The Three Star Principle of Feng Shou-Gongfu is basically based on the Daoist three powers ( San Cai) of Heaven, Human, Earth or Essences (jing), Energy (qi), Spirit ( Shen). It is used in Feng Shou-Gongfu to apply the principle of Attack, Defend and Counter which can be used both defensively or offensively. During the 1970’s my teacher Master Chee Soo used to teach the Three Star Principle ( San Xing Yuan Li) openly, but sadly in the 1980’s decided to stop teaching it. Sadly there are many individuals teaching and practicing Feng Shou-Gongfu who were never taught how to apply all of their fighting techniques together through the practice of the Three Star Principle.
Three Star Principle is the key factor for practitioners of the Feng Shou-Gongfu to combine all of their strikes, kicks, joint locks and throws together in a vast variety of fighting techniques, allowing themselves to fully express their martial art to the full. A highly skilled Feng Shou-Gongfu practitioner uses all parts of his or her body to be used to either defend or attack with, which includes the use of the head, shoulders and hips for example. Because our Gongfu style involves the use of Yin & Yang theory this means that the use of Three Star Principle can be used defensively, absorbing your assailants force of attack then either manipulating his or her balance or simply dodging or evading his or her attack and then counter back forcefully and powerfully. Or you could choose to attack aggressively forcing your assailant to block or defend themselves and you then counter his or her defence with powerful counter attacking fighting techniques.
When I look around at the many individuals teaching and practicing Feng Shou-Gongfu I see many of them adding in techniques from other martial arts like kick boxing and boxing etc. which gives the appearance of their Feng Shou-Gongfu style moving like a kick boxer and not a traditional Chinese internal martial art. This properly is because they were not taught Three Star Principle and hence not fully able to put their fighting techniques of Feng Shou-Gongfu together in an effective way and attain its unique style and appearance of moving. On the other hand there are those practitioners who demonstrate their Feng Shou-Gongfu in a too much of a relaxed fashion with their arms hanging down by there sides of the body with no thought of fully protecting themselves by keeping their hands up.
The ultimate aim of all practitioners of Feng Shou-Gongfu is to be able to fully apply all of their fighting techniques together, moving effortlessly from one technique to another learning to adapt to any situation that may occur. Without the learning and practicing of Three Star Principle many practitioners will suffer in being able to combine techniques together and develop the Feng Shou-Gongfu unique style and appearance. My teacher Master Chee Soo would always mention ” A reflection in a pool of water never revels its depth” This means to fully understand the depth of knowledge that can be found within the Feng Shou-Gongfu style you need to fully emerge your self in your study and practice by finding a good quality teacher who can teach you the Three Star Principle and teach you how to fully develop your Feng Shou-Gongfu Another favourite saying of Master Chee Soo was ” Do not read a poem to a fencing master” meaning words are useless action speaks the loudest.
Feng Shou-Gongfu is a Chinese internal martial art that offers physical, mental and spiritual development. It is not just simply an alternative to gentle exercise. It is a martial art that stands alongside all of the other Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other martial art styles. I personally believe that since Master Chee Soo stopped teaching the Three Star Principle in Feng Shou-Gongfu a lot of practitioners out there lost or never fully developed their own confidence and skill to totally believe in themselves in using their Feng Shou-Gongfu as a martial art, one thing you deffenetly need to develop in oneself is ” Courage” to stand up for yourself and your Feng Shou-Gongfu if taught and practiced correctly should develop each individuals confidence to do just that. As the saying goes Do not read a poem to a fencing master. It is the skill you achieve in your actions that talks for you and not words.