The practice of the Daoist Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) consists of 128 postures which are broken into two forms of 64 posture known as the post-natal set and the pre-natal set. Obviously once the two forms are learnt you can then practice them both linked together. But the real depth is the option to practice a mixture of the simple postures on their own, rather than practicing the whole form,especially if you do not have the space or room to practice in, as the complete Wild Goose Qigong form does take up a lot of space to perform in. Wild Goose Qigong involves soft, gentle flowing movements that resemble Tai Chi, but are uniquely different based upon the actions of “Wild Geese” both in searching for food, in flight and at play. Alongside the soft, passive actions Wild Goose Qigong also combines dynamic stretching like that of Yoga, but are all performed standing no sitting on the floor.
Wild Goose Qigong postures also combine slow and fast vigorous movements, the slow movements seek the “Stillness” (Jing) and are combined with breathing to help mobilise the Qi flow throughout the whole body. Whereas, the fast or vigoures actions develop fitness and stamina by promoting blood flow and the dispersing of sickly energy (Bing Qi) that may lay dormant deep within our emotions, caused by traumartic experiences within each individual’s life. To the Daoist the practice of Wild Goose Qigong is considered a cleansing exercise of both the physical, emotional, mental and energetic levels for which the individual would then progress into “Meditation Practice”.
Simply practicing a few of the Wild Goose Qigong postures on their own can help some individuals to relax and release their anxieties and stress levels, replenishing and strengthening their vitality levels giving them more energy to enjoy life. As these Wild Goose Qigong small posture exercises can be performed within a small space, unlike the whole Wild Goose Qigong form which cannot. Each of the Wild Goose Qigong posture exercises involve stretching of the joints, tendons and muscles of the arms, torso and legs which will increase the sensation of relaxation by releasing the build up of tension or stiffness within the muscles and joints, which in-turn will improve the individuals range of mobility.
Unlike the practice of Tai Chi which combines deep breathing with slow movements to develop a concentrated Mindfullness. The Practice of Wild Goose Qigong involves five methods of practice which are 1). Slow & Fast Movement, 2). Passive and Dynamic Stretching, 3). Self Massage & Acu-Point Pressing/Patting, 4). Breathing 5). Mindfullness. Because of this Wild Goose Qigong practice offers each individual a lot of variety, which makes the whole practice a far more enjoyable experience over-al.
An aspect of Daoist Meditation to help cultivate and nurture the energy of the body promoting good health and wellbeing is the practice of “Swallowing Qi” (Bi Qi Gong Fa). This particular practice is part of the “Eight Sitting Brocade Guiding & Leading Exercises” (Zuo Baduanjin Daoyin) and is sometimes over looked by many practitioners. The purpose of “Swallowing Qi” is to cultivate the vital energy within us by storing it for further use in the practice of Daoist Meditation to help the practitioner reach a higher state of spiritual awareness (Shen Gong) and to boost their health & wellbeing so that they can live longer and practice their meditation.
Usually the “Swallowing Qi Daoyin” is performed before the practitioner sits to meditate as a preparation type exercise to focus their mind. The practitioner connects the tongue to the roof of the mouth to connect the two major yin & yang meridians of the (Du Mai & Ren Mai) together, both hands are held in the “Dragon & Tiger” (Long Hu Shou Yin) fists , with both palms facing upwards and resting on the thighs. The practitioner then breaths in through the nose and fills their mouth with air, then after a few seconds should Swallow the Breath (Qi) using their mind (Yi) to follow the breath (Qi) down through the body into their lower elixir field (Xia Dantian) this is then repeated for a number of repetitions.
As I’ve already mentioned the “”Swallowing Qi Daoyin Method” is part of the Eight Sitting Baduanjin exercises which are practiced on their own or alongside meditation practice. The Eight Sitting Baduanjin Daoyin exercises are practiced to cultivate and nourish the essence (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen), whereas, the practice of Daoist Meditation is to transform the three treasures of the body to attain oneness with the Dao.
“Effect emptiness to the extreme, guard stillness carefully, as myriad things act in concert, I thereby watch the return” Lao Zi Daodejing.
There are six seated Daoyin exercises for the Spring season, two exercises per-month. The Spring season starts from March and concludes at the end of May, the Spring season connects to the Yin internal organ of the “Liver” which corresponds to the five element of “Wood” and the colour green. The practitioner would firstly perform the Green Dragon Daoyin exercise “Qing Long Gong Fa” they would then follow this with the corresponding seated Daoyin exercise for the time period of the month to strengthen and nourish the energy (Qi) of the Liver to maintain and improve the individuals health and wellness and also to help prepare the practitioner to proceed into their Daoist Meditation practice.
