Songs of the eight postures

Attributed to T’an Meng-hsien
(as researched by Lee N. Scheele)

The Song of Peng

What is the meaning of Peng energy?
It is like the water supporting a moving boat.
First sink the ch’i to the tan-t’ien,
then hold the head as if suspended from above.
The entire body is filled with springlike energy,
opening and closing in a very quick moment. 
Even if the opponent uses a thousand pounds of force,
he can be uprooted and made to float without difficulty.

The Song of Lu

What is the meaning of Lu energy?
Entice the opponent toward you by allowing him to advance, 
lightly and nimbly follow his incoming force
without disconnecting and without resisting. 
When his force reaches its farthest extent,
it will naturally become empty. 
The opponent can then be let go or countered at will.
Maintain your central equilibrium 
and your opponent cannot gain an advantage.

The Song of Chi

What is the meaning of Chi energy? 
There are two aspects to its functional use: 
The direct way is to go to meet the opponent 
and attach gently in one movement. 
The indirect way is to use the reaction force
like the rebound of a ball bouncing off a wall, or 
a coin thrown on a drumhead, 
bouncing off with a ringing sound.

The Song of An

What is the meaning of An energy? 
When applied it is like flowing water.
The substantial is concealed in the insubstantial. 
When the flow is swift it is difficult to resist. 
Coming to a high place, it swells and fills the place up;
meeting a hollow it dives downward. 
The waves rise and fall, 
finding a hole they will surely surge in.

The Song of Ts’ai

What is the meaning of Ts’ai energy? 
It is like the weight attached to the beam of a balance scale. 
Give free play to the opponent’s force 
no matter how heavy or light,
you will know how heavy or light it is after weighing it. 
To push or pull requires only four ounces, 
one thousand pounds can also be balanced. 
If you ask what the principle is, 
the answer is the function of the lever.

The Song of Lieh

What is the meaning of Lieh energy? 
It revolves like a spinning disc.
If something is thrown onto it, 
it will immediately be cast more than ten feet away. 
Have you not seen a whirlpool form in a swift flowing stream? 
The waves roll in spiraling currents. 
If a falling leaf drops into it, 
it will suddenly sink from sight.

The Song of Chou

What is the meaning of Chou energy? 
Its method relates to the Five Elements. 
Yin and Yang are divided above and below. 
Emptiness and substantiality must be clearly distinguished. 
Joined in unbroken continuity, 
the opponent cannot resist the posture.
Its explosive pounding is especially fearsome. 
When one has mastered the six kinds of energy, 
the applications become unlimited.

The Song of K’ao

What is the meaning of K’ao energy? 
Its method is divided into the shoulder and back technique. 
In Diagonal Flying Posture use shoulder, 
but within the shoulder technique 
there is also some use of the back. 
Once you have the opportunity and can take advantage of the posture,
the technique explodes like pounding a pestle. 
Carefully maintain your own center of gravity. 
Those who lose it will have no achievement.

Reference: Songs Of The Eight Postures scheele.org