San Ti

The 6 harmonies - The secret is...that there is no secret by Jerónimo Milo
Jerónimo Milo


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The 6 harmonies

The secret is...that there is no secret

On the year 1750 a famous master called Dai Long Bang from style Hsing I had the good idea to write down different classic texts where the basics of the style were clearly resumed, the right way to practice and martial arts theories among others.
Among this texts we found a short study of what is known as "the six harmonies". This is a concept many times heard in kung fu.
Lets see what Dai Long Bang has written and then lets try to understand its meaning.

External Harmonies
1) The hands harmonize with the feets.
2) The hips harmonize with the shoulders.
3) The elbows harmonize with the knees.

Internal Harmonies
1) The heart harmonizes with the intention.
2) The intention harmonizes with the Chi.
3) The Chi harmonizes with the movement.

When internal and external harmonies unite you have the six directions. When the six harmonies are perfectioned you obtain the six ferocities.

Dai Long Bang, 1750

In so many years this word are still useful
Lets see why:
When we speak of the six harmonies we say that the first three are the external ones, which are refered to the lining up of the articulations. This can be viewed from the point of view of the observator. This require muscular and bony movement and can be measured with a mirror.
The other group is the one of the three Internal Harmonies, because they are referred to the actions developed inside of the person who executes them and they are not seen. These are refered to emotions, thoughts and the bioelectric activity within the body.

The three external harmonies define the correct maner of standing equilibrated and to generate more power. Some positions as the San Ti help more to the correct application of this principle. Other positions that do not line up the body as explained here (as positions with the torso tilted to the sides or down) generate power in other ways that they are also effective, but they don't hold themselves with the principle of maintaining our own axis perpendicular to the floor.

1) The hands harmonize with the feet.

The hand lines up in an imaginary line between it and the feet. It is perfectly above it and in the same line. When we punch with our hand we move at the same time with the feet. If the hand-foot connection is not established, then stepping heavily making noise or dramatize the punch with a vibrating motion is not going to help in any way. To have a strong defense structure we must think that the foot and the hand are ONE. This way it’s going to be more difficult to separate. Our enemy will be dealing with a physical and mental connection.
The hand and the foot have to go together, if not, then our movements are going to be ineffective.

2) The hips harmonize with the shoulders.

Hip and shoulder. Shoulder and hip.
Inseparable. We have seen our enemy fall when we can separate this line. We have seen our friends in pain when they haven’t respected this line for long periods in front of a computer.
But we have also felt our strength widened and our upper torso relaxed when it rests over our hips as if the sides of our torso where big pillars of unbreakable source.

3) The elbows harmonize with the knees.

The elbow and the knee. Both are similar. Both are the prelude to our foot and hands. When this two are not connected, sometimes things don’t go well...sometimes we may fall down to the floor, or maybe our body gets before the punch and we get hit.
When they unify they are to in one and the body feels unified.

The three internal harmonies define all the emotional processes, physical and mental of how the movement is originated.
If we are furious our punch is not the same. When we are relaxed our punch is also not the same. Let see how our wish and our mind transform an action.

4) The heart guides the intention.

The heart is the "wish", our "will" is our most passionate part. It is that emotional inner strength that allows us to do the most unbelievable things or that in simple occasions gives us strength to get up and accomplish minimal simple actions.
The heart is the "sparkle" that lights up the thought and acts as the engine of our mind. When we are hungry and we go to the kitchen it is because of the wish we have to end our hunger. Wish something is always the first thing, from that point the thought is made.

5) The intention guides the chi

That "wish" generates the direction that the mind will follow.
The mind is in charge of directing all the functions of our body.
It is in charge of directing the movement and the action by nervous impulses all over our body. The mind guides the Chi wherever we want.

6) The Chi guides the movement

The mind generates the electric impulse that present in our body as a neuromuscular reaction. This generates movement in our body. That wish generated the mind activate and guide the Chi, by doing so creating a movement which is empowered by all this factors. All this resulting in a superior and more natural power.

Every serious Chinese martial arts practitioner should apply this knowledge for a personal development. It is an invaluable fountain of learning and day to day meditation about our way of training. This is also a valuable tool for teachers to check and instruct over the most basic training, and to get more power and excellence in the movements.