Within the practicing and learning of the Chinese internal martial art of the original Feng Shou-Gongfu there are many different levels of development that each student or practitioner must achieve to reach the highest skill level within their martial art, which is the natural ability to be completely spontaneous with their skill.
As each particular student begins to strengthen and improve their attributes like their balance, co-ordination, concentration, timing, precision, accuracy and general fitness and flexibility the art of Feng Shou-Gongfu becomes much more easier to perform. Which can allow the student to begin to develop a good foundation to improve their skill level and to try and achieve the highest level of naturalness spontaneous skill.
Obviously it all comes down to the individual and how hard that person trains and works hard to develop his or her attributes. For many individuals to reach the highest level of natural spontaneous skill can take many years to achieve, sadly, many do not even get close to it as they do not put the time and energy ( Gongfu) that is obviously needed into their personal training.
So what is natural spontaneous skill in the Chinese internal martial art of Feng Shou-Gongfu. Well it is where the individual can flow naturally from striking to kicking to joint locking to throwing constantly changing and adapting to any situation with speed and whole body power being used in any direction with a feeling of ease and mindful relaxation. The old Chinese masters would call this skill level (Shen Ming) which means “Spiritual enlightedment” within they chosen art.
The kunlun spiralling hands qigong (luo xuan shou gong) is so called because the hands are constantly spiralling around each other with the energy points (qi xue) located in the centre of each hand facing each other forming an energy ball (qi qiu) which is turning and rotating in the area of the Middle Dantian chest area.
The Spiralling hands qigong is practiced using three training methods. The first method is performed in a static posture where only the hands and torso are moved. The second method of practice is known as the “rocking exercise” . This is where one leg is in front of the other and the body weight shifts from one leg to another in co-ordination of the hands spiralling and the torso twisting from side to side. The third method of training is the walking practice which is the more advanced level, as this can be done either in a linear or circular direction with hands spiralling and the torso rotating in harmony with each other.
The spiralling hands qigong exercise is very beneficial towards the promotion of cultivating strong internal energy to strengthen the health and well-being, increasing both blood and energy circulation throughout the whole body, boosting the immune system, replenishing low energy levels, nourishing the kidneys, heart and lungs in their functioning towards the maintenance of balancing our health. Helps in relieving stress, anxiety and tension etc.
In the walking practice of the Spiralling hands qigong (luo xuan shou gong) the footwork that is used is known as the mud wading step (tang ni bu), where the whole sole of the foot is placed firmly onto the ground with the leg extended out in front and the body weight kept on the rear leg. It is said that this particular stepping method increases energy flow into the feet and strengthens the kidneys and stretches the spinal column. While the spiralling of the hands works the shoulders and upper back and spine.
One of the best ways for any practitioner of the Chinese Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Gongfu to develop their over-Al skill level is to improve their attributes such as their agility, co-ordination, concentration. This will in turn develop their timing, precision, reactions and accuracy which will help them to raise they skill level in the fighting techniques of Feng Shou-Gongfu.
But properly the most important attribute that needs to be developed is the ability to feel and listen through our sense of touch. As fighting involves making contact with your assailant and if you can develop your tactile awareness to a high degree of skill it will allow you to have a greater advantage over any individual who you might have to defend yourself from.
The only way to develop your tactile skill is through practicing the pushing hands or rolling hands exercise with as many different training partners as you can. Even through practicing the pushing hands or the rolling hands exercise you will still need to have a good level of balance, co-ordination and concentration. Out of all the many attributes to learn and improve the most important are developing your balance, co-ordination and concentration.
Good balance allows you to have a strong foundation to receive any in-coming attacks and be able to repel them, plus it allows you to launch your own offensive techniques. Good co-ordination allows you to be strong on any side of the body and plus to be able to direct your attacks with greater strength and accuracy. A good level of concentration allows you to understand the information that you receive from your tactile skill and then be able to respond with the correct technique to either deflect the in-coming Attack or to take the opportunity to attack with a good technique.
