What are the four directions and four corners? They are the eight doors. It is also the theory of Eight Trigrams in Tàijíquán 太極拳. What are the four directions? They arePéng 掤 (i.e., Wardoff),Lǚ (i.e., Rollback), Jǐ 擠 (i.e., Squeeze or Press), and Àn 按 (i.e., Push or Press Down). What are the four corners? They are Cǎi 採 (i.e., Pluck), Liè (i.e., Split), Zhǒu 肘 (i.e., Elbow), and Kào 靠 (i.e., Bump). The four directions are the four main supporting posts (in a building), the major generals (in a battle), and are the major Jìng 勁 patterns of Tàijíquán. The four corners are the four assistant posts and are the four assistant Jìng patterns in Tàijíquán and are the deputy generals.
Péng , Lǚ, Jǐ, and Àn are the four major Jìng patterns that have become the four major crucial foundations of the Tàijíquán art. Cǎi, Liè, Zhǒu, and Kào are the four assistant Jìng patterns that make the art more complete. With the five strategic steppings, the art of Tàijíquán becomes a complete fighting art.
Péng is constructed from the two arms shaped as two crescent moons and is called "drawing in the chest and arcing the back" which can be used as yielding to neutralize incoming Jìng. Arcing stores the Jìng in the body's two bows. These two bows are the chest bow and the spine bow. These two places are the most important places to store Jìng in the body. If you know Péng, then you will better know how to store Jìng. If you know how to store, then you will know how to emit. Péng Jìng exists everywhere in Tàijíquán. Not only Lǚ, Jǐ, and Àn have Péng included within them, but it is also included in Cǎi, Liè, Zhǒu, and Kào.
Péng Jìng is the Essence of Tàijíquán
To train Péng Jìng, you allow your training partner to control your elbows and use any possible technique to push you. His intention is to destroy your central equilibrium. You use Péng Jìng, which is initiated from your legs and controlled by your waist. Then you draw in the chest and arc your back to manifest it in your arms. Turn your waist to neutralize, to arc outward, and to yield. Repeat the practice until the action has become natural. After you have practiced for a long time, you will be able to use Péng Jìng everywhere.
Lǚ involves using the hands to rollback and neutralize (the coming force). That means using Péng Jìng as the major Jìng to yield, lead, and neutralize the coming force to the left or to the right. Lǚ Jìng can be classified as Small Rollback (Xiǎo Lǚ, 小) and Large Rollback (Dà Lǚ, 大). In small rollback, the circle of coiling and neutralizing Jìng is smaller. In large rollback, the action is larger, the stepping is bigger, and the circle of coiling and neutralizing is also on a larger scale. When practicing, Lǚ Jìng is used together with Jǐ Jìng (i.e., Press or Squeeze Jìng) and Kào Jìng (i.e., Bump Jìng). After Lǚ, immediately follow with Jǐ or Kào. After Jǐ or Kào, immediately Lǚ. Repeat as such.
Jǐ (Press) is used for small range offense and defense. It can be done by overlapping both hands and then pressing forward. It can be done by using one hand to press the other hand's wrist and then press forward. It can also be done by using one hand to press the other forearm and then press forward. All the above Jǐs are used for offense and are used to press the opponent's upper body to destroy his central equilibrium. In addition, Jǐ can also be done by squeezing two hands or two arms toward each other. This kind of Jǐ is mostly used to squeeze the opponent's elbows to close off and hinder his Jǐ Jìng (Press Jìng), Àn Jìng (Push Jìng), or to seal off his arms' function. Squeezing can also be used to press the opponent's chest (i.e. solar plexus) to make the opponent's Qì float.
Jǐ can also be done by squeezing both hands or arms toward each other. This Jǐ can effectively be used for defense and against an opponent's Jǐ or Àn. The hands are used to squeeze the opponent's elbows to hinder his intention. Occasionally, this kind of Jǐ can be used to upset the solar plexus area as well.