White Crane Element Hands


Orange Belt
Mar 3, 2006
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[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica] [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica] The Element Hands of White Crane, as taken from the "WCRI White Crane Gate Research Guide"

Within White Crane, the theories of Yin Yang and the Five Elements (Wu Hsing/ Wu Xing) figure prominently. The Wu Hising/Wu-Xing basically is a theoretical building block upon which rests a number of White Crane responses. It states that the universe is based upon five elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. Each of these elements are related to each other. In theory, each element generates the next one. For example Water generates Wood, for without wood there cannot be growth. Wood is the fuel to create Fire, and it is the action of Fire on organic matter that produces Earth. Metal is generated from the earth and these purify Water and this returns to feed the trees and so the cycle continues. There is also a cycle of destruction used in Dim Mak.

In the White Crane system, the five element theory can be applied to the arms in terms of power generation. Specific areas of the arm are identified with particular elements. The tip of the fingers (used to strike) is Gold or Metal (Jing). The wrist is associated with Wood (Mu), the forearm is Water (Shui). The elbow with fire (Huo) and the shoulder with Earth (Tu/Too).

The theory is applied to each part of the arm that comes into play in life-protection and the application of White Crane. For example, contact upon the forearm (Water) implies that I can counter strike with the fingers (Metal). If my strike is blocked, I rotate my wrist (Wood) and continue my counterattack. If contact comes closer to the elbow then the Fire element comes into play. If my opponent block my elbow then I bring the Earth element (my shoulder) into play.

In Baihequan/Miquan (SecretFist), the element theory of Metal (Jinshou), Wood (Mu), Water (Shuei), Fire (Huo), Earth (Tu) and Gold (Huangjin) are of paramount importance as these form the basic essence of the art. There are 5 major techniques embodying the essence of Baihequan. Each is named after the elements of traditional Chinese philosophy.

From here, all other methods and variations are developed and the encouragement of refinement (Li-Jing) is then pursued. The aim being to seek knowledge (Qi-Zhi).

The Element Hands are also known as the Loosening Exercises within the Huang Shen Shyan lineage of White Crane Fist and are supported by long experience.

The Element hands use a wave of expansion from ground - shooting arrow and emphasises wave of stretching and compression that precedes wave of expansion - drawing the bow

Wood-Hand: the characteristic of Wood is "straight," so Wood-Hand trusts straight through fingers.

Fire-Hand: the characteristic of Fire is "expanding upward," so Fire-Hand points fingers upward, and Qi goes out at the heel of the palm.


[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Ron Goninan demonstrating the Lian huang chuang xing zhang (Interlink Penetrate-Heart Palms - Fire Hands) from the HuaBaBu form. This technique uses pulse energy or Jing to attack the heart with devestating effect. The HuaBaBu form teaches the use of "Sanzhan" (Three Wars or Combats) to "Simen" (Four Doors). It teaches one how to inhale and bring in fresh Qi, link together Qi and store energy, make pulse concessions, conserve oxygen, exhale Qi, sway Qi and stimulte the circulation of blood and shake Qi and produce energy expression.

Earth-Hand: the characteristic of Earth is "receiving," so the fist-like Earth-Hand can take punishment and deliver power to strike the opponent's body.

Metal-Hand: the characteristic of Metal is "changing," So metal-Hand changes in form, can be used to block or counter-attack.


[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Front view of the Shiho Tien Sh-It (Feeding Crane Open's it's Wings). The body position (Tiwei) is held supple and relaxed and is likened to a bow with the limbs being the arrows (Zhang). The energy is lead by the mind through what is known as Xinyi (Intention) and delivered via Zhiqiao (Limb Skill). White Crane Kung Fu is a soft style which focuses on short ranged hand techniques, with a strong emphasis on applying Dan Dou Qin (Chi tremor).

Water-Hand: the characteristic of Water is "flow downward," so Water-Hand flows or flushes downward.

Tuxinshou - Tushou / Earth Hands - Fists Strike.
This is a basic way in which to develop Yin & Yang in all fist Punching and Striking techniques.

Practising even the most basic method develops speed and relaxation in punching.

This type of punching is fast, relaxed and natural and originates from the centre of the practitioners body.

In addition, this basic method of punching can be used to protect the centreline of the body whilst engaging in a counter-offensive move.
Earth techniques are those which ground or connect the bodys energy with the mother earth element as shown above. The Earth Element techniques are like a bullet.

Sueixinshou - Shueishou / Water Hands
This uses the outer and forward movement of inner parts of forearms and hands in both defence and offence. When used as a receiving technique, the relaxed yet powerful motions of the arms result in a deep penetration of the opponents attack. The motion of the arms results in protection of one; s own centreline. It is also effective as a striking method using the fingers and back of the hands. Water Element techniques are like Wave.

