Within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system as taught by the LFIAA there are hundreds of joint locking (Qin Na) techniques that can be used to seize and capture an opponents joints, tendons, ligaments,muscles to cause a tremendous amount of pain and damage on them. Joint locking comes under the wrestling range of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system were an opponent could strike, kick or take a hold of you from various positions and you must then learn how to apply effective joint locks to subdue or immobilise the opponent into submission or to place them in a better position to finish with a powerful strike or kick or a devastating throw.
One of the major problems that students of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu have in the study, practice and learning of the many joint locking techniques that exist, is how can we still maintain our practice when they have not got a training partner to help them practice and further their study. This is where the practice of solo joint locking forms comes into use as a method of self practice for students to practice and help them remember certain joint locks such as a finger or wrist locking method. Within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system there are three types of Qin Na joint locking forms taught, these are classified as a higher, middle and lower level forms.for example a middle level form will mainly teach around eight joint locking techniques that are made up of both finger and wrist locks. The form will also include counter wrist and finger locks, plus fast throwing techniques.
Learning the Qin Na joint locking forms as a solo method of practice will also teach students about improving their posture, stance, footwork.and over-al accuracy of learning correct angles, leverage and timing, but more importantly it will help them to remember various Qin Na joint locks helping them to develop a vast catalogue of joint locking techniques to help them become more proficient in their skill in being able to use the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu as a fast, practical and effective system of self defence and as a quality Chinese internal martial art.
One of the major reasons why certain individuals take up the practice of the Daoist qigong exercises is to help them slow down the aging process and rejuvenate themselves. This is achieved by training their body to remain soft and supple from the regular practice of qigong exercises like that of the Kunlun Wild Goose qigong which uses both passive and vigorous movements to open the body’s joints, stretch the tendons, ligaments and muscles releasing the tension and stiffness that accumulates everyday from the stresses and strains that we place on our body and mind.
As we all get older our bodies start to grow hard and stiff having a great effect on our health and wellbeing in a negative way. Everyday when we look at nature we can see that the soft and supple survive and live longer, yet the hard and rigid decay and die. For example the soft and yielding willow tree remains in tact when a heavy storm try’s to up root it, whereas the hard and stiff oak tree gets up rooted. Another example is the most softest element water can erode the most hardest of rocks turning it into dust.
Hence it is the same with humans, obviously to keep the body healthy takes a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline .This is the reason why the practice of Daoist qigong is such a powerful tool for everyone to turn to in helping them to remain fit and healthy, as.qigong practice helps to manage and strengthen the “Eight Body Systems” the circulatory, immune, nervous, reproductive,respiratory, digestive, muscular and skeletal systems which weakens as we all grow older our bodies start to age and slowly decay. Qigong practice is suitable for everyone, irrespective of age, in actuall fact the younger you can start with its study and practice the better for those individuals, but that does not mean that just because you begin your journey into the study of qigong at either middle or old age that they have left it to late to receive the benefits from qigong practice, everyone will benefit no matter how old they are.
Through the regular practice and study of the many Daoist Kunlun Qigong forms and exercises that there are performed within the LFIAA. Many individuals start with a small amount of understanding and ability in the practice of qigong, many have never heard or seen it before, but after only a few months of regular practice they have improved there own bodies flexibility, mobility, concentration levels, relaxation and over-al skill level to be able to cultivate and circulate the vital energy (qi) and blood (Xue) within themselves to greatly improve their health and wellbeing in a nut shell they have fully expanded their own self awareness to fully connect to the way (Dao).
Typical example of certain individuals being in a state of tightness, stiffness or rigid are all examples of where their bodies have shrunk or become contracted stopping the circulation of both energy and blood from flowing smoothly through the body. This can effect the individuals physical and emotional health causing them to suffer with high blood pressure, headaches or feelings of frustration, irritability, anxiety or bursts of anger. Through the practice of Kunlun Qigong the individual are taught to open up their bodies through both passive and dynamic stretching movements that releases tension in the muscles and stiffness in the joints, allowing for the true qi (Zheng Qi) to develop and build and for the turbid qi ( Zhao Qi) to be flushed out this can then help to strengthen the individuals health
Everyone through the practice of Kunlun Qigong can learn to fully expand their bodies strength, health and vitality. It can greatly benefit thousands of people by teaching them to fully open and expand their emotions to be able to connect with the people around them in their work enviroment, family and friends bringing them closer, rather than being introverted and withdrawn which is another example of ” shrinking”. Obviously to fully expand also means that each individual must shrink a little to maintain their growth. But the total aim is to develop a state of balance or equilibrium where the individual neither shrinks or expands in any direction excessively but stays in accord with their own path ( Dao) towards good health and wellbeing.