Like all Chinese internal martial arts Feng Shou-Gongfu develops a high level of manipulative skill it is a practical based art. But to attain a high standard of ability within Feng Shou-Gongfu you must improve your three main attributes of concentration, co-ordination and balance.
The hand shape (Yin Shou) method known as the “Sword Fingers” (Jian Zhi) is not just used in the practice of qigong it is also used throughout the entire Traditional Chinese health, healing, meditative and martial arts like tui na bodywork massage, taijiquan, taiji sword and numerous qigong styles.
In the practice of the Daoist kunlun qigong system the “Sword Fingers” hand shape is used to disperse sickly qi out of the body through its finger tips, plus it can be used to gather qi into the body through the large intestine point 4 ( Hegu) which is located in the space between the thumb and index finger by aligning the ( Hegu Point) to other energy points ( qi xue) such as the ( Shenshu) Urinary Bladder point 23 located on the lower back, or the upper dantian ( Yintang) point coated between the eyes.
The ” Sword Fingers” is also used in the practice of both seated and moving meditation practice to develop stronger concentration and energy (qi) cultivation for the promotion of health and well-being. In the use of the walking meditation practice which in the Daoist kunlun qigong can be performed either in a linear or circular method using the ” sword fingers”to draw energy inwards from the surrounding environment to again harness and store internal energy (Nei qi).
The three main attributes that need to be developed to a high standard by each individual who practices the Internal martial art of Feng Shou-Kung Fu are: 1. Developing the balance, 2. Developing the co-ordination,
3. Developing the concentration.
By developing your balance will allow each practitioner to connect their centre of gravity to the earth which will allow the practitioner of the Feng Shou-Kung Fu system to produce greater strength in their fighting techniques.plus it will improve the individuals agility to move their body fast in any direction.
By developing the co-ordination will allow each practitioner to direct their defensive and offensive techniques with a better level of skill and control. Improving the co-ordination will also produce greater power and strength to be directed and issued from any direction.
By developing the concentration to a high level will produce a greater level of skill,strength and control. It will also improve the accuracy of your defensive and offensive fighting techniques.
All through the training from beginner to the more advanced experienced practitioner of the Chinese internal martial art of Feng Shou-Kung Fu will always be developing their balance, co-ordination and concentration constantly fine turning these three main attributes to a high degree of proficiency. From these three main attributes you will also be able to train, improve and develop your timing, precision, accuracy and reactions which will all help in raising your over-Al martial art ability.
The Daoist kunlun’s qigong Fire Palm shape ( Huo Zhang) is where the palm faces away from the body as if pushing something away from yourself. The Palm shape (Yin Shou) should be a flat Palm with the energy point ( qi xue) at the centre of the Palm pushed forwards to emit energy (qi) out off the Palm or body. The fingers are kept slightly apart especially the area between the index finger and thumb. Which is known as the Tigers mouth (Hu Kou) and should be kept apart with a curved shape to it.
The Fire Palm is used mainly to disperse energy out through its fingers and Palm, it can be used in a slow passive pushing technique to gently lead the energy out. It can also be used in a vigorous, fast, flicking action to disperse the energy more quickly and stronger out of the body.
The Fire Palm can be used on its own or as a double pushing Fire Palm technique by either holding a static posture or by using a walking, moving posture timing the steps with the pushing of the Fire Palm .
The Fire Palm shape allows the practitioner of the Kunlun qigong to emit negative or sickly energy that has been stagnant within the body out, and to dredge the energy pathways (Jingmai) clean of any blocked sickly energy that can affect the balance of Yin & Yang within the individual own body. And help to maintain a natural balance of health and well-being.
Another popular Palm shape (Yin Shou) that is used in the Daoist kunlun qigong system is the Embracing Palm ( Bao Zhang). This particular Palm shape involves the use of the arm being held in either an horizontal or vertical position with the arm bent at the elbow and a slight curve in the wrist giving the shape of a round embracing shape, the Palm usually faces inwards towards the body.
When you face the embracing Palm inwards towards the body it is usually lined up with the Middle or Upper elixir field (dantian) . The embracing palm (Bao Zhang) is used to gather energy (Qi) into the middle or upper (dantian) to help store and cultivate the energy to strengthen your health and well-being.
