What these four words describe are things invisible and silent.  Unless you have reached the level dong jin (really
understand Taiji Quan), and until your skills become extremely refined, you cannot fully understand them.  These
four words are all about qi.  With qi, if you can cultivate it naturally without harming it, you can then let it go in your
four limbs (means whole body).   Then do not need to say, the four limbs can do whatever needs to do naturally.

All these skills are not about physical movements (do not mean there is no physical movements), but rather how to
use your mind to lead your qi.  All physical movements then in turn flow naturally with the movement of qi.   Since
they are abstract concepts about using qi in a natural way, having more to do with feelings, and applicable in a wide
variety of situations, there is really no clear, specific way to practice them directly.  But once you progress to the
dong jin level, when you understand Taiji principle and know how to use Taiji jin, you will be able to feel them and
understand intuitively what they are about, even if you cannot articulate them verbally.  If you are a beginner you
need not care about them too much in your practice.  

4. Four stages of using qi in push hands

These four skills describe about how to use your qi in push hands or fighting in defense against the forces
opponent is releasing under different situations. It includes four stages:  1) when the opponent attempts to release
force, 2) when the opponent just starts to release force, 3) when the opponent releases the force but force has not
reach its maximum amount yet, and 4) when the opponent releases the force and the force is or almost reached its
peak.  So the article clearly spells out what is to be done in dealing with each of the four stages in release of force.
The first stage is fu.  If one wants to release force, he needs to stay in a good or comfortable position. Fu is about
how to use your sensitivity to get the opponent under your control.  You should make him feel uncomfortable
anytime when he wants to make any kind of movement, so that he has no chance to release force against you.  But
you do this by using only light and insubstantial force. This is a very high-level skill. From that ligh touch, you
should know your opponent clearly, thoroughly.  Whatever he wants to do, you know immediately, and make a
small and light movement to make him uncomfortable so that he cannot continue doing that.

This is about destroying his attempt from the very beginning. For example, the opponent wants to push you:  
usually people will do a small preparing movement, like moving his shoulders back slightly before moving forward.  
Higher a person’s skill, the smaller this preparatory movement will be. If your sensitivity is good enough to spot this
movement, you can just use a very little force to follow his movement to push him back slightly.  For him the feeling
will be wrong, and he will not be able to release his force. This destroys his force release before any force is
The second stage is gai.  When a force is being released, the amount has to build up, from small to large.  For
that reason it is easier to deal with in the beginning.  
Gai is about how to block and control the opponent’s force
when he is just releasing it. As soon as he has started to release his force, you cover him immediately so that his
force cannot be released continually. It is blocked from the front.  For example, if the opponent wants to push you:  
when he just starts to push, his force is not strong yet. Here you can use your hands or arms to go against his
force from front directly. You can do this without using a big force. The earlier you move, the less force you will
need.  Therefore
gai is not really about the amount of force you need to use but correct timing.  Most of time,
people cannot do
gai well because they will try to do this using a big force, which in turn requires bigger
movement.  But bigger movement takes more time.  That in turn gives the opponent’s force a chance to become
bigger.  When your forces do meet, it turns into a direct struggle between two large forces. This is not the meaning
gai skill.
Pages: 1,  2,  3
Yin Cheng Gong Fa Association North American Headquarters
Copyright © 2000 YCGF_NAH. All rights reserved.
The third stage is dui.  When force is released, it takes time for the force to reach its maximum.  Dui is about
interrupt the opponent’s force before his force reaches that peak. When the opponent’s force is already released
but has not reach its maximum yet, use
dui in right time and right direction to stop and redirect the force back to
the opponent himself. For example, your opponent pushes you straight forward with both his hands:  to do
you should move your arms forward to make contact with his arms or hands. As soon as you touch him, relax and
drop your arms slightly and keep moving forward. So the touch points move in a small circle. Since his force has
not reached maximum yet, he will keep pushing. But the touch points - their angle, have changed. The path of his
force will lead back into himself, if he continues with his push.  This is an example of borrowing the opponent’s
force to beat him back.  If your sense of timing is good, then the less force you will need; and the harder and
quicker your opponent pushes you, the harder and quicker his fall.
Fig. Stage3_Dui:  (2) If his force continues
to release, the force will bounce his own
body back.
Fig. Stage3_Dui: (1) When the opponent makes an
elbow strike, use your left hand to welcome his elbow, and
the right hand to touch his chest. Shift your weight forward
in the opposite direction of his force to close in. At the
same time, drop your body slightly to change the angle of
the contact points.
Fig. Stage4_Tun: When the force of
the opponent’s elbow strike is about
to reach its maximum, use your left
hand to make contact with his elbow,
follow it, and relax your body and
hollow your chest slightly. At the same
time, use your right hand to push his
chest to the left in an arc. Imagine this
push as a big circle that surrounds his
body. This way you are not resisting
against his strike directly, but rather
going around it, as if to swallow it.
Thus the problem is solved.
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Fig. Time and force: In this diagram,
the X axis represent the timeline for the
release of opponent’s force. The Y axis
represent the quantity that force.  At the
starting point, both time and amount is
zero.  The force increases with time
until it reaches the T4 point, where it
reaches its peak.  The force then
drops off sharply toward zero. This is
the natural pattern for release of force.  
P1, P2, P3, and P4 represent the four
stages where we can use the four qi
skills to deal with the opponent’s
Fig. Stage1_Fu: When the opponent
wants to make an elbow strike, his
powerful force will start from his rear
foot to the tip of his right elbow
directly. To push your right hand to the
left and down a little bit at this time to
make his power routine from the foot
to the elbow slightly deviate. It will
cause his strike uncomfortable so that
cannot continually do well.
Fig. Stage2_Gai: The opponent
starts an elbow strike.  You push the
right hand toward the left, forward
and slightly downward; at the same
time, push the left hand in the same
direction as the right hand. So your
left hand is blocking his elbow strike
while the right hand is controlling his
force, making it uncomfortable and
difficult for him to continue increasing
his force.
The fourth stage is tun. When the opponent’s force reaches or almost reaches its maximum, you cannot use your
force to go against it directly. Otherwise you are not doing real Taiji Quan skill, because then whichever force is
stronger will automatically win.  
Tun deals with the opponent’s force when it has been released completely.  Here,
do not resist directly by force.  Instead, let his force come in and then dissolve it so it can have no effect on your
body.  The key point to understand and practice these skills is that you should know what your opponent is doing
from sensitivity. For example, if the opponent pushes forward to your chest with his hands, and his force almost
reaches its maximum, and it is about to reach you:  at this time, keep your body relaxed and let it be moved back
by his hands but maintain contact, at the same time imagine you want to make a big circle with your hands to touch
his arms.  It looks like your force is going around his force, swallowing it. Because your body is relaxed and
following, his force cannot have effect on it. Then you can use small force to push the opponent from his side,
where you can unbalance him very easy.  Here the most important skill is that you can follow his force well on the
touching points.
These concepts are about how to use qi in Taiji Quan. They are not so much specific techniques, but general
abilities. They can be combined with different skill movements in many different ways.