The use of Patting & Striking has been used naturally by humans for thousands of years it is a natural response by everybody during their lifetime to Patting or Strike themselves to invigorate themselves. For example a mother will use gentle Patting on the back of a baby to remove trapped wind, an individual will use Patting or Striking on their leg when they suffer with a “dead leg” feeling to remove the numbness. Over the thousand of years the ancient Chinese Masters realised the importance that Patting & Striking has on benefiting the body towards strengthening, repairing and nourishing it towards good health and long life (Chang Ming). Hence why today we have many variations on the Patting & Striking Qigong forms passed down to us through the ages that many individuals practice on their own or alongside other disciplines like taijiquan, yoga or meditation.
Patting involves the use of the fingers and palms to send vibrations into the muscles, tendons and joints, the vibrations that are sent shallow or deeply into the body help to break up muscle tension and joint stiffness, it can help to remove blood stagnation and Qi blockages that have accumulated due to lack of exercise, poor health, injury or old age. Patting can be used to affect the immune system and give it a boost, it can also sooth the nervous system, cleanse the digestive system and invigorate the cardiovascular, respiratory systems. Energetically Patting & Striking can help to strengthen the guardian energy of the body (Wei Qi) to fight off external pathogens like cold, heat, wing, dampness and dryness that can attack the body and cause illnesses.
Striking involves the use of the finger tips and closed fist to Strike the muscles and tendons again to send a strong shocking force deeply into the body to treat various ailments. Whereas Patting mainly targets the Yin & Yang meridians, Striking is used to target the Qi cavities (Qixue) which are considered to be gates that allow the Qi to exit and enter the body, Striking or Patting the meridians and Qi cavity’s help to disperse sickly energy (Bing Qi) out off the body and allow the clear energy (Qing Qi) to flow stronger. Patting & Striking Qigong can obviously can be performed regularly on its own or it can be used to compliment other practice like either taijiquan, yoga or meditation as I have already mentioned above as a method of warming up or cooling down after a strenuous workout.
Many individuals practice some style of qigong or Taiji or yoga as a way to help them relax and improve their health and wellbeing. But not many individuals will add Patting or Striking Methods to their own qigong exercises as a way to strengthen, repair and nourish their body to increase their flow of Qi and essences (Jing) to achieve good health and long life (Chang Ming). There is nowhere on the body that you cannot use Patting to disperse muscle tension, remove blood stagnation and Qi blockages, Patting can involve the use of the fingers and palm of the hand to use either a light tapping/patting force or you could use a more heavier force that sends a deeper shocking force to penetrate the interior of the body to treat both external and internal diseases. Whereas, the Striking method which involves the use of the finger tips, little finger edge of the palm or a closed fist shape to again Strike the body using a light force or to use a heavier force to penetrate deeply into the muscles to break up blood stasis or Qi stagnation.
Patting and Striking Methods have been used naturally by everyone for thousands of years, for example a mother will gently pat the back of a baby to help the baby release trapped wind, another example is for an individual to Strike the chest of an individual who’s heart has suddenly stopped working as a way to shock it back into working again, yet another example is when you suffer with a dead leg feeling your immediate reaction is to Strike the muscles of the same leg to try to regain feeling within the muscles of the leg. So the ancient Chinese realised the benefits of Patting and Striking and their affects on the body to help strengthen the health and to help heal and treat many types of ailments. Patting and Striking can be used to boost the immune system, sooth the nervous system, cleanse the digestive system, invigorate the circulatory & respiratory systems, energetically it strengthens the guardian Qi (Wei Qi ) by bringing the individuals own Qi to the surface of the body to help fight against external pathogens attacking the body like cold, heat, wind, dampness, dryness.
Patting and Striking Qigong can be used alongside other disciplines to compliment them by being used to gently warm up the body before performing a more strenuous type workout or it can also be used as a gentle warm down. Studying and practicing the Patting and Striking Qigong form can also involve both passive and vigorous movements that stretch and open the joints of the body to invigorate the Qi and blood circulation. Patting is used mainly to target the Yin & Yang meridians (Jingluo) of the entire body to disperse any sickly energy (Bing Qi) that may have accumulated within some of the channels, whereas, Striking Methods are mainly used to target the energy cavities (Qixue) which are considered to be a gate for the energy to enter and exit out of the entire body, so Striking the Qi cavities allows the individual to tonify or boost the Qi within the meridian that the Qi cavity is located on, which in-turn will nourish the internal organ that the meridian is connected to.
Within the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan short form there is both the Single Whip (Dan Bian Shi) and Double Whip (Shuang Bian Shi) postures performed. The sSingle Whip Posture involves a bent wrist claw shaped right hand with the four fingers and thumb touching lightly to close the energy cavity’s within the centre of the palm which are the pericardium meridian point 8 (Laogong/Labour Palace) located in the centre of the palm and the Heart meridian point 8 (Shaofu/Lesser Palace) located on the little finger edge of the palm. Not only does the claw shaped hand close the energy points it also gathers the Qi in the hand as the five fingers slowly come together and touch lightly with the wrist tailed. The opposite left hand has the wrist dropped so that the palm stands upright with the five fingers gently stretched and apart from each other. The tigers mouth (Hu Kou) the space between the index finger and thumb should be rounded and open to allow the large intestine meridian point 4 (Hegu/ Joining the Valley) to remain open allowing the Qi to flow smoothly into the hand.
The drooping of the fingers and the raised wrist of the right claw shaped hand opens the Triple Warmer Meridian point 5 known as the outer gate (Waiguan) located on the outside of the wrist about to inches below the crease of the wrist, while at the same time closes the Pericardium Meridian point 6 known as the inner gate (Neiguan) located on the inside of the wrist again about two inches below the crease of the wrist. Whereas the opposite effect happens with the left hand with the outer gate (Waiguan) being closed and the inner gate (Neiguan) kept open.
The stance that is used by many practitioners of the Li/Lee (Lishi) Taijiquan when they perform the Single Whip Posture (Dan Bian Shi) is the Riding Horse Stance (Mabu Shi). This particular stance is a double weighted posture which means the practitioner has to readjust they body weight before moving into the next posture of the form, whereas within the Li/Lee (Lishi) Style Taijiquan that is taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers of the LFIAA individuals are taught to use a Leopard Stance (Bao Shi) which allows them to place their body weight onto their left leg which in-turn helps to strengthen the flow of Qi into the left side of the whole body. As one side of the body becomes full (Shi) the opposite side of the body becomes empty (Xu), this then allows the individual practitioner to transition their body weight smoothly from one posture into another without having to add any readjustments to their movements which could cause them to pause or hesitate their movements, which should be kept slowly moving at an even speed.
Another slight variation that is also performed by some practitioner when doing the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan Single Whip Posture is that some individuals stick their both arms out stiffly to both sides, causing their chest to rise and their shoulder blades to close trapping the Qi up in the chest and not allowing it to sink downwards into the lower elixir field (Xia Dantian). Whereas the both arms should be held in front of the body in a rounded shape allowing for the upper back to rise and open and the chest to hollow and sink allowing for the Qi to sink into the lower Dantian to gather and store.