As we all get holder our body and mind obviously ages and deteriorates in its strength. By regularly practing Dao Qigong each individual can learn how to continue building the body and mind strength and rejuvenate your whole being so that your body becomes as soft and supple as a child’s. For many people practicing qigong on a regular basis can become a chore for which they find hard to continue, hence there body and mind will suffer with the rigours of old age.
To achieve good health and wellbeing through your life you must take on the responsibility to look after yourself and practicing the Daoist arts of qigong, taiji or meditation must be practiced on a day to day basis if you truly want to change and maintain your health for the better and be able to still be active oin your old age. Being soft as a child means that you embrace softness in the way that you exercise learning to release hard muscle tension and joint stiffness into a more relaxed, loose, soft and supple body. Your breathing should also be soft, long, smooth and deep, whereas many individuals breathing is loud, forceful and short in its action.
A soft and relaxed individuals body as a good abundance of blood and qi flow throughout the entire body, their vitality levels are high, full and strong, they seem to last longer on very little sleep. Practicing Dao qigong allows each person to remain young at heart with a joyess out look on life in general, this attitude also helps them to remain young and as soft as a child helping them to live longer with a strong cultivation of vital energy that helps them to manage and cope better with any ailments that they might suffer with or Dao qigong can prevent external pathogens attacking the body helping them to remain healthy by boost their immune system, while others around them are suffering with colds and aches throughout the year.
One of the most frequent question that I am asked by loads of individuals is how can they move their qi during the practice of qigong or taijiquan. Firstly you have to take into consideration how long the individual has been studying and do they practice regularly on a day to day basis? For example a beginner is still working out how to remember the actual movements, their actions can be stiff, uneven and disconnected. Whereas a more intermediate individual has developed a smooth, continuous action but does not practice enough on a regular basis.
There are three main techniques that each individual must develop to help them be able to move their qi around their body. The first attribute is good body mechanics, good balance, good co-ordination, good posture and whole body movement, the second attribute is the development of deep,long,slow and smooth breathing all co-ordinated with the body mechanics. The third attribute is a strong concentration that can be held for a long period of time without the mind wondering off. In the practice of qigong the action of moving the qi within is called “Guiding and Leading” (Daoyin) to do this the body, mind and breath must be skilfully co-ordinated to connect with the qi inside and be able to make move smoothly anywhere within the body.
To develop this skill in being able to effectively move the qi inside yourself, each person must practice regularly, everyday with plenty of repetition of the exercise or sequence with the individual fully engaged in their practice. There are many individuals who do not know how to recognise their qi moving in their body, sensations like tingling, warmth, fullness, heaviness or a feeling of flushing waves of heat or pressure moving in a certain direction are all good signs of qi circulation. One of the main reason to individuals not being able to move or even feel their qi is a lack of regular quality practice time on a day to day basis, once you the individual has reached the stage of feeling their qi move, they then must continue their practice to help cultivate and strengthen their qi circulation so that it can be used to improve their health and wellbeing.
Alongside the practices of ” Moving Meditation” exercises like that of Taijiquan, Qigong and Dao Yoga which are practiced by thousands of people to help them combat the stresses and strains that life can sometimes throw at us. Another exercise that I would encourage everyone to practice is ” Sitting Meditation” ( Da. Zou) to start simply find a place that is warm, quiet either sit on a cushion on the floor or sit in a chair,place your both hands on your lap close your eyes and begin to breath deeply through the nose, concentrate on breathing deep into your abdomen and begin to count your breathing ,one inhale and one exhale considered as one breath. By placing your mind on your breathing will help to stop your mind from wondering off, if you lose count of your breathing start again from zero,as an exercise to strengthen your concentration begin by counting upto one hundred and then to three hundred and then five hundred. This exercise is used to “Still” the mind which is considered to be like a monkey that is constantly playing around.
