During the practice of the Daoist Kunlun Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) Pre-Natal and Post- Natal Forms there is an emphasis on both the non-movement (Jing) and the active, vigorous (Dong). At first most people concentrate on the active, vigorous aspect of the Wild Goose Qigong, but hidden within the forms are standing post (Zhan Zhuang Gong) postures that can be used to practice the more Non-active or Stillness (Jing) practices of the Wild Goose Qigong. As the practice of qigong is based upon the maintenance of the Yin & Yang energies within the whole body to help maintain health and long life, then the two practices of movement and stillness allows the individual to cultivate both Yin energy and Yang energy during their Wild Goose Qigong practice. They say that movement (Dong) cultivates more Yang energy, whereas, standing, or sitting in stillness cultivates more Yin energy, hence everyone should be involving both practices into their own personal Qigong training in general so as to balance both energies within the body.
Stillness practices can either be performed using various standing post posture (Zhangong) from the Wild Goose Qigong forms or you can sit on the floor or in a chair and practice meditation to gather and cultivate more Yin energy. Many individuals when they practice their Qigong place more emphasis on the more active, movement side, they rarely place just as much emphasis on the stillness side which is just as important. Obviously the active, dynamic, vigorous Qigong practice places more emphasis on the physical aspect in developing each individuals joint, tendon and muscular flexibility, balance, co-ordination and general relaxation allowing for better energy and blood flow throughout the entire body. Whereas, the standing post practices emphasis is more on remaining calm, quiet and still deep inside, strengthening our mental strength to concentrate for long periods of time, sometimes holding a posture with both arms held in a certain shape to involve the physical to strengthen both mind & body.
Movement (Yang) promotes the circulation of essences (Jing) which includes all of the fluid inside us such as our blood, water and synovial fluids within our joints to be circulated within the spaces created inside of ourselves due to our Qigong movement that stretches open our joints, tendons and muscles creating space to allow for greater circulation and to remove any blockages accumulated due to illness, injury etc. Whereas, Stillness (Yin) practices promote more energy (Qi) development and the emphasis is placed more on being calm and quiet concentrating on the breathing to allow the Qi to gather and cultivate deep inside. In Daoist practices there are three treasures (San Bao) within the body that must be nourished, refined and transformed through the practices of qigong and these treasures are your essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and your Spirit (Shen).
To many individuals study Wild Goose Qigong simply to learn how to relax and remain supple and do not place any kind of emphasis on the development of the Jing, Qi and Shen and this can only be promoted through the Stillness and Movement practices to cultivate and gather both Yin energy and Yang energy for a healthy long life.
Within most styles of taijiquan like the Yang, Chen, Wu, Hao & Sun styles the turning of the waist is an important attribute that every student of taijiquan must learn to acquire, as the taiji classics mention that the waist (Yao) guides and leads the energy (Qi) to be released out through the extremities. Sadly this emphasis of turning the waist to lead and guide the Qi is not evident in many practitioners of the Li/Lee style taijiquan to many seem to simply keep their torso very square on and rigid and there does not same to be any pliability or suppleness within the waist and lower back area, which means that not only will they lack the cohesion of the whole body’s movements they will also lack the internal strength and power in their actions, plus the obvious benefits of turning the waist to gently stretch the back muscles, spinal column and also work the core muscles of the abdomen will not be greatly received by each individual.
In the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan posture of “White Crane Exercises Its Wings” (Bai He Kai Chi) which is attached to this blog you can see the action of turning the waist (Zhuan Yao) is greatly emphasised in its actions by Laoshi Keith Ewers. The taiji classics also say that to turn to the left, one must turn to the right first using the principle of Yin & Yang opposites to balance the whole body’s movements,. Whereas, many individuals of the Li/Lee Style taijiquan simply raise their arms without the action of turning the waist, which greatly simplifies the action making it easier to learn, but without much depth and benefits towards developing health and high level skill to mobilise the Qi throughout the whole body. Again more individuals are more concerned about teaching and learning a much easier watered down version of the Li/Lee style taijiquan, rather than developing a quality based practice that offers greater benefits towards practicing taijiquan as a health, meditative and self defence system.
