To compare with Taï chi


Hand forms
Thuy Phap performers are accustomed to a large set of hand forms : fist, sabre palm (fingers are stick together), hook, tiger palm or dragon palm etc... Taiji (Tai Chi in European spelling) practioners prefer fist, open palm with separated fingers and hook.

Punches and kicks
In Thuy Phap, there are all types of punching like in Taiji or other Asian martial arts styles. For kicking, Thuy Phap fighters barely hit opponents higher than the knee level because they believe in the sweeping power of the sea stream which drowns swimmers by cutting their legs at calf, shin, ankle (don’t forget we are talking about Water Method which never neglects natural water phenomenon).

The Thuy Phap system includes 9 stance forms called “Tân” (Trung binh tân, Xa tân, Dinh tân etc...), and just only nine (top number) to save fortune. Taiji doesn’t need so many stances, but its way to change from one stance to another is similar to Thuy Phap’s or Aikido’s one : agility and steadiness.


A Thuy Phap quyen, usually, is longer than an average Taiji quan because the movements are fairly repetitive to allow the Ying/Yang balance to be installed thoughout the body. This feature is strictly identical to the rule of left and right symetrical evenness.
Another difference for instance : a Thuy Phap’s quyen should be played slowly and soothingly at the same pace without any stop, abrupt power snap nor jump while some styles of Taiji allow the performer to in turn accelerate and slow down his movements.

Fighting skills
The Thuy Phap boxer is free to put all sorts of techniques into practice : to hit with elbows, with knees, to punch (in various ways), to squeeze, to slap, to press, to push, to brush, to block, to hold etc... In this matter, Taiji’s adept seems to be a bit restrictive.
Despite all these tough techniques, the unique and genuine way to neutralize the opponent is to detect his power release and use it as quickly as possible against him. Aikido, Taiji, Thuy Phap are fond of this tactic.
In fact, the goal of the above mentionned Thuy Phap techniques is not to hurt anybody but to stimulate most of the acupunture points on the fingers, arms and legs, to soften joint mobility and consequently to ease the flow of vital energy.

deco_0009Apparently, the taiji training scheme includes numerous weapons unknown to Thuy Phap practioners like sabre, spear, seven star rod, ball.
Morever, Thuy Phap way of handling bamboo stick is quite specific. The stick must be long and thin, and it is used as a whip for flogging, swiping. Thuy Phap practioners fight with sword and sheath, and aren’t averse to using two fans at one and the same time.

The Water Method refuses all correlations with religions or metaphysical thoughts. The Ying/Yang explanation of Thuy Phap patterns refers more to the traditional medical discipline than to philosophy. Thuy Phap peers refute Toaism and Daoism. They also ban any links to meditation practices involving the worship of transcendental power. They only consider the Khi cong (breath work) as a stress management.

For instance, the so called “Cuu long Phu sa quyen” (= The nine dragons sowing alluvium), coming from buddhist community, is famous in the Thuy Phap training scheme because of the monks‘ excellent know-how in martial arts, and in anyway because of Buddhism which is the first religion in Vietnam (80% of the population are Buddhist).

The names of Thuy Phap quyens call for poetry. “Song ngu lac thuy quyen” means “The twin fish are playing in clear anf joyful water”, or “ Binh duong minh hai quyen” which describes the sunrise over the peaceful ocean.
Some quyens tell stories like theatre plays. The “Thuy tinh Kiem “ (‘crystal sword or Water Spirit sword”) features the legendary fighting of the Mountain Spirit and the Sea Spirit.

An anecdote to close the present chapter. Once, a Belgian Taiji proponent asked me why the eyes of a Thuy Phap doer didn’t follow the direction of the hands? He told me with strong conviction :” Taiji quan requires that body, eyes and limbs perform as a whole, with the legs as a base and the waist as the axis”. And my answer was : “To free the country from successive powerful invaders, the Vietnamese got used to night battles, and blind combats. They had to feel everything with an acute sensitivity. We have inherited these customs. Each Asian martial arts school has to adjust its skills to the national needs. Furthermore, Taijiquan could be considered as the top of the Chinese soft Wu shu, but it should not be regarded as the universal model of the internal kung fu category, which includes Aikido, Thuy Phap and a lot of other schools still unveiled to European public.
About the leg as the base and the waist as the axis, every martial arts practitioner is taught to do this way from the begining, so does the tough boxer of the hard, external martial arts category.”

made by chris..