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19 Form (Shi Jiu Shi – 十九式)

The Chen 19 Form was created by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang in 1995 in response to demand from students around the world for a short routine suitable for beginners. The form is composed of 19 movements (and so its name) , divided into four sections. The form is easy for novice to learn, yet offers the experienced practitioner room to express and develop the basic principles, energies and techniques of the style. The form is a combination of postures from the three traditional Chen style taijiquan routines:  Lao Jia (Old Frame), Xin Jia (New Frame), and the Xiao Jia (Small Frame).

It contains several postures from the Xin Jia style, including Shang Bu Xie Xing, Dao Juan Hong, and Yeh Ma Fen Zhong. These postures are fairly simple, and avoid the complex coils that are the signature of the style. Also included are postures from the Xiao Jia style, including Shuang Tui Shou, Shan Tong Bei, and Liu Feng Si Bi. The remainder of the form (about 2/3) is from the Lao Jia Yi Lu routine.

First Section:

1. Preparatory stance (yu bei shi), sometimes also referred to as starting form (qi shi) 预备式 or 起势(起勢)
2. Buddha’s Warrior bodyguard* leaves the temple (jin gang chu miao) 金刚出庙  (金剛出廟)
3. Holding the coat’s at the waist (lan zha yi) 揽扎衣(攬紮衣)
4. Step forward with diagonal parry (shang bu xie xing) 上步斜行
5. Step forward three steps (shang san bu) 上三步
6. Hidden punch with left fist (zou yan shou gong quan) 左掩手肱拳
7. Double pushing hands (shuang tui shou), or sometimes referred to as double push palms which is more accurate (shuang tui zhang) 双推手 (雙推手) or 双推掌  (雙推掌)

Note: 金刚 usually refers to someone who is super strong and since Buddha’s Warrior bodyguard or Buddha’s Warrior Attendant  is supposed to be super strong, that meaning stuck as part of the form.

Second Section:

8. Stepping backwards with whirling arms (dao juan gong) 倒巻肱
9. Flash turn to the back (shan tong bei) 闪通背 (閃通揹)
10. Hidden punch with right fist (you yan shou gong quan) 右掩手肱拳
11. Six sealings, four closing (liu feng si bi) ** Seal off 6 avenues of attack and protect all 4 sides ** 六封四闭 (六封四閉)

Note: Gong versus hong. There are many write ups that have “yan shou hong quan” or “dao juan hong”. The Chinese character for hong is 宏 which is similar to 肱 (gong). The difference is in their meanings. 肱 means upper arm, which I believe is what the form is referring to and 宏 means great or grand.

Third Section:

12. Moving hands (yun shou) ** also incorrectly named as cloud hands ** 运手 (運手)
13. Patting high on a horse (gao tan ma) 高探马 (高探馬)
14. Kick with right heel (you deng gen) 右蹬根
15. Kick with left heel (zou deng gen) 左蹬根

Note:  The simplified Chinese character for cloud is 云 (雲). It is very similar to the simplified Chinese character word for moving 运 (運). It is very likely that these characters got translated incorrectly and “Cloud hands” stuck as a name because the hands look like clouds moving back and forth.

Fourth Section:

16. Parting wild horse’s mane (ye ma fen zong) 野马分鬃 (野馬分鬃)
17. Jade maiden shuttles back and forth (yu nu chuan suo) 玉女穿梭
18. Buddha’s Warrior bodyguard pounds mortar (jin gang dao zhui) 金刚捣碓 (金剛搗碓)
19. Closing (shou shi) 收势

Note:  Another very common interpretation of #17 is Jade maiden works the shuttle. A shuttle is a piece of a loom that moves back and forth between yarns. I think the name is describing a lady moving back and forth quickly like the shuttle of a loom and not the lady working the shuttle of a loom, although both movements are very similar.

Click here to download a PDF document that contains details of each movement.


Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang performing the 19 form.