Sinew Metamorphosis

Flicking Fingers or Golden Dragons Tap on Ground

Question 4

There are 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises. Could Sifu please explain the specific benefits of each of them?

Sifu Andrew Barnett


The 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises are as follows:

  1. Flicking Fingers, or Golden Dragons Tap on Ground.
  2. Flexing Fingers, or Sacred Tree Grows Branches
  3. Grasping Thumb, or Hiding Gold in Fist
  4. Grasping Fist, or Lohan Ties Belt
  5. Stretching Up, or Lohan Reaching for the Sky
  6. Pulling Body, or Lohan Emerges from Water
  7. Jerking Elbows, or Immortal Plays with Bamboo
  8. Rotating Elbows, or Immortal Rubs Eyes
  9. Stretching Arms, or Lohan Carries Mountain
  10. Holding Arms, Lohan Holding Bamboo
  11. Stretching Palms, or Lohan Presents Blessings
  12. Gripping Toes, or Lohan Carries Sun and Moon

Unlike the Eighteen Lohan Hands where the names of the patterns are poetic, like Lifting the Sky and Shooting Arrows, the names of the Sinew Metamorphosis patterns recorded in classics were prosaic, like Flicking Fingers and Flexing Fingers. In response to my request, Piti supplied poetic names to the Sinew Metamorphosis exercises.

As in all other internal art exercises, the benefits can be holistic and thematic. Holistically, the 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises produce tremendous internal force and mental clarity, which were essential for monks at the Shaolin Temple to break through their imaginary body to merge with the Cosmos, attaining Enlightenment.

You were perceptive to refer to a Sinew Metamorphosis course as a “Wow!’ course. There were only two results after a Sinew Metamorphosis training session. Participants either exclaimed “Wow!”, or commented that they felt nothing. From the experience of my Sinew Metamorphosis courses, more than 70% of the participants exclaimed “Wow!”

The main thematic or specific benefit of each of the 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises is as follows.

  1. Flicking Fingers. Activate all the 12 primary meridians of the body, and consequently all the meridians.
  2. Flexing Fingers. Activate meridians of the arms.
  3. Grasping Thumb. Open the lungs, which are the primary internal organs to regulate energy flow.
  4. Grasping Fist. Produce powerful arms and fists.
  5. Stretching Up. Activate energy flow of the side meridians, which act like framework for the whole body.
  6. Pulling Body. Strengthen the chest and lungs, which are responsible for energy flow.
  7. Jerking Elbows. Activate energy flow along the three hand yang meridians.
  8. Rotating Elbows. Activate energy flow along the six hand meridians.
  9. Stretching Arms. Strengthen the fingers.
  10. Holding Arms. Strengthen the arms.
  11. Stretching Palms. Strengthen the yang sides, or outside, of the arms.
  12. Holding Sun and Moon. Activating the leg meridians.

It is worthy of note that the strengthening involves not just the physical body, but also energy and spirit, or in Chinese it is triple cultivation of jing, qi and shen. Those without experience of internal force training may not find the explanation meaningful. They may have a better idea to know that after a Sinew Metamorphosis training session, practitioners are not only stronger physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Sinew-Metamorphosis in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.