The Three Nine’s and the Three Fu’s

There is a traditional Chinese martial arts saying: 冬練三九夏練三伏

Pronounced: Dong lian san jiu xia lian san fu

This roughly translates to:
Winter, train the three Nine’s
Summer, train the three Fu’s

What the three Nine’s mean:
Starting from the Winter Solstice (which is the day of the year with the shortest day time, and longest night), every 9 days is called “a Nine.”  After nine Nine’s, we enter spring.  The first three Nine’s are the coldest time of the year.  “San jiu” translates directly to “Three Nine.”

This year, Winter Solstice is December 21, 2021.

  • The first Nine: Dec 21 – Dec 29
  • The second Nine: Dec. 30 – Jan 7
  • The third Nine: Jan 8 – Jan 16

…so on and so forth.

The Three Nine’s and the Three Fu’s

Opposite to the three Nine’s, the three Fu’s represent the hottest days of the summer. The three Fu’s are:

  • Chu Fu: Beginning Fu
  • Zhong Fu: Middle Fu
  • Mo Fu: End Fu

These three Fu’s are often generalized in Chinese as just Sanfu (literally translates to Three Fu). 

Chu Fu begins on Summer Solstice, and the three Fu’s generally lasts about 30 to 40 days.  However, the actual calculation of the three Fus are a lot more complicated depending on how the Lunar calendar is structured for the specific year. 

The saying is to motivate practitioners to train during the coldest days as well as the hottest days.  Yup, that means kicking the excuses away. 

If you can train through both the coldest and hottest days, it says something about your mental toughness and perseverance. 

If you can train through both the coldest and hottest days, it means you can overcome BS excuses like “it’s too cold,” or “it’s too hot”…  Because you already powered through the coldest and the hottest.

If you can train through both the coldest and hottest days, it means your body is strong enough to handle the most extreme temperatures you have to deal with throughout the year. 

For Bagua practitioners, I challenge you to circle walk everyday through the first 3 Nine’s (Dec. 21, 2021 through Jan. 16, 2022).  This is only 40 minutes a day, for 27 days.  I think that’s a pretty low bar to qualify and be considered a Bagua practitioner.  But what do I know. 

With all that said, I know some of you crazy people will be powering through the coldest and the hottest days.  Remember, because this IS the most extreme days in terms of temperature, dress appropriately so you don’t get sick.   

Oh, and eat some sweet rice balls. It’s part of tradition, too.

The Three Nine’s and the Three Fu’s