The Rising Hands Qigong exercise can be performed from a static or walking practice. It incorporates five actions of the whole body which are:
1). The use of the legs to transfer the body weight from one leg to another, plus the use of the feet to step using the Mud Wading Stepping method (Tangnibu).
2). The use of the torso by turning from the waist side to side, while maintaining an erect posture.
3). The use of the arms and hands to slowly rise and lower in front of the body, aligning the centre of each palm ( Laogong point) with the upper and lower dantian ( heavenly elixir centre).
4). The use of the eyes to follow the rising up of the hands from side to side to help maintain timing and concentration.
5). The use of the breathing to co-ordinate the of whole body movements and to keep the mind fully focused and anchored to the whole exercise.
The aim of the Rising Hands Qigong (Shang Shou Gong) is to change the essences (Jing) into energy (qi) and change the energy into spirit (Shen) and to change the spirit into nothingness (Dao). This is the ultimate aim of all Taoist qigong and meditation practices to promote good health and long life.
Regular practice of the Rising Hands Qigong exercise can help individuals to relax and to help release stress, anxiety & tension. As the movements of the Rising Hands Qigong exercise are performed slowly and smoothly which helps to calm the nervous system, it promotes strong blood circulation and replenishes low energy levels. Because of the arm actions that are used it is also beneficial towards strengthening the muscles around the lungs and help the lungs to draw in and expel air to promote it functioning to spread energy throughout the internal organs.
Rising Hands Qigong is an ideal exercise for everyone, irrespective of age, gender or ability. In China loads of people practice qigong as a form of “Moving Meditation” to help strengthen the connections of the mind & body which will help improve their balance and co-ordination.
The Rising Hands Qigong ( Shang Shou Gong) Exercise comes out of the Taoist Kunlun Wild Goose Qigong System. The aim of the Rising Hands Qigong exercise is to increase the flow of energy (qi) between the upper, middle and lower dantian ( heavenly elixir) as to change the essences ( Jing) into energy (qi), changes into spirit (Shen) which returns to nothingness (Dao).
The Rising Hands Qigong exercise can be performed from either a static or moving exercise, the moving exercise involves walking either in a straight line or in a circle using the Mud Wading Step (Tangnibu) which allows the earth energy (Di qi) to rise upwards into the body through the yin energy pathways (jingluo).
Practicing the Rising Hands Qigong is very beneficial towards releasing stress, anxiety & tension as it’s movements are performed smoothly and slowly which has a calming affect on the individuals nervous system allowing the individual to relax deeply into themselves. Due to the actions of each arm rising and lowering in front of the body will also help to strengthen the functioning of the lungs to fully draw in and expel air out which will also increase the blood circulation around the entire body.
Regular practice of the Rising Hands Qigong exercise will also improve each individuals balance, co-ordination and concentration as anyone of any age can practice the Rising Hands Qigong exercise. In China the practice of meditation is performed from a sitting, standing or walking position, the Rising Hands Qigong also comes under the walking meditation practice and is a suitable exercise for the elderly to maintain their physical and mental strengths. There are five components to the Rising Hands Qigong exercise which are:
1). The use of the legs through stepping and weight transferring .
2). The use of the torso to turn slightly side to side from the waist, while remaking erect.
3). The use of the arms to rise and lower in front of the torso, aligning the centre of the palms ( Laogong point) with the upper & lower Dantians.
4). The use of the eyes (yan) to follow the rising hands from side to side and to keep the mind focused on the timing of the movements.
5). The use of the breathing to co-ordinate with all of the movements and to anchor the mind and stop it from wondering off.
This is the last blog that’ I will be explaining the eight energies within the practice of Taijiquan. In the last seven blogs I have covered the eight energies of ward off ( Peng), rollback ( Lu), squeezing (Ji), pressing (an), grasping (Cai), splitting (lie), elbow (Zhou) and now the last one bump( Kao) .
Like the Elbow ( Zhou) technique which is not obviously seen in the Taiji forms, but is always there. The Bumping technique ( Kao) is again much the same, you cannot see it within the Taiji form sequences, unless you are already aware of it due to your understanding of were it is used in conjunction with some of the other eight energies.
Within the practice of the traditional and simplified Yang style Taijiquan forms the use of the Bumping technique is used in the posture of “Parting the horses mane”, Single whip and Cloud hands postures. Usually the Bumping technique is used in combinations with the splitting and elbow techniques.
Most individuals think that the Bumping technique involves the use of only the shoulder. But, in actual fact you can use your hips, thigh or your back to Bump your training partner off balance. The use of the Bumping technique is used to fully knock your partner off balance or it can be used to trap their body weight onto just one leg, were you can then use a splitting technique to throw your partner to the floor.
The Bumping technique can also be used in the practice of Tai Chi Joint locking techniques ( Qinna), especially when applying either an arm or shoulder lock by using your shoulder to Bump into your opponents own elbow or shoulder joint.
In the practice of the Chinese Internal martial Art of Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu (Hand of the Wind Boxing) it is very important that each practitioner of this particular Chinese family Gongfu style reaches a high level of skill to be able to defend themselves. This can only be achieved through hours and hours of training, constantly practicing their techniques in a repetitive manner.
