All Traditional Chinese Internal Martial Arts involve striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing techniques. The Lishi internal martial art of Feng Shou-Gongfu as taught by Master Chee Soo also covers various throwing techniques that can be used against strikes, punches, kicks and wrestling holds. The Chinese have looked at the use of fast throwing ( Kuai Jiao) as finishing techniques, as usually when an opponent is thrown to the ground, it is upon hard,, solid ground and not a 40mm training mat. And because of the hard ground it is usually that and the combination of the force and angle of the throw that ends up finishing the opponent off as he or she is unable to continue the assault because of a dislocated hip or shoulder etc.
Within the practice of Feng Shou Kuai Jiao or ” Hand of the Wind Fast Throws” we do not allow the opponent to break fall or roll out of a particular throwing technique and escape its force. We are taught to twist and rotate the opponent into an awkward angle or position making it impossible for him or her to escape the full force of the throw. In Feng Shou- Gongfu the fast throwing ( Kuai Jiao) techniques can be used either defensively or offensively to throw your opponent in six directions.
Defensively fast throws can be used against strikes, punches, kicks and various wrestling holds. The aim is to use your opponents own strength, balance and aggression against themselves. Obviously the practitioner must also have good tactile manipulative skill and fast agile footwork to quickly apply fast and practical throws. Offensively to use any fast throwing technique has to be hidden by the use of your striking and kicking techniques. To simply attack a good and skilled opponent with a throw is a very dangerous thing to do. You must create the opportunity th use fast throwing techniques by hitting your opponent with your strikes and kicks to off balance him or her and to distract them so that you can then use a fast throwing technique that hopefully finishes the conflict.
Over my many years of studying and teaching the Lishi Feng Shou-Gongfu it has always amazed me how many individuals do not like to learn the fast throwing techniques ( Kuai Jiao Fa). I have seen many a black sash grade and student back away from practicing fast throwing techniques, I believe that everyone who practices the Feng Shou-Gongfu learns at lest a few fast throwing techniques to help them round their internal martial art off.
In the LFIAA the practice of the Chinese Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Gongfu the practice of multiple attack is widely taught to all students from beginners to advanced practitioners. Each individual student learns how to strike, kick, wrestle and throw in the style of Feng Shou-Gongfu-Gongfu, they learn to apply their techniques against a single training partner for a couple of months developing their skill and ability to adapt to a situation using what they have been taught.
After a couple of months they are introduced to multiple attack drills. These particular multiple attack drills aim to enhance their over-al skill and ability to a greater level of performance and self awareness, Laoshi Keith Ewers mentions that the practice of multiple attack drills is the best way to judge a students level of development within the length of their training in Feng Shou-.Gongfu. Because they are instantly placed under pressure where they have to react and are forced to practically apply their skill, obviously some students fail and need plenty more practice time, but it is the one of the best ways to test a student within the Feng Shou-Gongfu system other than the practice of free fighting drills ( Sanshou).
The practice of multiple attack drills within Feng Shou-Gongfu teaches the students to instantly use strategy to effectively defend themselves against two or more attackers. For example if he or she is surrounded they must look for the biggest gap and go for it. But they must firstly hold their nerve and not telegraph his or her intention to the attackers, they must time it correctly especially if the attackers all rush forwards at the same time. He or she must then learn to manipulate the attackers by forcing them to get in each other’s way,by either pushing or throwing one into another or taking one to the floor and using him to trip the others up. Learning how use the attackers is a great strategy as its best to fight them one at a time than all at the same time.
There are many other strategies that one can learn from practicing the Feng Shou-Gongfu multiple attack drills. Properly the most important one is to immediately escape from the situation as soon as you can create an opening skilfully enough.
All traditional martial art schools and styles each have their own guidelines to teach their students correct integrity towards each other within the class training environment and to others outside it as well. My many teachers of the Chinese internal martial arts and health arts would also mention that I should be respectful to everyone and accept people for who they are until I could fully understand their personality.
