Over the many years that I have been studying, teaching and practicing the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu Internal Martial Art System I have noticed that not many practitioners of this Kung Fu style seem to talk about or demonstrate any ground fighting methods (Di Zhan Fa) that are part of the Feng Shou-Kung Fu style. My teacher Master Chee Soo would teach a variety of ground fighting methods ranging from learning how to use your legs to block, kick and bind your opponents limbs to bring them to the floor, usually he would perform this from the main Feng Shou-Kung Fu ground fighting stance known as the “Drunkard Posture” (Zui Han Shi) as seen in the accompanying photo with this blog. Obviously there are many more such stances that are used to defend oneself other than just using the Drunkard Stance, such as the low Leopard Stance (Bao Shi) or the Frog Stance (Wa Shi) etc.
Today most modern martial arts such as MMA mainly use Wrestling techniques with some striking from the floor, but they use very little kicking methods. Plus, usually the ground fighting techniques that are performed in MMA are used when one of the fighters as been knocked to the floor and the opponent then follows them to the floor. Whereas in the ground fighting methods of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu not only can we defend ourselves from being knocked to the floor by using kicking, striking, wrestling and throwing methods. We can also use certain fighting techniques to actually bring the opponent to the ground at the same time were we can then continue our attack by using strikes, kicks or joint locking techniques to subdue or immobilise the opponent.
As for the development of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu to many practitioners seem to only concentrate on the fighting methods that are performed from a standing position and do not place the same amount of emphasis on learning to defend from the ground, which there is always a possibility that if may happen due to many reasons. A fully balanced and all round martial art should also include ground fighting methods alongside its upright fighting and weapon training methods. I personally look at the Feng Shou-Kung Fu ground fighting methods as a backup to the possibility of having to either take the opponent to the floor or because I have slipped or have been knocked to the floor and I still need to defend myself as the opponent continues their aggressive attacks.
In the traditional Chinese martial arts there are three fighting levels or basins (San Pen Zi) that each individual as to be proficient in, the high level position it includes blocking, evasions, striking, kicking including aerial kicks. The middle level position also involves blocks, evasion, strikes, kicks plus takedowns. The lower level position involves kicks, strikes, takedowns using binding techniques which are performed from the ground. Sadly within the Feng Shou-Kung Fu the lower level ground fighting methods seems to be lacking in its development with some of its practitioners, but within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers the ground fighting methods are still being taught and developed to make Feng Shou-Kung Fu become an all round balanced Internal Martial Art.
One of the most important taijiquan classics I believe is the quote ” That if one part moves, everything moves. If one part stops, everything stops”. The reason why I mention this, is that I have noticed that within the Li/Lee style taijiquan many individuals seem to only keep one arm moving, while the other seems to stop, and in the practice of taijiquan everything has to be constantly moving. Whereas in the Li/Lee style taijiquan first and second ” Brush the Knee & Side Step” Posture taken from the short form, many individuals seem to only move the front hand, while the rear hand remains static. If we return to the taiji classic that I mentioned above, then really if one part of the body become non-active then the whole body must stop its movement, as not all of the body is fully connected, which means the body has become isolated.
There are many individuals who are both teaching and practicing the Li/Lee style taijiquan form today and really do not follow any guiding principles to help them connect their whole body movements together in a smooth, accurate and unified order. For example as I have already mentioned above, they seem to do isolated movements were one part of the body is moving, while the rest of the body becomes static. There does not seem to be any understanding about maintaining movement throughout the whole body all of the time until they finish the form and return back to “Stillness”.
The movement of the hands and arms should be guided by the turning of the waist. Many individuals who perform the “Brush Knee & Side Step” Posture do not use their waist to guide their arms, but rather keep their waist rigid and move their arms in an isolated action separate from the rest of the whole body. Another Taiji classic says that the whole bodies joints should be smoothly linked together like a “String of Pearls” simply moving one arm separately from the rest of the body is not linking the joints of the whole body together like a sString of Pearls nor can you call it quality taijiquan.
