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These three ancient training poems from the Shaolin Monastery reiterate essential points for training in all martial arts. Such poems, like the Yang Family Training Songs, were mnemonic devices taught to students to help them remember essential points while they trained.




Monk Pan Hui’s Song of Palm Thrusting


Ch’i goes from the navel part,

Strength centers in the palm heart;

In the substantial your strength is found.

Exhale air while making a sound.

Upward Pushing is necessary;

Pressing with a horse step, primary.

Remember Attacking, Pushing and Blowing,

The bones near your pulses are forcefully going


The Song of Advance and Retreat


Advance with the wind’s speed,

Withdraw after the violent deed.

Go ahead with body sidelong,

Don’t mind a little pushing on.

Shoot a power palm while exhaling,

For effectiveness a shout entailing.

Like a dragon move here and there:

To win or lose is a moment’s affair!


The Song of Lateral Dodging


Edging and dodging need sharp eyesight;

You must move fast from left to right;

To dodging edging owes,

From the unreal the real goes.

A mountain slide you may escape

By wedging ahead through the gape.

Flinch not at actions furious:

To beat the great with the small is truly curious!


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