The Three Abstentions A


The three abstentions are:

1) To abstain from angry Qi.

2) To abstain from awkward force.

3) To abstain from throwing out the chest and lifting the abdomen2.

These three abstentions must be remembered by every beginner. There are advantages and disadvantages in every matter, and this is so with the practice of martial arts. If there is not correct method and only a moment's enthusiasm is relied on to guide the practice, the three disadvantages will surely occur during practice, i.e. the angry qi, the awkward force, and the thrown out chest and lifted abdomen. Hence, the disadvantage would result in harm. Not only is it impossible to build up the skill, the method, the qi, the force, and energy smoothly, but also it is difficult to accomplish the martial art skill. It will waste time and strength, and also can cause the results of injury to the body in the mild condition and of death in the severe condition. The more and the deeper the work is done, the quicker and more severe the problem will be.

1) Qi Gong is a double edged sword. Correct, systematic practice over time will bring tremendous results. Incorrect and haphazard practice can cause tremendous damage. Unfortunately, damage from incorrect qi gong practice will not always show itself until it is too late.

2) The "Three Abstentions" are also commonly called the "three disadvantages," the "three harms" or the "three fatal errors." In addition to the translation given above, they are also commonly translated as:

1) The harm of "forcing the breath," "holding the breath," or "oppressing the breath."

2) The harm of "using inappropriate strength," "using clumsy force," or "labored use of strength."

3) The harm of "sticking out the chest and pulling up the belly" or "throwing out the chest and sucking the abdomen."

Among the three abstentions, the disadvantage of the angry qi appears most often, particularly in beginners. Very often the beginners cannot sense it themselves after the disadvantage is created. When it is sensed, it is already difficult to cast off the ingrained habits. Therefore, the training cannot fully begin until the three disadvantages are eliminated. It is necessary for the beginners to understand the three abstentions, eliminate the three abstentions, know the source of the three abstentions, and master the method and theory to get rid of them. Then it is possible for them to practice the skill, to enter the right way for building up the skill, the force, the qi, and the energy and to make progress gradually for preventing the three harms and for realizing the aim to practice the martial art.

1) Abstain from Angry Qi a.. The Cause of Angry Qi

All of the following conditions can result in the production of angry qi (also called "exertive qi" or "forced breath" - to practice the skill toughly while forcing the energy, to practice the skill with violent strength or excessive strength, to practice the skill with the qi-pounding method, to practice the skill while holding the strength in the chest and abdomen, to practice the skill while lifting the qi, and to practice the skill overtime (too long3) but still manage to practice the skill continuously can cause the problems of angry qi.

The ancients said: The angry qi is too firm, things that are too firm are easily broken. If the yuan (original) qi is not rooted, the heart and lungs are injured. The cause is due to the pressure of the angry qi and external qi and the resultant "squeezing" of the internal qi. The lung cells are injured and it may cause internal bleeding Therefore, the blood circulation is blocked and the normal functions of the heart are influenced severely because the heart is squeezed by the lungs (it is believed in Chinese medicine that the angry qi causes qi stagnation and blood stasis.)4

Xie Pei Qi discussing qi gong, Beijing, 1992

b. Manfestations of Angry Qi

In the mild condition, there can be chronic onset, stuffy sensations in the chest, hurried heart beat, shortness of breath, pricking pain in the chest, dyspnea, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and lassitude in the whole body. In the severe condition, there can be productive cough, bloody sputum, spitting of blood, pain in the chest and back, or sudden death.

While it is not difficult to refrain from these "harms" on a gross, or obvious, level, it is quite difficult for even the intermediate to advanced level practitioner to totally rid themselves of the three harms. In order to do so, the breath must be smooth, relaxed, and natural at all times, completely coordinated with the body movements, and never held for even a fraction of a second. The application of force must always be executed with the body articulations timed perfectly and in accordance with absolute optimum body alignments. The body energy is sunk to the lower abdomen at all times. To completely be in abstention from the three harms is quite a difficult task and thus practitioners at all experience levels should always pay attention to the three harms.