The purpose for linking the whole body’s movements together while being guided by the waist allows for the blood and Qi to be smoothly circulated throughout the entire body. As all parts are linked and moving together. Whereas, if you have isolated movements while the rest of the body remains static, how does this allow for the blood and Qi to be circulated smoothly around the entire body when the greater part of the body has stopped moving. Sadly to many individuals perform the Li/Lee style taijiquan because they think it is easier to learn and so they can pick up the movements quickly, they seem not to follow any of the guiding principles laid down by the Taiji Classics like other taijiquan practitioners of other styles seem to do. Hence why there seems to be such problems like “Double Weighted ” stances, isolated arm movements not linked to the rest of the body, no emphasis of using the waist to lead the arms & legs etc. Over-al this just leads to a very low standard of the Li/Lee style taijiquan in general, as individuals just seem to follow each other like sheep and do not question their actions by following the principles of the Taiji Classics.
Another aspect to the study and practice of the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu is to be able to connect your energy (Qi) with your Strength (Li). This is part of the Six Internal Harmony theory (Nei Liuhe) that every Internal Martial Arts practitioner must learn and skilfully acquire if their defensive and offensive fighting methods are going to be effective enough to defend themselves. Firstly every student must regularly practice the Martial Qigong (Wu Gong) like the “Basic Four Corner Blocking Qigong Exercise” (Jiben Si Jiao Zu Gong Fa) that is taught within the structure of the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu training syllabus, at first they must learn to perform the exercises slowly, co-ordinating their breathing and movements together to allow their Intention (Yi) to connect to their body (Xing) and secondly for their Intention (Yi) to connect to their energy (Qi). Obviously they need to perform each exercise slowly to develop their awareness and sensitivity of the movement of their Qi as it begins to flow throughout their bodies, they should begin to experience sensations like tingling, heat or warmth, a feeling of fullness, heaviness, lightness and even movement as the Qi flows along a limb or raises and lowers inside the body.
My teacher Master Chee Soo always mentioned that for a complete beginner to be able to feel their own Qi, at least take up to twelve months of practice before they began to feel warmth or tingling in their limbs. Again the more the individual can spend practicing their Four Corner Blocking Qigong Exercises the quicker they will be able to cultivate and mobiles their Qi. At first every student should practice the Four Corner Blocking Qigong slowly until they experience the sensations of Qi movement inside of themselves, once they can experience the Qi moving inside and can activate it quickly into their limbs, then the next stage is to then connect their Qi with their Strength (Li).
In the accompanying video that comes with this blog Laoshi Keith Ewers is seen performing the “Moving Four Corner Blocking Qigong Exercise” (Dong Si Jiao Zu Gong Fa) with issuing energy (Fajing) allowing his Qi to connect with his Strength (Li) to create whole body power (Zheng Shen Li) both in his defensive and offensive fighting techniques. This particular stage of Martial Qigong practice must not be practiced until the student can actually feel and sense their Qi move inside of themselves, as the exercise will just become a physical practice and not an Internal/External Yin & Yang harmonising together practice.
Today within the world wide community of the many Feng Shou-Kung Fu individual, clubs and associations that represent the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu Style as taught by Master Chee Soo. Sadly to many simply place their concentration on learning and practicing the striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing techniques. Rather than spending the same amount of time cultivating their energy (Qi) and strength (Li) development through the correct practice of their Feng Shou-Kung Fu Martial Qigong practice which delivers their power source not only to their fighting techniques but to their over-al health and wellbeing..
I hope you all enjoy.
As I have already mentioned in other blogs that I have written on the martial energy development (Wu Qigong) of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu, for it to be considered as an Internal Martial Art. Then a fundamental martial qigong practice must be taught just as much as the striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing methods , as advocated within the Internal Six Harmonies (Nei Liuhe)
- The Intention (Yi) Connects to the Body (Xing)
- The Intention (Yi) Connects to the Energy (Qi).
- The Energy (Qi) Connects to the Strength (Li)
My teacher Master Chee Soo would teach some basic qigong (Jiben Gong) such as the Four Directional Guiding & Leading Exercise (Si Fang Daoyin Fa) and the Five Lotus Blossom Guiding & Leading Exercise (Wu He Hua Daoyin Fa) which was taught at the beginning and end of a typical Feng Shou-Gongfu training session. But these are not just the only martial qigong exercises practiced there are many other exercises taught and practiced such as the Four Corner Blocking & Striking Guiding & Leading Exercise (Si Jiao Zu Da Daoyin Fa) which can be performed both in a fixed position or as a moving step exercise all combined with breathing (Xi). In the martial qigong methods of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers beginner students are taught the fixed four corner blocking & striking qigong exercises at a slow speed twitch are combined breathing that should be long, slow, deep and smooth. After a few months of practice they are then taught how to release their energy (Qi) more powerfully through emitting their strength (Fa Li).