Within the many Daoist Kunlun qigong forms the embracing Palm can be held as a single or double embracing Palm shape as already mentioned it is used to gather and draw energy inwards towards the body. One of the most popular posture of the double embracing Palm and which is used throughout many different tai chi and qigong styles is were the individual is standing upright with his both arms held out infront at shoulder height as if hugging somebody with the both palms facing inwards and the fingers of each hand pointing towards each other, as if carrying a big beach ball.
The Plum Blossom Claw (Mei Qun Hua Zhua) is were the four fingers come together to touch the thumb making a claw kind of shape. This particular Palm shape (Yin Shou) allows the energy point (qi xue) at the centre of the palm to become sunken as if it is drawing energy through the finger tips into the centre of the palm.
As I have already mentioned the Plum Blossom Claw Palm shape is used to gather energy (qi) into the body through the energy points and pathways (Jingmai) by connecting the Plum Blossom Claw with certain energy points on various parts of the body. For example as seen in the accompanying photo the energy point of the Large Intestine point 4 (Hegu) on the Plum Blossom Claw connects to the Kidney Channel point 23 (Shenshu) which is located on the lower back at navel height.
The four finger tips of the Plum Blossom Claw Palm shape is also used to connect with various energy points on the body to draw energy into the body to help maintain a natural balance of Yin & Yang energies. The Plum Blossom Claw can be used as a single or double handed method at various energy points on the body.
Carrying on with yet another of the various palm shapes (Yin Shou) which are used in the practice of Kunlun Qigong is the Mountain Palm ( Gen Zhang) which is where the Palm faces inwards towards the body with the fingers pointing upwards. This particular palm shape is usually held in line with the upper Dantian which is located at the pituitary gland in the brain as demonstrated in the accompanying photo with this blog.
The Mountain Palm is also used to line up with other energy points (qi xue) on the body and is used to bring energy into the body to help in stimulating positive energy circulation and to also store and cultivate the energy to nourish the functioning of the internal organs to help promote good health and well-being.
The Mountain Palm can be held either in a solid Palm shape or as a hollow Palm shape the solid Palm is used to bring energy (qi) into the body through various energy points. While the hollow Palm shape is used to gather energy at a certain energy point on the body like the upper dantian for example.
As I have already mentioned in other blogs the use of the various Palm shapes or configurations are used to guide and lead (Daoyin) the energy around the whole body and to also draw in energy from the environment, plus to also disperse energy out. But the most important aspect for the use of the various Palm shapes is to strengthen the guardian energy ( Weii qi) that forms a thin barrier around the outside of the body to guard the individual from any external pathogens that may Attack the body for example like coldness, heat, dampness or wind which can affect the balance of each persons energy and cause illness.
Another Palm shape (Yin Shou) which is taken from the Daoist kunlun qigong system is the Thunder Palm ( Zhen Zhang) also known as the Shaking Palm ( Dou Zhang). This particular palm shape uses a relaxed hollow palm with the energy point (qi xue) which is located at the centre of the palm sunken and the fingers held slightly apart especially the Tigers mouth (Hu Kou) which is the space between the index finger and thumb should be kept open in a curve shape.
The hand is then shaken in an upward and downward direction with a fast and vigorous tempo being generated from the wrist joint. If this is done correctly the whole arm will vibrate and shake like a bird fluttering its wings. This fluttering or shaking of the whole arm allows any blood ( Xue) and energy (qi) stagnation or blockages to be moved, increasing the blood and energy circulation into the muscles and fingers tips. Another reason for the fluttering/shaking action is to also used to disperse negative energy out of the body dredging the energy pathways ( Jingmai) clean so to improve the individuals health and well-being.
The fluttering/shaking of the Thunder Palm is performed as a single and double handed action and is in combination with various stepping actions to add a greater effect of the energy dispersing and circulation. The shaking of the arms must also involve the joints of the wrist,blow and shoulder developing flexibility in them.