3) Everything in life seeks a balance and thus even good things can be overdone. In his book, Detailed Explanation of Image Qi

Gong, Li Zi Ming writes: To watch for too long will damage the blood, to lie for too long will damage the qi, to sit for too long will damage the flesh, to stand for too long will damage the bone, to walk for too long will damage the tendons. Too much anger will damage the liver, too much joy will damage the heart, too much thinking will damage the spleen, too much grief will damage the lungs, too much fright will damage the kidneys, too much fear will damage the gate of life (ming men). Overeating will damage the stomach. Too much sex in the drunken state will damage the essence. Exertion in fatigue will damage to middle burner.

4) This type of condition is seen frequently in those practicing "Iron Shirt" or "Iron Body" methods of qi gong. It is also not uncommon to see red areas on the skin in the mid-torso region of Iron Shirt practitioners where small blood vessels near the diaphragm have burst.

Xie Pei Qi taking a patient's pulse before qi gong therapy treatment, Beijing, 1992

c. Prevention

During the practice, it is advisable not to act with undue haste and not to be overanxious to make achievements. Do not use strength in the heart, do not release violent force, qi, or energy. Do not pound the qi inside the abdomen toughly, do not lift qi upwards forcefully, do not hold the qi in the chest or abdomen, and do not hold the energy forcefully.

During practice, it is necessary to be in a calm mood with a natural and peaceful expression. Use natural strength and allow the qi to sink downward. It is necessary to relax the whole body, to release the force steadily and concentrate the mind on the dan tian area, to clear away the distracting thoughts and to have proper time for practice. Always practice in accordance with the correct rules and standards.

It is advisable to increase the time for practice gradually in accordance with the degree of skill developed and the body adaptability. The quantity of released force is in accordance with the standards of not using too much force and not holding energy in the practice. It is required one not be too hasty in practice and always advance with a stable step. If these rules are obeyed, the angry qi will easily be eliminated and the skill will easily be improved.5

2) Abstain from Awkward Force #

a. The Cause of Awkward Force

All the disadvantageous conditions result from the postures and movements being stiff and dull during the practice and the mood of practice being hurried and unsteady. If the skill is not practiced in accordance with the rules and standards of Ba Gua Zhang and the boxing skill, the practice will be rough and blind. When one makes haste in attempting to develop internal force and uses forced intention in an effort to hasten achievements, which should occur naturally and with patience, in the distraction of these disturbed thoughts, one will cause the awkward force.

b. Manifestations and Mechanism of Awkward Force

In the problems caused by the awkward force, there can be the unsmoothness of the meridians, disharmony between qi and blood, and disorder of the circulation in the heart and lungs (termed qi stagnation and blood stasis in Chinese medicine). The problems will occur anywhere there is stagnation.6 In mild conditions, the flesh throbs and in the severe condition, the furuncle will appear swollen and painful. This is because all tissues of the motor system are sprained by awkward force, hence causing the pressure on the muscles and inflammation in the tissues resulting in the above throbbing flesh and congestion.

c. Prevention of Awkward Force

It is requested to perform the practice in accordance with the rules and standards of Ba Gua Zhang and the boxing skill, to obey the procedure of the boxing skill to the finest detail, to relax the whole body naturally, to have a steady and natural posture, not to be nervous and hurried, not to be overanxious to make progress, not to release the firm and tough strength, not to be stiff and dull in the postures and movements, to depend upon the natural development for increasing the skill and energy, to prevent awkward and reverse qi, force and energy. It is also required to have smooth strength and graceful postures. If the practice is done in such a manner, the awkward force will easily be eliminated.