For the more advanced students they are taught the Four Corner Blocking & Striking Qigong Exercise as a “Moving Step Method” which allows them to practice this martial qigong exercise in any direction. There is a saying within the Internal Martial Arts ( Neijiaquan) that without the “Inner Work” (Neigong) the individuals Gongfu will be weak and lack power within their defensive and offensive fighting methods and that both the internal & external training should practiced as one. Sadly due to the lack of awareness of training in the development of the martial qigong side by many students and teachers of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu have left their fighting methods weak as there is no t enough emphasis being placed on strengthen their internal power through the study and practice of martial qigong exercises.
Many of the students who practice the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu also practice the Li/Lee style taijiquan and they think and believe that by practicing the taijiquan they will also develop strong energy to help them in their Gongfu training. Sadly this is wrong, as the Taijiquan taught and practiced by many students is taught more as a health exercise and not as a martial art. Those who practice the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu will understand that you have to move your whole body fast to either defend yourself by using evasive footwork or to strike your opponent with powerful, fast strikes & kicks which are not practiced in their taijiquan classes. So the martial qigong exercises must resemble exactly the same movements of their Feng Shou-Gongfu defensive and offensive actions.
Irrespective which particular Daoist internal art you decide to study and practice that we offer to individuals within the LFIAA such as Taijiquan, Feng Shou Quan-Kung Fu, Wild Goose Qigong or Baguazhang they all teach each individual to co-ordinate their breathing (Xi) with their movements, especially if they are performing a form or sequence. The breathing allows the individual to cultivate and mobilise their energy (Qi), but more importantly it connects the individuals mind or intention (Yi) to their body (Xing). Usually when they practice their form work the movements are performed slowly so as to allow the individual to combine their breathing and movements together, which also develops their concentration levels allowing the individual to sense the movement of their Qi as it mobilises itself throughout the individuals entire body.
Gradually, over a long period of time of regularly practicing their chosen discipline each individual will begin to experience the sensations of Qi moving through their body. These sensations can involve the feeling of warmth or heat, tingling like pins & needles, fullness of the extremities and even the sensation of the Qi moving like rising, lowering and gathering in the body or limbs. Some times because individuals place to much emphasis on the co-ordination of their breathing with their movements, the breathing can also get in the way of them developing their sensitivity and awareness of the movement of Qi within their own bodies..
It is said as part of the “Six Internal Harmonies” (Nei Liuhe) that the Intention (Yi) should connect to the Heart (Xin) and that the Intention (Yi) should then connect to the energy (Qi) and the energy (Qi) should then connect to their strength (Li). This means that over a long period of time the individual’s mind or intention (Yi) should become strong enough to connect to their own energy (Qi) and be able to guide and lead (Daoyin) their Qi throughout the entire body without the use of their breathing. Obviously for any individual to reach this level of proficiency means that they must practice on a daily basis over a period of years. The breathing is simply a tool to help bring the mind and body together and help each individual to develop their ability to concentrate, once the mind becomes awake to the movement of Qi inside themselves and can connect to the Qi, it then becomes its master in being able to manipulate the Qi without letting the breathing get in the way.
Sadly, to many individuals can only get a sense of their own Qi moving inside themselves by still co-ordinating their breathing with their actions, which means that they have not been able to develop a strong intention (Yi) over the period of time that they have been studying and practicing to be able to harmonise with their Qi. Usually this is simply down to a lack of regular practice by the individual which makes them become to dependent upon their breathing to be able to feel their Qi. Which can also get in the way of them becoming aware of the sensitivity to feel and listen to the movement of their Qi within themselves.
Nowadays with our inner city’s becoming more violent as each day goes by, we constantly hear on the news about stabbings and people being shot or physically attacked. Learning a martial art that advocates self defence for the street and not simply for entering sporting competitions to win trophies or money is I think of such great importance for everyone, especially because at anytime of the day or night you could suddenly find yourself in a life threatening situation and learning a practical martial art for self defence could be all that allows you to escape with your health and life intact.