To be able to continue onto the practice of the Daoist meditation exercise known as the “Small Heavenly Circulation” ( Xiao Zhou Tian Gong ) each individual must be able to fully hold their concentration for along space of time without the mind suddenly wondering off. The practice of the Small Heavenly Circulation is the opening of the two main acupuncture meridians that travel directly up the back which is known as the govenor channel (Du Mai) and down the front of the body which is called the conception channel (Ren Mai). The individual must touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth to connect the two main meridians together, in Daoist meditation the touching of the tongue to the roof of the mouth is called the “Magpie Bridge” (Que Qiao).
Practicing the ” Small Heavenly Circulation Meditation” can help each individual to fully relax both the mind and body, increase vitality levels, help lower high blood pressure, release stress, anxiety and tension. Practicing allows the individual to develop a deep feeling of inner “Stillness” that can remain with them long after their practice has finished. When we sit or stand quietly in our meditation practice our essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen) are strengthened and each one transforms into the other helping to strengthen our health and wellbeing.
Practicing Daoist meditation alongside the study of Taijiquan or qigong is a great form of exercise to help combat the stress levels that a fast modern world can bring to each and everyone of us. Both practices compliment each other as one seeks the stillness in motion and the other seeks motion within the stillness.
One of the main four areas of Chinese internal martial arts training that is not fully practiced by practitioners of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system is “Throwing”. Throwing (Shuai) has to practiced alongside the other three areas of Striking (Da), Kicking (Ti) and Wrestling (Na) this allows the practitioners of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system to become more balanced and skilful throughout the whole system. Learning and practicing fast throwing techniques is a great advantage to all students, as a throw can be applied from an opponent who suddenly takes a hold of you from behind or from the front simply by holding your wrist, to an arm going around your neck from behind .Obviously throwing techniques can also be applied against punches or a kicks and are combined with the your own strikes and kicks.
Too many individuals who are learning the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system spend most of heir time practicing Striking, Kicking and Joint Locking, but very rarely do they practice Throwing techniques ( Shuai Fa). Developing each individuals ability in this Chinese internal martial art means they must become fully trained in all areas of it, as throwing techniques can be a very powerful technique that every student of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu must be able to use effectively. The Chinese call the use of Throwing methods as a finishing technique to end a confrontation quickly, because if you do use a throwing technique to escape from a hold or you have used it in combination with your striking and kicks techniques the opponent is usually thrown onto very hard ground and if they hit the ground on their head, shoulder or hip then this can cause tremendous damage to them, plus the speed and force of your throwing technique can traumatise the opponent to carry on their assault even if they manage to get to their feet.
My teacher Master Chee Soo would teach Throwing techniques at anytime during a class or on a course this allowed his students to quickly accept that practicing Throwing techniques alongside Striking, Kicking and Joint Locking was a normal aspect to their training in the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu system..Today we allow individuals to choose if they wish to practice Throwing techniques as most individuals are scared of being throwen heavily and hence they do not want to participate in them, rather then just making it become a normal aspect to their training. I personally believe that the Feng Shou-Gongfu art itself suffers because we should not be dictated by individuals who do not like to be thrown change the way this Chinese internal martial art should be rightfully practiced.
Another of the Sun Style Bagua Zhang ( Eight Trigram Palms) eight basic palms (Ba Jiben Zhang) is called the twisting palm sometimes also called the screwing palm ( Luo Xuan Zhang). Again this particular palm shape is seen and practiced throughout the entire Sun Style Bagua Zhang Swimming Body Continuous Palm Form ( You Shen Lian Zhang Shi) as it is seen in the postures known as the ” Black Tiger Exits the Cave” (Hei Hu Li Qu Dong Shi) which are in both the Single and Double Changing Palm Forms. The twisting palm can be performed at various angles like the vertical or horizontal angles the whole length of the arms joints, tendons and muscles are rotated in a twisting action that turns the lifeless finger edge of the palm inwards towards the body.
Energetically the twisting palm flushes the three Yin & three Yang meridians and channels of the arm sending a strong flow of air through the whole length of the arm into the palm and fingers. When the whole arm is twisted this slows done the blood flow in the arm as the tendons and muscles slightly tighten giving a feeling of squeezing against the bones of the arm, when the twisting action is released and relaxed the individual will feel a sensation of warmth, tingling, fullness and movement of blood (Xue) and qi flowing into the fingers. The squeezing action of the tendons and muscles against the bones of the upper extremities helps to gently massage the bones keeping them soft and supple, because as we all get older our bones begin to go hard and stiff, also the squeezing action allows the qi to sink deep into the marrow of the bones helping to strengthen them and promote good health and wellbeing.
