Fire movements: extinguish the candle

After seeing the first exercise of the earth movements, we move on to a new one relative to the fire movements.

The practice that we are going to describe, in its early stage is very simple, it is focused on strengthen, speedup and concentrate the intensity of our soft movements. To start it is necessary to find:

  • A pack of small candles (tealight, they are cheap)
  • A lighter or matches (in the future we will see some survival techniques to light the fire)

Before beginning, we must emphasize some aspects of security:

  • The fire (small or large) is dangerous and must be handled in a serious and responsible way (this exercise for children must be done with the supervision of an adult)
  • We have to choose a large room which is free of flammable items (including our clothes)
  • We must put our candle on a solid base and away from any kind of wind (even small)
  • We must fill a water bucket to have it on hand (just in case)
  • We must not go away from the flame lit, if we have to go we must switch off it
  • The flame always have to be under our direct eye’s control

The exercise:

  • We have to put the candle lit at the height of the blow we want to deliver
  • Generally, we start with the punch but we can also use kicks or other
  • Let’s stand in front of the candle in a stable position (ma bu or any guard stance)
  • At the beginning we must make sure that the limb in phase of impact will be at a distance of 10 cm from the flame
  • The objective is to extinguish the candle without touching it and without the help of external interferences (eg. wind drafts, etc.)
  • We have to hit in a soft, relaxed but quick and decisive way (alternating limbs)
  • For every hit we must instantly go back on guard / pose
  • Let’s imagine we want to release energy as a shock wave (we can see the article “The metal sphere: how to release the force of a kick or a punch”)
  • Let’s always imagine to strike an opponent, we are not playing
  • If we can, we must try to use our entire body via the muscle chain / breathing

Variants and evolutions:

  • Gradually, when our ability to extinguish the candle stabilizes, we can move away each time a bit more and hit by an increased distance
  • The exercise can be made a bit ‘more difficult by setting a defined time to put out a specific number of candles
  • After reaching a good skill we can try to extinguish a spaced row of candles with one shot
  • The last step (for experts) is to turn off a candle behind a glass surface; it starts from the candle inside a transparent jar (opened above) to arrive to position a (thin) square of glass; in both cases the shot must be thrown away from the openings (eg. far from the upper part of the jar)


  • There is nothing of strange or paranormal in this practice, the idea is to force the flame to lose its activation temperature
  • Let’s do our breathing far from the flame to do not interfere with our blows
  • Especially the first few times we must avoid straining our body (for novices is better not to go beyond 5 minutes of practice without interruption)
  • We must not reach extension limits of our joints or in the long run they will be damaged
  • Both in water that in earth movements there is a similar exercise (we will see them)
  • This exercise in the long run teaches us to concentrate the soft strength, let’s be careful with our training partners
  • This workout in the basic version is suitable for all levels of practitioners, provided they are able to work with fire conscientiously

In the next article of this series we will see other exercises (ether movements).

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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