The Li Style Original Feng Shou Kung Fu offers a fundamentally effective internal martial art that can be used practically by everyone to defend themselves on the streets of our towns and inner city’s. Feng Shou Kung Fu offers a wide range of self defence methods (Zi Wei Fa) from various holds and grips that any girl or women can learn how to break free to escape or counter attack back using powerful strikes, hidden kicking techniques that the assailant does not see, but only feels the pain inflicted by the kicks, plus a wide range of very painful joint locking methods ( Qin Na Fa) that does not need brute force to apply them, but simply a good understanding about how to use leverage, angles, and balance to quickly apply powerful joint locks to immobilise or subdue a much bigger and physically stronger assailant.
Sadly today many individuals believe that there is no need to learn a martial art and that the possibility of being attacked is remote until one day you are confronted by an assailant who wishes to do you harm. Obviously this could happen at anytime within our lives. Simply learning Feng Shou Kung Fu for example could one day save your life as well as keep you fit and healthy as you grow old. We try and educate people that the study and practice of Feng Shou Kung Fu is simply another way of maintaining your health and wellbeing and is just as important as eating a correct diet or practicing your early morning Qigong exercises to help keep your body & mind together. As a violent attack can obviously and seriously effect your health for many years if you are lucky enough to survive the encounter with your life.
Simply learning a martial art that offers an all round balanced self defence system like that of the Original Feng Shou Kung Fu can greatly help many young girls and women to confidentially go on living their life’s to the full, not being afraid or intimidated by aggressive colleagues in the work place or out socially with friends.
During the practice of the Daoist Kunlun Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) Pre-Natal and Post- Natal Forms there is an emphasis on both the non-movement (Jing) and the active, vigorous (Dong). At first most people concentrate on the active, vigorous aspect of the Wild Goose Qigong, but hidden within the forms are standing post (Zhan Zhuang Gong) postures that can be used to practice the more Non-active or Stillness (Jing) practices of the Wild Goose Qigong. As the practice of qigong is based upon the maintenance of the Yin & Yang energies within the whole body to help maintain health and long life, then the two practices of movement and stillness allows the individual to cultivate both Yin energy and Yang energy during their Wild Goose Qigong practice. They say that movement (Dong) cultivates more Yang energy, whereas, standing, or sitting in stillness cultivates more Yin energy, hence everyone should be involving both practices into their own personal Qigong training in general so as to balance both energies within the body.
Stillness practices can either be performed using various standing post posture (Zhangong) from the Wild Goose Qigong forms or you can sit on the floor or in a chair and practice meditation to gather and cultivate more Yin energy. Many individuals when they practice their Qigong place more emphasis on the more active, movement side, they rarely place just as much emphasis on the stillness side which is just as important. Obviously the active, dynamic, vigorous Qigong practice places more emphasis on the physical aspect in developing each individuals joint, tendon and muscular flexibility, balance, co-ordination and general relaxation allowing for better energy and blood flow throughout the entire body. Whereas, the standing post practices emphasis is more on remaining calm, quiet and still deep inside, strengthening our mental strength to concentrate for long periods of time, sometimes holding a posture with both arms held in a certain shape to involve the physical to strengthen both mind & body.
Movement (Yang) promotes the circulation of essences (Jing) which includes all of the fluid inside us such as our blood, water and synovial fluids within our joints to be circulated within the spaces created inside of ourselves due to our Qigong movement that stretches open our joints, tendons and muscles creating space to allow for greater circulation and to remove any blockages accumulated due to illness, injury etc. Whereas, Stillness (Yin) practices promote more energy (Qi) development and the emphasis is placed more on being calm and quiet concentrating on the breathing to allow the Qi to gather and cultivate deep inside. In Daoist practices there are three treasures (San Bao) within the body that must be nourished, refined and transformed through the practices of qigong and these treasures are your essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and your Spirit (Shen).
To many individuals study Wild Goose Qigong simply to learn how to relax and remain supple and do not place any kind of emphasis on the development of the Jing, Qi and Shen and this can only be promoted through the Stillness and Movement practices to cultivate and gather both Yin energy and Yang energy for a healthy long life.