Muxinshou - Mushou / Wood Hands
This basically involves striking with the fingertips, the palms (as in slapping) and the back of the hand and forearm. It is especially useful in attacking the pressure points of the body. The thumbs can also be bought into play as a striking tool. Its use is likened to the Crane striking with its beak and head. As with the other Element Hands, relaxation and natural movement are the keys here. Wood Techniques are those that Thrust outward from the body like a sharp spear.

Huoxinshou - Huoshou / Fire-Hands
These include devastating Palm strikes and is also known as Double Dragons Swim out to Sea. The Fire Hand's application has both palms striking forward. The hands are held flat and one should pay particular attention to the index and pinky fingers. They are in a pulled back mode, indicating an issuing of energy as opposed to storing energy. Also the thumb of the hands supports the other two fingers in a energetic issuing principle. The stance is the San Jiao Ma or Tri-Angle Battle Stance, the feet (in regards to the turning of the toes) are again not in a fully "open" or "closed" position. This causes the activation of K-1 on the bottom of the foot.

It is usually taught by most as a "push" similar to that seen in Taiji. However it can also be a strike to the Liver 13 (Zhangmen - System's Door) points by varying the height and timing of the strike. The direction of such a strike would be straight inwards with the left Liver 13 point struck then the right Liver 13 point. The Liver 14 (Qimen - Expectations Door) can also be struck in a slightly inwards manner (laterally across the body).

Stomach 15 (Wuyi - Room Screen) and or Stomach 16 (Yingghuan - Breast's Window) can also be targeted to great effect (Stopping the heart!) This use a type of "squeeze" action of the elbows causing the hands to strike in a counter clockwise and clockwise fashion.
The eyes as are also viable targets for such a technique.

Jinxinshou - Jinshou / Metal Hands
This is one of the Element Hands as seen within the Shihequan (Feeding Crane) style and is known as "Jinshou" or Metal Hands.

It is a strong attacking technique which utilises the Crane's Head and Crane's Beak as the primary hand forms. It embodies the quiet yet deadly intention of the Paihepai (Crane-Fist Style) known as Yitu - Chinese "To Kill". Metal Element techniques are round and cutting.

The Five Element Hands of Baihequan:
The hand method of Baihequan are famous for the 5 Elements, called 5 Elements Hands (or 5 Forms Hand) Wu Xin Shou, including Metal Element Hands (Jinxinshou), Wood Element Hands (Muxinshou), Water Element Hands (Sueixinshou), Fire Element Hands (Huoxinshou) and Earth Element Hands (Tuxinshou), - 5 types in total. These 5 Elements Hands are the basics of Baihequan.

If humans have nothing, but water and fire, he will struggle to stay alive, but he will survive. In martial arts is the same, The Fist Scripture says:
Kung Fu cannot exist without water and fire.

Therefore in Baihequans 5 Elements Hands the basics of all techniques are the Water Element Hand and the Fire Element Hand. Through these two one will also be able to reach the peak of this martial art. There are many ways to use these two basics. They work together with Metal Element Hands, Wood Element Hands, and Earth Element Hands, and if used as a complete system, will protect ones body from top, middle, bottom, left and right, as well as one will be able to use them in attacking the enemy from top to bottom, and from both sides.

The explanation of 5 Elements Hands Practice:
We shall begin from Water Form Hands, and follow with the Fire Form Hands, Metal Form Hands, Wood Forms Hands, and Earth Form Hands in that sequence. Please, practice them realistically.

1. Breathing
While practicing keep breathing naturally. When you pull your hands to your torso inhale, and when you extend your hands out, exhale.

2. The method of using the strength
When you start practicing, dont use any strength. You will add the strength later on, while you progress. Otherwise it will be impossible to improve.

An idiom says: to teach how to make a fist is easy, but to correct already formed fist is difficult. If you learn with mistake at early stage, it will be much more difficult to be corrected. Therefore dont rush when you start. The most important thing is to practice slowly.

The Fist Scripture says:
Practice 3 times more in one day, practice 9 times more in 3 days, then the long term result will be harder than metal.

The key point in learning the Fist is:
Practice whenever you have time, and if you continue in this manner the improvement will come without fail. Otherwise, if there is no improvement for some time, then it means that you have practiced not enough.

The Fist Scripture says:
The hand and a willow, the fist like a bullet, metal turns round, wood must be sharp, water must create waves, fire will bring wind, earth will trail death.

Chas Fisher

White Belt
Jul 28, 2006
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Mr. Goninan:

Your post displays a comprehensive collection of knowledge - my i ask what is your White Crane lineage?

Chas Fisher