Alongside the learning of the many variations of Joint locking techniques that there are in the study of Taiji Chin Na (Seizing & Grasping the joints, tendons & ligaments). There are just as many more ways you can counter or reverse a particular joint lock back on your opponent.
Before you learn any joint lock counters ( Fan Chin Na) you must first cover three important aspects to help you become successful in your counters against any joint locks. The first aspect is to learn how to relax when someone is applying a painful joint lock on yourself. This takes some time to learn, as the natural response is to resist by tensiing, which stiffens your joints even more and causes the pain from the joint lock to increase more. The more you can learn to relax will allow you some few precious seconds to react against the lock. The second aspect after learning to relax and not resist is to then learn to move in the same direction as the force or pressure against your joint lock is taking you. If you pull back in the opposite direction to your opponents pressure on your joint, you could end up with you having a broken arm, wrist or finger? Again, once you feel the direction of pressure against your joint you must move in the same direction to ride the pressure, this could mean you have to move your whole body by taking several steps to place yourself in a better advantageous position to escape the lock.
The third aspect, after you have learnt to relax and move with the force against your joint is to then change the angle of your locked limb. This could simply be by turning your hand to either the left or right or again to simply bending your elbow up or downwards just to change the angle of the lock, once you have achieved a different angle you are better able to fully escape or in a better position to counter back with another lock of your own choice.
Any successful joint lock counter must be quick, crisp and powerful, as your opponent is not going to apply a slow lock, he or she is going to apply the lock fast and powerful. So you will have match their speed and strength.
Another of the eight energies that is used extensively throughout the various Taijiquan styles is called “Pressing” or ( An Jin). Some people also call it Pushing (Tui Jin) as you can see this particular technique within the many Taiji forms that millions of people practice around the world.
The Pressing technique can be used single handed or with two hands at the same time, the most popular example of the Pressing technique is an individual standing a front bow stance with his or her two hands extended out in front of themselves in a double handed pressing/pushing technique as demonstrated in the photo that accompanies this blog.
The Pressing technique can be used both defensively and offensively and is used alongside the other Taiji eight energies in various combinations such as used in the Yang style Taijiquan’s “Brush Knee Side Step Posture” ( Louxi Aobu Shi) where the rear hand uses a single Pressing technique, while the front hand performs a Ward Off “Peng Jin” technique. Another example is in the “Single Whip Posture” ( Danbian Shi) where the rear hand is using the “Plucking” Technique ( Cai Jin) and the front hand is using the Pressing technique of (An Jin).
In the traditional forms of Taijiquan the Pressing technique is also called the striking palm method when used offensively, as it can issue energy (FaJing) out of the palm when used to strike an opponent either using one or both hands. Two fully become skilful in using the Pressing technique you must then practice the Taiji Pushing Hands exercise ( Taiji Tuishou) which will teach you to apply the Pressing technique alongside the usage of the other eight energies and also help to develop your stick (Nian), adhere (Zhan) and listening (Ting) skills to make your eight energies become proficient in all areas of your Taijiquan practice.
Within the Lishi Feng Shou -Kung Fu system there are many different methods of footwork (BuFa) . One of the most popular is the triangular footwork pattern known as “Zig Zag Steps” (San Jiao Bu) many practitioners of Feng Shou-Kung Fu think that the Zig Zag steps are used purely as a defensive method to evade or dodge the opponents in-coming attack. But, in actual fact the Zig Zag Steps can also be used as an offensive method to attack your opponent using either strikes, kicks or both at the sometime.
Zig Zag Stepping can be used in a short attack method which basically means if you start with a right leading fighting stance, then you will remain in the right fighting stance as you move towards your opponent using Zig Zag Steps as shown in the picture at the top of this blog. Or you can use a long attack stepping method which means you can alternate from right to left fighting stance as you Zig Zag Step towards your opponent.
Obviously, you would properly only be able to Zig Zag Step once or twice, before your opponent reads what you are doing and adjusts to your stepping strategy? So it is important that once you step out using the Zig Zag Step that you take advantage of the position you have placed yourself in to launch a successful attack. By Zig Zag Stepping to the outside of your opponent striking arm or leg will place you in a safer position to attack, than stepping to his or her inside where you could run into his or her rear hand or leg.
In the Traditional Chinese Internal Martial Arts they have a saying ” That the hands open the doors and the feet win the fight” this means that the emphasis on footwork is greatly important and should be combined with every aspect of your fighting art. The Zig Zag Stepping method is just one of many methods of footwork that is used in the practice of Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught through the LFIAA by Laoshi Keith Ewers.
Throughout the world many individuals are practicing the ancient Chinese mind & body system known as Taijiquan. Many practice Taijiquan purely for relaxation and general health maintenance through gentle exercise. But, there are also many who practice Taijiquan as a Martial Art and who also specialise in the “Seizing & Grasping Art” of the joints, tendons and muscles known (Taiji Chin Na). Within the many different styles of Taijiquan form work hides a vast amount of Martial Art applications that includes many variations of joint locking techniques. To help develop their skill in being able to apply fast, powerful, practical and effective Taiji Chin Na techniques you must also be skilful in your ability to stick (Nian), adhere (Zhan) to your opponents attacking limb and use your sense of touch to listen Ting) to your opponents intent. By practicing the Taiji Pushing Hands exercise (Taiji Tuishou) you are able to enhance your sensitivity as shown below in the video blog below to help develop your listening, sticking and adhering skill.