As in the usage of the twisting palm as a martial art technique it can be used both defensively or offensively. It can be used defensively to deflect in-coming blows,break out of grips,offensively it can be used to strike, apply joint locks and throws alongside stepping and kicking techniques. As already mentioned the twisting palm ( Luo Xuan Zhang) consists of the whole arm and not just the palm itself, it is used extensively throughout the whole Sun Style Bagua Zhang system.
Within the traditional Chinese medical bodywork massage system that Laoshi Keith Ewers was taught and for which he uses in his practice to treat individuals with various ailments at the Black Mountain Clinic of Chinese medicine. There are one or two massage techniques where the practitioner has to have developed good skill ( Gongfu) to effectively use these techniques to achieve a tangible and beneficial outcome. One of these particular easy to learn,but hard to master medical bodywork massage techniques is the “Drawing Technique” (Hua Fa).
This technique is what it says it is, to use either one or two fingers to simply draw lines, tracing the acupuncture channels anywhere on the patients body in any direction. Sounds easy doesn’t it, but to actually get positive tangible results in your treatments,means that the practitioner has to spend many hours and days practicing their ” Guiding and leading” (Daoyin) exercises to develop strong energy ( Qi) circulation into the hands, especially the fingers so that the practitioner can fully connect to the patients own energy and be able to use their Drawing technique to guide and lead the patients blocked or stagnant blood (Xue) or energy (Qi) around their body by opening and flowing their channels and meridians.
When the practitioner uses the Drawing technique successfully on a patient, the patient should experience various sensations like heat, tingling or a feeling of movement in a certain direction that the practitioner fingers are moving. The Drawing technique is used to treat illnesses caused by coldness like influenza,head colds, stiff neck, frozen shoulder, poor circulation.it can be used to lower high blood pressure,remove headaches and migraines etc. The key to using the Drawiing technique is for the practitioner to firstly remain calm and relaxed in themselves they must not get excited , anxious or use to much strength. When using the Drawing technique it must be steady,accurate, slow and light with the concept of energy first and strength second.
The Scooping Palm (Liao Zhang) is one of the eight basic Palm shapes ( Ba Jiben Zhang) that is used throughout the whole of the Sun Style Bagua Zhang ( Eight Trigram Palms) practice. The Scooping Palm is also known as the “Water Palm” as it is associated with the Water Trigram ( Kan Gua) of the Chinese ancient book of philosophy known as the ” Book of Changes” (Yijing). The shape of the Scooping Palm is with the five fingers pointing downwards towards the ground with a slight bend in the wrist. The Tigers mouth (Hu Kou) the gap between the thumb and index finger is kept open and rounded and is pointing forwards. The energy point (Qixue) in the centre of the Palm known as the (Laogong) Pericardium Meridian point eight is kept slightly hollowed as to gather energy (Qi) into the Palm itself.
The Scooping Palm is used and seen in the Double Changing Palm Form (Shuang Huan Zhang Shi) as part of the Sun Style Bagua Zhang Swimming Body Continuous Palm Form ( You Shen Lian Zhang Shi) which can be practiced by the individual to help improve their own health and wellbeing, self healing, meditation or for martial arts usage. The Scooping Palm can be used in combination with the other eight basic palms to make numerous amounts of different Palm changes giving the practitioner a vast array of variety of techniques that can be used in the practice of the Sun Style Bagua Zhang Qigong standing or moving practice for the cultivation and circulation of the vital energy (Qi).
As a Sun Style Bagua Zhang martial art technique the Scooping Palm can be used both defensively or offensively.it can be used as a striking method, it can be used as a throwing method and as to apply many joint locking techniques. As with all of the other Sun Style Bagua Zhang eight basic palms ( Ba JibenZhang) the Scooping Palm includes the whole length of the arm that includes the fingers, Palm, forearm, elbow and shoulder which can be used to defensively deflect or block any in-coming attacks or it an be used to attack using the various aspects of the Scooping Palm to strike with.