Traditionally all of the top masters within each of the Chinese internal martial arts all mention that there are seventy two kicking techniques (Qi Shi Er Jiao Fa). All of these particular kicking techniques are found within the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu as taught to myself by Master Chee Soo. These particular seventy two kicking methods involve stamping, swinging, chopping, scooping type kicking techniques which can be all performed in a numerous amount of combinations. The way my teacher Master CheeSoo would teach and introduce the various amount of kicking techniques to his students was through a two person foot flow exercise where each student takes it in turns to perform the same kicking technique at each other. This is a great teaching method for each individual to understand how to perform the mechanics of each different kicking technique and to improve their agility and flexibility. But it is simply a basic training exercise, the next stage is to then apply these various offensive kicking techniques alongside striking, joint locking and throwing techniques.
Today, within the practice and study of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu there are many practitioners who still practice the two-person foot flow training exercise isolated on their own and do not try and apply these kicks in a practical and effective way to bring the martial art of Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu into full usage.Master Chee Soo would say that striking and kicking should be combined together with the strikes aimed at the upper body and the kicks aimed at the lower body, some times the kick would not be seen,but only felt he would say.
Bringing the variety of kicking techniques into full effective usage should be the total aim of each practitioner of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu. An example would be to enter towards your opponent with a series of striking techniques to close the distance and to then use a double kicking technique using just one leg, what we call a “Swinging or Swaying” method, which could be a combination of a rear leg low chopping kick to the outside of the opponents front leg using the instep or ball of the foot to kick your opponent, then using the same leg immediately switch to attack the inside of the opponents front leg using a back heel hooking kick, targeting either the muscles, joints or energy points of the opponents front leg.
Simply practicing the many kicking techniques in the two-person foot flow exercise is a great waste of serious training time, unless you research and bring the full usage of these kicking techniques into application alongside other areas of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu which will give great depth and understanding to each student on how to practically and effectively use it to defend yourself against an aggressive opponent.
The development of skilful body turning and footwork is vitally important for the practitioner of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu. If faced against either one or more opponents who attack you, it will be your skilful combination of body turning methods and footwork that will help you to conquer them. No matter if you are just learning the bodywork or learning the weapons side of the Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu you will need to develop and combine your body turning and footwork. As the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu considers itself as a Chinese Internal Martial Art that emphasises the use of using the opponents force or strength against themselves, then it is through the development of skilful body turning methods combined with good footwork that allows you to do this. Simply standing still like a flower against a strong opponent who could also be armed with a weapon will only lead to you seriously getting hurt.
“If my opponent intends to approach me and attacks so as to conquer me, if my hands cannot prevail to defend me, I turn my body to either side accordingly to turn danger into safety and capture my opponent”.
This poem above states that when faced against a strong opponent who punches towards my body, and my hands are to late in their usage to deflect, block or ward off the opponents blows, then it is the skilful use of turning the waist and shoulders to either side and then immediately stepping skilfully to the opponents outside flank that allows me to turn danger into safety and places me into an advantageous position to conquer him or her.
In the practice of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu for each student to learn effective “Body Turning Methods” (Shen Zhuan Fa) then they must study and practice the “Five Lotus Petal Evasion Sets” ( Wu Lien Hua Fa). These particular sets are not fully appreciated by some students as they do not fully understand how to employ their usage in a fighting situation. I always tell my students that the various body turning methods of the Five Lotus Petal Evasions are used as a last line of defence when your opponent as successfully penertrated. your defence it is only your skill in turning or moving various parts of your body to either side that allows you to escape from your opponents attacks, hence turning danger into safety.
Within the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) post and pre-natal forms there are a few postures that include various methods of self massage by each individual on the energy channels, meridians (Jingluo) and Qi-points that lay on these energy pathways to stimulate the flow of energy to remove any energy blockages that may stop the internal organs from being nourished and affect their functioning of maintaining our health and wellbeing. Wild Goose Qigong is very diverse in its practice it offers a lot more variety of movements that include slow, fast actions, dynamic stretching to improve flexibility, relaxation, breathing methods and of cause self massage techniques.
Concerning the self massaging methods that are performed in the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong they involve patting (Pai Da Fa), rubbing ( Mo Fa), point pressing (Dian Xue), shaking (Zhen Fa), vibrating (Huang Fa) methods,that are used to activate the energy (Qi) to raise the individuals vitality levels to replenishing low levels and boost their immune system and their guardian energy (Wai Qi) which surrounds the whole body to protect it from external pathogens like wind, cold or heat which can attack the weak guardian energy and cause illness.