In the martial arts it is very important that every student fully understands the guiding principles of there chosen martial art and for everyone to follow them. Because in our classes we get to meet people from all walks of life and some of these individuals can have some negative attitudes like being aggressive, egotism, sly and nasty. It is important that these particular individuals are quickly delt with before anyone gets hurt, as one thing we need to develop in the practice of martial arts is trust and respect for each other, without trust you could easily end up being hurt and without respect there is no compassion shown to each other.
Good training in our Chinese internal martial arts breeds correct behaviour in the students by setting down a list of rules that each student must obey. These rules are there to teach each student correct integrity towards each other, there family and friends, plus strangers. It is important that a martial arts master can fully trust his students for he is passing on information to them that if it was placed into the wrong hands or individual could seriously hurt someone just to show off and feed their ego or even try to attack there teacher. Other bad behaviours like swearing, racism or being rude to female students are not welcome in our martial arts as they all breed resentment and bad feeling which can easily escalate to violence or law suits.
In the LFIAA classes all students are asked to show respect, trustworthiness, honesty, courage, humility, patients, kindness and benevolence towards each other. The total aim of studying the daoist arts as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers is to turn individuals in better human beings who enjoy and protect life and try to maintain a good harmony with everyone. As my teacher Master Chee Soo would always mention that the more aggressive, argumentative and egoistical individual would not last long within the arts that he taught, as they were moving closer towards
the entrance as the “Dao” was pushing them out.
There are many individuals who over the many years have studied under the late Master Chee Soo in various aspects of his family system. Many of these individuals studied either the Li style Taijiquan or Feng Shou-Kung Fu. But not many actually studied the healing arts ( Lishi Yi Shu) under Master Chee Soo and many are still unaware that his family system contained these so called healing arts.
As part of the Li family’s healing arts Master Chee Soo taught Traditional Chinese Bodywork Massage which is also known as either Anmo or Tuina massage, he also taught herbal therapy, plus energy healing and sound healing alongside the Guiding & Leading exercises of (Daoyin/Qigong) Each of these particular healing arts can be used to strengthen, purge or regulate each individual’s energy channels and meridians to fight against pathogenic illnesses or ailments.
The key to learning and becoming a good practitioner within the Lishi healing arts is through regular Daoyin/ Qigong practice to be able to increase your energy cultivation and circulation into your hands so that you can better connect, sense and direct your patients own energy to improve or maintain their health and wellbeing. The Chinese energy bodywork massage system involves various manipulate hand techniques that can be used on the energy channels, musclularsketeal system or directly on the internal organs. Energy healing uses various hand shapes to tonify, sedate or regulate the energy within your paitent, whereas Sound healing uses the hands to be placed on the patients body at two points of an energy meridian or channel and through the use of various sounds and tones you can vibrate energy through your hands to disperse either blood or energy stasis and cysts to improve circulation and over-Al health of the individual.
The Li family’s healing arts ( Lishi Yi Shu) are still being taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers technical director of the LFIAA and a senior student of the late Master Chee Soo. The LFIAA hold regular workshops, courses and seminars for those certain individuals who are interested in learning the healing arts of the Li family system.
All martial arts teach and encourage their practitioners to practice many fighting techniques that can range from striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing methods, plus weapon training in various types of weapons from long to short weapons to flexible etc. But there is no single fighting technique or weapon that can be used to defend against every type of attack, if there was then there would not be so many martial art systems in existence, there would only be one.
In the Chinese internal martial art of Feng Shou-Gongfu the reason why we cover various striking, kicking, joint locking and throwing techniques is that our particular martial art as to adapt to the actual situation that is confronting us. There is no one single technique or lock that will work against everyone, hence why we are taught to change and adapt our fighting techniques to the size, speed, height and amount of individuals attacking us. For example it’s no good deciding to take one opponent to the floor in a wrestling technique when you are defending yourself from more than one attacker.
