Wushu Greeting

Two hands together with right fist on the left palm is the Wushu (Chinese Martial Art) greeting.  The greeting is a martial arts greeting as Tai Chi's origins are from the Shaolin Temple and the fighting art of Kung Fu. There are several form of greeting.

The one adopted by the classes I attend is the Bao Quan Li.

At the beginning and end of each Tai Chi class the students and teacher greet one another, using the same hand positions and slight bow gesture...

The Greeting's Origins

During the Qing dynasty, (1644 - 1911) many Chinese fought against the Qing government to restore the Ming dynasty. In Chinese the word 'Ming' means light and the Chinese symbols that make up the word are the symbols for the Sun and Moon. A new greeting was adapted so that supporters of the Ming Dynasty could identify each other. The left hand symbolised the Chinese character 'moon', while the right fist symbolised the Chinese character 'sun'.

  • The hands are raised to chest height - elbows out but not raised.
  • The left hand is an open hand with the fingers straight and the right fist is held against the left hand.
  • The thumbtips touch making a triagle.
  • The hands are then twisted to make the thumb tringle bend towards the ground. As this happens the fingers open out on the left hand and the greeting is verbalised.
  • The head is dipped slightly as the hands twist, but eyes were kept on the other person.

This way of greeting was called "Bao Quan Li 抱拳礼" (literally translated as "Fist Wrapping Rite"). It became a symbol to show that the person followed the way of the southern Shaolin temple, and was used as a secret way for recognising revolutionary fighters.

Today the Martial Arts Greeting of Hand/Fist-Wrapping (known as "Bao Quan 抱拳" ) is a common etiquette in many Chinese Martial Arts.

The common practice is as follows:

  • Stand Upright with the body straight.
  • Clench your right fist.
  • Straighten your left palm to have 4 fingers in plane, and your left thumb slightly bent.
  • Wrap your two hands together (the left palm over the right clenched fist).
  • Placed the two hands in front of your chest, but makie sure that your two eldows do not come up.

There are philosophical martial arts meaning about this practice:

The left palm (with 4 fingers) symbolizes Virtue, Wisdom, Health, Art, which are also called the "4 nurturing elements", symbolizing the spirit of Martial arts.

The left thumb is slightly bent to mean that one should not be arrogant or always attempt to be no.1 .

The right fist symbolizes rigorous practice. Since the right fist is clenched, it means a form of 'attack' but with the left palm wrapping it, it means "discipline" and 'restraint/control in order not to abuse the martial practice".

Another interpretation (the Chinese love symbolism) is that the left hand symbolizes the "5 lakes 五湖" while the right fist clenched symbolzies "4 sea 四海").

When the left hand is placed onto the right hand, it means that "people in the 5 lakes and 4 seas are all brothers" (五湖四海皆兄弟). The greeting is a practice that reminds people respect each other and to prevent fighting among the different martial groups in the past.






Don't start any exercise or fitness program without carefully assessing your state of health and level of physical conditioning, and consulting with your personal physician when and where appropriate.
Every exercise program carries some type of risk.  On the other hand, not doing any exercise or fitness activities carries a far greater risk for your loosing your good physical and mental health, well being, vitality and happiness. 
The opinions and ideas on here are my own, but no man is a island - no woman either - therefore I have referred to work by others. No copyright infringement is intended in any of the material I have uploaded onto my site. Please contact me if I have failed to acknowledge any of your work and I will rectify the situation or remove the offending material.