(Fist-Wrapping Rite)
Bao Quan Li 抱拳礼

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Wushu (pronounced "Woo-Shoe"), the Martial Arts Greeting of Hand, or the Fist-Wrapping Rite (known as "Bao Quan Li” 抱拳礼), is a common etiquette found in many Chinese Martial Arts. It appears to be simple enough with just two (2) hands together with right fist against the left palm, but the power behind its origins has evolved into a gesture of respect between all practitioners. When the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) came to power, many Chinese people fought against it in an attempt to restore rule to the Ming dynasty. This gesture originally was used as a secret way for recognizing the revolutionary Kung Fu fighters, and that the person using it followed the way of the southern Shaolin temple. This greeting is now a standard practice that reminds people to respect each other. In the recent past it was also used to prevent fighting among the different martial groups, and most likely still is useful in that way today.

Another interpretation (the Chinese love symbolism) is that the left hand symbolizes the “Five (5) Lakes 五湖," while the right fist clenched symbolizes “Four (4) Seas 四海.” When the left hand is placed onto the right hand, it means that the "people in the Five (5) Lakes and Four (4) Seas are all brothers" (五湖四海皆兄弟). The greeting is a practice that reminds people to respect each other and to prevent fighting among the different martial groups.

At the beginning and the end of each Taiji & Qigong class the students & teacher should use this gesture to acknowledge thanks to one another along with a slight bow with eyes gazing ahead.

  • Stand Upright with the body in Taiji relaxed but straight position;
  • Softly clench your RIGHT FIST with palm area & folded fingers facing toward the person or people you are greeting to show that you are not concealing a weapon - 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” & “restraint/control,” as a reminder not to abuse the martial practice;
  • Straighten your left palm to have 4 fingers in plane, and your left thumb slightly bent to symbolize humility;
  • The LEFT THUMB is slightly bent to mean that one should not be arrogant nor should they always attempt to be Number 1.
  • The Left Hand is an open hand with the fingers straight and the Right Fist is held against the Left Hand (the Left Palm over the Right Fist softly clenched fist);
  • The LEFT PALM (with 4 fingers) symbolizes Virtue, Wisdom, Health, Art, which are also known as the "4 Nurturing Elements,” symbolizing the spirit of Martial arts.
  • The thumb tips touch making a triangle…The hands are then twisted to make the thumb triangle bend towards the ground;
  • The hands are raised to chest height, making sure that your two elbows do not come up & out, but remain bent downward;
  • The head is dips ever-so-slightly as the hands twist, but the eyes gaze directly at the other person, reminding you to never take your eyes off your opponent or opponents!
  • After everything is in place, the fingers open out on the left hand…SYMBOLICALLY VERBALIZING the Wushu greeting!