A Tale of Two Elbows Part 3

I have talked about Tai Chi elbow in two earlier posts (Post No. 1 and Post No. 2).

Continuing the story – in the practice of Tai Chi we say that the body has 5 bows i.e. two arm bows, spinal bow and two leg bows.


The concept of the 5 bows is very important for use in fajing. We say that the opponent is an arrow and on contact with our arms we will receive him, neutralize his attack, load him onto our 5 bows and shoot him back.

These four steps are performed with near simultaneous timing such that it can be characterized as concurrent defense and counterattack. The conceptual model is presented below (extracted from page 112, TaijiKinesis Vol 2) :-


In Tai Chi the 5 bows is best first trained using the Single Whip posture which due to its design allows the practitioner to learn how to expand his key power joints properly to form the bows.

The training of 5 bows requires a degree of Sung in order to properly stretch out the joints to function with the requisite stiffness of a bow. You can expect to have to work on it a lot before you hit the sweet spot. Thereafter, its more work to implement it into push hands.

The fajing method of the 5 bows is part of the Master Tai Chi Today learning. Students begin their learning the moment they learn about the use of 5-Points. My student Gregory is an example that this training method can lead to the desired result.


Want to learn Tai Chi? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.

1 thought on “A Tale of Two Elbows Part 3

  1. Pingback: Release Arrow 2 | Master Tai Chi Today

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