
Commentary: This method means that in releasing the power it is necessary to understand how to reserve some of it, not to release it completely or all at once. Once the power is released it is like an arrow leaving the bow string, it is not possible to take it back. In that way it is impossible to conquer the enemy, instead you would be conquered by the enemy. Those who lose a little [power] will lose his opportunity, those who lose a lot will lose their balance. The power should not all be released at once. It is necessary to always reserve some power. If every bit of power is released like shooting an arrow that doesn’t return, it is very easy to be at risk. When I punch an opponent, I use his inertia so that he misses his strike and loses his balance. Therefore, at the same time I must be sure of my punch to the opponent leaving no chance to be countered. Those who release all the power at once do not know the whole body power and do not understand the principle of the false and the real force.
10. Power Continuing Method (Xu Li Fa)
Once the power lands, his root has already been broken ,
If the power is aided it is still difficult for him to escape.
At this moment just dash forward,
Lengthening the shoulder and waist together.
Commentary: In the fight or combat, if his power is pulled by me, he loses his balance and his foot is uprooted. At this moment if I take advantage of chasing him, he would retreat and then I should dash forward. If he bends forward, I just retreat with a half step and go on attacking his body with the rest of my power. At the same time relax the shoulder and lengthen the waist to add power and attack the opponent with the previous technique.
11. People Conquering Method (Jiang Ren)
Do not need to boast of striking the slow with the quick.
It is not a good example if the strong defeat the weak,
The best is to have one technique that is better than that of others,
The release of power will not be in vain if the mind is calm.
Commentary: To beat slow with quick, to defeat the weak with the strong is not a good skill. Good skill can only be obtained by painstaking practice and the instruction of knowledgeable teachers. So if you train harder than others, you will achieve the skill to conquer the enemy. Then it is possible to be calm and do what you want in attacking the enemy, everything in advancing and retreating, retreating and advancing will not miss.
12. Victory Method (Jue Shen Fa)
When his power is as heavy as a thousand pound weight and as quick as a shuttle,
I just move my steps quickly to avoid his strong attack.
Among thousands of people, only three or five can get close,
It is not difficult to stop them just by extending the hand and foot slightly.
Commentary: In fighting with the enemy, no mater how powerful and skillful he is, I just stay calm and observe his techniques and tricks. I must be quick and nimble in my footwork. Even if there a thousand enemies around me, only three or five of them can get close to me. Then I just extend my hand or foot slightly and I can express my power against them and be confident to win the victory.
13. Application Method (Yong Fa)
The high, strike low, the low strike high,
No need to hesitate, strike the fat obliquely.
In meeting the thin and tall, just pull and lead,
In meeting the old and unskilled just look at him up and down.
Commentary: In the attacking and defending techniques of the Ba Gua palm, in meeting an opponent with a different height, it is necessary to overcome the weak points of the enemy using my strong points. In meeting a tall person, attack his lower part, in meeting a short person, attack his upper part, so the opponent is unable to use his strong point. In meeting a thin person use the pulling and seizing methods to draw him off balance. In meeting a fat person, attack him obliquely and dodge away from his center [gate], to attack him. In meeting old people without any skill you do not need to be serious with him, just frighten him by staring at him.
14. Block and Seal Method (Feng Bi Fa)
The hand talks about the three passes, the leg needs to extend and flex.
There are three passes in one hand while walking directly forward with the foot.
Shoulders, elbows, wrist, hips and knees are useful,
Shrink the neck, empty the chest and lead the body with the step.
Commentary: In the attacking techniques, the three passes of the arm refer to the shoulder, elbow and wrist. The three passes of the leg refer to the hip, knee and foot which create changes by extension, flexion and walking. This is the blocking and sealing method in the whole body. The close cooperation and use of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and foot also depend upon the cooperation of the body method. Attack the enemy by moving the body with the steps.
15. Fist Connecting Method (Jie Quan Fa)
Five flowers and eight gates (innumerable things), as chaotic as tangled strings,
Strike short, with long fist all mixed up.
The quicker you are, the slower I am,
Once I start to fight, gods and devils would praise me.
Commentary: There are many different types of martial arts in Chinese Wu Shu and each school has its individual advantage. In actual use, strikes with the fists and kicks with the feet can dazzle you. In fighting one should be calm. The faster you are, the slower I am. Do not use techniques or tricks without purpose. It is necessary to see the situation clearly. Once you decide to use a technique it must conquer the enemy. Beat and frighten the opponent with whole body power.
