Within the study and practice of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu each practitioner should involve the practice of cultivation and circulation of their vital energy (Qi) through the practice of “Guiding & Leading” exercises called (Daoyin). As the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu is considered to be an Internal Martial Art (Neijiaquan) then it is only obvious that the practitioner develops their “Neigong” or internal work alongside their striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing techniques of their “Waigong” external work.
One such particular Daoyin exercise that is taught within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Gongfu classes is called the “Dragon Stretches its Back” ( Long Shen Ji Bei) usually it is taught with the student standing in a Riding Horse Stance (Ma Bu Shi) then it can be performed in a trinity stance ( Santishi) where the student stands with one leg infront of the other in a 60/40 weight ratio on the rear leg. Both hands are used to push forwards moving in a circular action, the student must harmonise his legs, torso and arms together to generate the flow of qi into their pushing hands. The student must gently ripple their spine,hence the name Dragon Stretches its Back, by coordinating their pelvis and shoulders to move in a circular action to generate a tremendous force that passes from the legs,through the muscles of the back and spinal column, through the shoulders and arms into the both hands. For beginning students it must be performed slowly with deep coordinated breathing to promote strong qi flow into the hands and to develop proper body mechanics,intermediate students can then perform the “Dragon Stretches its Back” with more speed once the teacher can see that their back and spine as become supple enough, advanced students will learn to practice it fast and on the move quickly being able to produce strong force into both hands or alternation palms.
After a few months of practice on a daily basis the student should have a tangible feeling of warmth, tingling and fullness within their arms, palms and fingers. Generally the whole body will be warm and the blood flow throughout the whole body should increase, the back should be supple and the spine flexible. Practicing the “Dragon Stretches its Back Daoyin” will develop the individuals striking power and strength as the whipping of the spine can be used to develop power into any angle strike that the Feng Shou practitioner can use to defend themselves.
Practicing the many Daoyin exercises that are used in the practice of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu can not only be used to develop internal power for self defence usage, they can also be used to help maintain the students health and wellbeing. As without good health the student will not be able to practice and improve their skill for many years to come. They can be used to release the build up of stress, irritability,frustrations, anxieties helping the student to become more relaxed both physically, emotionally and mentally.
We are all governed by “Time” (Shi Jian). We are all constantly watching the clock or looking at our watches to know the “Time” of day. We all live very busy lives and need to be at certain locations at a certain time, this can place a lot of pressure on us causing us to become stressful, especially if we are late for an important event. Within the practice of Daoist Meditation no matter wether it is a sitting, standing or moving practice of meditation like that of taijiquan or qigong time does not exist.
I have forgotten how many times that I have taught either taijiquan or qigong to a group of people which have all become fully engrossed within its practice, uniting their external self to their internal self by concentrating on balancing their slow, long, smooth, deep breathing with the slow, smooth and even speed of their taijiquan or qigong movements. Once the class has finished for them to then say to me that the hour long class went by so quickly that it didn’t even feel like an hour to them it only felt has if we had all only just started the class session. The reason for this was that they were so fully concentrated on their practice that they forgot about “Time” all of their anxieties and tensions was released as their minds become “Still” and their body went into a deep feeling relaxation.
When we can practice our sitting, standing or moving meditation practice without having to worry about being some place else and being controlled by “Time” then we can relax more deeply into our being letting go of our anxieties, irritability, frustrations and tensions that cause our minds to become agitated our emotions to become unstable and our bodies to become stiff,hard and tense. There are numerous amounts of occasions that I have only intended to practice some taijiquan or qigong by myself for about 15 minutes and have got myself fully engrossed with my practice that “Time” has become irreverlent and does not exit in my mind. Then I realise that 45 minutes have passed by, but to me it only felt like ten minutes. Being controlled by “Time” can place a lot of pressure on ourselves as our busy lives begin to speed up and become stressful. Practicing Daoist Meditation exercises like taijiquan or qigong can greatly help in allowing us to slow down and reconnect to ourselves, and to help us manage and control the stresses and strains that our busy modern lifestyles can have on our health and wellbeing.
Simply sitting down in a quit spot where you cannot be disturbed and close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing making it become long, slow, smooth and deep. To focus your mind count your breaths from one upto a hundred without breaking your concentration. You will be surprised how mush better you feel as your mind becomes more calmer and quite and your body begins to relax, obviously the more longer your duration of practice becomes the deeper you will be able reconnect to yourself, there are two aspects to ourselves our external world and our internal world practice meditation like taijiquan or qigong allows our two worlds to connect and become more balanced.
