San Shou 散手 – Applications/Self Defence

San Shou or San Sau refers to Self Defence Applications hidden/entwined within our Hand Form. San Shou / San Sau is one of the five parts of our Tai Chi Chuan syllabus. 48 within the form, shown below.

48 San Sau Applications - 四十八散手

  • 七星勢 – seven stars style – 1.
  • 攬雀尾 – grasping bird’s tail – 2.
  • 單鞭 – single whip – 3.
  • 斜飛勢 – flying oblique high and low – 4.
  • 提手上勢 – raise hands and step up – 5.
  • 白鶴涼翅 – white crane flaps its wings – 6.
  • 摟膝拗步 – brush knee twist step – 7.
  • 手揮琵琶 – stroke the lute – 8.
  • 搬攔捶 – parry, deflect and punch – 9.
  • 如封似閉 – as if shutting a door – 10.
  • 抱虎歸山 – embrace tiger, return to mountain
  • 十字手 – cross hands
  • 肘底看捶 – fist under elbow
  • 倒攆猴 – step back repulse monkey
  • 海底針 – needle at sea bottom
  • 扇通背 – fan through the back
  • 撇身捶 – swing fist – 17.
  • 雲手 – cloud hands
  • 高探馬 – pat the horse high
  • 左右披身 – drape body to left and right
  • 左右分腳 – separate legs left and right
  • 轉身蹬腳 – turn body and kick
  • 進步栽捶 – step forward punch down
  • 翻身撇身捶 – turn body and swing fist – 24.
  • 卸步七星 – step back seven stars – 25.
  • 打虎勢 – to beat the tiger
  • 披身踢腳 – twist the body and kick
  • 雙峰貫耳 – box the ears
  • 野馬分鬃 – parting wild horse’s mane
  • 玉女穿梭 – fair lady works shuttle
  • 蛇身下勢 – snake creeps down (low style)
  • 金雞獨立 – golden cockerel stands on 1 leg
  • 撲面掌 – slap the face
  • 擺蓮腿 – single hand sweep lotus leg
  • 指擋捶 – punch the groin
  • 退步跨虎 – step back to ride the tiger
  • 雙擺蓮腿 – double hand sweep lotus leg
  • 彎弓射虎 – draw the bow to shoot the tiger
  • 雙抽腿 – double seizing legs – 39.
  • 折臂式 – break arm style – 40.
  • 迴旋手 – gyrating arms- 41.
  • 虎抱頭 – tiger embraces head- 42.
  • 白蛇吐信 – white snake spits out tongue- 43.
  • 先鋒臂 – vanguard arms- 44.
  • 飛花掌 – flying flower palm- 45.
  • 五行肘 – 5 element arm- 46.
  • 奔雷手 – running thunder hand- 47.
  • 單抽腿 – single seizing leg – 48.

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

  • 太極起式 beginning style
  • 太極收式 completion style
  • 分手 separate hands
  • 出手 extend hands
  • 上步七星 step up seven stars
  • 擺肘逼門 use the forearm [zhou] to force the door

Some useful You Tube clips showing some of the Self Defence application in Wudang Tai Chi Chuan

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