16. Picking and Dissolving Method (Zhai Jie Fa)
Don’t boast about numerous seizing methods,
The power is marvelous when two hands grab one.
Even if he is skillful at seizing he is afraid of being pushed over- head,
Piercing the nose and poking the eyes is difficult to avoid.
Commentary: This method is a technique for dealing with the chin na, seizure technique in Ba Gua. In fighting with others the seizing method is not frequently used, because striking is faster and easier than seizing. Once seized by the opponent, just raise his hand overhead, following his posture. In this way usually the chin na technique will be made ineffective. In encountering the above situation it is necessary to follow his posture and power and attack the opponent’s nose and eyes with the piercing palm.
17. Single Connecting and Double Replenishing Method (Jie Dan Bu Shuang)
Don’t say that two hands are like strong weapons,
To show their abilities by moving them back and forth.
Once the right hand is blocked, the left will be useless,
It is surely ineffective when two hands come together.
Commentary: This method talks about that in a fight when the opponent attacks me with a weapon, I must stay calm and observe the situation to avoid his strong power. When his right hand comes out, just block his front hand, his rear hand will be useless. When the opponent’s two weapons come out together, just dodge them and block the opponent, then he cannot do anything.
18. Point at the Mountain and Carve the Millstone Method (Zhi Shan Da Mo Fa)
When his hand comes, I don’t need to worry.
When I attack obliquely, surely he will attack,
When he attacks, My hand just enters,
If he encounters it, three hands should be connected.
Commentary: In fighting it is necessary to pay attention to the strategy. Fake to the East while attacking the West. If the opponent’s hand comes, I stay calm and I can advance obliquely to attack him. If he uses the blocking method, I can use the three penetrations to attack him continuously. It is often said that even a great hero fears the three penetrations. It can be seen that three penetrating palms are fast in speed and have numerous changes. Their effect is to make it impossible for the enemy to attack.
19. Dodge the Body and Dissolve the Shadow Method (Tuo Shen Hua Ying Fa)
If he does not come, I force him to come.
When he comes, I dissolve his attack.
Not by using the hand, just using the body,
every step done with the two hips.
Commentary: This is a strategic art in the attacking and defending skills in Ba Gua. When the enemy attacks, I just retreat and defend. When the enemy is defeated and retreats, I must chase him. Once the enemy’s hand comes out I just lead him and dissolve it. Deal with the enemy by body method and footwork and attack him by the movement of the two hips.
20. Turning the Body Behind the Back Method (Bei Hou Zhuan Shen Fa)
Extend the hand slightly and walk with big steps,
Walk with half hip (step) and get close to the body to seize.
Walk and step down and squat the body to turn,
When he wants to turn, I just use the eagle seizing method.
Commentary: In extending the hand in Ba Gua Zhang one should not extend the hand too far for it is necessary to have reserve power. In attacking it is necessary to take big steps to be quick and get close to the opponent. It is necessary to turn the body fast. Striking a person is like kissing a person. If I get close to the enemy and the enemy extends his hand to grab me, I must walk with a big step and squat down and turn to avoid him. If I turn and the enemy also turns I can control him with the eagle seizing method (for example: the yellow eagle climbing the frame).
21. Knocking, Smashing, Chopping and Bumping Method (Ke Za Pi Zhuang Fa)
In knocking in and knocking back, I must be the first,
In smashing rightward, I must change the step, and stick with the left hand.
When chopping comes, pile the elbow with a standing posture.
When bumping comes the hand shakes a circle with Qian-Kun diagram.
Commentary: When the enemy attacks me with the knocking, chopping, smashing, and bumping methods, I must respond very quickly and observe the coming hand of the opponent carefully. Follow his posture inward and knock back. When the opponent smashes inward I just change the step and stick [like glue] my left hand to his hand and attack him with the rear hand. When the opponent chops downward, I must pile the elbow in a standing posture to dissolve it with whole body power and spiral power, to bounce the opponent backward. When the opponent bumps in, I just draw a circle with sinking and floating power to dissolve the opponents force and then, having the advantage, attack him with power.
22. Half Circle Hand Method (Ban Quan Shou Fa)
Other peoples hand methods are mostly in a straight line,
Walk forward with a half-step and wait leisurely.
Even if pointing straight and striking obliquely,
Just walk with another half-step to avoid it.