The practitioner of these Daoist seated Daoyin exercises uses them to cultivate and nurture their essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen) and should practice them twice a day alongside their sitting meditation exercise to help slow down the aging process and give them long life and wellbeing. The 2nd seated Daoyin exercise for the second half of the month of March is called “Rain Water” (Yu Shui) it is a very simple exercise and only takes a few moments to perform.
The practitioner sits cross legged on the floor placing both hands onto the inside of their right thigh, then they simple rotate their whole body to either side,turning their head to look over their shoulders, return back to face front. Each time the practitioner turns their head and rotates their body they must press firmly down with their palms against the inside of thet thigh co-ordinating the breathing with the movements. The turning of the torso and head will allow the internal muscles around the area of the Liver to gently massage it and stimulate the functioning of its qi and blood.
Once the exercise as been performed a certain number of repetitions the practitioner will them finish by massaging a specific meridian (Jingluo) and its energy points (Qixue) that is related to the time period of Spring and then if they wish can proceed onto their meditation practice with a more relaxed and focused body and mind or simply begin the day. Usually these exercises are taught and practiced alongside the Dao Yoga exercises or on there own, but no matter if you practice the Dao Yoga exercises or Seasonal Daoyin they will both prepare the individual towards practicing sitting meditation.
When I first started to learn Meditation from my teacher Master Chee Soo it was taught alongside the Dao Yoga and Daoyin exercises. As he believed that each individual needed to be able to mobilise their qi and blood circulation, strengthen their ability to store and cultivate for their Meditation practice, for without an abundance of qi the practitioner can easily tire from an extended sitting Meditation practice.
One of the more higher levels of practice that an individual must try and achieve within their taijiquan training is the ability to intergrate the whole of their body actions.for example when a beginner performs a posture of the taijiquan form they will usually do two things,firstly they will step and move their hands at the sametime which in taijiquan is called “floating” or secondly they will move their hands first and step after which makes them look clumsy. Another bad example is that they will step first and then move their hands without involving their waist. Obviously it takes time for each individual to move their whole body in a smooth and intergrated manner, moving their body precisely in the correct order of sequence with each segment of their body connected to each other like a “string of pearls”.
In the practice of taijiquan there is a saying from the classics that mentions “If one part of the body moves, everything moves, But if one part of the body stops moving, everything stops moving”. Firstly this saying means that there are no isolated movements in the practice of taijiquan where an individual just moves their hand, but no other part of the body is involved or connected to that movement. If for example an individual was to lift their arm upwards to shoulder height, then the action would start in their feet, pass through their legs, hips, spine/torso and into the shoulder and arm or hand. The whole body would be involved in the simple action of lifting the arm.
Thus, existence and non-existence are born of each other, Difficulty and ease result in each other, Long and short are compared to each other, Above and below are opposite each other, Noize and tone harmonise with each other, Front and back follow each other. Lao Zi Daodejing.
The intergration of the whole body in the practice of taijiquan develops an inner force or power in every individuals movements. Giving an ideal sense of Yin & Yang balance in each persons actions, soft on the outside, but as strong as steel on the inside. This internal power (Jing) comes from a precise intergrated external body actions with a strong mind and internal qi circulation combined together as one intergrated whole. To reach or attain this level of taijiquan practice takes plenty of time and regular practice, once this level is reached then the individual will begin to develop good health and wellbeing as the body, mind and spirit are involved and fully connected in their practice of taijiquan.
Today more and more people are turning to the practice of “Mindfullness Meditation” to seek some kind of peace and tranquillity in their lives and to help them to manage or prevent certain ailments that affect their daily life. We at the LFIAA. teach our Daoist Meditation practice alongside our Daoist Yoga & Daoyin exercises as they all come under the same banner of “Life Nourishing Arts” (Yang Sheng Shu) meaning that they are all related and benefit each other.
The Daoist Five Seasonal Sitting Daoyin Exercises all relate to the five Yin Internal organs of the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys and obviously they should be practiced to correlate with the seasonal change during the year alongside your “Sitting Meditation” practice to help cultivate and nurture your essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen) to help strengthen your health and wellbeing. Each of the five seasonal sitting Daoyin exercises involve gentle stretching movements, a variety of breathing techniques and self massage on the energy points (Qixue) and energy pathways (Jingluo) associated to each of the five yin internal organs.
