There are many martial arts like Taekwondo, Karate and some styles of Kung Fu that incorporate physical fitness exercises into their class training schedule such circuit training methods that include sit ups, press ups, squat thrusts and jogging around the room. This I really find is a pure waste of time, as the students can do all the physical exercising outside of the class room as part of their.own self training, as the main aim why students learn a particular martial art is to learn how to defend themselves in the techniques of-that particular style, having to do physical fitness within a typical class training session means that either the teacher or instructor does not want to teach openly their martial art style or there is no depth of knowledge or areas to train in within that particular martial art style.
Surely if you have a full, balanced martial art then the practicing of that martial arts hand & foot methods (Shoujiao Fa) should gradually develop each students cardiovascular fitness and stamina. I was taught that through the practice and training of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu fighting methods that my fitness strength and flexibility would grow and develop and it was up to me then to improve my fitness levels by exercising in my own free time. Because there are so many areas of training within the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu such as,
- Footwork Methods.
- Striking &kicking methods,.
- Dodging & evasive Methods.
- Defensive methods.
- Wrestling & throwing methods
- Martial qigong Methods.
- Weapon training methods.
There are many areas that a student has to train in and develop their own high proficiency level in the practice and study of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu. Adding physical fitness exercises into a typical training class simply takes the more important time away from developing your Feng Shou-Kung Fu into a fast, practical and effective fighting method. It is through the practice of your fighting methods that should develop your fitness and not adding them to the class training syllabus as many other martial arts do because they do hot have a full and balanced martial art. So they supplement this by combining physical fitness exercises into their class training.
Because the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu advocates that its practitioners must be constantly on the move, learning to adapt and change their fighting methods to overcome the situation. Means that because they are constantly moving using various types of footwork methods (Bufa) to close, increase and change the angle of the fighting distance between themselves and their opponents, their legs are working and moving all of the time which will also develop their fitness and stamina.
To some teachers of the Lishi taijiquan the connection between the taiji form and sticky hand practice are two separate exercises. Whereas to others they are one and the same, for example for me the practice of the sticky hands exercise allows the movements of the taiji form to be brought alive through the Eight Energies of Ward Off, Rollback, Press, Squeeze, Pluck, Elbow, Split, Bump which are found within all schools of taijiquan. There are some teachers of the Lishi taijiquan who simply practice the sticky hand exercise as just trying to Off balance their training partner by simply pushing or pulling each other with no connection to their taiji form.
For some of those who teach the Lishi taijiquan form and also practice the sticky hand exercise there is a contradiction going in within the practice of the two methods. For example some teachers are quite happy to teach their students to perform “Double Weighted Stances” (Shuang Zhong Shi), whereas in the practice of the sticky hand exercise they are told to shift their bodyweight from one leg to another and not to get caught with the weight evenly distributed between the legs. This can confuse students as to think that the two exercises are different from each other, which is the wrong attitude and approach. As the taiji form and taiji sticking hands exercise are one and the same not two separate exercises.
Once a student understands how to maintain contact with their training partner in the practice of the taiji sticking hands exercise. They must then learn how to bring alive the actions of their taiji form through the understanding of the Eight Energies, so that the two practices become joined together and are not taught as a separate exercise as some teachers of the Lishi taijiquan would make you believe that it is. Within the Lishi taijiquan postures like “Play the Guitar” or “Drive Tiger to the Mountain” even “Repulse the Monkey” should be brought to life through the practice of the taiji sticking hands exercise and not just through the form practice.
Sadly there are many teachers of the Lishi taijiquan who lack a lot of important information about the style. Hence then, they limit their students progress and development within the practice of the taiji form and taiji sticking hands giving out false information.
When I began to study and practice the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu my teacher Master Chee Soo taught both traditional weapons like the Staff (Gun). Broadsword (Dao), Spear (Qiang) and the Straight Sword (Zheng Jian). But he also taught what I like to call everyday weapons such as the Belt (Dai), Walking Stick (Guai Gun) or a Rolled up Newspaper or Magazine and even the Knife (Dao). Recently nearly everyday especially in the News we hear of individuals found dead because they have been stabbed with a knife and knife crime is gradually beginning to grow in the UK. I remember a conversation I had with an American student who rang me one day from New York City back nearly ten years ago I guess. He basically wanted to know if anyone at that time was teaching Feng Shou-Kung Fu in America, for which I said that for has far ass I know there was no one. He then went on to say that if Feng Shou-Kung Fu was to be taught in America it would have to change and include Knife and Hand Gun defence as America was a more violent country than the UK was at that time. That conversation was 10 years or more ago and how quickly the times have changed, as I am now having to change my fighting art to include knife Self Defence Methods because knife attacks are on the increase.