Commentary: In ordinary boxing skills, the hand comes and goes straightly. When I attack, I go to the side to avoid the center in order to strike obliquely. Even if the opponent points straightly and strikes obliquely I can walk aside with another half-step to strike obliquely continuously. This footwork mainly comes from the circle step and is supposed to attack the opponent, on his two sides and back – around him.
23. Whole Circle Hand Method (Zheng Quan Shou Fa)
When I am in the center surrounded by enemies on all four sides,
Pierce the flowers and strike the willow freely either in the west or in the east.
No matter how the wind and clouds change in the eight directions,
Don’t remain in one place, and don’t step without purpose.
Commentary: When surrounded by enemies don’t be frightened, and don’t remain in only one posture. It is necessary to play with the opponents in movement. Use the nine palace methods to pierce, thrust and strike. With active and nimble body work avoid the real attacks and strike back when a weak point appears. Keep walking and spinning to conquer the enemy.
24. Heart-Eye Method (Xin Yan Fa)
The heart is like a general, the eye is like a method,
You can conquer him by responding to the situation.
Avoid being obscure in intention and inaccurate in the eyes,
And avoid the ineffectiveness of busy hands and chaotic footwork.
Commentary: In fighting against an enemy, hand, eye, body method and step are all important everywhere, and none of them can be omitted. But the most important thing is that the intention is dependent upon governing and leading the whole situation. When you observe carefully with a peaceful mind, you are able to respond according to the situation. Therefore in fighting, when hand arrives, foot arrives, and waist and leg arrive and when the intention is real, the spirit is real and the force is be real, then the spirit will not be scattered in the movements of the body. In this way, the hand and the foot will not move chaotically.
25. Staring Method (Ding Yan Fan)
Sabers, spears from four sides, chaotic as tangled strings,
In the dim night without moonlight.
Lower the body and keep staring for responding to many techniques
Surely, defeat him with every curved step.
Commentary: When surrounded by enemies the mind must be clear. In fighting in the night time, one should lower the body when you are unable to see clearly. It is necessary to observe by the moonlight to clearly see the coming attacks. In fighting one should use the curved step, do not go and come in a straight line. In using curved steps, if he comes leftward go rightward and conquer the opponent by continuous movement. Therefore it is said, “to defeat a person, everything depends on the footwork.”
26. Weapon Greeting Method (Jie Qi Fa)
Even if long, short, single and double weapons are very skillful,
They are not as good as the nimbleness of two hands.
Once the iron palm is trained, it is like a weapon,
Just extend the hand to find the arm and wrist.
Commentary: Even if various kinds of weapons are trained perfectly and efficiently, they are no better than the skills in the palms. When the enemy attacks with a weapon, I just play with him using piercing, dodging, cutting, and blocking techniques. Iron palm here means training the “iron sand palm.” Extend the palm to strike his wrist and damage the tendons and bones. When the palm is trained well it is like a weapon.
27. Body Protecting Method (Bao Shen Fa)
Don’t boast about strong conquering weak,
That the weak can conquer the strong is the [skillful] way.
No matter how fast and tough he is, like an arrow leaving the bow,
No mistakes made in protection by rubbing the body leftward and rightward.
Commentary: Martial arts are combination of attacking and defending techniques. Not only can the strong conquer the weak, the weak can also conquer the strong. Therefore attacking skills are needed. No matter how fast or how tough the opponent is, you can protect yourself and defeat him using the body sticking and rotating method of Ba Gua Zhang, with twisting (ning), wrapping (guo), drilling (zuan), overturning (fan) and dropping (zui) methods, as in the techniques of the hawk drilling to the sky and removing the clouds to see the sun.
28. Person Confusing Method (Luan Ren Fa)
Confusion of the heart starts with the eyes,
Thousands of tricks are not as effective as one palm penetration.
Pierce toward the nose continuously,
Walk and defeat the opponent by changing postures left and right.
Commentary: This is a method to make the opponent worried and confused. Once you want to confuse and worry him, it is necessary to first confuse his eyes. No tricks (techniques) are better than piercing the palm back and forth towards the nose and eyes of the opponent, so as to make the opponent unable to respond. The most important technique in Ba Gua Zhang is the piercing palm. In piercing the palm, it is necessary to change postures by walking leftward and rightward. Therefore it is said. “The most skillful arts under heaven fear the three penetrations.” and “A thousand tricks are not as effective as one penetrating palm.” This technique can defeat an enemy and win the victory.
