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Tai Mountain Crushes the TopTai Mountain Crushes the Top

Since ancient times Yan Luo Wang, the king of hell has controlled the lifespan of man and in their death meted out punishment. It is said that he makes residence beneath the Gazing at Tai Mountain famous holy peak of Tai Mountain.



Oh how shall I describe Tai Mountain?

...On the one face sunlight and the other shadow.

It shakes my heart when the great clouds rise rolling,

If I strain my eyes I can see birds returning to roost.

When I have clambered to the very summit.

I shall see all the other hills, so small, in one glance.

-Du Fu(712-770)


Hundreds of years after Du Fu's famous poem and far away from the revered Tai Mountain the fortunes of the Chinese empire stood in precarious balance. In the year 1004 a fierce tribe of non-Chinese warriors called the Khitan were making incursions into the Song empire's northern Chinese territory. The Khitan battled their way to the capitol and the third Song emperor Zhen Zong, in power for only six years, was eventually forced to flee the city.


Zhen Zong had personally led the battle and lost to the Khitan. It cost the Song empire not only valuable northern territory, but further humiliation to Zhen Zong by forcing him to give the Khitan emperor the title of younger brother to the emperor.


Emperor Zhen ZongZhen Zong faced disenchantment at court and discontent from the general population. He announced that heaven had bestowed upon him holy tablets. The inner court loudly proclaimed that these heaven sent tablets were heaven's confirmation of the emperor's mandate to rule.


The Jade Maiden is Discovered


A large entourage accompanied the emperor to the summit of Tai Mountain for performing the heavenly rites. As the climax to a series of miracles there, he discovered what he proclaimed to be a statue of the Jade Maiden Tai Mountain Crushes the Egg Maneuverthat had been worshiped at the mountain top in antiquity. A new cult of worship quickly began to grow around the Jade Maiden. These events helped propel the mystique and fame of Tai Mountain to the most exalted position within Chinese culture.


Tai Mountain and Spear


Tai mountain as a martial technique name became well known with 'Tai Mountain crushes the egg maneuver' from New Book on Effective Training Methods of 1562 By General Qi Jiguang.

Tai Mountain Crushes the Egg Maneuver


This is the method of the eagle capturing the rabbit. Though this maneuver comes from up high, the changes from the middle are a wonder. Let him rush in with 'ambush from below' or 'snake on ground,' I can follow with 'waving the banner' or 'sweeping the earth.'


General Qi earned fame recruiting and training farmers to defeat the pirates that were pillaging the coastal towns and cities. These pirates were feared for their fierce and effective fighting and his newly trained recruits earned praise from the emperor for several decisive victories. Yet, in spite of General Qi's success the Ming army was in a serious state of decline and disrepair.


Shaolin Monk Xuan Ji


Buddhist monks of Shaolin and other temples were also among those recruited to help in stamping out piracy. Their success in battle ultimately increased their fame among the affected provinces. Unfortunately, their fame in defeating pirates led to their enlistment in the losing effort to defeat the Manchurian forces at the end of the Ming dynasty. Many skilled martial monks whose methods may have been lost forever perished at this time.


A Commemorative stele erected at Shaolin temple in 1631 names monk Xuan Ji as a military appointee. For those curious about Shaolin empty hand fighting methods at the end of the Ming the book Quan Jing-Fist Classic, the earliest verified book on Shaolin empty hand fighting is the best resource. Monk Xuan Ji's method is outlined in this book and it is the first time that we come across the technique Tai Mountain crushes the top.



Great Method of Crushing the Top

Desiring to understand Tai Mountain crushing,

alternate the cleaving of left and right.

With whirlwind stepping cleave him,

repeatedly stepping to the sides...


From Quan Jing Quan Fa Bei Yao.


Not only does this quote describe cleaving, but also stepping to the side, which is the way this technique is often used in Mantis Boxing.


Tai Mountain Crushes the Top in Mantis Boxing


Most people know of this move from 'eight hard', the list of 'eight hard' techniques. But few people are familiar with the '9981' and 'Seven Maneuvers.' These old forms are the basis of our modern techniques.

Tai Mountain crushes the top is like collapsing and smashing

Seven Maneuvers: Mantis Boxing is said to descend from 18 Families of Chinese Boxing. This is recorded in the ancient manuscript Surnames of the Founders of Eighteen Styles. Seven Maneuvers is the method for linking together these 18 styles.


Tai Mountain crushes the top is like collapsing and smashing...


From the Seven Maneuvers manuscript.


9981: A form consisting of 9 keywords with 9 combinations for a total of 81 transformations. Said to be the forerunner of our Essentials (Zhai Yao) forms.

Tai Mountain crushes the top is the attacking hand of fanche. It interconnects and alternates three falling mountains from the blue sky. From the outside a single fist attacks and with one strike defeats Chu Jiang Chio...

Tai Mountain is the first strike and fanche uses that first strike to strike, grab and control without end. Read on for an example of how this idea can be applied.


Entering the Top and Attacking the Center


Originally, 'Tai Mountain crushes the top' was a short form. Nowadays, we look at it as a single technique. The manuscript of 'Tai Mountain crushes the top' in '9981' ends with the underlying idea behind this method.

...This form is the hand method of entering the top and attacking the center.

face punch

Jeff attacks me. I throw my hand out in surprise.














hooking hand

My left defending hand immediately plucks.














Tai Mountain Crushes the Top Attacking the center

Jeff defends my strike and counters with a punch to the solar plexus.

My hand lands on the side of Jeff's neck. From his attack to this smash the movement is like the swinging of a bat, both in speed and power.  


lou-pulling the arm

My cleaving hand never stops, it flows down until it contacts Jeff's arm. This type of pull is called lou, the 'lou' of gou-lou-cai.









pull down and strike high

As I am pulling his tricep I can strike him in the head or...














pull up and strike down

...or in the ribs.

















"Entering the top;' I enter the top and he must defend the top.


'Attacking the center;' Once he has defended the top I exploit the center.

Hard and Soft


Hard is an unyielding force like 'Tai Mountain crushes the top.'

Soft is applied off of his defense with a method such as a pulling grab, 'lou,' to make an open doorway for my hand to enter.


The list of 'twelve soft' techniques says, 'Seizing is to take and pull.' Smashing and pulling, like most of the traditional moves are simple in their concept, unlike the fancy complicated moves we often see in martial art demonstrations. The respect placed by old masters for these types of simple attacks show not only what methods they relied on, but something of their attitude towards the state of mind in your initial attack.


Throw a mountain at your opponent, even if he can catch it, he will be crushed


More Articles


Information on the Jade Maiden comes from Culture and State in Chinese History p.183


For more on the monks of Shaolin Temple throughout history read The Shaolin Monastery History, Religion and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar

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