Zhān
(glue, stick, paste)

Gluing or sticking to the partner in the contact area. Hence zhān usually happens in the arms and hands. It is an active energy, “taking the initiative” and appears immediately upon contact, hence before actual movement. Zhān makes a pair with lián (see below) and is the “local” version in the contact area. Like “gluing a stamp on an envelope”.

Lián
(link, join, connect)

Gluing or sticking to the partner with one’s whole body, the whole internal structure. It is an active energy and appears immediately upon contact, even before movement. Lián is the “global” version of zhān, meaning it happens in the whole body, through the contact point which is usually in the arms or hands.

Nián
(sticky, glue)

Sticking to the partner in the contact area in movement, following them carefully. Hence nián also happens in the arms and hands. It is a passive energy, being “actively passive” in movement. Makes a pair with suí (see below), being the “local” version in the contact area.

Suí
(follow, comply with)

Sticking to the partner with one’s whole body, the whole internal structure, in movement, hence following the partner closely. Suí is a passive energy, being “actively passive” in movement. It is the “global” version of nián, meaning it happens in the whole body, through the contact point.

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