29. Opening and Closing Method (Kai He Fa)
Generally, open first before closing,
Without doubt when you see him open, you must prevent closing.
Faking defeat and pretending failure, he will return like whirling dust,
Intention is contained in pointing to the east and striking west.
Commentary: Opening and closing techniques are mentioned in various martial arts. As a general rule, if you want to close, first open. Therefore when you see that the opponent opens, you have to prevent him from closing. For example when the enemy is defeated and walks away, you have to be careful that he does not come back again and attack you when you are not ready. In attacking and defending you have to be sure if he enemy does not move, I do not move. If the enemy wants to move, I should move first.
30. South Orientating Method (Ding Nan Fa)
No matter how fast he is is in hands and eyes,
Protect the center of the body.
Don’t extend the hand, if the right moment does not come,
Once the hand extends outward the hand must return.
Commentary: In attacking an defending, no matter how skillful the opponent is, or fast in hands and eyes, don’t be afraid, just keep the position of your body. Remain calm and observe the movements of the opponent. Do not hurry in using techniques, or use techniques without careful consideration. Once the hand goes out, it must be effective. Make the opponent scared so that he has to draw his attacking hand back.
31. Approaching Method (Qiu Jin Fa)
Blocking is a technique to protect the body,
Once you avoid the opponent you can be leisurely.
Don’t be to far beyond the step of one chi (1/3 meter),
Opening the door and walking inside will not be an effective method.
Commentary: Blocking and dodging are the effective techniques to protect yourself. Once you can effectively protect yourself and avoid the opponent’s attack surely there will be no failure. So when you are protecting yourself, get closer to the opponent. Do not exceed the step of one third of a meter then opening the door and walking inside will not be an effective method (i.e.: then the techniques of Ba Gua Zhang will not be effective).
32. Six Direction Method (Liu Lu Fa)
The six directions for others is empty talk,
My palm method observes the six directions.
Moving the step attends to eight directions,
Looking forward and backward is surely not difficult.
Commentary: In fighting enemies it is necessary to observe the 6 directions and listen to the eight directions. This means one must be alerted to every move of the opponent. To ordinary people this method is not easy, but it is easy for the practitioners of Ba Gua Zhang because walking circles is required in Ba Gua Zhang. Eight directions mean the four cardinal directions and the four diagonal directions (the 8 compass points). Six directions refer to up, down, left, right, front and back. In the attacking and defending I rotate leftward and turn rightward and look forward and look backward. It is not difficult for practitioners of Ba Gua Zhang.
33. Only One Method (Bu Er Fa)
If the method is not proper, don’t use it,
If the first attack misses, attack again.
No matter how marvelous the god or devil,
He will break his teeth (be frightened) even if his spirit is not frightened from his body.
Commentary: It is required to be stable, accurate and hard (tough) in using the techniques. No trick should miss, every trick should be purposeful and meaningful. If the first attack misses, keep attacking and don’t let the opponent have a chance to breathe.
34. Slip Preventing Method (Fang Hua Fa)
Stable steps are difficult on ice or snow covered ground,
Remember the front foot must be sideways and the back must be straight.
To turn the body use small steps,
Avoid straightening the body and striking high.
Commentary: In attacking and defending, if there is snow or ice on the ground or if the street is slippery after rain it is necessary to remember how to avoid having your foot slide or slip. If you slip you are defeated. The method to stand stable is, the front foot turns horizontally (sideways) as it walks forward and the back foot walks straight forward. The step should not be too big. At the same time remember not to stand up high in order to strike high. Squat down (bend the knees) and strike the lower part of the opponent.
35. Stable Step Method (Wen Bu Hua)
If the steps are not stable the body will sway,
Standing on the ground firmly is better than thousands of techniques.
Walk forward with the toes curved and retreat with the heel lifted,
Don’t look back (turn around) without Kou Bu.
Commentary: In fighting, the body weight should be stable to avoid swaying. Your attack and defense skills will not be good, if the body weight is not stable. If you cannot stand firmly and with stability, even if you have thousands of techniques and tricks, they are useless. In walking forward, it is necessary to be curved in the toes and empty in soles in stepping down and to grasp the ground with the ten toes. In retreating, lift the heel and slide along the ground with the tip of the foot. It is requested in Ba Gua Bhang not to turn back without kou bu.