As all styles of taijiquan emphasis circular actions be they small or big they should not just be performed by the arms alone. The whole body should be using circular movements and this includes the torso and legs, these circles will then link together to form spirals with one circle transforming into another circle as seen in the “White Crane Exercise Its Wings” Posture the turning of the waist allows the shoulders to rotate and circle the whole arm in a Spiralling action stretching the tendons, muscles and opening the joints to allow for greater range of mobility and blood and Qi circulation throughout the entire body. Another Taiji classic that I personally mention to my students of the Li/Lee style taijiquan is “That if one part of the body moves, everything moves. If one part of the body stops moving, everything stops moving”. You cannot have the arms moving without the waist turning, you cannot step first without the waist guiding & leading the foot and bodyweight. To perform any style of taijiquan without the turning of the waist to guide and lead the energy throughout the entire body lacks a very important attribute that can make your taijiquan disconnected and weak.
I have already mentioned this before, but my teacher the late Master Chee Soo had two approaches towards teaching weapons to his students. Firstly he would teach the more traditional Kung Fu weapons like the Staff (Gun), Broadsword (Dao), Straight Sword (Jian), Dagger (Bi Shou) and Two & Three Sectional Staff (Sanjiegun). Secondly he would teach more practical weapons that could be applied to everyday usage against a sudden violent situation, were you are in front of an armed assailant. These particular weapons would include the use of a Belt (Dai), Scarf (Wei Jin) or Tie (Da Jie), a rolled up magazine, newspaper or book, and of cause an Umbrella or Walking Stick/Cane (Shou Zhang).
Obviously the Walking Cane/Stick (Shou Zhang) Fighting Methods could also be applied to an Umbrella or a piece of wood that may be on the ground around you nearby. But let’s say you are attacked by an armed assailant and all you have is a simple Walking Cane/Stick or Umbrella on you at the time of the violent attack. Within the Original Feng Shou Kung Fu you would be taught how to use this weapon to strike at your assailant in a multitude of powerful, fast angles of attack aimed at hitting your assailants joints, nerves and Qi-points located on his or her body, plus you would also be taught joint locking techniques, strangles &Chokes that could also be turned into fast, effective takedowns and throws.
The Original Feng Shou Kung Fu teaches the student to use their intelligence and skill to be able to overcome a much stronger and bigger assailant, rather than using brute strength against strength to defeat the assailant, obviously the stronger person will win every time. So a Feng Shou Kung Fu student would be taught fast, evasive footwork and to develop a high level of tactile awareness to redirect the assailants force, aggression and balance against themselves, combined with the students own skill and powerful striking & kicking methods the student should be able to adapt and change to the situation and safely escape without any harm to them self’s. Again the longer you remain in a violent confrontation the more chance of yourself being hurt, your Walking Cane/Stick Fighting Techniques should be fast, powerful and accurate to allow you to exit the situation quickly.
Learning the Walking Cans/Stick can be useful to everyone, any gender, any age especially that our modern society is gradually becoming more violent and it is always useful to carry something with you that looks none threatening but can suddenly be turned into a very effective tool of self defence. This is just of the more practical everyday weapons that we teach as part of the Original Feng Shou Kung Fu under the guidance of Laoshi Keith Ewers of the LFIAA a senior student of Master Chee Soo.
Irrespective of how old you are everyone can suffer with a back problem caused by poor posture, injury, bad working conditions were you are asked to hold uncomfortable position for long hours like long distance driving or sitting at a desk staring at a screen etc. Back muscle tension can build up gradually until the individual suddenly feels a muscle spasm that locks the muscles within their back causing great discomfort. Sciatica is another common back problem that many people suffer with from the young to the very old, another ailment is curvature of the spinal column known as scoliosis. A lot of back problems that many people suffer with can be prevented by taking up a good exercise plan that stretches the back muscles and spinal column allowing for the individual to stay free of pain, the Chinese say that “You are as old as your back” and if you have ever suffered with a bad back or seen a family member, friend or work colleague suffer with one then you know exactly how limited it makes you feel. Suddenly from being able to move around easily with a good range of mobility to suddenly having to rely on others to help you and depend on can make you feel very old and depressed as you are trapped inside you back problem.
A very good discipline that can not only help maintain a healthy back and spinal column is the Daoist Kunlun’s Coiling Dragon Qigong (Chan Long Gong) this thirty-two Posture form uses both passive and vigorous actions to gently twist, rotate and spiral the whole body to help stretch the muscle groups of the entire body, including opening the joints to release stiffness and develop a relaxed, supple and pliable body. Once the body has been stretched open the blood circulation increases around the body bringing important nutrients to the internal organs (Zangfu) allowing them to function properly to strengthen your health and wellbeing.
