Circular Hand Motions in Long Form 4

It has been said that Long Form 4, the signature form of American Kenpo, contains nearly all, if not all, of the circular motions that can be done with the hand.

That being said, with a single hand you can move in a circle or in a figure-8. You can do those moves on a vertical plane (up and down), or a horizontal plane (tabletop). That being said, within the horizontal plane, you can execute those movements in a side-to-side fashion or in a front-to-back fashion or back-to-front. On a vertical plane, you can go from the outside in or the inside out. (Planes, for a clarification, should be considered as if you were holding a pen and drew a line.)

With two hand movement, you can have circles traveling from the inside out or outside in, circles traveling outside in and inside out, and the figure-8. Again, these can be divided by being on either a vertical plane (up and down) and a horizontal plane (tabletop). And again, the horizontal plan by be further divided into side-to-side and front-to-back.

As an additional note, there are also three things you can do with the motion of a circle: you can stay on the circle, you can reverse the circle, or you can cut the circle in half. Of course, these are repeated throughout this form.

Protecting Fans - This two hand circle on the horizontal plane travels from side-to-side. The first parry travels from the outside in while the second parry travels from the inside out. The extension makes use of two circles on the vertical plane traveling outside in.

Darting Leaves - When you switch to the second cat stance, you will execute a single side-to-side circle on a horizontal plane with the block.

Unfurling Crane - As you execute the blocks and strikes, you will be doing two hand circles on a vertical plane traveling both from the outside in or the inside out through the idea of reversing the circle. When you decide to stay on the circle for the strikes, you continue to travel the same as before. The right hand travels from the outside in with the claw and the right hand travels from the inside out at the backfist.

Destructive Kneel - You will be executing simultaneous figure eights in a side-to-side motion (very elliptical figure-8) on a horizontal plane as you parry and break and follow with the rake and backfist and double punches. The hands cross each other on each side of the body.

Flashing Wings - From the upward block into the inward elbow can be said to be a circle on the vertical plane cut in half as it travels from the inside out. Your two hands will also circle from the inside out on a vertical plane as they stay on the circle from the chop and check to the final hand sword to your attacker's throat.

Gathering Clouds - Both your hands will travel on a horizontal plane from the side-to-side as they circle into the parry and strike. For the chop and elbow, they too could be seen as circles on the horizontal plane moving from back to front and front to back as they strike out with a chop and get cut in half on the way back.

Circles of Protection - This features a multitude of circles, hence the name for a reason. From the block into the groin strike we have a vertical circle going from the inside out. The upward parry essentially travels on a vertical plane from the outside in as it cocks in preparation for the backfist.

Dance of Darkness - Another technique that contains multiple circles. From the outset, we parry with circles on a vertical plane going from the outside in and the inside out as we reverse the circle. After the optional eye scoop (which is one long circle on a slightly skewed horizontal plane in a side-to-side fashion). It cocks and punches, giving a nice universal block. The grab and back knuckle strike give us a figure eight circle on a vertical plane moving from the inside out.

Thundering Hammers - Features a few different circles. At first we have a figure eight with your right hand on a horizontal plane as it strikes through your attacker's midsection and circles back to check your attacker down; sort of a front-to-back motion as your hand goes from being in front of you to being near your right hip. The left hand also gives a circle on the horizontal plane in a front-to-back fashion as it prepares to check following its strike. The hands, as they cock for the hammering strike or taking circles on a vertical plane moving from the inside out.

Unwinding Pendulum - When the downward block circles counterclockwise on a vertical plane inside out and does a complete circle (staying on the circle) from the low block to the underhand crane strike.

Reversing Circles - As you give a stance change (twice) your hands will loop from blocks into strikes and checks on a horizontal plane in front-to-back and back-to-front circles.

Snaking Talon - On the initial move, you execute a single figure 8 on a vertical plane.

Circling Fans - On the parries you are executing circles on a vertical plane from the outside in.

Circling Windmills - Within this technique's initials "circling windmills" you will find two circles on a vertical plane crossing each other, but not necessarily as figure-eights. With the eye slices / scoops, you will be doing circles on a horizontal plane in a side-to-side fashion if anything. On the final eye strikes, whips, fingers, thumbs, and pinkies, you will be executing circles on a vertical plane in the outside in and inside out fashion as they stay on the circle and reverse the circle for the various strikes.

Defensive Cross - When you step back and block and then strike through your attacker's face, you are doing a circle on a horizontal plane from back to front.

Bowing to Buddha - Single figure eight on a vertical plane during the initial movements.

Prance of the Tiger - Dual vertical (ftb) circles traveling outside in and inside out.

Shield and Mace - Single circle on a vertical plane from the outside in as we loop through their face and down to the back of our attacker's knee.

Five Swords - Although this technique does not necessarily use any circular motions, the initial move, the inward blocks, could be characterized as a single circle on a horizontal plane moving from back-to-front.

Twirling Hammers - Dual horizontal figure eights.