Just because we learn a vast amount of joint locking techniques ( qinna) in Feng Shou-Gongfu does not mean that they will work against everyone. You have to learn fighting strategy to go alongside the learning of your Feng Shou-Gongfu fighting techniques and learn how to use the correct technique for the situation. This particular theory of fighting comes straight out of the ancient Chinese book known as the “Yijing” or the Book of Changes. Which states that everything around us is in a constant change of fluxation and we have to learn how to change and adapt and maintain our equilibrium, this philosophy should also be applied in our fighting strategy which makes us unpredictable and flexible for any opponent to confront us as we are constantly changing and adapting to over-come any situation.
Against a bigger opponent we would use fast evasive and attacking footwork alongside striking and kicking techniques. Against a smaller thinner opponent we would use joint locking and throwing techniques. Against a taller opponent attack his lower limbs and groin, against a shorter opponent attack his upper body and head. This is how we are taught to use fighting strategy in Feng Shou-Gongfu adapting and changing your fighting techniques to the situation at hand.
Within the Li Family’s Chinese Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Gongfu there is the practice of Standing Post Qigong known as Zhan Zhuang in Chinese. But unlike the Standing Post Qigong that is practiced in the many different Taijiquan styles where the emphasis is in developing the ( ground path) or root as well as cultivation strong energy. The Standing Post Qigong that is practiced in the Feng Shou-Gongfu system also incorporates the development of increasing a better connection with the earth through good alignment of the posture, plus the development of cultivating the internal energy for both health and martial arts usage. But it also develops the flexibility of the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles through dynamic stretching postures which are held and repeated on both sides of the body.
These particular Standing Post Qigong postures that are practiced in the Feng Shou-Gongfu have been taken from the Li Family’s Daoist Yoga system which involves both lying, sitting and standing exercises that develop both strength and flexibility and increase the circulation of both the blood and energy around the entire body. Because Feng Shou-Gongfu is considered an internal martial art it is obvious that it should have various practices for harnessing and circulation of the blood and vital energy (qi) to help in improving the health and vitality of each individual, but to also increase the power of the Feng Shou-Gongfu practitioner fighting techniques.
Practicing the Standing Post Qigong postures of the Feng Shou-Gongfu system will develop strength in the tendons, ligaments, especially of the legs and arms. But they will also increase the practitioners flexibility by the stretching and opening of the body’s tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints of the whole body increasing blood flow and energy circulation. Each of the Standing Post Qigong postures is performed with deep breathing and can be held for a number of breaths, unlike other forms of Standing Post Qigong where you can hold a particular posture for over one hour. In the practice of the Feng Shou-Gongfu Standing Post Qigong you should only be able to hold a particular posture for a few minutes, because of their dynamic stretching and twisting actions can be to demanding the body and mind. The aim is then to immediately switch from one dynamic posture into another but only holding them for a number of breathing cycles.
There are thousands of people all over the world practicing the Chinese Mind & Body exercise known as Taijiquan or Tai Chi which when translated from Chinese into English means “The Supreme Ultimate Fist”. Many of these individuals also enjoy the practice and study of the Taiji straight sword ( Taiji Jian) both in its form practice and its two-person matching drills and two-person Taiji straight sword matching form.
The practice of the Taiji straight sword form furthers and extends the Taiji practitioners training by developing their agility, timing , precision and qi circulation to be extended further beyond their hands, but into the tip of the Taiji straight sword. Within the Taiji straight sword form practice there are many changes of height, footwork and balancing postures which obviously improves the practitioners concentration and general fitness.
Where the real practice of the Taiji straight sword comes to life is in the practice of the two person Taiji straight sword training drills and the two person Taiji sword matching form. Here you begin to develop reactions and tactile awareness to a higher level of skill, plus your full understanding of the many Taiji straight sword blocks, thrusts, cuts and chopping actions become alive both in the use of the Taiji straight sword in defence or offence . Your Taiji footwork will also greatly improve becoming more agile and faster making your experience of the Taiji straight sword more enjoyable.