One of my teachers Master Chee Soo favourite kicking techniques was what he called a ” Buffer Kick” ( Huan Chong Jiao). This is a toe out stamping kick (Deng Jiao) that uses the bottom of the heel to cause its damage, the kick is usually aimed at the opponents hip,knee or ankle joints to cause serious damage in breaking the joints. In other Chinese internal martial arts like the “Mind/ Body boxing” (Xingyiquan) or ” Eight Trigram Boxing” ( Bagua Quan) this particular kick is known as the “Trending Kick” ( Dao Jiao).
As with most techniques in the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu they can be used in a dual role,meaning that they can be used either offensively or defensively. Just as much as the “Buffer Kick” can be used to attack your opponents joints of his lower limbs, it can also be used to defensively block your opponents attempt to aim their kicks at your legs. As with all of its kicking techniques a practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu will combine their hand techniques to help disguise their offensive kicking techniques, so that the opponent never sees the kick,but can only feel the pain of its power when it is unleaded on them.
The “Buffer Kick” can also be used as a swaying kicking technique, this means a s a double kick. Firstly using the “Buffer Kick” to attack your opponents leading legs knee, as he steps back to evade the kick, the practitioner can then use the same leg to apply a ” Side Stamping Kick” (Bian Deng Jiao) aimed at the opponents rear legs knee or ankle joint. Obviously the “Buffer Kick” can be used defensively to block your opponents lowlife kick attack, using the sole of your foot to cushion your opponents power and then apply the ” Side Stamping Kick” to target your opponents kicking legs hip joint using your swaying or double kicking technique using the same leg for which can then be followed up with a series of strikes.
The “Buffer Kick” is properly one of the most well used kicking methods that is used throughout many external and internal martial arts. As I have already mentioned it was my teachers favourite type of kick because it is a very versatile type of kick that can be combined with strikes, joint locks and throwing techniques.
In the practice of studying the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu a student will learn the four fighting methods of striking,kicking, wrestling and throwing. In the practice of a student learning the “Seize & Capture” techniques ( Qin Na) the individual will learn how to apply individual joint locking techniques on the fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder joints of the upper limbs and to apply joint locks on the hip, knee and ankle of the lower limb. They will learn to apply these joint locks firstly from various types of holds and grips, secondly they will then learn how to apply them from blows and kicks, thirdly they will learn to apply them against a weapon.
Once the student as a good level of skill and understanding within their Qin Na joint locking techniques they will then practice how to apply their joint locking techniques against someone who resists them. Because you are more than likely going to one day come up against an opponent who is very much more physically stronger than yourself and you must learn how to change and overcome the situation and continue your offensive techniques to subdue, immobilise or finish the confrontation quickly. To do this the student must learn how to “Lockflow” (Suoliu) which means they have to learn how to quickly change their joint locking technique. For example if the student is attempting to apply a wrist lock on his opponent and the opponent begins to resist, the student must learn to change and follow the direction that the opponents strength is resisting and then change from his wrist joint to control his elbow and quickly apply a joint lock on his elbow.
For anyone to skilfully use Qin Na techniques they must be very clever and tricky, especially against an opponent who is much bigger and stronger than yourself. One cannot simply apply Qin Na techniques according to a set plan, actions must be in accord with the actual situation in other words the opponents movements, changes , and his height, weight and strength. If it is impossible to attempt a joint locking technique on your opponent the student must then learn to use the other three fighting methods of striking,kicking or throwing if he is clever and skilfull enough he can tempt his opponent into a situation where he can then successfully apply a Qin Na joint lock.
The learning of Qin Na “Lockflows” is an important practice for all students of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu to learn as it is based upon using your opponents strength against themselves. Once the student meets strong resistance their must quickly learn to change their Qin Na joint locking technique by moving along to the next joint on the same limb until they can fully Seize and capture the opponent in a good joint lock. The student learns that through movement there is change and from change there are numerous transformations.
