Welcome to Sam's Web site

  Español Deutsch Française
Sam's update: October 30, 2013

How much of our taiji practice should should focus on avoiding errors?

The Deep Sticking Passages
Sam Masich

The three passages that follow, appear in various forms throughout classical taijiquan literature. From a technical standpoint, they address the all-important issues of ‘deep-sticking’ and ‘perceptual-movement’ (zhījué yùndòng 知覺運動)—ideas at the very heart of the art in terms of both martial art and self-cultivation. While the message contained within is simple and clear, undertaking the advice is difficult.

The first passage describes four Chinese characters: ‘sticking’, ‘adhering’, ‘connecting’, ‘following’ (zhān nián lián suí 粘黏連隨). There are sometimes known as the ‘four do’s’—and have to do with establishing and maintaining connection with a practice partner (or opponent/enemy) so as to cultivate and employ ‘perceptual-movement’, an ability which leads to martial advantage and furthers the self-cultivation endeavour.

The second passage describes the ‘four don’ts’: ‘reaching’, ‘skewing’, ‘losing’, ‘resisting’ (dǐng piān diū kàng 頂偏丟抗). These behaviours spoil any chances for development that might arise from good sticking practices. The passage makes clear that these errors are related, not only to an inability to stick well but also to basic confusion about the concept of perceptual-movement. It highlights the fact that dependence on flawed tactics will guarantee substandard results and deny practitioners their full potential in the art.

The third passage drives the point home, leaving no question as to the importance of the admonishments given before. It goes a step further in reminding the reader that how players behave toward each other is important. The piece ends on a promising note, suggesting that if one practices according to the advice given, he or she will naturally acquire 'comprehending energy' (dong jin 懂勁) which in turns opens the door to 'spiritual illumination' (shen ming 神明).

Sticking, Adhering, Connecting, Following
zhān nián lián suí 粘黏連隨

‘Sticking’ is raising-upward to ‘uproot’. ‘Adhering’ is unshakable clinging. ‘Connecting’ means abandoning ego so as to not separate. ‘Following’ means, if 'there' moves 'here' responds. Simply put, it is impossible for a person to perceive through movement without being clear about ‘sticking, adhering, connecting and following’. This is therefore, the kungfu of zhan, nian, lian, sui—'sticking, adhering, connecting and following'—and extremely refined.
粘者,提上拔高之謂也。黏者,留戀繾綣之謂也。連者,舍己無離之謂也。 隨者,彼走此應之謂也。要之,人之知覺運動,非明粘,黏,連,隨不可。斯粘,連,連,隨之功夫,亦甚細矣。

Reaching, Skewing, Losing, Resisting
dǐng piān diū kàng 頂偏丟抗

‘Reaching’ means, so to speak, ‘poking-head-out’. ‘Skewing’ is the so-called ‘missing-the-mark’. ‘Losing’ is called ‘separating-from’. 'Resisting’ refers to what is commonly called ‘the excessive’. Wishing to understand the defects described by these four words; it is not only a failure to understand 'sticking, adhering, connecting and following' but also ignorance regarding ‘perceptual-movement’. When beginning to study partner work, one must know about this, and, moreover, be aware of these defective practices. Thus, the great challenge in mastering 'sticking, adhering, connecting and following' is not giving into 'reaching, skewing, separating or resisting'—and this is truly not easy.
頂者,出頭之謂也。偏者,不及之謂也。丟者,離開之謂也。抗者,太過之謂也。要知於此四字之病,不明沾,粘,連,隨,斷亦不明知覺運動也。初學 對手,不可不知也。更不可不知此病。所難者,沾,粘,連,隨,而不許頂,偏,丟,抗,是所不易也。

Partner Interaction Without Errors
duìdài wúbìng 對待無病

'Reaching, skewing, separating or resisting' are errors in partner work. They are called errors because, having failed at 'sticking, adhering, connecting and following' how could one consciously perceive through movement? If one does not know oneself, how can he or she understand others? What is known as 'partner interaction' does not rely on 'reaching, skewing, separating and resisting' in exchanges; rather, one employs 'sticking, adhering, connecting and following' when engaging with other people. If you can accomplish this, not only will your partner interaction be without defect, but conscious movement will arrive naturally and you will come closer to success in 'comprehending energy'.

Apparently, a lot!


 (Update archives)

What's Hot Now



Fri May 30 - Sun June 1
México D.F. México
☯ La forma individual de espada en 5 secciones ☯ 5 Section Taijijian—solo sword

Announcing July 2014:
The return of the
Vancouver Summer Push Hands Camp!
and the all-new
Vancouver Summer Taiji Weapons Camp!
check Sam's calendar for details.

Check out the new 5 Section Taiji page!
in English & Spanish


 NEW! • 5 Section Taijiquan 五段太極拳
• Sam Masich Internal Arts 馬希奇内家拳  
  5 Section Taiji demo clips
from around the world

  • Deity and Disciple: Only 5 of 13 Zhang Sanfeng pieces left. Single-stroke ink-brush paintings by Sam
  • More here.

    Zhang Sanfeng #5
    is still available
  • Theatre, Film, TV: find out about Sam's work with actors on-stage and on-screen.


    NEW! Sam Masich (music)

    SamMasich.com was designed by ARKIOM


    |» Home|» SamSchedule|» Contact|» SamStore|» Little Productions|© Sam Masich 2014 text sitemap