As seen in the accompanying photo of a group of people practicing their Wild Goose Qigong in the early morning, each individual is using a self massaging rubbing method to stimulate the Kidneys energy by rubbing the Urinary Meridian 23 point (Shen Shu) on the lower back, at the same time placing their body weight onto the balls of their feet to tonify the Kidney 1 point (Bubbling Spring Yongquan) to increase their vitality levels and boost their health and wellbeing. As I have already mentioned above the practice and study of the Wild Goose Qigong is very rich and diverse compared to the practice of Taijiquan.
The opening posture of the Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) 1st 64 post natal form is called “Spreading the Wings” and can be seen in the accompanying photo that comes with this blog. The individual raises their both arms upwards infront of their body and separate them out to both sides at chest height, while at the same time lifting upwards onto the balls of the feet. The body learns backwards slightly, with the both arms stretching opening the chest and front of body, the both palms are facing upwards in the “Heaven Palm Method” (Tian Zhang Fa).
Firstly the opening of the chest and front of the torso and especially the stretching of the both arms opens and flows the Yin Meridians (Yin Jingluo) that all travel on the inside of the extremities and gather at the chest. These Yin meridians are the heart, lungs, percardium, liver, kidneys and spleen the Spreading the Wings Posture immediately activates and flows the energy (Qi) within these channels/meridians to both nourish the internal organs that each of the Yin channels are connected to help maintain their natural functioning to keep you healthy and fit.
In the centre of the chest is located the “Middle Elixir Field” (Zhong Dantian) or the “Red Palace” as it is some times called by Daoists. As it is where the heart is also located and supposedly manages our emotional energy and state, it is also where the qi of the body transforms into spirit (Shen). Obviously the raising up of the both arms allows the energy (Qi) to rise upwards from the lower elixir field (Xia Dantian) which is located behind the navel to the middle elixir field and then back down to the lower Dantian.
The ” Spreading the Wings Posture” ( Zhan Chi Shi) is an important posture has it sets up the stimulation of the energy (Qi) to flow smoothly through the whole body as the individual moves from one posture to another in the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong form, combining their breathing (Xi), body actions (Xing) and intent (Yi) to guide and the lead (Daoyin) their energy (Qi) around the entire meridian/channel system to both cultivate and nourish their energy to strengthen their health and wellbeing leading to towards living a longlife (Chang Mng).
The Daoist life nourishing exercise (Yangsheng) known as Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) combines both passive and vigorous movements with dynamic stretching actions that release muscular tension and stiffness from the joints. Which in-turn increases the flow of blood and qi to move through the entire body unhindered, boosting the individuals vitality, replenishing low energy levels and strengthening their immune system and guardian energy ( Waiqi) that surrounds the whole body stopping external pathogens like wind, cold, heat from attacking the body and causing illness.
The stretching actions of the Wild Goose Qigong works on developing the flexibility of the muscles , tendons and ligaments of the hands, arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, legs and feet releasing tension to improve the feeling of relaxation and lightness. The joints of the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spinal column, rib cage, hips, knees and ankles all are gently stretched open to allow fresh blood to flow in between the joints bringing clean nutrients and removing the turbid, stagnant blood and qi that may have accumulated over the many years causing various types of ailments.
The one thing that I have learnt from the practice of not only the Wild Goose Qigong, but also through the practice of Dao yoga is that through the practice of dynamic stretching the body is kept relaxed, which gives a feeling of lightness through the entire body. This development of flexibility allows the individual to move more freely in any direction, their range of mobility is greatly improved and maintained giving the individual a feeling of youthfulness in their old age. The stretching movements of the Wild Goose Qigong allows the old to feel young and the young to be full of energy.
Today in our fast, modern and some times very stressful lifestyles were hundreds of people are suffering with many types of physical ailments like poor circulation, arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, plus mental Heath issues like depression and anxiety. Learning and practicing the Wild Goose Qigong can help loads of individuals to manage their ailments and give slight improvement, for some it can be a preventive exercise to help improve health and wellbeing..
There are types of weapons that are taught and practiced within the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu ranging from a rolled up newspaper, magazine to staffs, spears, short sticks, knifes and swords. One of the these such weapons which his the most difficult to master is the straight sword (Jian) which the Chinese say takes a thousand days of regular practice to skilfully master. Within the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers the practice of the straight sword (Jian) involves the learning of the Feng Shou-Gongfu straight sword form, it’s two-person counter/counter drills which teach the student how to block (Lan) defensively with the straight sword and also how to offensively use the straight sword to attack with using such sword techniques like splitting (Pi) and sweeping ( Sao).
But it is through the two-person practice of “Rollaways” that the student of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu really begins to develop the skill in the usage of the straight sword (Jian) in its many defensive and offensive techniques. But, it is the development of footwork (Bufa) methods such as linear, angular and circular footwork that allows the student to skilfully use the straight sword, and it is through the “Rollaways” exercise allows the students to combine their footwork and sword techniques to come together.
