Gun, Zuan, Zheng, Gou – Rolling, Drilling, Striving, Encircling

Gun, Zuan, Zheng, Gou – Rolling, Drilling, Striving, Encircling

The terminology is borrowed from the Ba Gua system. These four words are used as a reference for variations of Jin (force). There are four separate energies, which flow sequentially from the inside to the outside door of the body. As an example refer to the illustration below for the right arm and hand movement.

Gun (rolling) implies the circling motion of the arms and shoulders.

Zuan (drilling) is a turning and forward motion constituting a drilling movement with the arms.

Zheng (striving) refers to extending the arm to its’ farthest extreme.

Gou (encircling) implies an embracing movement across the front of the chest. These are the four basic arm movements, which make up ‘nei chan si jing’ structure or inside circling with the arm.

It needs to be understood that the four energies (Gun, Zuan, Zheng, Gou,) are not simply a sequence of arm movements, but rather an extension of what the body has created. In the ideal sense this group of energies can and does exist without the arms moving at all.

In order to have a better understanding of this it helps to introduce another related principle that also is borrowed from Ba Qua system and is considered one of the nine essentials.

Rise to Drill, Fall to Overturn- PiZuan DiFan

To rise refers to the unbroken arcing line of force. The force is derived from to the energy of the earth and is released through the waist and midsection (dan tain). The chest and back should be engaged with the spine in proper alignment (upright), in order to generate force properly. This rising principle is related to ‘striving’.

To drill refers to a relentless penetrating energy. This force is like a bird of prey, which folds its’ wing back to dive like bullet into the forest after its’ quarry.

To fall is smooth flowing force, which permeates the postures the way water finds the pathways to all things. This energy has a settling, enveloping quality. This principle is connected to encircling.

To overturn refers to the circulating force that is constantly in action in and around us. This includes the front, back, left, right, upward, downward, inside and outside. The force turns continuously like a wheel in all directions. This creates a condition, in which nothing is penetrable. This principle is related to ‘rolling’.


Although principle has a relationship to overturning, drilling, striving and encircling, it has a far more encompassing relationship to all of the body’s movement. This means it applies to the arm movements whether they move inside out or outside in as in the illustration below.


This equally applies to the legs. All forms of kicking, stepping and related footwork have a direct connection to the principle of (Drill to Rise, Fall to Overturn). Refer to the following illustration.


Again, one needs to understand that this principle applies to more than the extremities, such as, the arms and legs. The source of all techniques comes from the body. The hips, the midsection, the back and all the organs are related to the core of the body. All movement that is creative must generate through a spirally kind of energy. The term ’silk reeling’ is used much of the time to describe this kind of force. Once the spiral reaches it’s peak there will be a falling and an overturning as long as something generates the original force. The original force is intention.