Ngo Cho Kun or Fujian Fiver Ancestor Boxing is known for its short power. In addition to short-range striking, it is also proficient at close body strikes. That is to say, moving in so close that you and your opponent’s body are as one, wherein you take their center and take them out. The development of this power and the ability to express it is the result of coordinating the whole body – known as Ngo Ki Lat, or Five Parts Power. It refers to the head and four limbs connected by the trunk.
1st Power Part – The Head
The power source of the head is manifested through proper intention (yi), posture (sze), and spirit (shen).
The head should be held upright, the chin sunk low, the mouth slightly open while retracting the lips to tense the facial and neck muscles, thus “simulating the form of a crying rooster.” To complete the fierce look the eyes are held wide open (“like the eyes of a big fish”), the tongue is curled to touch the upper palate, the muscles at the sides of the lips are tensely pulled back, and the nostrils are expanded. Each inhalation and exhalation of breath should produce “the quiet sound of a tiger’s growl.”
With a single look, the practitioner, in such a state of facial contortion, looks like “a beast ready to devour its prey.” This is a physical manifestation of shen, the energy of spirit.
2nd Power Part – The Arms
The power source of the arms is divided into three parts: the shoulders, the elbows, and the wrists.
The first power source is derived from the shoulders, which should be held down, preventing your center of gravity from rising too high. You should feel the downward sinking of qi through the pelvis and into the yong quan (bubbling well, Kidney 1) points at the bottom of your feet, securing your root to the ground.
The second and third power sources are derived from the elbows and wrists respectively. The elbows are held at the sides of the torso while the forearm, wrist, and hand are held in such a way as to mimic the slope of a dustpan. When the hands are thrust forward or pulled backward, with the shoulders held down and the forearms tucked to the sides, the hands will vibrate because of muscle tension. This force is likened to “a dragon playing in the water.” Exhale when you thrust your hands forward, inhale when you retract your hands to your sides.
The continuous inhalation and exhalation uses qi to manifest power and strength.
3rd Power Part – The Torso
The third power source is derived from the torso, by twisting and shaking the shoulders and contracting the abdomen until it trembles.
Before thrusting the hands out, pull them in to gain momentum so that when you thrust, there will be a vibrating sound from your strength. This vibrating sound is intrinsic energy. It is said that “internally, you are hard as steel, but externally you are soft as cotton”—thus maintaining an equilibrium of hard and soft, yin and yang.
A ngo cho kun maxim states: “The abdomen is as hard as a steel wall, and the body, though hard and flexible, is like a wheel when turning.”
Rooting for Stability and Force Rebound Power
When assuming a proper stance, the legs should be firmly anchored to the ground to achieve and maintain stability, while allowing fast and agile footwork. The stance’s power source is comprised of three segments: the upper legs or thighs, the lower legs or shins, and the feet. When focusing on these three parts, you should focus your intention (yi) to circulate the energy (qi) by way of inhalation and exhalation, with it passing from one leg to another as if in a continuous cycle.
In the three segments of the legs, the thighs are pulled inward, the ankles are pressed outward, and the toes are curled up to tense the calf muscles, with the soles of the feet being as if glued to the floor. When in proper form, every step will automatically be firm, like roots in the ground. This forms a solid stance, thus making the ngo cho kun practitioner “as immovable as an iron bar sunk into the earth.”