The “Rollaways” straight sword exercise teaches the students to become spontaneous in their usage of the straight sword in being able to naturally react, adapt and change to each other’s straight sword fighting methods. This allows each student of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu to fully enjoy their training and practice of the straight sword and to attempt to reach a high level of skill within its useage. My teacher Master Chee Soo was not a get advocate of simply learning weapon forms, he was a great believer of actually being able to skilfully use the weapon in its defensive and offensive methods, not to just simply wave it in the air practicing a weapon form and not knowing what is a block or an attacking technique.
Obviously once the student has become skilful in the “Rollaways” straight sword exercise then the next stage of development is through the practice of free fighting (Sanshou) which would mean the highest level of straight sword usage. In nowadays, it means wearing protective head and body gear and using foam covered wooden straight swords or rubber straight swords to be able to train safely.
The practice of the Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) post and pre-natal forms involve a tremendous amount of movements which gently open and stretch the muscles, tendons and joints releasing muscle tension and joint stiffness that can accumulate within the body due to poor posture, over work or illness. This build up of muscular tension and joint stiffness if left to long can affect the individuals blood and energy (Qi) within the body to either slow down or become stagnated, which in-turn can then effect our immune system to become weak and allow illnesses to enter and attack our body making us become ill. This is why it is important to practice your qigong exercise on a regular basis to help maintain the free flow of your blood (Xue) and energy (Qi) to circulate smoothly unhindered through our bodies to nourish our internal organs (Zangfu) to strengthen and improve our health and wellbeing.
Within the many movements that make up the whole of the Wild Goose Qigong forms and exercises is the learning of the Eight Hand Methods (Ba Shou Fa) that are used to gently guide and lead (Daoyin) the Qi throughout the entire body through the energy pathways (Jingmai).These particular Eight Hand Methods can be used to manipulate the movement of Qi by raising, lowering, gathering, dispersing, entering, opening, closing, and exiting the energy within the body to help nourish the whole body towards health and wellbeing.
The Eight Hand Methods (Ba Shou Fa) of the Wild Goose Qigong are the Raising Palm (Ju Zhang), Falling Palm (Luo Zhang), Pushing Palm (Tui Zhang), Embracing Palm (Bao Zhang), Scooping Palm (Liao Zhang), Closed Palm (Bi Zhang), Plum Blossom Zhang (Mei Hua Zhang) and Shaking Palm (Zhen Zhang) understanding these Eight Palm Methods will help the student to better manipulate the movement of Qi through their body while performing the many actions that make up the whole of the Wild Goose Qigong form.
Like all good Daoist nourishing life exercises (Yang Sheng Gong) all involve both external work (Wai Gong) and internal work (Nei Gong). It is by learning and understanding the Eight Palm Methods of the Wild Goose Qigong that allows the student to be able to connect their external movements of the Wild Goose Qigong with the internal movement of Qi circulation, especially while performing the actions of the Wild Goose Qigong to better move, dredge and cleanse the sickly or pernicious energy (Bing Qi) out of the body to maintain and improve health.
For anyone who has practiced taijiquan or any taiji qigong exercise knows that one of the most demanding aspects of its practice is to be able to “Still” the mind. This particular aspect of its training can take an individual many hours, days, weeks, months and even years to achieve, to many individuals simple practice their taijiquan or taiji qigong forms concentrating on the physical aspect of its training, sadly for many individuals this can mean performing their taijiquan form and taiji qigong exercises to fast, the speed of their movements is very uneven with slow and fast actions. This is simply because the individual has not learnt how to “Calm and Still” their mind. Their minds are full of thoughts which causes them to become agitated and tense causing them to lose control of their bodily actions by speeding up, not timing their actions in the correct order of sequence, no accuracy within their movements. Basically they are not mindfully involved with their exercise.
Through the practice of taijiquan and taiji qigong there are certain actions that need to be timed correctly and performed in a certain order. For example the body should lead, and the hands should follow. Not the hands moving ahead of the body, another aspect is that the breathing should dictate the speed of the whole body movement. By abiding by these guidelines the individual uses their concentration to maintain that the body leads the hands and that the body movements and breathing are timed together, so that the whole body moves slowly at an even speed from start to finish. Gradually, after a few weeks of practice sticking to these few guidelines the individual will notice that their concentration begins to improve and that their mind begins to become “Calm and Still” suddenly all of their anxietys, tension and worries have been forgotten and their mind can now relaxe, rest and replenish itself.
Learning to achieve an inner feeling of physical and mental “Calmness and Stillness” within the practice of taijiquan or taiji qigong is properly the hardest thing to reach. Sadly with many individuals never being able to achieve it due to either lack of regular practice or are being taught by a low standard teacher. For any individual to achieve a “Calm and Still” mind in the practice of taijiquan or taiji qigong means that they have developed a sense of “Stability” which allows the individuals body and mind to become one.