It is said that there are 1 in every 5 women who suffer with Migraine headaches and there are 1 in every 15 within men who also suffer. In western medicine a Migraine can be caused by stress related problems such as anxiety, tension, worry and tiredness etc. It causes the individual to become sensitive to bright light with some people saying that they actually experience flashing lights with a sharp headache pain that causes them to stay in a darken room.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine a Miraine attack can be caused by qi and blood stagnation within the meridians and channels of the head. Blood stagnation is caused by the muscles of the scalp and neck becoming tense which causes a pressure to build up in the head. My teacher Master Chee Soo used to call a Migraine/Headache as qi disease, which means that the individuals energy (qi) has raised upwards and has become stuck in the head causing a pressure to build that is very uncomfortable for the person to suffer with, causing a prolonged headache pain that completely forces them to retire to bed.
Through the treatment of Energy Bodywork Massage ( Tui Na Qigong) the practitioner will massage the patients head using a variety of manipulative techniques that will allow the patient to fully relax and move their accumulated qi blockage from the front and sides of their heads where many individuals say that is we’re the pain gathers. As the qi blockage is slowly being dispersed through the Governor Meridian ( Du Mai) and the Urinary Bladder and Gall Bladder Meridians the patient can experience the sensation of warmth, tingling and possibly even a feeling of movement,their head will become lighter as the pressure that they are feeling from the Migraine Headache begins to release due to the practitioners massage techniques to relax the muscles of the scalp increasing the flow of blood and qi.
The Black Mountain Clinic offers traditional Chinese Energy Bodywork Massage for a wide range of ailments like Migraines using natural therapy treatments to help maintain health and wellbeing.
There are many individuals who suffer with such problems like depression, anxiety, mental tension which can be affected by the stresses and strains of everyday living having to balance family relationships, work commitments and off cause financial pressures. All of these outside problems can cause the individual to worry and they can become irritable, angry, argumentative or distant with there friends, family and work colleagues, they cannot seem to cope and if really serious they could have a mental break down.
Recently a great interest as been placed on individuals taking up the practice of “Mindfullness Meditation” as a tool to help people combat mental stress and tension helping them to calm and quite their mind and release the chaos that is affecting their mind. The practice of taijiquan is known as ” Moving Meditation” as it benefits the individuals body, mind and spirit. For many individuals to simply sit still for a long time as in the practice of ” Mindfullness Meditation”can be very differcult. Whereas, through the practice of taijiquan the whole body is fully intergrated and kept moving at a very slow speed allowing the mind to fully concentrate on maintaining accuracy of the physical movements of the body.
Through slow, smooth, circular movements of the body that involve the coordination of the top and bottom halfs of the body working together in unison with each other and the maintainance of good balance means that the individuals mind has to concentrate on the accuracy, timing, breathing, balance. Gradually the individuals concentration levels will begin to strengthen so that they can hold their mental focus for a longer period of time. This can only be developed through the practice of taijiquan by repeating the practice with plenty of repetions, as the individuals mind strengthens in its concentration levels, the mind will begin to become calmer and they will have less thoughts running through their head which can distrupt there concentration. The more the individual can practice their taijiquan on a day to day basis the more they will be able to calm their mind and enter in to a state of “Stillness & Tranquility”.
Obviously many individuals cannot find the time to fully practice their taijiquan on a regular basis. But the practice of taijiquan offers the individual plenty of flexibility in its practice. For example maybe on the day that you have more time free you could practice the taijiquan form, but on the days that you are busy,then maybe you could practice some taiji qigong exercises or simply sit or stand and practice some taiji standing post exercises to help combat your mental anxiety and tensions. Everyday we are affected by stress that can effect our body or mind, so everyday we must learn to to maintain our practice and find the time in our busy schedules to take a 15 minute break to either sit, stand or move and practice some taiji exercise.
The more you can practice taijiquan in all its many training methods to help you enter into a state of “Emptyness” that allows your body to remain loose and relaxed (Fang Song) and your mind to become calmer and still the more easier it will be for the individual to carry that sense of feeling of deep inner stillness with them into everyday life helping them to combat the stresses and strains of a fast modern lifestyle has on affecting an individuals mental health.