Now today as a teacher of Feng Shou-Kung Fu I have been asked by my students why knife self defence methods (Dao Zi Wei Fa) are not being taught or practiced as the chances of coming up against an assailant armed with a knife is properly around seventy percent or more, as most people today carry a knife for self defence these days. So I have decided to include Knife Self Defence Methods into our Feng Shou-Kung Fu student training syllabus, today most martial arts include knife training, as it is becoming a popular weapon to carry and can be easily concealed and I would bet that one day you might find yourself being confronted with a knife welding thug.
Obviously if you are confronted with a knife wielding assailant then the first thing I would advise all of my students to do is to run away, escape if you can. If you cannot escape then pick some thing up like a chair, a piece of wood anything that can be used to come between you and that knife, only if there is no chance of escaping or anything to be picked up and use would I say use your hands to try and strike, disarm and fight to save your life, only as a last resort go up against a knife just using your hands, as there is no way that you will not escape without being cut or even stabbed, especially against an experienced knife fighting assailant.
It is just a sign of the times that as a teacher I am now being asked to teach knife Self Defence Methods. To us the knife and weapons in general are considered just simply as an extension of the hands and it can fit smoothly into our internal martial art of Feng Shou-Kung Fu very easy as our hand methods (Shou Fa) can be adapted to strike, disarm, joint lock and takedown against a knife welding assailant.
The art of taking an opponent to the ground is a great skill that every student must become proficient at. Especially when the opponent as to be subdued and immobilised using powerful Joint Locking techniques to pin them down into any of the five takedown positions that are taught to every student. This is were the usefulness of learning the Chicken Stance (Ji Shi) and Frog Stance (Wa Shi) come into application through the practice of the takedowns. Most people who study and practice Feng Shou-Kung Fu think that the Frog Stance has no usage other than evading high kicks or strikes, obviously, every stance within Feng Shou-Kung Fu can be used both defensively or offensively and in the case of the Chicken and Frog Stances they come more into play when applied to any takedown technique that means the opponent as to be pinned to the ground.
My teacher Master Chee Soo would always say that when using the Chicken Stance (Ji Shi) to pin an opponent to the ground using a particular punishing joint lock, there was always a hidden knee strike delivered to the opponent that they could feel but not see, especially when the opponent is pinned down on their side and the knee strike is delivered either into the rib cage or squishes the opponents head into the ground.
The Frog Stance (Wa Shi) can also make use of the knees to drop down onto the opponent to pin them down. But the use of the butt can also be used to sit and drop heavily onto the opponent to damage their spine, shoulder, elbows and knee as he or she is straddled and pinned down to the ground using the full weight of the body to sit and drop violently to cause serious damage and great pain.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog all students of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu should become very proficient at taking an opponent to the ground quickly, efficiently and effectively using a large variety of fighting techniques that can be used to finish the situation very quickly or be used to subdue or immobilise an aggressive opponent. Master Chee Soo taught five body positions that an opponent should be placed onto the ground after being taken down, these five positions are all interlinked and the Feng Shou-Kung Fu student must learn how to transition from one position into another smoothly, remaining in contact with the opponent at all times.
I am a big advocate in using training equipment within the Feng Shou-Kung Fu to enhance every students ability and skill level to confidently use this internal martial art practically and effectively. Chinese martial arts has involved equipment training for thousands of years and it is just as irrelevantly today as it was then. I regular use the focus pads within my Feng Shou-Kung Zu classes to improve my students hand and foot methods (Shoujiao Fa) in being able to judge the correct distance to strike or kick, learning how to issue power out using the correct part of the palm or Fist to make contact with or the correct part of the foot to kick with.
Simply performing strikes and kicks in the air does not really give each individual the confidence to know that they could stop an aggressive opponent with their strikes or kicks. Some times it is beneficial to allow students to actually strike or kick a focus pad to help develop their ability in being able to issue strength and power into their offensive techniques. This will only lead to every individual in building their own confidence and belief in their own ability and skill in expressing their Feng Shou-Kung Fu.
The correct usage of the focus pads can really help students to raise their proficiency levels in their defensive and offensive fighting techniques. It teaches them how to use correct body mechanics to issue power into both their blocks and strikes and kicks, plus it develops their cardiovascular fitness and stamina, as they are taught to actually express their Feng Shou-Kung Fu and improve their timing, precision accuracy, reactions, power, speed etc.
