Bafa Wubu of Tai Chi, Eight Methods and Five Steps

Tai Chi "Eight Methods and Five Steps" ( 太极八法五步 ) is a popular Tai Chi or Taiji (太極) routine systematically compiled by the National Sports Administration as it is spelled in PRC-endorsed pinyin romanization. This form, Bafa Wubu (八法五步) is a fitness routine that was developed in accordance with the appeal of the General Administration of Sport of China.

These simplified Taiji forms are intended to be introductory; however, they can also stand on their own as a simple health practice for those who seek the benefits of Taiji but aren't looking to dedicate the time that the complete discipline requires.

It based on the core commonalities of the five schools of Tai Chi, which serves to promote traditional Chinese culture. It incorporates the eight techniques of Tai Chi: Quiver, Stroke, Squeeze, Press, Picking, Sparring, Elbow and Lean, as well as the five steps of Advance, Retreat, Guarding, Looking Forward and Determination.

It is also scientifically standardized and simple enough to be practiced by the general public for fitness purposes.
This program “Bafa Wubu - Eight Methods and Five Steps “ is excellent for beginners of all ages to start the Tai chi journey. With the consistency of practice, it can ease your chronic pains, cultivate your mind, relax your body, improve your vitality, and increase your life quality and health. Bafa Wubu of Tai Chi is characterized by lower energy consumption than the 24 form simplified Tai Chi.

Bafa. Ba means eight. Fa means method. Bafa are eight hand skill methods.
Eight steps of Bafa are as listed in the following table:

Eight Methods Key Acupoint Five Elements Attribue
Peng Mingmen Water Water
Lu Xuanguan Fire Fire
Ji Jaiji Wood Thunder
An Tanzhong Metal Marsh
Cai Xinggong Metal Sky
Lie Dantian Earth Earth
Zhou Jianjing Earth Mountain
Kao Yuzhen Wood Wind

Here understanding acupoints and channels is very important. For example, the key acupoint for Peng is the Mingmen point and the key channel is Shenjin (Kidney Channel). By focusing the mind on the Mingmen point, Peng will be generated automatically. Thus, from the high level view, the eight methods are eight main ideas in push hands and are applied by the mind. It is usually called “use mind, do not use force”. Here Peng just means to automatically generate barely enough force by using the mind to push forward and up; this can keep the key points from being locked or controlled by the opponent. Peng, Lu, Ji, and An come from these fixed points. Cai, Lie, Zhou and Kou come from these changeable points.
Lu means to follow the opponent’s force and movement to move him with a slight change of direction: it is like unloading his force from your body.
Ji means to charge straight forward.
An means to empty the chest and push diagonally downward.
Cai means to control and drop some heavy object down.
Lie means to split suddenly.
Zhou means a short strike within the reach of the elbow (or elbow circle skills).
Kao means a body strike within the reach of the shoulder (or shoulder circle skills).

Wubu is the foundation of Bafa. Steps:

Five Footwork Attribute Element Acupoint
Jin (or Jibu) Step forward Water Huiyin
Tui (or Tuibu) Step backward Fire Zuqiao
Gu (or Zuogu) Sideway step forward Wood Jiaji
Pan (or Youpan) Sideway step backward Metal Tanzhong
Ding (or Zhongding) Central equilibrium Earth Dantain

The five footwork skills are discussed below.
Jin (or Jinbu – step forward) means to go forward. It is water which is like a flood, soft but powerful. When the key point Huiyin is focused on, the qi will automatically push the body forward. It belongs to Shenjin (Kidney Channel).
Tui (or Tuibu – step backward) means to withdraw the body. It is fire which means hard outside and soft or empty inside. It belongs to Xinjin ( Heart Channel).
Gu (or Zuogu – left look around) means to go forward sideways. Here Zuo (left) means sideway; Gu (look around) means look after or being careful. It is wood which means straight and grow up continually. It belongs to Ganjin (Liver Channel).
Pan (or Youpan – right look forward to) means to withdraw your body sideways. It is metal which means springy and tenacious. It belongs to Feijin (Lung Channel).
Ding (or Zhongding – central equilibrium) means to keep balanced and stable.; this really means to keep the central axis of your body stable. It belongs to Pijin (Spleen Channel). When the Dantian is focused on, the qi will automatically adjust the balance.
by taiji-thirteen-postures~


1 Starting form 起勢
2 Left ward-off 左掤勢
3 Right rollback 右捋勢
4 Left push 左擠勢
5 Double hand press 雙按勢
6 Right grab 右採勢
7 Left split 左挒勢
8 Left elbow strike 左肘勢
9 Right shoulder strike 右靠勢
10 Right ward-off 右掤勢
11 Left rollback 左捋勢
12 Right push 右擠勢
13 Double hand press 雙按勢
14 Left grab 左採
15 Right split 右挒勢
16 Right elbow strike 右肘勢
17 Left shoulder strike 左靠勢
18 Advance left and right ward-off 進步左右掤勢
19 Withdraw left and right rollback 退步左右捋势
20 Left-stepping left push 左移步左擠勢
21 eft-stepping double hand press 左移步雙按勢
22 Right-stepping right push 右移步右擠勢
23 Right-stepping double hand press 右移步雙按勢
24 Withdraw left and right grab 退步左右採勢
25 Advance left and right split 進步左右挒勢
26 Right-stepping right elbow strike 右移步右肘勢
28 Right-stepping right shoulder strike 右移步右靠勢
29 Left-stepping left elbow strike 左移步左肘勢
30 Left-stepping left shoulder strike 左移步左靠勢
31 Central equilibrium standing on one leg both left and right 中定左右獨立
32 Cross hands 十字手
33 Finishing form 收势

The information is from Internet sources.