The importance of practicing the Taiji Pushing Hands (Taiji Tuishou) exercise is vitally important in the learning of Taijiquan in general, as it allows the. Taiji practitioner to fully utilise the eight energies of Taijiquan ( Peng, Lu, An, Ji, Lie, Zhou, Cai, Kao) which in turn benefits the skill needed to apply the many Taiji Chin Na joint locking techniques. Because as soon as your opponents make contact with any part of your body, you are able to to feel or listen to his or her intention and are able to stick and follow your opponents force and then quickly apply a practical and effective Taiji Chin Na technique. The most wonderful thing about learning Taijiquan as a Martial Art, especially using the Taiji Chin Na joint locking skills is that anyone can learn them and become very proficient. As you only need to use a minimum amount of strength to effectively apply these Taiji Chin Na techniques so they are very useful for women and girls to learn how to break free of grips and holds.
As with all the many different Taijiquan styles they all have the something in common and that is the use of the Eight Energies or Doors (Bamen). This blog will be covering the Squeezing Technique or method (Ji Fa). The Yang style Taijiquan uses the Squeezing technique in many variations, the most common method is what is demonstrated in the photo that accompanies this particular blog. The front arm is held horizontal in a Ward Off technique,( Peng Fa). while the rear hand gently presses against the wrist of the front arm, using a Pressing technique (An Fa) giving the impression that the two methods are Squeezing towards each.
The Squeezing method is basically a compression technique, where your two hands are facing each other and are gently Squeezing towards each other as if Squeezing the air out of a ball. As already mentioned above the Squeezing method can be combined with any of the other Eight energies, such as using the Ward Off and Pressing combination, or you can squeeze your two hands towards each other like holding ball between your hands, while using the Rollback method.
To achieve a powerful Squeezing technique it must involve the whole body moving in the correct direction. Starting from the feet and passing through the waist and shoulders into the two hands that are performing the Squeezing technique to either bounce your opponent away or to help pull his or her root so that your opponent is taken off balance.
In the practice of the Yang style Taijiquan the Squeezing method is used regularly throughout the many variations there are of the Yang style Taijiquan forms from the Simplified to the Traditional. But the testing ground for all of the Eight energies of Taijiquan is not found in the forms practice, but is found in the Taiji Pushing Hands exercise (tuishou). This particular exercise it the laboratory for many practitioners of Taijiquan to understand and develop their skill in applying the Eight energies of Taijiquan in its many combinations. Which in-turn will deepen their knowledge in the true art of Taijiquan.
Because Chin Na is the art of seizing & grasping the joints, tendons and muscles. Then it is quite obvious that part of the Chin Na foundational exercises ( Jibengong) is that each practitioner goes through a series of warming up exercises that develop flexibility within the joints,tendons and ligaments. As shown in the photo that accompanies this blog is a typical wrist warming up exercise that is used in Chin Na. it is important to gently stretch the wrist joint ( Wan Gu) for example with a series of wrist exercises that stretch the tendons and warm the joint up before you begin your Chin Na joint locking techniques.
But the main reason for warming and stretching the wrist joint for example, as it is for the other joints of the fingers, elbow and shoulder. Is that your flexibility will allow you enough time to escape from any lock. Say your opponent as managed to successfully apply a wrist lock (Wan Suo) on your right wrist. Because you have been working on your basic joint warming exercise, has you feel the pressure being applied to your own right wrist, you are able to absorb your opponents pressure enough so that you can quickly change the angle of your wrist and ride your opponents wrist lock to either escape or even apply a counter lock. To the ordinary person in the street who does not practice maintaining joint flexibility in their upper limbs, then the wrist lock would have most possibly broken their wrist, due to their own wrists being to stiff and tense.
Within the practice of Chin Na the basic foundational exercise must involve strengthening exercises for improving your grasp, which should feel like a vice. But you must also work on developing joint, tendon and ligament flexibility. Supple joints allow the practitioner of Chin Na to be able to absorb enough pressure of a lock to give them time to escape by changing the angle. Another key factor to being able to escape from any lock is to relax and not resist by tensing up. To escape from any joint lock is known as (Fan Chin Na) which means to escape and counter back with a mother lock the key skills that needed by a practitioner of Chin Na to escape and counter is 1. Relax, 2. Improve joint, tendon & ligament flexibility, 3. Have good tactile listening skills (ting Jing).
The word Daoyin means to “Guide & Lead” and is a series of exercises that can be practiced from either sitting on the floor or from a chair. The Sitting Guiding & Leading exercises are known as ” Life Nourishing Exercises” (Yang Sheng) as the aim is to strengthen the functioning of the energy ( Qi) and blood ( Xue) to flow freely from the head to the toes to nourish the internal organs and boost our immune system to promote health and well’ being.
There are over forty exercises that involve self massage on the acupuncture meridians and energy points of the face, head, arms, torso, legs and feet. Each exercise is performed a set number of times and are also co-ordinated with deep breathing in a long flowing sequence. They are very easy to learn and can be practiced by anyone of any age, usually the best time to practice these exercises are in the morning, as they are a great way to gently wake the body and set you up to take on the stress and strains of your working day.
The Chinese have been practicing these exercises for thousands of years. They can be practiced on there own individually or in a set sequence, also they can be used alongside other practices like Tai Chi or Qigong. In actual fact there are many Qigong exercises that have added the Guiding & Leading exercises into their forms practice.
A typical Guiding & Leading Daoyin exercise would be for you to rub your both palms together to generate blood and energy flow into your hands. Then place your hands over your face either side of your nose, breathing in as you place your hands on your face, and then wash your face upwards over your head and down behind your ears, breathing out as you massage your face. This exercise helps to freshen your face and improve blood flow, it will also help to release any stress, tension or anxiety. There are fifteen Daoyin exercises performed on the head and face alone as part of the Guiding & Leading Daoyin exercises sequence to help improve blood and energy circulation and to release facial tension, and stress.
Today, still these exercises are being practiced by millions of people around the world to help maintain their health as they slowly grow old.