The various postures in qi gong, internal skill, the palm method and boxing skill are seldom used at ordinary times. All kinds of movements reflex on the cortex of the human brain in its fifty-two regions. The nerve routes can be built up among these regions. Therefore, in a short period of time, the brain cannot command these martial arts postures and movements which are used so infrequently in daily life. Any kind of posture or movement needs many tissues of the motor system to attend and respond. But, in beginners, only a few of the tissues in the motor system can smoothly accomplish certain postures and movements. Therefore, those who are overanxious to make achievements are able to cause the conditions that qi, force, energy are not smoothly harmonized and that the force and method are offset. When these conditions are shown

5) It is said that in order to avoid "angry qi," breath should always be full, natural, and unrestrained, and the movement and the breath should be completely coordinated. If the breath is not consistently smooth and natural, then the breath is being either held or forced. "Holding the breath" and/or "forcing the breath" are very common occurrences among beginners. They usually do not realize that they are doing it and thus it becomes a bad habit.

6) Awkward, or clumsy, force results from any movement which is not perfectly efficient. There should be no wasted motion and no waste of power. Any movement that is executed without the alignment, timing, breathing, intention, and efficiency of motion being absolutely perfect results in some degree of awkward force. Any amount of awkward force will result in some degree of tension. Tension restricts free movement and 24 causes stagnation.

in the exterior, it is possible to show the phenomenon of stiff and dull postures and movements, and the disharmony of qi, force, energy and method, which cause awkward force.

If the theory is not understood, the rules and procedures not obeyed, and the mood is in haste to make achievements, these will be the cause of awkward force. As the former, if the practice is done painstakingly according to the rules for the purpose of finalizing the postures, the whole set of movements do not need to be considered all at once and it is not necessary to control the movements consciously during the finalization of the postures. On the contrary, the movements become automatic. This is because the individual and independent movement have converged into an integrated system of movements. (i.e. practice makes perfect). As for the latter, it is required to practice the skill with a calm mood, and certainly the "time that the canal can be formed when water comes," would come.

3) Abstain from Throwing Out the Chest and Lifting the Abdomen a.. Cause

If the rules and principles of Qigong, internal skill, Ba Gua Zhang and boxing skill are severely violated during practice, the incorrect posture of the skill appears, i.e. the problem of holding the energy in the chest cavity and lifting the qi in the abdomen.

b. Manfestations

This problem can cause the foot to be unrooted and as light as duckwood, the real qi will be unable to return to its origin. When qi is unable to return to the dan tian area smoothly, the lower limbs will be forceless and unsteady so that the qi goes upwards reversely and turbid qi cannot descend, causing a stuffy sensation in the chest, shortness of breath, no production of internal force, and no prolonged force and no development of skill even after a period of time.

c. Prevention

It is required to practice how to "hold the chest" and "erect" the back, to sink the qi naturally, lift the grain duct (sigmoid colon and anus), relax the body naturally, and remove the distracting thoughts in order to harmonize the qi, force, energy, and method.

Generally, the three problems of angry qi, awkward force, and throwing out the chest and lifting the abdomen are the three harms to practitioners of martial arts. The right way cannot be found until the three harms are eliminated. It was said: "The mortality must be built up gradually, the evils must be eliminated thoroughly." These three abstentions are the primary abstentions for the practitioners of martial arts.

The Eight Principles )

In the practice of the skill method, boxing skill, and palm skill, there are eight principles: one propping, two straightness, three points, four tips, five uniqueness, six harmonies, seven stars, and eight diagrams. They are not only the important rules for practitioners, but also the essential theory in the practice of Qigong, internal skill, palm method, and boxing skill. In the art of Ba Gua Zhang the theory of the interpromotion and intertransformation of the Ba Gua numbers in the Yi Jing (Book of Changes)7 is adopted together with the form and image and similarly in accordance with the theory of natural rules, for the purpose of setting up the palm method, boxing skill, the circulation of qi by guidance of circulation of big and small heavenly circles.8

1) Propping

This means that during practice the tongue is required to prop the upper palate, the mind props the Bai Hui (GV-20) on the vertex of the head, and the fingertips prop the energy.