It is said within the practice of Qin Na that “A thousand twigs shake when one branch moves” this means that by locking up one particular joint along a limb you can effect all of the other joints like a chain they are all connected. It is important that when the practitioner of Qin Na intercepts the attackers in-coming blow, that they immediately learn to Seize and control the attackers three major joints in the attackers striking arm by using a rotation and twisting technique ( Xuan/ Ning) of the attackers wrist joint. This gives the practitioner the chance to then use a follow up strike that causes more harm to the attacker before he then applys a devastating Qin Na join lock to either the attackers wrist, elbow or shoulder joint to either break the joint or use the pain of his tendons being divided from the bone causing his nerves to explode with pain that he can be easily subdued and immobilised on the ground.
In the study and practice of Qin Na if a practitioner wants to apply a shoulder lock ( Jian Suo) on his attacker. He must learn to control the attackers elbow, likewise if he wants to apply an arm lock (Bi Suo) they must learn to control the attackers wrist. To successfully apply any joint lock on the upper limb the practitioner has to lock up at lest two of the major joints along that limb, if the practitioner fails to do this he will allow the attacker to escape or keep their attack going.
Within the LFIAA Qin Na as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers there are twenty four techniques that a practitioner must learn to fully understand how to use any Qin Na joint lock with success. Some of these techniques are 1). Hooking, 2). Covering, 3). Twisting, 4). Rotating, 5). Pressing, 6). Extending, 7). Separating, and 8). Pushing etc. These twenty four techniques are used in unison with each other to create hundreds of Qin Na joint locks.
Because the upper limbs are more frequently used in every day life to perform many duties. It is more than likely that your attacker will use his arms and hands mostly to attack you with. There is another saying within the practice of Qin Na that you lock above and divide below. This means that you Seize and capture your attackers upper limbs and sweep or trip his legs to make them lose their ” Root” and balance making it easier to take them to the floor, tripping your attacker over immediately takes there strength and power away from them, because if they are left standing they could use there free hand to strike with or even use they legs to kick with.
The practice of Qin Na is a sub section of the other three ranges of fighting striking, kicking and throwing. At anytime the practitioner can resort to any of the other three fighting ranges to lead into a Qin Na technique. For example once the attacker has struck at you and you deflect his blow and begin to attempt to apply a Qin Na on his limb. He might start to resist, so you decide to kick at his legs, this then disrupts his attention for you to then quickly apply a successful Qin Na joint lock on his wrist to break his joint.
When I started to learn the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu ( Hand of the wind boxing) from Master Chee Soo he would always mention that it was a “soft” Chinese internal martial art that was based upon the cultivation and circulation of the qi as its power source. Sadly he did not emphasis enough or teach his students how to cultivate and circulate their qi and combine their internal strength (Nei Gong) with their external (Wai Gong) Feng Shou-Gongfu techniques strikes, kicks, locks etc. Obviously this has left many of his students simply practicing and teaching the physical techniques void of any internal connection which will leave their techniques weak and empty of strength and power which is needed to defend themselves against a serious aggressive situation. Plus, practicing Feng Shou-Gongfu without an internal and external development will not gradually develop the practitioners body, mind and spiritual journey towards the Way (Dao) they will just stay on the physical level.
Just as much emphasis must be placed on a practitioners practice and development of their internal work ( Nei Gong) in the cultivation of their essences,energy and spirit ( Jing, Qi, Shen). In the LFIAA we practice the “Eight Standing Post Qigong” (Ba Zhan Zhuang Gong) exercises to develop and strengthen our Jing, Qi and Shen these particular postures have been taken out of the Lishi Dao Yoga system to help improve the Feng Shou-Gongfu practitioners flexibility and internal strength. The emphasis of the “Eight Standing Post Qigong” is to “Enter into a state of Stillness” and rebalance the body using breathing, relaxation, calming the emotions and mind (Heart/Mind) and harmonising the Jing, Qi , Shen.
While holding any of the Eight Standing Post Qigong postures the Feng Shou-Gongfu practitioner will place their intention and thought on there Lower Dantian (Ren 4 Qihai Sea of Qi Point) located below the navel. Here through Entering into Stillness the practitioner will begin to gather their essences ( Jing) and transform it into energy (Qi). Practicing the internal work (Nei Gong) will also allow the practitioner of Feng Shou-Gongfu to continue their study and practice well into old age, it will strengthen and improve their own health,wellbeing and help them to attain a long life (Yang Sheng).
