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Fundamental Principles of all Daoqiquan Kung Fu Arts

Kung Fu Basics is the entry course to all the other martial arts programs taught at Orchard Kung Fu.


The purpose of the course is to introduce the fundamental coordination and skills shared by all the martial arts united under the Daoqiquan family system.


Power alignments, offensive tools, movement strategies, and mind training are the core of the course. The Five Circles Method of Neutralization and the Six Stances, the very essence of all the arts of Daoqiquan, are introduced. Quiet Sitting, Dao Yin (Daoist Yoga), Diaphragmatic Breathing, and Standing Meditation are the Yin side of training. The Yang side includes Waigong (Strength & Conditioning training), Movement Tactics, Strikes & Kicks, Throws & Tumbling.

Once the Daoqiquan Kung Fu Basics course is completed, the student may continue training by choosing to enroll in any of the following streams of study:

  1. The Path of the Circle: Jiulong Baguazhang – Nine Dragons Eight Trigrams Palm

  2. The Path of the Fist: Ziran Xingyiquan – Natural Form Intention Boxing

  3. The Path of the Snake: Panxuanshe Qanji - Tibetan Snake Boxing


  • Course Descripton
  • Li family Daoqiquan (道氣拳) oral history, our kung fu genesis myth, tells us that the Founder (Zŭshī 祖師) of Daoqiquan, Lama Zurdwang, left Qamdo, Tibet in the mid-1500’s with the knowledge of two martial arts, Tibetan Coiling Serpent Boxing (Xizang Panxuan She Quanji / 西藏盤旋蛇拳擊) and Tibetan Blue Heron Boxing (Xizang Cang Lu Quan / 西藏蒼鷺拳), and the knowledge of how to use the long staff and the double-edged straight sword as weapons.


  • In his studies in China, Lama Zurdwang refined his martial understanding to a high level and distilled the essence of his understanding into the concepts you know as the Five Circles, Six Stances and Four Virtues.


  • Over the generations, various Patriarchs (Zongshi 宗師) added other weapons (Sabre, Three-piece Cudgel, Spear, Elbow Knives, Firearms) and martial arts (Ziran Xingyiquan, Liu Taijiquan, Jiulong Baguazhang) to the Daoqiquan framework but always analysed and interpreted these additions through the Daoqi lens of the Five Circles, Six Stances, and Four Virtues.


  • If anything in the new material violated these foundation Daoqiquan principles, it was modified or discarded. With these origins in mind, the Kung Fu Basics course is designed to return to the roots and give students a functional understanding of the Five Circles, Six Stances, and Four virtues.

  • The Five Circles
  • The Five Circles encompass all the possible vectors along which the arms can move. The defensive use of the Five Circles boils down to understanding the Nine Gates through which an attacker may access your vital targets and learning to perceive these possible directions of attack. The Five Circles are used to intercept incoming attacks with a Zone Defence Theory and a Non-Resistance Neutralization Principle. Put simply, the Five Circular Neutralizations allow you to stop worrying about recognizing what particular attack is coming and vastly increase your chance of successfully intercepting the vector along which the attack comes, instead.

  • “Every step issues power.”

  •  - Daoqiquan Aphorism


  • The Six Stances
  • The Six Stances are a model of gait: the mechanics of walking. Daoqiquan stances are not considered static positions that help you hold on to a little patch of earth as if you were a fortress. Rather, they are studies in the moments of stability within dynamic footwork illuminating the strengths and weaknesses of all the possible foot, balance, power generation, and weight arrangements a human being can use to move. Learning to move through different stances helps you achieve agile and nimble footwork without losing the ability to generate powerful strikes.


  • 德 “What the eye must see ten times, the heart understands straightaway.”

  • - Interpretation of the pictograph for De: Virtue


  • The Four Virtues
  • The Four Virtues are recited at the end of every class taught at the Xin Fu Gompa to help remind students of the measures of humanity to which they aspire and of the guidance system by which they may steer their lives. These are the core philosophical principles Lama Zurdwang saw as the essential principles for those striving to become fully realized human beings. Daoqiquan was never merely a self-defence method for him; it was a Way in which to live his life. Careful study of these Four Virtues release one of self-generated anxieties and irrational fears while calming the heart and clearing one’s vision.

  • “If one part moves, all parts move.”

