Gai - blanketing1: use your qi to directly cover the opponent’s incoming force.
1 The Chinese word used here - gai, while having the same basic meaning of covering, is different from fu of the
previous sentence. In Chinese gai is the covering of one object with another of roughly equal size. An example is
when you tucking in a child to bed, pulling the blanket up just enough to cover the body. The other example is
putting a lid on a pot so the lid covers contents of the pot. Gai also means control or block, to cover something in
order to control it, or block something, preventing it from happening.
This skill is to use your qi to cover the opponent’s force directly when the opponent releases his force, so that his
force cannot be released in correct manner. Usually release of force requires smooth and coordinated
movements. Gai is used to directly cover his movement, and not let him move freely so that his force cannot be
released. Also, when a force is released, it is weak initially and gets stronger as it nears completion. So the key
point of gai is to cover the opponent’s force release movement with correct timing and direction. This is how a very
small force can be used to disrupt a much larger one. So this skill is used to block the opponent’s force release as
it happens, and control him so that he cannot release the force in the correct manner.
Dui - interception1: direct your qi to where the opponent’s forces are coming from, target it precisely, and then
1 The Chinese word used here - dui, means to face, aim, resist, confront, or opposite of.
Dui is about jie jin - intercepting, blocking, or cutting off jin. It is used very often in fighting. The idea is to disrupt
the opponent’s movement after he has released the force but before the force reach its maximum potential. An
identifying characteristic of external force is that once it is released, it cannot stop or change course midway.
Interception is a way of redirecting this force back, directly into the opponent. This is done as the opponent is
starting to release his force, you respond with minor adjustment on the contact points to put the opponent in a
relatively disadvantageous, unstable position. Now when he continual to unleash his force, which cannot be
stopped or altered, he ends up pushing himself back in opposite direction that he is trying to push you.
The basic idea of this skill is that, if one is not in a stable and balanced position, he will end up pushing himself
away when he tries to push something that is in a good stable position. If you can do this skill well, it can look
miraculous. When people push you quick and hard, as soon as he touches you, he is immediately beaten back
hard, without you seeming to have moved too much.
Dui is different from the previous skill gai. In gai we are trying to prevent the opponent from releasing his force in
the first place. Dui is used during the release of an opponent’s force. Let him release his force first and then make
your change. A common application of this technique is when the opponent releases force from his hands, you
move in the opposite direction of his hands are moving, making contact with your arms or body to his hand,
“welcoming his incoming force”, and then with a slight change in angle, redirect the angle of his push. If you can
get the timing right, then it is very easy, because at that moment his force has not build up in his hands yet. Once
you get into this position, adjust your body slightly to get your balance. Now the opponents force continues to
increase, and because the touching angle has changed for him, his own increasing force will unbalance him and
push him back. The harder the push, the further back he will end up being. It is called “borrow the opponent’s
force and then use it to beat him back.”
Here the keys are timing and direction. If you do it too early, the opponent has chance stop or change his force. If
too late, the opponent’s force is already upon you so you will be the one beaten back instead. As for direction, you
should make sure it is one that can make the opponent’s force go back to his own body.
Yin Cheng Gong Fa Association North American Headquarters
Copyright © 2000 YCGF_NAH. All rights reserved.
Fig. Gai-1: Start push hands, and try to sense when the
opponent’s force is starting to be released from his left
Fig. Gai-2: Turn your left hand to cover the
opponent’s incoming force, and make his
body lean slightly.
Fig. Gai-3: Turn your body to the left,
following your left hand in order to control
the opponent. At this time, if his force
continues to release, that force will push
his body out of balance.
Fig. Dui-1: The opponent starts to push forward
2 of 3
Fig. Dui-3: Hollow your chest, drop your arms, and
move forward. It will cause the angle of the contact
points to change slightly, redirecting the angle of his
Fig. Dui-4: Slightly drop your body to
become more stable, and push forward in
the opposite direction of his pushing force.
His force will now push his own body back.
Fig. Dui-2: Move forward to make contact
with his hands with your arms, welcoming
his incoming force.
Tun - swallowing1: use qi to swallow the force of the opponent whole and dissolve2 it.
1 Tun means swallow something whole without chewing. For example, when a snake eats a bird, it swallows bird
whole first and then let it digests in the stomach.
2 The word hua can have multiple meanings: to digest, dissolve, melt, or neutralize. However there is a common
theme running through all of them, that is, to reduce something solid and substantial into nothingness. Hua,
sometime called rou hua, is a technical terminology in Taiji Quan. It is one of the basic principles in Taiji Quan
that you never resist the opponent’s force directly but hua it.
Swallowing without chewing means not to do anything on the trouble point. When you get some trouble, the usual
approach used in almost all martial art styles is to address that problem spot directly in attempt to solve it. This is
another key area where Taiji Quan is different. We do not use force to resist against an opponent directly, in fact
we strive to forget that problem point. Just let the opponent come in and then dissolve the trouble he is causing.
At the trouble spot we use softness (rou) in response to hardness (gang).
Traditionally people say this is like throwing a big stone (your opponent’s hard force) into the river (your soft
force). No matter how big or hard the force your opponent uses, you just maintain the relaxation and softness of
water, swallow that force whole and dissolve it in a silent, invisible, and imperceptible manner. You must be very
careful, both tun – swallowing and hua – dissolving should be done together. If only swallowing is done without
dissolving, the trouble is still there.
Fig. Tun-1: The opponent pushes your left
arm. You should keep the contact point
relaxed and soft.
Fig. Tun-3: The swallowing is
soft. It causes the opponent to lose
his balance. His force now cannot
make any more trouble for you. It is
said his incoming force has been
Fig. Tun-2: Allow him to release his full
force, but follow him so that his force
cannot really make trouble for you. At the
same time, slightly push your right hand
down and raise your left hand up, forming
a big circle which surrounds the opponent’
s force. This is called swallowing.