Skip to main content
Qilin Palm Featured Image

Qilin Palm Change of Sun Style Baguazhang

Emblem for the Dragon Method of Internal Martial Arts Practice

How to Perform the Qilin Palm Change

The Qilin is associated with the Kun trigram. Kun represents the Earth and is the mother of the trigrams. Kun is pure Yin, represents the receptive and service. In the body, it is the belly, and in the martial arts it is the Returning Palm.

Kun is the Ground or Earth trigram

Begin with the initial toe-in step of the Single Palm Change.

Green Dragon Turns its Body
Green Dragon Turns its Body

Turn the left palm up and continue with a toe-out step of the left foot. The right hand begins to travel under the left elbow as you make this turn.

Unicorn turns back its head
Unicorn Turns Back Its Head
Rear view of Unicorn turns back its head
Rear View

Toe-in with the right foot while maintaining the position of the left hand. The right hand slides under the elbow of the left arm.

Unicorn turns its body
Unicorn Turns Its Body

Perform a large toe-out with the left foot so that the heel of the foot is opposite the heel of the right foot. The hand positions do not change; maintain focus on the fingers of the left hand.

Opening step of Qilin Palm Change
Open Step of Qilin Palm in Sun Style Baguazhang

Bring the right foot next to the left foot, but do not put it down on the floor. It should be near the ankle of the left foot, as in the Double Palm Change.

Pull the right hand back down to the right side of the waist as you shrug with the left arm and shoulder. The pulling down of the right hand, the shrugging of the left arm, and the right foot arriving at the ankle of the left foot all happen simultaneously. All movement comes to a momentary stop.

Big Peng spreads its wings
Big Peng Spreads Its Wings

After spinning rapidly through the previous postures, this stop can cause you to lose your balance, so it is acceptable for beginners to drop the right foot momentarily to maintain balance. The goal is to be able to stop firmly on the fixed foot without becoming unbalanced.

Without putting the right foot down on the floor, bring it around and toe-in with the right foot as you pierce the right hand past the left arm. The left arm wraps up and draws in as you toe-in. The posture is now like the closed form of Single Palm Change, except the arms are flat. Imagine you are striking your something a long tounge.

Unicorn spits out the book
Rear View of Unicorn Spits Out the Book

Complete a Single Palm Change and begin walking in the opposite direction.

Essential Points of Qilin Palm Change

Kun is the opposite of Qian. Earth is under Heaven. Where the Lion Palm Change is force, the Qilin Palm Change is flowing. Qilin is a mythical beast sometimes identified as a unicorn. The Qilin, however, has horns like an elk and a tail like a dragon. When spinning imagine you are a cat playing with a yarn, or a bird spinning in the air.


Leave a Reply

More from the Earth Component

Forward Bend featured image.

Forward Bend

We ignore our hips and waist more than we realize. Keeping your hips flexible seems obvious, but sitting too much, can really destroy your flexibility. Forward Bend is designed to open your hip joints and stretch your legs for Tai Chi or circle walking practice.
Butterfly Posture featured image.


There are some crazy exercises to open the hips and regain flexibility in the pelvic girdle. Some of them involve a partner pushing or pulling legs to ever wider angles. Those just seem painful to me, and I should know, because I have tried some of them in the past. Here is an exercise that you c…
Trinity Posture or San Ti Shi Right Style

Trinity Posture

San Ti Shi, or the Three Body Posture, combines the lessons of Wuji and Yin Yang Posture and integrates martial intent. In this posture, we divide the body into three sections that are further divided into three more sections. The primary division is the head, the hands, and the feet. We divide t…