This post is about the 6 Harmonies (六和). A Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA) concept of how to unify your body. Harmony means “working together” to create something bigger than the individual parts. That is what this concept is all about。
In an earlier article, I discussed the Central Channel （中定）。 It is part of the “shoulder and hips” concept of the Six (6) Harmonies. For more about the Central Channel, click here.
The Six (6) Harmonies are:
- Internal (energetic): Qi （气） Yi （意) Shen （神）
- External (physical): hips and shoulder, elbow and knee, hands and feet.
Three (3) Internal Harmonies
Qi （气） is your energy center the result of your past actions and lifestyle that determines your level of Qi or life energy.
- Yi （意） is your (heart-mind) intention in your conscious brain. It controls and directs your thoughts and actions.
- Shen （神) is your (wisdom) spirit in your subconscious.
Internal Harmonies integration is at two (2) levels
- between the Qi, Yi, and Shen and
- between the energetic and physical bodies.
The Qi, YI and Shen are the command centers of all your actions and thoughts.
Your Qi (bodily energy) merges with the Yi, your heart-mind conscious decision-making center.
The Yi merges with the Shen, your wisdom mind in your subconscious.
When you harmonize your physical and energetic bodies, you have realized the fulfilment of all your talents and potential as a human being. It is a process and the result of years of training and meditation that, over time, has transformed your body and mind into a higher state of consciousness.
For more on this, I can recommend Dr John Fung’s latest book: “Yi” 意 How your mind can supercharge your training。
Three (3) External Harmonies。
“Shoulders and the kwa move together,
aligned in a straight line.”
Side to side turning is a common martial move. Turn from our Central Channel. Keep your hip and shoulders nest aligned to support your balance and ability to change.
It has numerous applications in the Wing Chun forms, Chinese boxing, and Chi Sao.
- Cham Kiu, Wing Chun 2nd form, Lan Sao, Bong Sao, are techniques where you project power from turning from your Central Channel.
- Chu Sau Lei Chinese boxing methods, don’t overturn when you execute a rear hand punch. Always keep your power base.
- In Chi Sao, we use Lan Sao or Bong Sao to project our center of mass “into” our opponent for pressure or to neutralize incoming pressure。
“Elbows and Knees move together”.
Elbows and knees have the same function. The inside elbow joint and the back of your knee both work like pumps and shock absorbers.
When you close both your elbows and knees, you create a spring coil in your entire body.
The sinking (load) and releasing (issue) of your joints create an elastic force.
Elastic force, spring power and action-reaction force are foundational power generation methods.
It applies to all aspects of your Wing Chun training.
“Hand and feet arrive together”.
In physics, the formula of power is “Velocity times Mass” Therefore, in long-range boxing, you must step and move your center of mass to generate power. As you step and punch, both hands and feet land together for maximum impact. This is full-body power. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts such as Xing Yi and Shaolin also apply it without stepping. For instance, execute a downward first or chop at the same stamp with the foot to drop the center of mass.
The external Harmonies cover key features of your Wing Chun training.
- The six (6) directional forces: left and right forwards (shoulder and hips), backwards, up, and down (elbows and knees)
- Proper alignment to keep balance and structure (shoulder and hips)
- Footwork and long-range full-body striking (hand and feet)
- Short fist, elastic force, and receiving-redirecting incoming force (elbows, knees)
This post is an introduction to the Six (6) Harmonies, a traditional training concept that teaches you how to unify your body and mind. This is not a theory but a practical concept that can improve your Wing Chun structure and power. Of course, you must train it and apply the concepts. Your training platform is the Wing Chun forms, punching methods, and Chi Sao.
When you practice, be aware and connect to your physical and energetic structure.
If it feels wrong。 It usually is! Train slowly, test and ask for feedback from your fellow students, seniors or Sifu.
Looking forward to your comments.
Head Coach Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun