Yang Family 8 Words

Oral Transmission

8 Word Formula


zhong zheng an shu
qing ling yuan huo

Centered and Balanced, Peaceful and Comfortable,
Light and Agile, Rounded and Lively.

Character by Character

中 (zhong): Centered

As a noun, zhong means center or middle. As a verb, it means to hit or strike exactly, as in hit the target. The name of Professor Cheng’s school 时中 (shizhong or shrjung) can be translated as “centered in time” or “hitting the right moment”. The meaning of zhong has been described as embedded in the character: 中 resembles a flag or sail attached to a central pole. The sail can change its position and orientation to accommodate the wind without perturbing the central pole.

正 (zheng): Balanced

zheng means upright, balance, correct, or proper. It’s used in compounds meaning just right, just in time, correctly situated, proper, and appropriate. Here, it conveys ideas of being symmetrical, vertically aligned, and correct in position, timing, and shape. Zhong zheng provides a guideline for checking your own shapes and postures.

安(an): Peaceful

an means peaceful, tranquil, calm, unperturbed. It’s used in examples meaning sleep peacefully, be at ease, be content, walking without any hurry.

舒 (shu): Comfortable

shu means to be comfortable or leisurely, to stretch out, to unfold and smooth.  It’s used in phrases meaning refreshed, taking a breather, shaking off cares, being comfortable and cozy. An shu describes how you should feel in relation to another or to the world around you, not being perturbed, at ease, having the leisure to respond appropriately. In push hands, you should strive for comfort, remaining comfortable regardless of the situation and the other person's state.  If you find yourself becoming uncomfortable, address that immediately before the other person gains advantage.

轻 (qing): Light

qing means light (as in weight), easy, gentle, soft, without stresses. It’s used in phrases meaning light weight, portable, travel lightly with little luggage, move gracefully. Qing specifically applies to the body and indicates that we should not get heavy and immoveable.

灵 (ling): Agile

ling means quick, alert, spirit, agile, clever, sharp. The old character shows sorcerers praying for rain. It’s used in phrases meaning nimble, effective, inspired (e.g. to create art or music), flexible, mobile, sensitive, and ingenious. Ling refers to the mind and awareness, instructing us to remain alert, changeable, and responsive. Together qing ling tells us to keep our body and mind light and nimble.

圆(yuan): Rounded

yuan means round, circular, spherical. It’s used in mathematics to indicate a circle or sphere and in phrases meaning mediate, effect a compromise, thorough, and comprehensive. Here, it basically means just the same as “rounded”.

活 (huo): Lively

huo means lively, alive, living, vivacious.  Together, yuan huo describes qualities our movement should have: always being lively and rounded, circular and full of vitality.


Translation Copyright (c) 2013 by Lee Fife
Creative Commons License
Zheng-zi 13 Chapters, Translation by Lee Fife is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://rockymountaintaichi.com/.