Monday, April 20, 2009

The Spearhand Offense

Written by Wu Guo Zheng 吴国正
Translated by Warren Fox 孔太龙

Original Chinese Document:

Lets talk about the spearhand in terms of attacking. In all of the 25 different footwork movements whether its approaching, dodging, coiling, stepping or hand movements, at the end of every technique is a spearhand to launch the attack. As for practicing with the deer antlers, the most important function is the "spear" technique. Just as the first hand blocks, the second hand "spears" or we can also say pierces through. Of course there are many other changing hand movements and attacks but the one with the most energy is the spearhand. I must say that most martial arts practitioners today are nothing like our predecessors. Before they would practice martial arts as a means of life or death. Now the times have changed and martial arts has also changed. Everyone has put down the weapon practice and mostly focuses on empty handed techniques. But to practice Bagua effectively you have to use the deer antlers. Incorporate the deer antlers in your foot work movements, in your Pre heaven movements and also in your post heaven movements. Because all of the movements in Gao Bagua (Soft body repeating hands Bagua) were originally designed for holding the deer antlers. If you practice with the deer antlers it will help you develop your piercing power for Bagua. I hope everyone has a chance to pick up a pair of deer antlers and see for yourself.

When it comes to using the spear hand the main point is speed. Also the spear hand is a lethal attack. Most times when using the spear hand attack the eyes, nose or the throat. Also in if you extend your spearhand and your opponent catches it you can step forward with a "dropping elbow" to the chest cavity or heart. At this time it will be too difficult to block because his hand will already be trapped and his other hand to far away to save him. This is called "distant water cannot extinguish close fire." (In english also known as trapping) So the advantage of the spearhand is that it is two attacks in one. In the "Outline of Power or Bada Gang" there is a technique that really emphasizes the spearhand: the three piercing palms. There is a saying that goes, "The bravest man fears three spears." This phrase describes the three piercing palms offensive power. The three piercing palms is like firing three arrows in a row fast and with penetrating force. So even if a person with high level kung fu meets the three piercing palms it is better that he evade the attacks with skilled timing rather than block them. The combination of speed and structure can be quite difficult to parry. The other practice method of the three piercing palms is "intention." Focusing your intention on the palm that is extending and the one that is returning just as Yin and Yang. Practicing your intention is just the same as practicing Qi. That's right, the three piercing palms was established to practice opposing energy or Qi. So to practice this particular technique is to practice the main point of Bagua. When your intention moves, your qi moves, always balanced and relaxed. As soon as you move, you completely move.

So in the Post Heaven movements you have chopping palm, snatching palm, piercing palm, foot work entry, turning palm and the horizontal palm that all utilize the spearhand for attacking. But its worth mentioning that in the 25 footwork methods of entry, they all use the spearhand attack. Just as mentioned earlier, aside from the mechanics of the footwork the hand motions we must first swipe away the attack with one hand and follow through with a piercing spearhand. Which brings us to our next point on how to deliver a standard structured spearhand technique.

(Side note: My master has written about nine articles on just the spearhand alone. I decided that I was only going to put up the articles on offensive and defensive spearhand tactics. Unless I get request from people who want more info on this, Im going to stop here.)


josh said...

excellent post Warren. My sifu uses Yin Style bagua zhang which uses the spear (we call it the piercing) hand a lot, so this makes a lot of sense.

Keep 'em coming brotha!

Justin said...

Thanks for the information. I have been told that spear hand was one of the main things emphasized in Bagua when taught by Dong Haichuan. You are a great asset to your art and any information is appreciated.