  • - Traditional Chinese Martial Aphorism


  • Whole Body Power
  • Whole Body Power (Zhengti Jin) is a major component of the Kung Fu Basics course. Defending yourself is made easier when the entire mind/body responds instantly in a coordination fashion. Whole body coordination brings greater mass is to bear in each strike than simple shoulder strength or waist rotation can generate. This requires a careful study of the Six Harmonies. The Three External Harmonies are about coordinating the basic bodily alignments such that there are no leaks in power, no lags in movement, no faulty entrainment sequences, no insufficient shapes, no lacking structure. The Three Internal Harmonies help students understand that Whole Body Power comes about only when one’s Intention and Passion must direct and coordinate one’s intrinsic Vitality and Strength for truly whole power.

  • “Practise as if someone is there. Fight as if no one is there.”

  • - Daoqiquan Aphorism


  • Techniques
  • Chinese martial arts recognize that effective martial systems must be able to deploy and manage four categories of offensive techniques: Kicking (Ti, 踢), Hitting (Dă, 打), Grappling (Ná, 拿), and Throwing (Shuai, 摔). The Kung Fu Basics course introduces students to elements of each category. The eighteen fists and five basics kicks (and several variations) are explored to some depth and related back to the Five Circles and the Nine Gates. Several methods of footwork are introduced. Different neutralization tactics include deflection, redirection, absorption, voiding, and sourcing actions. A tasting of throws, projections, locks, and escapes is offered. Major Daoqiquan strategies are introduced.

  • “The mind commands, the body moves, the manifestation occurs.”

  • - Internal Alchemy Aphorism


  • Yixingong
  • Yixingong is another essential element introduced early on in your training. Shigong Painter has refined this principle out of the Li family’s study of Yiquan (Intention Boxing). Yi means intention, Xin means heart/attitude/feeling, and Gong means skill achieved with effort. This is the skill of generating, or manifesting, sensations in your body by remembering or imagining them. Yixingong is what makes internal arts different from external. The idea that what you think changes what happens in your body is extremely important. I have not, yet, found the limits of this principle. Nor do I expect to. From your first lesson in Quiet Sitting, your first Shifting lesson, your Dao Yin training, your first Standing Meditation experience, this principle is fully integrated in every aspect of your training. While we, in the west, think of the mind and body as two separate things (thanks, Descartes), they can no more be separated than the palm and the back of your hand can be. The mind (psyche-emotions) and body are, without exception, always perfectly in harmony. This is the most important concept to understand in Daoqiquan. 


  • “Now this is not the end.

  • It is not even the beginning of the end.

  • But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

  • - Winston Churchill


  • Kung Fu Basics
  • Kung Fu Basics is an introduction to the principles of Daoqiquan, The Martial Way of Vitality. It is ONLY an introduction. Mastery is not required or expected. Rather, students should develop a basic competence in the fundamental principles and techniques presented in the course. While developing skill, you should, also, consider the future of your training. What skills, concepts, principles, and strategies grab your imagination the most? At this time, three martial arts courses are available to those who complete the Kung Fu Basics course. Nine Dragon Juilong Baguazhang, Ziran Xingyiquan, and Tibetan Snake Boxing. Each of these is a complete martial art requiring a lifetime to master.


  • Once you have an idea of which art you are interested in, take some time and discuss your choice with Shifu Orchard. As a Shifu of Daoqiquan, he has a duty to make each of the arts that constitute Daoqiquan vibrant and alive. One of the most important concepts students have a hard time grasping is that the Daoqiquan arts you study are only alive because you practise them. If all that exists of Daoqiquan is what is written in books and recorded on film or digitized, the art will be dead and, likely, unsalvageable.

  • Each of you must develop skill or else the art dies.


  • “The road goes ever on and on...” - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Prerequisites
  • Beginners welcome! This course is designed for beginners. Anyone 16 – 99 years old may attend.

  • Time
  • Classes run twice weekly all year long on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please see 2017 Tentative Schedule.


  • Uniform
  • School T-shirts, traditional, black Hanzifu (“Kung-Fu” uniforms), and indoor shoes are required after 3 months. Until then, sweats, a t-shirt, and indoor shoes will suffice.

  • “First, learn to control yourself. Then, learn to control someone else.”
  • - Li, Longdao (1880-1980)

  • Jiuqi Zongshi Lijia Daoqiquan

  • (Ninth Patriarch of the Li Family Martial Way of Vitality)

Beginners Welcome!          

This course is the gateway to most of the martial courses taught at Orchard Kung Fu.


Daoqiquan Kung Fu Basics

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