The tongue propping the upper palate is supposed to supplement the deficient three phases8. When the Governor Vessel and Conception Vessel Meridians of Yang and Yin natures are linked, and circulation of the meridians and blood vessels can be smooth without any blockage, one is able to circulate the heart qi and open and clear the orifices of the heart. When the clear qi10 ascends, the qi ascending, descending, outflowing, inflowing, opening and closing can be smooth and harmonious. When the turbid qi11 descends, it is able

7) The interpromotion and intertransformation of the Ba Gua numbers refers to the actions and patterns of the eight trigrams as they relate to the five elements. Each of the eight trigrams has a corresponding relationship with one of the five elements and thus can be arranged in a the creative and destructive cycles of the five elements. For more information, refer to I Ching Numberology by Da Liu., Harper & Row, 1979.

8) The "small heavenly circle" consists of the ren and du channels. The "large heavenly circle" is the full circuit connecting all of the acupuncture meridians and channels.

9) The term "Three Phases" refers to the three primary energy centers or three dan tian. The upper dan tian is located in the center of the head, behind the point between the eyebrows and under the crown, or bai hui. The middle dan tian is located in the area of the solar plexus, and the lower dan tian is located in the center of the lower abdomen just below the naval. The dan tian should not be thought of as exact "points," they are more like "areas" of energetic activity. Placing the tongue on the palate aids in forming a strong connection between the Governor and Conception Vessels and thus strengthens the mutual interaction between the three dan tian.

10) Clear Qi (it - qing qi - also called "clean qi" or "pure qi") is the purified energy extracted from food, drink, and air.

11) Turbid Qi is made up of the impurities filtered from the food and drink we consume.

to nourish the deficiency of the yin qi, to produce body fluid, to moisten the throat, to clear away heat from the lungs, to tonify the kidney water, to decrease the heart fire, to correct the reversely-flowing qi and to produce and nourish the yin qi of the zang and fu organs12 (it is said in Chinese medicine that yin is often deficient and yang is often surplus).

That the mind props the upper, middle and lower dan tian areas (see note 9) is the method to circulate, guide, and smoothen the big and small heavenly circles (see note 8).

2) Straightness

It is required that the head should be straight, the intention should be straight, and the waist should be straight during practice. The head is the phenomenon of heaven and earth, and is the norm of the body balance. Straightness in the head is a phenomenon that the whole body can smoothly balance and that the movements and postures of the whole body can be stable and standard, and that qi, force and energy can be entire and heavy, and that qi can be smooth and the mood can be calm.

When the head is straight, the mind can be concentrated in Bai Hui (GV-20) and the distracting thoughts can be eliminated to maintain quietness in the brain so that the body and mind can easily enter tranquility and the mind can be fixed in a certain place calmly.

In terms of straight intention, the right intention can bring about correct image and the correct image can produce the right idea, therefore, the skill can be practiced wholeheartedly without any distraction and the achievement can be made successfully. When the intention is straight, the mind can be rooted and the "hundred wisdoms" will appear from the heart.

When the waist is straight, qi, force, and energy can be entire without dispersion, and by the method of natural force, qi can be smoothed so as to reach the dan tian areas in the three regions (upper, middle, and lower - see note 9) for smooth qi and entire force. When qi circulates smoothly, there will be no place in the four limbs of the body that qi, force, and energy cannot reach. As a result, the body method and posture can be stable, correct, and firm, and qi, force and energy can be harmonized without obstruction to release the entire force naturally without the appearance of awkward force and problems of qi stagnation and blood stasis.

3) Three Points

It is required that the three points should be in opposition in a vertical line. The three points refer to the tip of the nose, the tip of the finger, and the tip of the foot. These three are linked into one for the purpose of seeking the three-point form of the starting hand and to link the upper, middle, and lower into one. When the mind is harmonious with the idea, the essence, qi, and spirit can return into one entirety in order to obtain the perfect integration. The image, motion, and tranquillity are combined thoroughly into one intention. The interior, exterior, upper, lower, anterior, posterior, left and right are combined into one form. The force, method, and energy are combined into one.

