Latent movements

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Latent movements

There are lots of potential applications in every movement you make.
It is essential that you capitalise upon this.
Wasted movements represent a redundancy in your practice. These make you inefficient and sloppy.
Make sure that every latent movement is utilised.

13 postures

Review the form, looking for 13 postures. Some are obvious, some are hidden. Look in silk arms and san sau too:

  1. Wardoff
    - every movement has a wardoff component

  2. Rollback
    - large rollback is obvious, but small rollback is not
    - many withdraw movements involve rollback
    - look for the downward component

  3. Push
    - push is almost as common as wardoff
    - look for 4 directions of press

  4. Squeeze
    - not every squeeze has both hands touching

  5. Pluck
    - pluck tends to be found in short movements
    - look for 4 directions of pluck

  6. Split
    - virtually every movement entails some form of split

  7. Elbow
    - elbow is very common in the form
    - seeing is not enough, consider what powers it
    - when can you fold into an elbow?

  8. Bump/shoulder
    - many weight shift movements offer bump
    - remember that it is not simply a shoulder

  9. Advance
    - travelling is an option whenever a forward step occurs

  10. Withdraw
    - travelling is an option whenever a backward step occurs

  11. See the right
    - consider holes, options and opportunities

  12. See the left
    - look for gaps & deficiencies

  13. Central equilibrium
    - when can you disrupt the opponent’s centre?
    - empty stances?
    - unite upper & lower options?
    - knees & kicks?


Natural flow

Form stores & releases power with each turn. Feel how each movement offers the potential of the next.

Cut the circle

Break down each movement to see smaller options.

In-built follow-ups

Form movements were designed to flow together. Consider how the applications continue, flowing from one to the next.
See new options beyond individual movements.
Do not change the movement.


Perform an application using form.
Consider follow-ups that do not involve the next form movement.


Your partner attacks freeform, you counter.
Use as many yielding/chin na skills as required.
See which strikes are possible. Do not omit kicks and knees. Use stickiness to maintain contact.

Every punch can fold

Counter the attacker. Fold and unfold every strike. Deliberately maintain advantage by folding.

Every kick can fold

Counter attacker. Fold and unfold every kick. Deliberately maintain advantage by folding.

Every turn is another strike

Counter attack. Make sure that no turn is wasted. See opportunities for 13 postures.

In silk arms, the fist moves very fast, covering both sides of the opponents body from top to bottom, fluidly changing from straight hits, to sideways cuts to hooks, like the tip of a piece of silk blown in a high wind.

As this occurs, the arms and elbows appear to be boneless as they seamlessly bend and fold like undulating cloth.

(Bruce Frantzis)

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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 21 January 2020