For the practitioner of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu developing skilful footwork that can be used defensively to evade your opponents attacks and offensively to directly attack your opponent are of the highest importance. As my teacher Master Chee Soo would always say to his students. “To fully use your opponents strength against them, you must be able to move constantly in any direction. Simply standing still against an opponent rushing at you is not skilfully using your Feng Shou-Gongfu principles of giving way to force”. There are many types of footwork (Bufa) methods taught within the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu that involve linear, angular and circular stepping methods which are combined with defensive and offensive fighting techniques.
To be skilful in the use of defensive or offensive footwork means that you must be able to control the space or distance between yourself and your opponent. If your opponent attacks and you evade, but you increase the distance between the two of you too much, then you are making it very difficult for yourself to counter back without telegraphing your intent. When you decide to use evasive footwork to dodge your opponents strikes or kicks, you must be confident enough with your skill to just be out of touching distance of your opponents attacks, but close enough to quickly take advantage of any gaps within your opponents defense.
“To arrive at your target in a straight motion is not special, Fluidly circling left or right is preferable. The left changes to right and the right changes to left.in withdrawing the body and reversing the steps one will find an opening”.
Simply using just one method of stepping is not going to be enough to defeat an opponent in combat, it is important that the practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu can use both left and right sides of their body. Therefore, they must be able to move and turn their bodies both in a clockwise and counter clockwise circles and vice-versa, the defensive and offensive fighting techniques must be combined naturally on both sides of the body. During combat, if you can only use your evasive footwork and fighting techniques on one side of the body, you will be defeated completely in a fluster. It is important that you are proficient on both sides of your body, one can then change the gestures freely, naturally and skilfully so that you can adapt and change to your opponents fighting methods and find the way to defeat and overcome them.
Developing effective and proficient footwork skills can only come about due to correct and constant practice. The practitioner of the Original Feng Shou Quan -Gongfu learns to develop their footwork through the practice of the many evasions sets and through the many two-persons counter/counter flow exercises. It is important that the practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Gongfu quickly learns this ability to constantly be on the move, as a way to produce whole body power both within the defensive and offensive fighting techniques.
Within all external or internal martial arts a practitioner is expected to develop and improve various attributes like fitness, stamina, flexibility, concentration, balance, co-ordination, timing, accuracy, reaction, precision all important tools to help them reach and achieve a high standard of fighting skill. But there is another attribute that also needs to be developed to a very fine and acute skill level and this is the development of tactile awareness or sensitivity through touch. Within the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu that was taught by Master Chee Soo the development of tactile awareness was practiced through a method or exercise that Master Chee Soo called “Whirling Hands/Arms” (Lun Shou Fa) which is also known as “Soft Hands” (Rou Shou) within other internal martial arts, or “Rolling Hands” (Gun Shou) as Laoshi Keith Ewers likes to call it when he teaches it to his students of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu.
In the study and practice of the “Rolling Hands” exercise (Gun Shou Fa) two training partners face each other and connect the outside of their right arms together, what is commonly knowing in the Chinese martial arts as “Bridging Hands” (Qiao Shou). Obviously this can be performed by bridging with simply one hand or both at the same time, students within the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu are taught single and changing rolling hands practice (Dan Bian Gun Shou Fa) at first and then progress to double hand rolling hands practice (Shuang Gun Shou Fa) once the student starts to practice the rolling hands exercise they will begin to develop and use eight defensive tactile energies which are Threading (Ban), Shearing (Jian), Coilling (Chan) Rolling (Gun), Drawing (Bi), Pushing (Tui), Pulling (La), Carrying (Xie).
Out of these eight tactile energies each of the training partners will begin to rotate their arms around in various size circles,changing hands from right to left or vice-versa using the Threading (Ban) technique to change arms. Each student will then begin to try and strike at each other anywhere on the body or head using various attacking angles, usually for beginners (Jiben) this is practiced by taking it in-turns to attack each other,this then allows the student who is defending to try and feel through their contact when their training partner will attack helping each other to develop their sense of tactile skill.
The Rolling Hands (Gun Shou) exercise can be practiced stationary or moving. It should involve both defensive techniques combined with stepping methods, offensive techniques that include striking, kicking, joint locking and throwing methods. The Rolling Hands exercise (Gun Shou Fa) should allow the Original Feng Shou Quan-Gongfu practitioner to fully develop their tactile awareness ability to a high degree of skill. It also should allow them to fully express their internal martial art fighting techniques in a vast amount of combinations that teaches them to “Adapt and Change, and Overcome any situation”.