Each of the five seasonal sitting Daoyin exercises only take a few minutes to perform and are an excellent preparation to enter your “Sitting Meditation” practice, as they also need your full concentration, which means your mind becomes calm and places you in the right frame of mind to meditate. The exercises should be practiced twice a day usually morning and evening and are maintained through the three months of each season Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autum and Winter to naturally develop the energy of the associated internal organ to maintain its normal functioning for the maintenance of each persons wellbeing.
The exercises are beneficial for individuals who suffer anxiety, tension and stress,they boost the immune system, soothe the nervous system, strengthen the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Alongside the practice of the Dao Yoga exercises which develop each person joint, tendon, ligament and muscle flexibility are a great way to promote good health and long life (Chang Ming) as long as you have the discipline and diligence to practice them on a regular basis.
The Lishi Daoist arts that was taught by Master Chee Soo included the practice and study of Taijiquan, Daoist Yoga, Daoist Meditation, Daoyin Exercises, Chi Shu (Throwing Arts) and Feng Shou-Gongfu. But he also taught a healing system that mainly involved Traditional Chinese Massage “An Mo Qigong” (Press & Rub Energy Work) also known today as “Tui Na Qigong” (Push & Grasp Energy Work), plus he also taught Acupressure (Dian Xue) and Herbal Medicine (Cao Yao). I always remember Master Chee Soo mentioning that to the learn the full aspect of the Li Family Daoist Arts System a student had to practice and learn the full spectrum of the arts he taught, as each particular branch of the Li Family Daoist Arts (Lishi Dao Shu) was closely connected to each other, hence one benefited the other. He would also say that if you considered the hand as the whole of the Li Family System and each finger was considered a single branch of the Lishi arts, simply learning either one or two branches (Fingers) of the Lishi arts did not give the student a total balance of the whole system (Hand).
This is very evident in the practice of the Lishi healing/medicine system, where the student must also have developed a good posture, a good Daoyin (Guiding & Leading Exercises) practice that develops the cultivation and smooth mobilisation (Yunqi) of the students energy (Qi) and blood (Xue) to flow throughout the whole body, especially into the both hands which are used to treat the patient in a variety of disciplines.
Sadly there are not many students of Master Chee Soo who are still teaching the Lishi healing arts or using them to treat patients for both external and internal illnesses. Laoshi Keith Ewers opened his ” Black Mountain Clinic” in South Wales,UK in 2016 to treat patients using the Lishi healing arts that was taught to him by Master Chee Soo, but to also allow keen students to actually study and practice in a working clinic and see how the Lishi healing arts can greatly benefit individuals who are suffering with many types of ailments using the energy bodywork massage techniques of (Tui Na Qigong), Acupressure ( Dian Xue) and Acupuncture (Zhen Bian).
The Lishi healing arts gives a really great sense of roundness to the practise and study of the whole Li Family Daoist Arts. For a practitioner of the Lishi healing arts has to cultivate compassion and benevolence within themselves, as it is about giving something back to individuals who truly need your help and skill that you have developed to help them maintain or improve their health and wellbeing. The student of the Lishi healing arts has to develop a benevolent heart (Ren Xin) and a benevolent skill (Ren Shu) to promote and spread the Lishi healing arts onto the next generation of practitioners.
The Staff (Gun) was the first weapon that my teacher Master Chee Soo offered to his students, in fact it was included into the Feng Shou-Kung Fu student training syllabus that he taught. Obviously alongside the learning of the Staff form he also taught blocks, strikes,disarms against one or more opponents every student had to learn these tStaff defensive and offensive techniques has they were part of their grading examinations to reach there next coloured sash leading towards attaining their black sash grade. Today, I see many of the next generation of teachers and students who represent the Feng Shou-Kung Fu system mainly concentrating on practicing the forms and not on their ability to fight with Staff as an extension of their hands.
The Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by Master Chee Soo is a mobile fighting system that involves the student to be constantly on the move controlling the distance between themselves and their opponent, when the opponent attacks the Feng Shou-Kung Fu student uses skilful footwork to evade or dodge the incoming blows and quickly uses their footwork to close the distance on their opponent to land a series of punishing strikes and kicks. This same principle must then be continued in the use of the Feng Shou Staff fighting methods, the student has to learn to combine their Staff blocking and striking techniques with their skilful footwork methods fully utilising the Staff to its full protential.