36. Small Step Method (Xiao Bu Fa)
In turning the body, the step must be small,
When the step is big the body will sway and will not be nimble.
To turn the body, use half-steps,
It will difficult for others to seize me and know my intention.
Commentary: In fighting, use the small step method. If the step is big, you will not be nimble and you will be easily controlled by the enemy. It is necessary to walk with half-steps in advancing and retreating. This is also the ordinary fighting step in Ba Gua Zhang. This stepping method is not easily noticed by the opponent and makes it easy to attack.
37. Palm Method (Zhang Fa)
There are upper, middle and lower positions in the palm method
The upper and lower positions are just postures of the palms.
Turning freely is only in the middle position,
From where changes in the upper and lower positions take place.
Commentary: In Ba Gua Zhang there are upper, middle and lower palms. This means the position of the palm is high or low. The position, whether high or low, depends on the individual person. Generally, the middle position is often used. It needs more skill if the position is lower and in fighting, the middle position is most suitable because in the middle position there is more freedom to turn and greater opportunity to make changes in fighting with taller or shorter people.
38. Avoid Bending Method (Ji Fu Fa)
Lowering the head is the same as keeping the eyes shut,
And the body is likely to fall forward.
In lowering the head and bending the body the middle axis is dead,
So that whole foot and whole palm cannot be used.
Commentary: In fighting one must not lower the head and bend the body. In lowering the body it is not easy to observe the movements of the opponent. If you bend forward it is easy to fall forward. There is a saying in martial arts: “It is not skillful if the head is lowered and the body bent.” Moreover, lowering the head and bending the body does not look good, and does not show spirit.
39. Avoid Backward Leaning Method (Ji Yang Fa)
Uplift the back and empty the chest, to seek calmness,
Throwing out the chest and abdomen brings regret.
By holding in the belly and withdrawing the waist, it is too late,
Not rotating freely causes great fear.
Commentary: In the fighting and training of Ba Gua Zhang it is necessary to avoid leaning forward and bending backward and it is necessary to empty the chest, uplift the back, sink the qi to dantien and relax the body naturally. These are the requirements for nei jia quan. If the chest and the belly are thrown out, qi will rise upward, leading to instability in the body. This is detrimental to health preservation and fighting.
40. Upright Body Method (Zhen Shen Fa)
Whole body power lies in the middle axis,
The power will not be complete if the body is not upright.
Even if the steps are curved, the body must remain upright,
Shoot the hand like an arrow without any pause.
Commentary: No matter what kind of martial arts you do, the waist is the most important position. Therefore the waist is called the governor. In fighting, the power comes up from the foot and goes to the waist. Only by the release of the power in the waist and the hip can power be transmitted to the tip sections. So therefore it is necessary to maintain an upright and comfortable back and waist. In this way, the hand can shoot out like an arrow.
41. Body Assisting Method (Fu Shen Fa)
The body is like the king and the waist like a minister,
An upright king and strong minister can control the people.
Advance, retreat and evasion all depend upon body method,
No spirit will be produced without the waist and legs.
Commentary: The body and waist are at the center and coordinate the actions of the rest of the body. If they are aligned and move correctly the body can turn and move freely in combat. All the movements in boxing (for example: advance, retreat and evasion) rely on the proper coordination of the body and waist. If the movements of the waist and body are coordinated with the legs and arms, there can be whole body power, the spirit can be clear and the techniques precise.
42. Body Turning Method (Yao Shen Fa)
If the opponent adheres to me to control me,
I cannot conquer the opponent with my hands and feet.
By the turning method, take in the waist left or right,
The danger can be reversed to seize the opponent.
Commentary: In fighting, if I cannot use my hand and foot, because the opponent is close to me (adheres to me), it is advisable to adopt the chest withdrawing and waist turning method. Only in this way can the danger be avoided, and the unfavorable situation be reversed. In training of the Ba Gua Zhang it is requested to “twist the hip and close the knee,” and “bend the knees, follow the hips to turn the waist to its utmost, watch the three directions and not sway the body.”
43. Step Walking & Body Turning Method (Kua Bu Ce Shen Fa)
When the attack does not stop, coming directly like a shuttle,
Starting first takes control and is advantageous.
Rather than retreat continuously when meeting an opponent,
It is better to step aside to regain the initiative.
