Each of the internal arts, Tai Ji, Ba Gua and Xing Yi have there own eight word mnemonic containing the key principles and actions inherent in the movements. Traditionally students memorized these eight words so that these ideas could be understood at a deep level.
Tai Qi Quan: Eight Words and Eight Necessities
- 掤Ward Off (Peng) needs Bracing (Cheng) 撑
- 捋Roll Up the Sleeves (Lu) needs Lightness (Qing) 轻
- 挤Squeezing (Ji) needs Transverse (Heng) 横
- 按Press (An) needs Attack (Gong) 攻
- 采Pick/Gather (Cai) needs the Substantial (Shi) 实
- 挒Twisting (Lie) needs Suddenness (Jing) 惊
- 肘Elbow (Zhou) needs Rushing/Dashing (Chong) 冲
- 靠 Leaning (Kao) needs Bursting (Beng) 崩
- 掤 Bing. Literally “arrow quiver.” This character is usually Romanized as Peng and translated as “ward off”. It is an obscure word that may connote an opening up or releasing or pulling a cork from a bottle. It man also have something to do with the sounds these actions involve.
撑 Cheng: Brace; Prop Up; Push with a Pole; Support; Fill to Bursting; Opening an Umbrella.
- . 捋 Lu: To stroke or smooth out with the fingers; to rub one’s palm along. Can also mean to “roll up one’s sleeve.” Often translated as “Rollback” in Tai Ji books.
轻Qing: Light; Agile; Alert; Gentle; Soft
- 挤 Ji: Squeeze; Crowd; Push; Jostle; To Crowd or Cram. Like shouldering or squeezing one’s way onto a crowded bus or train.
- 按 An: Press down; keep one’s hand on. Like the pressing technique in massage.
- 采 Cai: Pick; Pick Up; Gather; Select
实 Shi: Substantial; Solid; Full; Real; True; Actual; Real
- . 惊 Jing: Startle; Alarm; Surprise; Violent; Fierce
- 冲 Chong: Charge; Dash; Rush; Collide; Clash
- 靠 Kao: Lean On; Lean Against; Get Near.
Xing Yi Quan Eight Words: 斩 截 裹 跨， 挑 顶 云 拎
- 斩 Zhan: Chop; Cut In Two (Pi Quan 劈拳)
- 截 Jie: Intercept; Sever; Cut Off (Zuan Quan 钻拳)
- 裹 Guo: Wrap; Bind; Lining (Heng Quan 横拳)
- 跨 Kua: Step; Stride; Straddle; Step Across; Cut Across (Beng Quan with the “Striding” or Closed Step 跨或合步崩拳)
- 挑 Tiao: Uphold; Upraise; Poke; Carry on Both Ends of a Shoulder Pole (Beng Quan with the “Smooth” or Open Step 顺步或开步崩拳)
- 顶 Ding: (Carry on the Head; Gore; Butt: Oppose; Push Upward with Head (Pao Quan 炮拳)
- 云 Yun: (Cloud) (Tuo Xing – Alligator 鼍形)
- 拎 Ling: To Carry; Lift (She Xing – Snake Form 蛇形 )
Ba Gua Zhang Eight Words I: 推托带领、搬扣劈进
- 推 Tui: Push
- 托 Tuo: Hold Up; Support in the Palm
- 带 Dai: Bring; Take; Carry
- 领 Ling: Lead; Guide; Usher
- 搬 Ban: Move; Take Away; Remove
- 扣 Kou: Hook; Buckle; Button Together
- 劈 Pi: Split; Cleave; Wedge
- 进 Jin: Enter; Advance
Ba Gua Zhang Eight Words 2: 穿扳截拦、拧翻走转
- 穿 Chuan: Pierce; Penetrate; Pierce Through; Thread Through
- 扳 Ban: Pull
截 Jie: Intercept; Sever; Cut Off
- 拦 Lan: Block; Hinder; Obstruct
- 拧 Ning: Twist; Wring
- 翻 Fan: Turn Over; Overturn; Turn Upside Down
- 走 Zou: Walk; To Go
- 转 Zhuan: Rotate; Revolve Like a Top
- Draw, Pull by the Neck. Implies a less aggressive leading than “Dai”
- From 扌(手 Shou) “Hand” and 反 Fan: Overturn.”
- Also implies “To Leak.” When the opponent stops you or locks you out, rather than resisting directly, you “leak around him” by walking to a new position.
Nei Jia Six Harmony Jin 六合劲
Twist-Wrap (Ning- Guo) Burst-Crack (Beng-Zha)
Drill-Overturn (Zuan-Fan) Startle-Springing (Jing-Dan)
Spiral-Rotate (Luo-Xuan) Tremble-Shake (Dou-Sou)
- 崩砟 Beng-Zha. Beng: bursting as in bursting a balloon, fall apart, collapse. Zha: chip, crack of for fragment.
- 惊弹 Jing-Dan. Jing: startle, alarm, surprise, violent, fierce. Dan: catapult, bullet, bomb, pluck or flick
- 抖Dou: Tremble, shake, shiver, rouse, stir up.