The ancients said: "The three bodies change unendingly, and the three bodies can bring about all things once again.13 The three points are exactly as the one tip, two points, and three stars.14 The three-star art is the basic skill method to practice the palm and learn the fist. The internal skill is supposed to seek the three treasures15 and to practice the essence into qi, to practice the qi to nourish the spirit and to practice

12) Zang and Fu - There are six zang and six fu paired organs in the body. The zang are relatively more yin, solid and internal and the fu are relatively more yang, hollow, and external. The zang organs are: kidneys, spleen, liver, heart, lungs, pericardium. The fu organs are: bladder, stomach, gall bladder, small intestine, large intestine, triple burner.

13) The "three bodies" (iLft - San Ti) refer to any number of trinities in Chinese martial arts. Each trinity has a root, a middle, and a tip. In the large spectrum, the three bodies refer to man, heaven, and earth; the earth being the root, man the middle, and heaven the tip. In the human body, externally, the feet are the root, the torso the middle, and the head is the tip.

Internally, the dan tian is the root, the heart is the middle, and the Ni Wan point in the head is the tip (also sometimes referred to as the lower, middle, and upper dan tians). Energetically, the trinity (sometimes referred to as the "Daoist Trinity") consists of the jing (it - essence), qi - life force), and shen (^f - spirit). Jing being the root, qi the middle, and shen the tip.

The body can be further divided into upper, middle, and lower trinities. The lower trinity is the hips as the root, the knees as the middle, and the feet as the tips. The middle trinity is the waist as the root, the spine as the middle, and the head as the tip. The upper trinity is the shoulders as the root, the elbow as the middle, and the hand as the tip.

14) "One tip, two points, three stars" refers to a numerological arrangement of six points in the shape of a triangle as shown below. The "one tip" represents the original Absolute from which all was derived. The "two points" represent the "one tip" manifesting itself as its opposite reflection to become the two points representing yin and yang (heaven-earth, male-female, light-dark, etc.). When the "two points" come together they form the "three stars" which represent the creation of matter, or the creation of man (male-yang, and female-yin, join together to create the infant). This also leads us back to the trinity (heaven, earth, and man).

The Absolute ®

Yin and Yang

Heaven, Earth, Man

15) The "three treasures" (-^ i - san bao) are the jing (essence), qi (life force), and shen (spirit).

the spirit to return to the void can bring about the real body."

4) Four Tips

It is required that during practice, the ends of the four limbs of the human body should have qi, force, and energy. The tips are able to increase the "listening" ability and sensitivity. The four tips are: the hair is the tip of the blood, the tongue is the tip of the flesh, the teeth are the tip of the bone, and the ten fingers and ten toes are the tips of the tendons. In the practice of releasing force [fajing - -ft it is required that qi circulate to the tips in order to enable the tips to have qi and force and enable qi to gush to the ends in order to have the power to "shake the feathers16." Once qi circulates smoothly, no place in heaven and earth, yin and yang, the interior or exterior, tendon, bone, skin, flesh and hair will not be reached. Therefore, one is able to obtain the skill method of qi, force and energy and the skill of "no form" and "no image," of responding at a glimpse and of interpromotion and interaction.

5) Five Uniquenesses

This means to extend the hand for attack and retreat for safeguarding attack during practice, and have the skill and method in the five uniquenesses. The five uniquenesses refer to the five commonly-used joints: the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees. The shoulder joint is relaxed to sink the energy. The elbow joint is dropped like a bow. The wrist joint is to drop the force and advance. The hip joint sits backwards to be contracted.17 The knee joint is lifted to be embraced for "hit" and "bump."

In the practice of the five major joints, it is required to be coordinated, to be smooth, to be round, to be entire, and to be in a bow form. The skill of the five uniquenesses in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees change smartly. The names of the force in the five uniquenesses are: advancing, attacking, retreating, defending, guarding, protecting, nourishing, producing, coiling, hitting, leaning, squeezing, pointing, nailing, bumping, pounding, lifting, sitting, contracting, shortening, extending, prolonging, rolling, rotating, covering, unloading, dodging, spreading, changing and transversing. Totally, there are thirty kinds of force. The five uniquenesses can promote and nourish the zang organs and fu organs. This skill changes in accordance with the theory of the interpromotion and interaction and transformation in yin and yang and in the five elements.

