Hand Forms

The hand forms are normally learned in the order Square Form, Round Form, Mirror Form and Reverse Form.

Weapon Forms

Weapon forms are also learned and performed as Mirror Form.


San Sau self-defense applications are divided into the following subdivisions

  • Die Pu
    to make the opponent fall and then hit him (or hit him so that he falls)
  • Shuai Jiao
    grappling techniques including throwing, sweeping and tripping
  • Qin Na
    seizing and holding, including locking and grip strike techniques
  • Dim Mak (Dian Xue)
    attacking vital points with locks, strikes, etc.

48 San Sau Applications

  1. Seven stars style
  2. Grasping bird’s tail
  3. Single whip
  4. Flying oblique high and low
  5. Raise hands and step up
  6. White crane flaps its wings
  7. Brush knee twist step
  8. Stroke the lute
  9. Parry, deflect and punch
  10. As if shutting a door
  11. Embrace tiger, return to mountain
  12. Cross hands
  13. Fist under elbow
  14. Step back repulse monkey
  15. Needle at sea bottom
  16. Fan through the back
  17. Swing fist
  18. Cloud hands
  19. Pat the horse high
  20. Drape body to left and right
  21. Separate legs left and right
  22. Turn body and kick
  23. Step forward punch down
  24. Turn body and swing fist
  25. Step back seven stars
  26. To beat the tiger
  27. Twist the body and kick
  28. Box the ears
  29. Parting wild horse’s mane
  30. Fair lady works shuttle
  31. Snake creeps down (low style)
  32. Golden cockerel stands on 1 leg
  33. Slap the face
  34. Single hand sweep lotus leg
  35. Punch the groin
  36. Step back to ride the tiger
  37. Double hand sweep lotus leg
  38. Draw the bow to shoot the tiger
  39. Double seizing legs
  40. Break arm style
  41. Gyrating arms
  42. Tiger embraces head
  43. White snake spits out tongue
  44. Vanguard arms
  45. Flying flower palm
  46. 5 element arm
  47. Running thunder hand
  48. Single seizing leg

Note that techniques that the following pairs of techniques are very similar: 17 (swing fist) and 24 (turn body and swing fist), 1 (seven stars) and 25 (step back seven stars), 39 (double seizing legs) and 48 (single seizing leg).

However there are 5 distinct techniques in the form that are not named as applications in the above list, these are:

  • Beginning style
  • Completion style
  • Separate hands
  • Extend Hands
  • Step up seven stars

Weapon Applications

Applications are taught for each weapon, but do not form part of the core syllabus and are not listed here.

Nei Gong

Comprising 12 Yin and 12 Yang Exercises

Qi Gong

Immortal Family Eight Pieces of Brocade

Pushing Hands

Training in understanding jin – force. This includes 13 tactics which comprises the 8 forces and 5 steps, ting jin – listening for jin, hua jin – using jin to redirect the opponents jin and fa jin – discharging jin.

Fixed Step Pushing Hands

  • 4Directions – Peng,Lu,Ji,An
  • Zhou Lu
  • Fu Yang
  • Reeling Silk

Moving Step Pushing Hands

  • DaLu – big diversion – Cai, Lie, Zhou, Kao
    also called as 4 corners pushing hands
    also called 8 gates, 5 steps
  • 9 Palace Step
  • 7 Stars Step
  • Gather the Wave

Auxillary Exercises

  • single hand pushing hands
  • push absorption training
  • fixed step pushing hands
  • restricted step pushing hands
  • moving step pushing hands

Six Secret Words
These words represent practical fighting concepts.


Items marked ∗ are taught, but do not form part of the core syllabus

Version 1.1: note this version contains minor corrections over the previous version Prepared for the Practical Tai Chi Chuan website
by Kie Brooks Practical Tai Chi (Hong Kong)
along with other members of the Practical Tai Chi Chuan Research Group led by Dan Docherty