Not only should the student of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu practice their Staff fighting techniques against a single opponent. they should also train against multiple opponents armed with Staffs. Training against multiple opponents raises the skill level of each student to a higher standard as they have to take in to consideration angles, timing, accuracy,speed, reactions of not just one opponent but two or more. Practicing the Original Feng Shou -Kung Fu two or more person counter/counter flow exercises that Master Chee Soo called “Rollaways” with or without a Staff in your hands is really a great training exercise that allows the student to gain more information, understanding and skill than just simply practicing the Feng Shou-Kung Fu Staff Forms that I see so many of students practice.
The Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu counter/counter flow exercise called “Rollaways” if practiced correctly can be performed without or with any weapon. It should teach the student how to apply their practical defensive and offensive fighting techniques at first in a controlled training rhythm that gradually will lead the student to fully express themselves and their martial art in a freestyle (Sanshou) training exercise.
The full depth of practice of the Lishi “Opening the Energy Doors” (K’ai Men) Daoist Yoga system does not just involve the lying, sitting and standing exercise that many of the students practice within their classes. These particular exercises can help with the mobilisation of the blood (Xue) and energy (Qi) to circulate unhindered throughout the whole body, they release muscular tension and joint stiffness help each individual to relax, but they are only working the external aspect of themselves and not nurturing their internal qualities by strengthening their essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen) to develop their health and wellbeing.
When I first attended one of Master Chee Soo’s Dao Yoga courses not only did he teach a variety of sitting and standing K’ai Men exercises, he also taught certain daoyin/qigong sitting and standing exercises that sometimes were performed with a training partner, plus he would also have his students practice meditation which sometimes involved self massage on the energy points (Qixue) and energy pathways (Jingluo). But today many students seem to only practice the lying, sitting and standing Dao Yoga exercises and do not seem to practice any of the Life Noushing methods (Yang Sheng Fa) like the self massage of the internal organs and energy pathways as well as any sitting meditation.
There are not many students who are still teaching and practicing the Lishi Dao Yoga who can remember that Master Chee Soo taught the Dao Yoga separately from the Taijiquan. It was in the early 1980,s that Master Chee Soo combined the Dao Yoga exercises with the Li style Taijiquan, sadly now when students practice the Dao Yoga they practice maybe two or three exercise in their Taijiquan class, whereas Master Chee Soo would teach at lest twelve Dao Yoga exercises in a typical Dao Yoga class session, six sitting exercises and six standing exercises with a few daoyin breathing exercise added in between and after, then he would do some sitting meditation practice to finish off the session.
The most important principle for any student of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu to develop is their ability to move the whole body buy using skilfull footwork to either evade, dodge the opponents attacks and to be able to counter attack back with their own attacks by closing the distance with skilfull stepping methods. Learning the ability to have skilfull footwork is especially important in the defence against both a single or multiple attackers, as the saying goes “The hardest thing to hit is a moving target” and this is why the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu is based upon developing the ability to strike and kick while being constantly on the move.
When I began to learn the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu from Master Chee Soo he would always mention that each student had to become skilfull the four fighting ranges of striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing. His training syllabus on the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu covered these four fighting ranges and the focal point for each student within his training syllabus was the two-person counter/counter exercise called “Rollaways”. This is were the four fighting ranges could be expressed freely by each student, as it allowed them to combine their striking, kicking, joint locking and throwing techniques together into one single training exercise, were each student could develop and express their own skill. This training is then extended further in the “Mass Attack” training exercises, but obviously against more than one attacker which in-time would gradually allow the student to develop their fighting ability and take it to another level of proficiency.
“A forceful direct attack is difficult to stop. The first attack has the advantage. Retreating continuously in a fight against opponents is not as good as side stepping and turning the body”.
The key to developing a high level skill of fighting within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu is its development of agile, nimble, fast stepping methods that are then combined with the striking, kicking, wrestling and throwing techniques. These skilfull stepping methods will produce more power into your defensive and offensive methods, plus they will generate more blood and qi flow throughout the whole body to aid fitness, health and martial art power.
Practicing the multiple attack exercises of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu is really a good training method that can force the student to combine the four fighting ranges together and to skilfully apply their stepping methods allowing them to find and express their own unique style under some pressure, were they have no time to think, but to act spontaneously and naturally in their ability to use the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu in a practical and effective way. Which one day might be enough to actually save your life, if ever you were to get attacked by more than one opponent in the big bad world outside, this is why we should all be training diligently to develop our fighting skill by improving our footwork.