As a beginning student you are taught the basic techniques,it is only when the teacher can see that the beginner as fully learnt the basics that he or she is them shown more slightly complicated techniques which again they must learn to master before being moved further ahead in their training. This constant repetitive training gradually teaches the practitioner of Feng Shou-Gongfu to be able to naturally respond and react using the techniques that they have learnt.
The only way to naturally develop your response, reflex and reactions within you’re Feng Shou-Gongfu is through repetitive training of you’re techniques. That is why you must learn you,re basics properly and lay a good foundation that can be built upon for you to achieve higher levels of skill. Over the years I have seen many individuals start their learning within the Feng Shou-Gongfu system and sadly they never achieved a reasonable level of proficiency, as they would not put the time and energy into their training that was needed to help them reach a higher standard where their response and reactions were natural.
In any martial art you must practice you’re techniques in a repetitive manner for your body to learn the mechanics of how to deliver the power into your techniques and to constantly refine the movements so that your mind & body are fully connected and your body responds and reflexes in a natural skilful reaction.
The Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form as become a popular form of exercise for thousands of people from all around the world. The reason for the Li style Tai Chi popularity is that it can be practiced within a small confined area, unlike the other styles of Tai Chi like the Yang, Chen and Wu styles that need a larger space to practice in.
The Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form consists of 42 postures which are very beneficial for various ailments like back stiffness or muscle tension, arthritis and poor circulation etc. there are no low posture in the Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form, but there are balancing posture where you stand on one leg. Like all styles of Tai Chi all the movements are naturally flowing from one into another, never being held by pausing for to long before moving into the next.
Regular practice of the Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form will develop each persons balance, co-ordination and concentration. It will also improve their joint, tendon and ligament flexibility throughout the entire body. One of the characteristics of the Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form is it’s turning of the body in a one hundred eighty degree rotation from right to left and vice-versa. It repeats this turning of the whole body a few times . Another characteristic is for every time you perform the “Brush Knee and Side Step” posture each one is different from the previous one. This allows the individual to learn variation, as each of the Li style Tai Chi postures are just an example of expressing the eight energies of Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Cai, Zhou, Lie Kao and there are many ways that these eight energies can be performed.
The Li style Tai Chi Square Yard Form is suitable for everyone, any age, gender or ability it uses medium to small size movements that move in four directions which are forwards, backwards and to each side.
Another of the eight energies of Taijiquan is known as the Elbow or Zhou. This is used in every movement of the Yang style Taijiquan form, but is not as obvious as some of the other eight energies like the Ward Off, Rollback or Pressing techniques? What do I mean as non obvious, we’ll there is no posture called “Elbow” in the Traditional or Simplified Yang style Taijiquan forms. But the Elbow technique is there in every movement for example, when you perform the “Parting the Horses Mane” Taiji posture, the arms are always kept bent by curving the joints, especially the elbow. This allows you to maintain your low centre of gravity and stop your shoulders of rising upwards.
To fully see the use of the Elbow technique in the practice of Taijiquan. Then you will need to practice the Taiji Two-person Pushing Hands exercise (Taiji Tuishou). The Elbow technique is then used to break your training partners balance by forcing him or her backwards, side wards or downwards by using the Elbow to strike your partners torso. The Elbow technique can also be used to maintain your balance by using it to wipe your training partners hands of your own torso or arms in co-ordination with your Rollback technique.
In the practice of the Taiji Pushing Hands exercise the Elbow technique is usually used in conjunction with the Bumping technique ( Kao Jing) and the Splitting technique (Lie Jing). For these three particular Taiji eight energies techniques to be successful in breaking your partners balance, then you must stay very close to your training partners body learning to use your Ward Off, Pressing and Squeezing techniques to open up his or her defence allowing you to step in close to use your Elbow technique.
No matter what Chinese internal martial art you practice be it Tai Chi, Xingyi or Baguazhang or any of the little known internal family styles. There is one thing that they all have in common and that is the development of issuing power ( Fa Jing) from their body into their strikes or kicks. Without this power development your martial art is useless and the Chinese call it “Flowery hands and brocade legs”
When you first start your practice within the internal martial arts your techniques feel awkward and clumsy and the power is obvious ( Ming Jing). As the individual uses greater muscular power and large movements that telegraph his or her intentions.
After a few months of regular practice the individual will gradually progress to the second stage which is the hidden power ( An Jing). At this level the individual has developed a feel for his or her movement structure and is now listening to his or her body. At this stage we would expect the individual to have a better expression of power, it should feel smooth and well connected in motion and we’ll balanced. The individual who can achieve this level would be quite powerful and a force to be reckoned with in a combat situation.
The third stage of development takes a few years to achieve and this stage is known as the mysterious power ( Hua Jing). At this stage the individual is quite powerful in a way that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. They are able to fully harmonise their connection of the mind & body. Their ability to store and release power is truly subtly and extremely difficult to see. The movements of the body are small and refined and carry a great force making this stage of development very dangerous in a combat sense.
These stages are all achieved naturally with time and practice. But the reason to reach the final stage of mysterious power is quite obvious as it all leads towards fighting efficiency. Larger movement structures are not only telegraphic to the opponent, but also inefficient in terms of body energy as they will cause the martial artist to tire quickly under the rigours of combat.