Learning to use equipment training within the Feng Shou-Kung Fu in an intelligent way can make the over-al training experience for students much more fun and a great way to learn and improve their fighting techniques that boost their fitness and confidence. Simply spending year after year practicing the Poison Hand Striking Sets (Du Shou Da Fa) Striking into the air will not make your striking powerful enough to stop an opponent. Especially if you have not learnt how to actually hit a moving target that is also striking and kicking aggressively back at you.
This particular kicking method is found in many other styles of external and internal martial arts and is not unique to the “Hand of the Wind Kung Fu style”. When I started to learn the (Foot Flow Training Methods) kicking techniques of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu Master Chee Soo developed a numbering system to allow students to remember each kick and combine them together to make a variety of kicking combinations that could be used either defensively, offensively or in a combination of the two. In Chee Soo’s foot flow training numbering system the Cutting Side Kick Method was numbered in the Forty’s and was taught with certain stepping methods (Bufa) that allowed each student to perform the Cutting Side Kick on both sides of the body to develop their co-ordination and agility.
The Cutting Side Kick (Qi Bian Jiao) uses the mechanics of the hip and knee to guide and lead the power into the little toe edge of the foot for it to be issued out into its intended target. I still see some students of other Feng Shou-Kung Fu schools perform this Kick with a type of scooping straight leg upwards swing from the hip, which is good to use if you are using it defensively to maybe block a low line kick or to stop your opponent from taking a step forwards, but to actually cause damage to your opponent it lacks enough power to do that. Hence why it should be delivered like an ordinary Side Kick with the clambering of the hip and knee to drive the power into the foot.
Because the Sword Edge of the foot is being used to deliver the impact, then only the more softer areas of the opponents body are better used for the Cutting Side Kick to be most effective such as, the rib cage, throat, stomach, front and back of the knees etc. When students learn any of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu Foot Flow Training Methods (Kicking Techniques) they are also taught to combine both defensive and offensive hand work (Shou Fa) alongside each kick, whereas, in the old days of training under Master Chee Soo there was a more relaxed attitude were the arms did nothing other than keep your balance. Sadly to this day there are still many teachers who still teach this very relaxed manner to their students. As the saying goes “The way you train is the way you fight” meaning if you are not used to keeping your hands up to block, or strike, while you launch a kick at your attacker, then there is a possibility that you could get hit because of a poor over relaxed training habit.
When the Cutting Side Kick is taught within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu they are asked to perform this Kick using both a long and short range method which will naturally combine and blend in with many other kicking techniques giving each student a great range of defensive and offensive kicking methods.
A natural progression for those who study and practice the Wild Goose Qigong (Kunlun Dayan Gong) is to immediately after a good workout going through either the first 64 Pre-Natal or Second 64 Post-Natal Sets a couple of times, or you are able to complete the full 128 postures and can run through it a couple of times to mobilise the Qi and essences (Jing) and begin to cleanse the channels (Jingmai) of sickly energy (Bing Qi) and to stretch and open the joints and sinews to release any joint stiffness or muscular tension that may accumulate due to many reasons. The next natural progression is to then spend a little time practicing what the Chinese call (Zi Fa Gong) or Spontaneous Qigong. This particular practice can help to further release any stagnant emotional energy that may lay deep within the channels, nervous system and internal organs.
To practice the Spontaneous Qigong every individual must approach its practice with a light-heated attitude. As each individual must simply have the feeling of “Letting Go” and move freely in any direction, either passively or vigorously. They can remain standing, move around or lay on the ground, each person can make a sound if they feel that they need to like shouting or laughing if it helps to release any deep emotions that can help to release blocked, stagnant energy that over the years the individual has learnt to suppress and squeeze deep done inside of themselves causing them to feel ill and low in vitality.
At first when a person begins to practice the Spontaneous Qigong their actions and sounds will be strong, big and loud this may remain for a year or more all according to each individuals own development. Gradually each persons actions and sounds will begin to diminish as the individual will begin to become more calmer, still and quiet, the sounds if any will also diminish and the individual becomes more relaxed as their traumatic deep emotion is finally released. Usually once the sickly energy (Bing Qi) as been purged from the energy channels, nervous system and internal organs the individuals health will also strengthen and their vitality levels are replenished .
Spontaneous Qigong (Zi Fa Gong) is a great method to practice alongside the Wild Goose Qigong in helping to bring both physical, emotional and metal health and wellbeing to everyone of any age or gender as long as they are willing to put their time & energy into its practice.