When we are at sleep this allows our body,mind and spirit to fully rest and repair itself, replenishing our vitality for when we are active during the day. This balancing of rest and activity must also be maintained within the practice of Feng Shou-Gongfu in balancing “Stillness with Movement” everything in the world started from nothing or Stillness, practicing the Eight Standing Post Qigong allows the practitioner to return to Stillness to nourish their Jing, Qi, Shen and balance their internal and external development and improve their Feng Shou-Gongfu training.
Lao Zi said
All things grow and flourish, each returns to its roots. Returning to its source, returning to its root is called “Stillness”. Stillness is called returning to one’s nature.
Dao De Jing Chapter 16.
All traditional Chinese Internal martial arts practice striking the acu-points along various meridians and channels and within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu we call this “Poison Hand” (Du Shou). The practice of the Poison Hand involves the use of various parts of the upper limbs that can be used to deliver accurate, powerful and devastating strikes to the opponents vital areas of their body to either cause paralysis, knockout or death. In Chinese this is called the ” Fall Strike” (Dian Xue Fa) because once the energy points (Qixue) as been struck then the opponent usually falls to the ground.
Within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu the practitioner will practice a series of fighting forms that teaches them to become aware of certain vital areas on the opponents body to direct their offensive striking techniques. For example the practitioner will be taught to direct their strikes to the temple area (Fu Sang) of their opponent as this area of the skull is relatively weak and the ” Taiyang” Extra acu-point is located. Striking this area with a moderate blow causes blurred vision and dizziness, while a severa blow can cause a knockout. The Feng Shou-Gongfu practitioner will learn to use their fingers, palms, fist and even their elbows to strike this area using various angles to deliver their devastating blows.
Today a lot of the more modern martial arts are more sport and competitive oriented and use protective gloves which limit them to using closed fist blows, which are mainly targeted to the head and body. Whereas, the traditional Chinese internal martial arts especially do not rely on simply using the fist, but develop the skill in being able to strike using fingers, knuckles and palms etc aimed at not just the frontal aspect of the opponents body, but also their back and sides striking the many vital acu-points located in these areas.
Another more formiliar area to strike at and is mainly used in most martial arts including boxing, is to strike the “Mandible” (Liang Gou Fen) with a closed fist or a Palm heel strike, this particular area of the jaw is often targeted within boxing to knock the opponent out. In the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu we target this area to strike the “Stomach Acu-Point” ( Jiache St 6) to cause a knockout.
As you can sense within the traditional Chinese internal martial arts there is more to simply learning to strike your opponent. You must also know what types of weapons you can use to strike with and where to target your strikes to cause the most serious damage to your opponent. Obviously this type of knowledge is not taught to every student of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu as if the information is passed on to the wrong person they can use it for the wrong reasons. So the teacher must make sure it is given to the right person with a good moral character who will respect it and not show off or use it stupidly.
In the practice of taijiquan the individual is attempting to balance ” Stillness in Motion”. Sadly not many individuals achieve this level of proficiency as to many come into the class sessions with a chaotic mind and they find it hard to relax and become calm. We all live two types of world, there is the external world and the internal world, sometimes knowenly or unknowingly we create brides between the two worlds. However, as our modern technology advances this can place a lot of external social and financial pressure on ourselves causing conflict and opposition which can separate us from our external and internal self making us disconnected.
Through the practice of taijiquan the individual can slowly begin to connect their external and internal aspects of themselves and begin to fined the Stillness and Tranguility in themselves to help release their conflict and division that has been caused by the external pressures of their fast, modern lifestyle. The more the individual can release and loosen in the practice of their taijiquan especially their mind the more they can balance their external and internal selfs. As the minds concentration becomes strong over time the individual is able to look deeper into the selfs and begin to feel the movement of their qi as it flows through the meridians and channels (Jing Mai) and into their internal organs (Zang/Fu). I recently read that if we are totally in harmony with our external and internal self we are the first doctor that we should ever meet. Because, as we become more attune with our external and internal being we can feel when there is a sensation of abnormality in ourselves and if we need to then we can go and actually see a doctor for further treatment.
So through the practice of taijiquan we can bring our external and internal being into harmony to live a healthier and longer life. Obviously it takes a lot of time and effort on the individuals part to reach and achieve this level of external and internal balance. We as humans are born from stillness and as we grow we become more active, this activity can become more important and we lose our sensitivity to our internal world as the pressure of our lives begin to take over us. It is through the practice of taijiquan that we can find deep inner calmness and harmonise our two worlds.