6) Six Harmonies

It is required that during practice, the six harmonies should be smooth and coordinated. The internal six harmonies refer to the image being combined with the intention, the tranquility combined with the motion, and the qi combined with the force. The external six harmonies refer to the eyes combined with the heart, the waist combined with the body, and the hands combined with the feet.18 The smooth and harmonious coordination presents no reverse-flowing qi, and the orderly combination brings about the real skill.

In addition to the internal and external harmonies, there are six combinations as follows: In combination one, the heart is combined with the intention, and the intention is combined with the heart. As a result, qi can return to the dan tian area. In combination two, yin and yang are mutually related to the congenital and postnatal conditions, with the opening, hidden, smooth and reverse linked vertically and transversely. In the third combination, that of heaven, earth, and man and of the upper, middle, and lower, three are combined into one entirety with the interior and exterior also being linked. In the fourth combination, the four appearances are mutually related to the eight directions, and the four combinations and four dimensions are substituted. The four dimensions posses the quick and smooth changes to combine the tendon, bone, blood, and flesh. In the fifth combination, yin and yang and the five elements occupy the "king" position. Internally, it combines with the zang and fu organs. Externally, it combines with the sense organs and orifices19. In the body forms, it combines with the five emotions and six kinds of qi20. In the sixth combination, the six satisfactions of the human body will happen, i.e. qi first, blood second, body fluid third, essence fourth, meridian fifth, and spirit sixth. Once the six combinations are perfect, qi will be

16) "Shake the Feathers" refers to a shaking energy in executing the release of force (fa jing) similar to a bird shaking its feathers or a dog shaking water off its coat.

17) This means that the practitioner "sits in the hips" such that there is a crease formed where the hip and thigh meets. If this crease is not present, stability will be compromised as the upper body will not be properly connected to the legs.

19) It is interesting to note that Xie Pei Qi's "six harmonies"

differ slightly from the six harmonies one usually encounters in the literature of internal martial arts. These are: the hands harmonize with the feet, the shoulders harmonize with the hips, the elbows harmonize with the knees, the heart harmonizes with the intent, the intent harmonizes with the qi, and the qi harmonizes with the power.

18) The five element, zang organ, sense organ, orifice combinations are as follows:

Element Zang Organ Sense Organ/Orifice

Wood Liver Eyes

Fire Heart Tongue

Earth Spleen Mouth

Metal Lung Nose

Water Kidney Ears (and anus)

20) The "Five Emotions" are: Anger, Joy, Pensiveness, Grief, and Fear. "Six kinds of Qz" refers to the original qi % - yuan qi), the qi of the chest A, - zong qi or ancestral qi), the grain qi -gu qi ), the true qi (Â % - zhen qi), nutritive qi A - ying qi), and defensive qi 0ftM, - wei qi). See chart on page 15.

Bagua Qigong

A prolific writer, Xie Pei Qi has authored two books, Ba Gua Inner Elixir Standing Skill and Yi Jing Ba Gua Healing Methods (shown above), and numerous magazine articles on Ba Gua qi gong.


7) Seven Stars21

It is required to adopt the seven star art during practice. The seven stars refer to the number of the

21) The image of the "Seven Stars" are used quite frequently in martial arts and qi gong. The number seven is used in relationship to stars because the image is usually associated with the seven stars of the Big Dipper. Most notably in martial arts we have the "seven deadly stars" corresponding to the striking surfaces of the head, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and heels. In this article Xie Pei Qi is using the seven stars to refer to seven directions, front, back, right, left, high, middle, and low used in his footwork techniques.