Commentary: This method says that when the opponent attacks continuously like a shuttle (back and forth, continuously), do not worry and do not just retreat continuously. It is necessary to find a chance to attack by stepping aside. This means to avoid the power point of the opponent and leave the space to the opponent, so as to strike him from the oblique position, just like lion rolling the ball in the 64 forms.
44. Left and Right Swinging Body Method (Zuo You Shuai Shen Fa)
After evading East, West comes again,
Swing the body to make changes and avoid by stepping aside.
Repeat continuously left and right,
Pushing forward and pulling backward lies in the arrangement of the waist.
Commentary: In fighting, when the opponent attacks me from the left and then the right direction, I cannot just dodge leftward or rightward. I must fight the opponent by the swinging method. It is necessary to fake to the East and strike the West, turning the body and stepping aside to use the whole body power after pushing forward. It is necessary to use the waist as the governor and pierce the palm toward the opponent, left and right. Attack him by continuous change.
45. Step Squatting & Body Sinking Method (Dun Bu Chen Shen Fa)
With a tall opponent in high position there are three upper passes,
It is difficult to raise the arms to block and use techniques.
Squat down and sink the body forcing him to come to the lower position,
Trapped by my tricks, many methods can be used.
Commentary: In fighting if you meet a tall person, and fight with him in the top three paths, surely you will lose. It is advised to deal with the enemy by squatting and sinking the body. The enemy must give up the upper position and come to the lower position. His favorite situation now becomes a bad situation. Once the opponent gives up the high position and comes to the lower position, it means he is trapped by my tricks. Then I can punch him as I like, with the Ba Gua palm method.
46. Avoiding Capture Method (Ji Na Fa)
Ba Gua hand does not talk about seizing,
My skill is poor if I seize a person.
It is not appropriate if there are many opponents,
Direct attack and direct withdrawal are required.
Commentary: In fighting against enemies, we do not use the seizing method to control people because the seizing method is not as fast as striking. Moreover, if you want to seize a person, you can only seize one and your own hand is also stuck. Therefore it is said, “my skill is poor if I seize a person.” If a group of enemies surround me, it is not easy to use the seizing method. The enemy can only be conquered by simple and practical techniques.
47. Avoiding Standing Method (Ji Zhan Fa)
Travel to the remote places under heaven with entire Original qi,
The truth of Ba Gua is in my home.
Every technique depends upon changes in steps,
Standing still is like a flower on the ground.
Commentary: Ba Gua Zhang is characterized by changes of the palm methods and circle walking. Therefore walking the circle is the basic skill in Ba Gua Zhang and also where its essence is. In training or in fighting it is requested to walk, and change continuously with the two feet and not to stand still. Walking the circle continuously can effectively strengthen the body and prolong life.
48. Great Ultimate Method (Tai Shan Fa)
Force must be sufficient and techniques must be accurate,
Even if technique is missed, don’t be confused in three.
There are infinite techniques within techniques,
Spirit and method must be perfect.
Commentary: This method means to train the techniques perfectly. In order to reach this level, first of all, in the fighting the force must be complete and full, the energy must be active and the techniques must be accurate. In fighting, not every technique can be effective. Once the technique is missed, remain calm in intention, in hand, and in foot (don’t be confused in these three). In the attacking skills of Ba Gua, there are techniques within techniques and hands within hands, and an infinity of changes in the palm methods. In training it is requested to train the spirit fully, train the power fully, and train the palm methods and striking methods perfectly.
歌诀赞 Ge Jue Zan
In Praise of Song-Rhymes
四十八法意真切，Si Shi Ba Fa Yi Zhen Qie,
练练说说不为神。Lian Lian Shou Shou Bu Wei Shen.
要得所穿神功到，Yao De Suo Chuan Shen Gong Dao,
几人三年试验深。Ji Ren San Nian Shi Yan Shen.
四十八法甚难求，Si Shi Ba Fa Shen Nan Qiu,
见招使招不自由。Jian Zhao Shi Zhao Bu Zi You.
十年纯功研究到，Shi Nian Chun Gong Yan Jiu Dao,
单人凭艺遨五洲。Dan Ren Ping Yi Ao Wu Zhou.
The implications and intentions are precise and marvelous in forty-eight methods,
And would not be mysterious by training and study.
For high level achievement to be attained,
Their profound meaning must be tested and examined by several people for three years.
Forty eight methods are extremely difficult to strive for,
It is not always at your will to use a trick after seeing a trick.
Ten years study and investigation to reach pure achievement,
A single person can rely on his skill to travel the five.