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Welcome to the Eight Directions. As you may or may not know, the Eight Directions are in every style. Being a very important aspect of chinese culture it would be pretty amazeing if a style of Kung Fu didn't.This doesn't mean that you have to know what they are. Similar to Stance Work, you don't have to be able to name them to have used them. What this means is that, rather than adding new information to a style, the Eight Directions will increase your ability with what you already know.

Any way I will keep the discussion vague as I don't wish to mess up your training. The style you study may not have thought it was that important and you probably have enough stuff to work on. So here is a list of the Eight Directions.

Heaven :three strong, three yang, father.
Thunder : yang yin yin, empty bowl, first son.
Water : yin yang yin, middle full, middle son.
Mountain : yin yin yang, overturned bowl, youngest son.
Earth : three yin, three empty, mother.
Wind : yin yang yang, bottom broken, first daughter.
Fire : yang yin yang, middle broken, middle daughter.
Lake : yang yang yin, top broken, youngest daughter.

The Eight Directions are represented by the Eight Trigrams, which is handy for writing them down, and is the first step to the 64 hexagrams and Taoism. It is Taoism and the I ching that form the continuity among the arts. Before that level though, most styles differ in the "physical expression" of the Eight Directions. Some Styles use the physical directions, some have eight animals, some use the eight essences, and others use the trigrams to dictate the postures. For a truly complex example of this, get any book on Pa Kua which uses them all and eventually goes into the 64 hexagrams. This, of course, gives you 64 palms and 64 postures to do them in and 64 essences/jings/energies to use. This gives you at least 64x64x64 (262144) techniques. Now this does not include eight steps (2097152) or the eight stepping patterns (16777216) or the eight animals (134217728) the palm changes (x ?) or the fact that each person will express all of those combinations based on there own body and personality type (x population). And you thought your style was big. oops, I forgot the weapons and weapon variations AND the unique weapons that almost every style has developed.

Similiar to the five elements, once the Eight Directions are introduced things become very personal and unique. These concepts can be applied to every style. They don't make it a different style, they just change the expression of the style. Have fun. And Remember that you are slow, weak, and you don't train enough! haha

This page has been visited times. This page was last updated Wednesday, August 25, 1999