Many individuals believe that taking up the practice of the Taiji straight sword is mainly for martial arts reasons. This is not really true as many of the old Chinese Taijiquan masters would practice the Taiji straight sword to improve their meditation practice and the circulation of their energy (qi) and their fitness. The practice of the Taiji straight sword form is just as beautiful, beneficial and enjoyable in its actions as that of the Taijiquan solo form that so many individuals practice within many of the worlds city’s and towns and for which it can be practiced by both the young and old alike.
All of the many different styles of Taijiquan all involve the practice of sticking hands (Nian Shou). Some teachers of Taijiquan have decided not to offer the sticking hands practice as either they are not skilful enough in it or they have chosen not to learn it. Hence why there are more individuals practicing the Taiji forms than actually practicing and learning the Taiji sticking hands exercise.
Many think that to practice of the Lishi Taijiquan Whirling Arms ( Lun Bei) exercise is more about learning how to use Taijiquan as a martial art. Obviously this is true to some point, but it’s not just the total reason for practicing it. Learning the Whirling Arms exercise must also be connected to the practice of the Lishi Taijiquan solo forms, as the movements used in both the Taiji form and Whirling Arms exercise are one and the same. Practicing the Whirling Arms exercise develops flexibility within the joints of the shoulders, elbows and wrists increasing the blood ( cue) and energy ( qi) circulation into the hands and fingers so that each individual can feel ( De qi) the sensations of energy movement in their limbs when practicing the solo form or sticking hands exercises.
Another connection of the Taiji solo form to the practice of the Taiji Whirling Arms exercise is it can be practiced in a fixed position were both individuals facing each other making contact with their arms and begin to whirl their arms around in various size circles, while rocking their body weight from the front leg to back leg, allowing for the body weight to be placed fully on one leg at a time. As well as standing in a fixed position the Whirling Arms exercise can also be performed as a moving exercise. Where both individuals move freely around in any direction, but staying in contact through the touch of their arms which are slowly rotating around. Like the practice of the Taiji solo form which involves the maintenance of balance, co-ordination and concentration while slowly moving around changing direction and height. It is the same with the practice of the Taiji Whirling Arms exercise.
Simply by practicing the Taiji Whirling Arms exercise alongside the practice of the Taiji solo form is just a continuation of your Taijiquan practice. Each one benefits the other in fully understanding how to perform quality Taijiquan. For those who just like to practice the Taiji solo form are greatly missing out in furthering their own knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of Taijiquan that promotes better energy flow in their Taiji solo form practice.
Over the last 15 years the LFIAA has been holding annual residential weekend intensive courses, covering a wide range of traditional Chinese internal arts training in either Li style Tai Chi, Yang style Tai Chi, Feng Shou-Gongfu and Daoist Qigong. The venue that we use is held in the beautiful area of Pembrokeshire, West Wales it is secluded, quiet and no mobile phone singles can be received, so we are completely cut off from the outside world, the accommodation is excellent with self catering facility’s, no television or radio so all you can do is relax and train.
The LFI AA residential weekend intensive courses are based on a temple style of training with early morning Daoist qigong practice then breakfast, after breakfast there is Tai Chi training covering the solo forms, sticking, pushing hands practice, Tai Chi weapon practice in the staff, sword and sabre. Then a short break for lunch, after lunch we continue with Feng Shou-Gongfu a family style Chinese internal martial art covering striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing techniques. After a short break for tea we then finish the day with some Daoist yoga practice to relieve tired muscles and stiff joints and maintain a more relaxed mind & body. Then it’s time to relax and chat with fellow friends over a meal and then to bed and start it all over again.
This time of intensive training from each day to day will greatly improve each individual’s fitness, stamina and strength, it will also greatly develop their skill and understanding of their chosen internal art be it Tai Chi or Qigong or Gongfu. This type of training is definitely for the far more serious student of the Chinese internal health, healing and martial arts as the training is far more serious and hard with more hours training than resting. But the benefits one will receive definitely is worth the hard work and time and greatly more better than just those certain individuals who only train two hours a week.