In Buddhist qi gong the seven stars of the big dipper are related to the seven energy centers of the body. Daoists also use the image of the Big Dipper and its seven stars in their meditations and in the Mao Shan sect the Big Dipper functions as the life giving center of the universe. In this sect it is said that the Universal Trinity "emerge and are transformed" out of the bowl of the Big Dipper. In certain Daoist meditations the practitioner will create an image of the seven stars of the Big Dipper above his head. The seven stars also play an important role in Chinese Astrology and Numerology.

directions and the theory of arithmetic of the eight diagrams in the Yi Jing (Book of Changes). In the repeated seven star numbers, seven days are taken as one cycle. There are 168 hours in a cycle. Every form of the palm method in Ba Gua Zhang can be attributed to 168 routes.

In the repeated turning palm, the technique is supposed to adopt the seven star positions in the step method22. In the skill of advance and retreat in the anterior, posterior, and left and right, these steps are: the swinging step, the pulling-retreating step, the water-wading step, the wheel step, the crane-lifting step, the dodging and lying step, the hooking step, and the linked seven steps.

In extending the hand and walking, the step enters the seven stars configuration for free walking in the anterior, posterior, left, and right. The seven star skill can be divided into: 1) upper, 2) middle, 3) lower, 4) anterior, 5) posterior, 6) left and 7) right, and belongs to both the open and hidden skills of yin and yang. The seven star theory is supposed to adopt the theory of one cycle every seven days in the theory of yin and yang and the five elements.

The seven kinds of changes are in accordance with the ten heavenly stems, every seventh stem makes a return. The attribution of the five elements of every day's heavenly stem is certainly interacted by the attribution of the five elements of the seventh day's heavenly stem. For example, HS 1 is the first stem, and HS 7 is the seventh stem. If seven days make one return, the HS 1 wood is interacted by the HS 7 metal. On this analogy, the HS 2 wood is interacted by the HS 8 metal, and the HS 3 fire is interacted by the HS 9 water, and the HS 4 fire is interacted by the HS 10 water, and the HS 5 earth is interacted by the HS 1 wood, and the HS 6 earth is interacted by the HS 2 wood.23

The ancients said: The return is made for preponderance, but overpreponderance brings injury. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the injury by not overdoing.

22) In Xie Pie Qi's Ba Gua method there are eight primary stepping techniques, each relating to one of the eight animal styles of his system. Each of these stepping techniques have seven different variations relating to high, middle, and low postures and the advancing, retreating, moving-left, and moving-right directions.

23) In this section Xie Pei Qi is drawing from the numerological relationships between the Ten Heavenly Stems, the Five Elements, and the Seven Stars. These relationships are used as a model to predict daily, monthly, and yearly cycles and rhythms. Although this paragraph may seem confusing, what Xie is really saying is that there is a cyclic pattern to the practice utilizing the seven directions. For those readers who may be interested, the relationships between the Celestial Stems, the Five Elements, and Seven Stars that may help to clarify this paragraph are shown below. Cyclically, the first Heavenly Stem would be placed after the tenth and the cycle of stems would start again while the cycle of stars would continue at the bottom of this list

8) Eight Diagrams

It is required that, during practice, the philosophical, arithmetic art of the eight diagrams should be sought to rule the body. The motion and tranquility, the interior and exterior, and the upper and lower of the body should be practiced according to the theory of the eight diagrams.

1) Three combined into one of the starting hand, and the three-point form of the starting hand.24

2) Qi is full and sinks to the dan tian.

3) The form of straightening the back, rounding the shoulders, and erecting the neck.

4) Open, close, ascend, descend, outflow and inflow.

5) Contract and lift the anus.

6) Relax naturally and transform and move hollowly.

7) The coordinative and harmonious six breaks25, and the reverse-return seven star form.

8) Fill a vacancy in the above break of the Dui diagram and supplement a break in the lower break of the Xun diagram, with six breaks linked in three, harmoniously and perfectly conforming to the theory and position of the eight diagrams.

The symbols of the eight diagrams: One link is yang, two breaks is yin. Namely, Qian is three links, Kun is six breaks, Li is empty in the middle, Kan is full in the middle, Then is like a jar, Gen is like an overturned jar, Dui lacks in the top, and Xun breaks in the bottom.

