Liu He Ba Fa (Six Harmonies and Eight Methods) is a special
internal martial art systempassed down by Master Wu Yi-Hui.
Master Wu Yi-Hui is a very important figure in Chinese
modern martial art history. He had superb skills, taught many students, and dedicated his life to Chinese
martial arts education.Thousands of students learned directly from him. Many of his top students such as Zhao
Dao-Xin, Zhang Chang-Xin, Han Jiao, Zhang Wen-Guang, He
Fu-Sheng, and Jiang Hao-Quan later became famous martial
artists in China and in the rest of the world.
the head of the Chinese Central Martial Arts Institute,
Mr. Zhang Zhi-Jiang, invited Master Wu to become the Dean
of Studies in the Chinese Central Martial Arts Institute.
In 1948, Mr. Zhang Zhi-Jiang again invited Mr. Wu
to be an associate professor and the head of the Martial
Arts Department at the Chinese Physical Education Teacher's
Institute. These invitations were extended because
of Master Wu's deep understanding and mastery of the Chinese
name of Liu He Ba Fa is Xin Yi Liu He Ba Fa San Pan Shi
Er Shi, that is, Mind Intention Six Harmonies Eight Methods
Three Stances Twelve Postures. The most important aspect of this system
is one's mind and intention.
In other words, one's intention should be sharply
focused on each movement, and the movements are led by one's
mind and intention. Intention, rather than physical force,
is used. As
a result, at the connecting points of different postures,
although physical strength appears to be momentarily disconnected,
one's intention connects the postures and make them a seamless
include harmonizing the body and heart/mind, heart/mind
and intent, intent and Qi/energy, Qi/energy and spirit,
spirit and movement, and movement and emptiness.
Here, emptiness means wu-ji, that is, void state.
It is a quiet, motionless state achieved when one's
movement follows the body's automatic reaction to a specific
refer to (1) Qi (energy), circulating
Qi to concentrate Shen (spirit); (2) Gu (bones),
collecting energy inside the bones; (3) Xing (form), incorporating animal
forms from nature; (4) Sui (to follow), circular and smooth
motion responding to the situation; (5) Ti (lifting), lifting
from the crown of one's head to have a floating feeling;
(6) Huan (returning), coming and going in a cycle; (7) Le
(suspending), being motionless and calm while waiting; and
(8) Fu (concealing), looking for an opening while concealing
Harmonies relate to the unification of the body, and the
Eight Methods relate to practical applications.
The ancient Taoist Li Dong-Feng said that “a good
method should be adaptable according to different circumstances
and a superb technique will allow one to stand above the
crowds. The movements of Liu He Ba Fa should be circular
and flowing, and fast changing in response to circumstances.
The crown of the head should be lifted as if suspended
from the ceiling by a rope, and the tail bone is pointed
downward in a central position. One moves in many directions, sometimes
in high positions and sometimes in low positions, while
smoothly connecting different movements.
It is difficult for an opponent to predict ones next
movement and change of direction.
One should be calm when facing an opponent, looking
for appropriate openings and changing strategies according
to different circumstances.
The energy should alternately open and close, rise
and sink, and spirally move forward and backward, following
one’s intention rather than being forced by one’s physical
energy movement is like the silk reeling movement of a spring
silkworm, continuing with no breaking point. It is also like water of a river, flowing forward on and on
We are not referring simply to the external movements. The important aspect is one's intention. Even though one is physically moving,
he is calm internally.
refer to stances of different heights when one is practicing. The classics have the following sayings: at the high stance,
one can walk so fast as if he is
chasing the wind; at the middle stance, one is moving
like a swimming dragon; and at the low stance, one is very
strong and demonstrates one’s real internal strength.
Postures refer to the single posture practice method, and
are named after twelve different animals.
Since each type of animal has its own characteristics
and special techniques for fighting for survival, martial
artists have borrowed these techniques from various animals. The twelve postures show up in various
parts of the Liu He Ba Fa system.
movement of Liu He Ba Fa is very complex, and we can only
briefly discuss it here. The important aspect of Liu He Ba Fa is
to focus on intention rather than on physical strength. One's mind, intention, spirit and qi should
coordinate with the external body movement. When one part of the body moves, the whole body is set into
one part of the body is still, the whole body is still.
The movement should be the movement of the mind,
intention, spirit and qi.
In other words, one should have the "Six Harmonies."
The energies expressed include hard energy, soft
energy, spinning energy, rotating energy, whipping energy,
pinning energy, hooking energy, sinking energy, shaking
energy, and springing energy.
The change of energy includes both blocking and attacking,
storing and discharging, slowing down and speeding up, and
emptying out and filling in.
It circles around, extends out and withdraws, and
opens and closes unpredictably. Sometimes the movement is relaxed and other times it is tight.
should first try to have the correct external postures.
They then slowly learn the internal energy movement so that
they gradually master the Six Harmonies and Eight Methods.
of Liu He Ba Fa is quite deep.
It has certain internal aspects of Xin Yi Fist, the
empty and full change of Ba Gua stepping method, and the
soft and hard energy of Tai Chi. Thus, it includes the Yin Yang exchange of all three internal
martial art systems.
At one time, Liu He Ba Fa was listed as one of the
standard courses at the Chinese Central Martial Arts Institute
and was highly regarded by many famous martial artists.
Zhi-Jiang, the head of the Chinese Central Martial Arts
Institute, wrote a poem for Master Wu Yi-Hui:
to lead the body with the mind and intention, one
should start from the Eight Methods; hard and soft energies
should be both employed so that Yin and Yang can be harmonized;
when the body movements and the applications are understood
and coordinated, the whole body is full of springing energy;
one should be circular, extended, relaxed, harmonized and
calm to cultivate the qi; to move like a swimming dragon
externally and to store the precious qi internally; it is
Master Wu that we depend on to spread and develop the great
Liu He Ba Fa art.
the students of Master Wu from the earlier years went abroad
and brought the Liu He Ba Fa system with them.
As a result, Liu He Ba Fa has been taught in places
such as Singapore, southeast Asia, Brazil, England and the
I was very
fortunate to be able to study with Master Li Dao-Li and
Master Liang Qi-Zhong, two of Master Wu's disciples. Because of limited space and time, I can only briefly discuss Liu He Ba
Fa here. I
hope to receive feedback and comments from my colleagues
in the martial arts community so that we can all contribute
what we can for the development of the great Liu He Ba Fa