Tanglang Quan's 12-Character-Formula

“lai”

Chin.: “to come, to arrive, to bring, to do” 

This character stands for preparation: Seeing how the opponent is going to attack (“come”). By observing the three telegraphic points of the opponent’s body one finds out how the opponent is going to attack. Once enabled to see what the opponent is going to do, one can solve the problem of the incoming attack, before it takes place. Therefore one can prepare and plan a suitable reaction.  “lai” is the most important of the 12 characters. It means to predict the opponent’s actions.

“jiao”

Chin.: “to shout, to call, to name, to order, to cause” Means, that sometimes one will have to execute a ”fake” attack (a.k.a. “a feint”) in order to bait opponents, who have a strong defense. The feint can make them lose their save position and open up weak points in their defense, which we can use to our advantage. It is very typical for Taiji Meihua Tang Lang Quan to confuse opponents with many of these feints and thus prepare a final blow. On the other hand one has to stay flexible, so that a ”fake” attack can suddenly change into a ”real” attack as soon as it is not properly defended. One should always switch between ”real” and ”fake” attacks to make it impossible for the opponent to distinguish ”real” from ”fake”. That is one of the things that make Tang Lang Quan so difficult, however it is also one of the reasons why it is so effective.

“shun”

Chin.: “along, in the same direction as; to obey; suitable” 

There is no hard against hard in Taiji Meihua Tang Lang Quan. It is very important to go along with the power of an opponent”s attack. That way the power of an opponent”s attack can add up to one”s own attack.One never fights against the opponent”s power directly. Taking advantage of the direction of the power of the opponent”s attack and using it for one”s own attack is the meaning of “shun”.

”song”

Chin.: “to see somebody off; to deliver; to give, to give as a present” Means to work with the balance of one’s opponents (or better: with their imbalance). Taiji Meihua Tang Lang Quan contains many techniques that were specially developed to unbalance the opponent (hidden-foot-sweeps, hidden-foot-catches, grab- and pull-techniques,  powerful strikes and blows, etc.). By the means of these techniques one forces one’s opponents out of balance in order to take advantage of their vulnerability.  i.e.: While an opponent is struggling to regain balance one puts more pressure on him and presents him with a blow in the right direction. The purpose of this attack is to either throw the opponent to the floor or strike the opponent while he is not able to defend himself properly. This presenting opponents with a blow in the direction of their imbalance is the meaning of “song”.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“ti”

Chin: “raise, lift” 

Means to apply force from the bottom up in a raising motion. Usually used to deflect straight forward attacks and produce openings in the opponent’s guard. Attacks of great power can easily be deflected in this manner. “Ti” can be executed by using either long or short forces. The counter attack towards the resulting openings follows with high speed, thus eliminating the opponent’s attack force completely.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“na”

Chin.: “hold, take, seize” Is one of the specialties of Tang Lang Quan: By applying certain techniques of Tang Lang Quan one controls the opponent with grab or catch techniques, like a mantis uses its hooks to immobilize its adversary.  擒拿(“Qin Na”), the art of joint locks and leverage, is also part of 拿 (“na”). Therefore 拿 (“na”) can be used as defense, as part of an attack and as an attack itself. Furthermore 拿 (“na”) is divided into two different kinds: The first one is “活拿”(“Huo Na”, “Huo” 活: movable, lively, vivid). It describes a smooth kind of grab or catch technique that is usually applied on fast incoming attacks. It is either used to deflect and absorb the attack or to catch an incoming attack with a quickly executed technique. Both applications are meant to bring oneself into an advantageous position, where either the opponent can’t strike or one is in a better position to control or strike the opponent.\r\nThe second is 死拿 (“si na”, “si”: Chin.: dead). It is used to gain control over an exhausted and powerless opponent by applying holding or locking techniques. By applying these techniques one achieves that the opponent is completely immobilized. It is used to transport opponents to another location, to neutralize them, or to prevent them from escaping.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“feng”

Chin.: to seal Means by applying special techniques of Tang Lang Quan one achieves that it is impossible for the opponent to strike or to have the space to develop momentum for a hard attack. Every attack can be sealed from every position by applying certain techniques. The opponent therefore never has an opportunity to strike hard. The opponent is “sealed off”. A good example is the typical Tang Lang attack technique, “zuo feng, you beng” (-left seals, right snaps a back fist-). One of the opponent’s arms is sealed by ones left hand grab technique while the other arm has to block the snapping back fist coming from our right hand, thus the opponent is sealed off completely: There is no opportunity for the opponent to strike.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“bi”

Chin.: force, compel, close in on Is a certain method of attack with special techniques following each other rapidly, thus leaving the opponent no opportunity to attack with neither hand nor foot techniques.

封(“feng”) and 逼(“bi) stand for two opposite ways to achieve the same goal: While 封(“feng”) means to rather employ defensive techniques to “seal off” the opponent, 逼(“bi) means to “close in” on the opponent with rapid attacks from all directions. Hence both characters stand for ways to disable the opponent from attacking or escaping.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“zhan”

Chin.: sticky, glutinous  Means, that one purposely creates contact between oneself and the opponent. While staying in contact to the opponents’ limbs one can prevent them from leaving the attack range and can control their movements. One sticks to the opponents closely and never lets them back out of range. Staying in contact one is enabled to feel in which direction the opponent’s power is applied, and it can be foreseen where and how the opponent is going to attack or defend. One can as well feel the amount of power in an opponent’s movements. According to these indications one plans the defensive or offensive strategy most effectively.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“nian”

Chin.: glue to, to paste… Means, that one uses special techniques of Tang Lang Quan to prevent the opponent from moving or attacking. With certain defensive techniques one “glues” oneself to the opponent’s attack, thus absorbing and deflecting its force. That way one achieves that the opponent is caught like an insect struggling in a spider web. Opponents are unable to use their force and one takes all the danger and effectiveness from their attacks.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“tie”

Chin.: glue, stick, stay close to It describes methods of close contact fighting. Certain techniques of Tang Lang Quan require close contact with the opponent’s body. So called long and short forces can both be involved when one uses 贴 (“tie”). It is extremely useful against opponents with a good straight punch and strong kicks, fighters who are good from a distance. One uses this method in order to turn opponents’ strong points against themselves. Sticking to the opponent’s body uses special close contact techniques. These techniques are highly effective even against bigger and stronger opponents.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix

“bang”

Chin.: help, assist… Using special stepping techniques and right and left hand combination power techniques of Tang Lang Quan one surprises the opponent with powerful attacks. Ones certain footwork, and right and left hand forces combined when attacking the opponent. The impacts of the forces follow short after each other thus taking the opponent aback. Furthermore the forces add up to each other what makes the blow even more fatal.

Master Yu Bin – translation by Felix