The eight diagrams mainly symbolize the eight kinds of natural phenomena of heaven, earth, fire, water, wind, thunder, mountain and lake (see illustration on

with 4, 5, etc. Because there are ten stems and seven stars, one complete cycle occurs every 70 iterations.

Heavenly Stem



1 - Jia

Wood (Yang)


2 - Yi

Wood (Yin)


3 - Bing

Fire (Yang)


4 - Ding

Fire (Yin)


5 - Wu

Earth (Yang)


6 - Ji

Earth (Yin)


7 - Geng

Metal (Yang)


8 - Shen

Metal (Yin)


9 - Ren

Water (Yang)


10 - Gui

Water (Yin)


24) "Three combined into one of the starting hand" means that when the first hand gesture is made, the arms, body, and legs all move together (whole body motion). "the three-point form of the starting hand" refers to the tip of the nose, tip of the finger and tip of the feet being aligned.

24) "Three combined into one of the starting hand" means that when the first hand gesture is made, the arms, body, and legs all move together (whole body motion). "the three-point form of the starting hand" refers to the tip of the nose, tip of the finger and tip of the feet being aligned.

25) The "six breaks" refer to the "breaks" in the lines of the eight trigrams. Each yin line is said to have "two breaks."

Qian Gua Dui Gua Li Gua Zhen Gua Xun Gua Kan Gua Gen Gua Kun Gua

The Eight Diagrams

List White House Butler

the bottom of this page), and it is believed that Qian and Kun diagrams occupy the very important position in the eight diagrams and are the source of the initial development and change of all things. The congenital (pre-heaven) eight diagrams hold that the heaven and earth locate the position, the mountain and lake communicate with air, the wind and thunder fight each other, and the water and fire are not compatible. Namely, the globe, the sun rises in the east and falls in the west, with verticalness and transverseness, and with one stroke to draw an eight-diagram form and four places called one change, and three changes become one Yao-alternation, and eight out of ten becomes six Yao-alternations, and nine motions become the diagram. Therefore, the eight diagrams are said to be accomplished initially. The changes of yin and yang repeatedly and unendingly in the interior and exterior, the upper and lower, the anterior and posterior, the left and right, the middle, the bright and shade, the motion and tranquility, and the conversion, form the simple philosophical theory of yin and yang, the five elements and the eight diagrams.



Interpromoting Cycle Elements

North Later Heaven

Post-Heaven Diagram Arrangement

Pre-Heaven Diagram Arrangement

Post Heaven Bagua

Pa Kua Chang Related Periodicals

Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness: Insight Graphics, Inc., P.O. Box 221343, Chantilly, VA 22022 - Steve Rhodes and his crew at Insight Graphics continue to provide readers with interesting information relating to all aspects of Traditional Eastern health and fitness. The magazine is produced in a very high quality format.

Journal of Asian Martial Arts: 821 West 24th Street, Erie, PA 16502 - This is a high quality publication which provides well researched articles in a scholarly fashion.

Internal Strength: Watercourse Publishing, P.O. Box 280948, Lakewood, CO 80228-0948 - A new periodical dedicated to bringing the reader practical information on all styles of internal arts.

1994-95 Calendar of Pa Kua Chang Workshops and Seminars




Contact for Information

George Xu

San Francisco, CA

14-15 Jan 95

George Xu

(415) 664-4578

Park Bok Nam

Pacific Grove, CA

4 Feb 95

Dan Miller

(408) 655-2990

Andrew Dale

Los Angeles, CA

4-5 Feb 95

Andrew Dale

(206) 283-0055

Lin Chao Zhen

San Francisco, CA

4 Feb 95

Lin Wai Ran

(415) 921-6978

Kumar Frantzis

New York, NY

11-12 March 95

Frank Allen

(212) 533-1751

George Xu

San Francisco, CA

22-23 April 95

George Xu

(415) 664-4578

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