Coiling Dragon Qigong not only helps the back and spinal column, it also benefits those who suffer with stiff hip joints and stiffness in the joints of the lower extremities helping to improve a lighter, relaxed body that has greater range of mobility, irrespective of how old you might be. Regular practice of the Coiling Dragon Qigong helps the young to become stronger with their health and allows the old to stay young and youthful in their old age, once you begin your practice of the Coiling Dragon Qigong form you will never suffer with a back problem as long as you maintain your own practice and look after yourself.
Sadly today with many types of martial arts being advertised on the TV and in films I think has turned many individuals off wanting to learn or take up a discipline like a particular-martial Art, because all they see is the more aggressive, gladiatorial, brutal and competitive types of martial arts and they rightly think that if they were to start learning a martial art that they would turn into some deranged , aggressive, out of control bully. There is also a another side to the martial arts that many people do not see or even know or understand and that is the more holistic side. Which teaches individuals about developing good morals (Wu De) towards everyone such as integrity, respectfulness, humility, kindness etc. The Chinese Internal Martial Art of the Original Feng Shou Quan-Kung Fu (Hand of the Wind Boxing) teaches a more holistic approach towards individuals wishing to learn how to protect themselves and family, friends from any harm.
Firstly everyone who begins to study the Feng Shou-Kung Fu system are taught that this particular martial art is suitable for all genders and is not a male dominated martial art full of ego and testosterone. But rather the opposite in that it teaches “Softness to Overcome Hardness” not to use force or strength against strength, my teacher the late Master Chee Soo would always mention that Feng Shou-Kung Fu is a “Thinking Persons” Martial art, meaning that you use your intelligence and skill and not your emotions and brute force to defend yourself.
Today most martial arts are portrayed as a fight to the finish with the winner standing tall and proud and the loser hurt and defeated on the ground. This is not want really happens outside in the real bad, bad world. In today’s violent world you are most likely to be attacked from behind with properly more than one attacker who may or may not be harmed with a knife, possibly on drugs or drink or a combination of both. In this particular situation you do not want to hang around to the end as you are more likely to place your life on the line. You simply want to learn a practical and effective martial art that can create an opportunity for you to escape the situation safely with your health and life intact.
To us who have been teaching this holistic Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Kung Fu for many, many years we simply look at it as a continuation of looking after my own health and wellbeing. Just as much as I would practice my Qigong breathing and stretching actions every morning to strength my vitality, helping me to remain relaxed and supple, or making sure that I eat a regular healthy diet alongside my meditative exercise to ensure my health. Then learning Feng Shou-Kung Fu is just as important as not only will it strengthen my mind & body it will help me to protect my health and life if I am placed into a life threatening situation. This is why I believe studying and practicing The Chinese Internal Martial Arts are so important because irrespective of how old you are or were you live your health and life could be on the line from a sudden and surprised violent attack and unless you are prepared on how to handle the situation then you can still continue with your health. But if you are not and you survive this violent encounter it could traumatise you for the rest of your life, that is why everyone should learn the Internal Martial Arts of Feng Shou-Kung Fu.
Another of the Daoist Kunlun Mountain System is the Triple Spiralling Qigong Exercise which is a twenty four Posture form that incorporates passive and active movements alongside dynamic stretching actions that invigorate the Qi and blood to flow smoothly throughout the entire body. The dynamic stretching helps to release any stiffness or muscular tension that may accumulate and have an affect on slowing the blood and Qi circulation and limit the individuals range of mobility. The practice of the Triple Spiralling Qigong involves all of the muscle groups of the body and the joints, improving the pliability of each person, alongside its slow and vigorous movements the Triple Spiralling Qigong also involves both linear and circular stepping using the Mud Wading Step (Tangnibu) and various hand shapes (Yin Shou) or mudras as they are known in Yoga for meditative purposes.
Within the Triple Spiralling Qigong Form there are “Post Standing Postures” (Zhan Zhuang Gong) that each person can learn to hold and practice their standing meditation to help cultivate and harness both Heaven & Earth Qi (Tian Di) to help strengthen their vitality levels and improve their health & wellbeing. The Spiralling actions involves the twisting, turning and coiling of the whole body including the legs, torso and arms to help stretch and develop greater flexibility in the entire body, especially the spinal column and muscles of the back for which many individuals suffer with due to poor working conditions were they sit for many hours in front of a screen. There is both single arm Spiralling and double arm Spiralling which is also known as “Serving Tea Cups Exercise” (Gong Cha Bei Fa) which greatly develops flexibility within the shoulders and arms.
Triple Spiralling Qigong from the Daoist Kunlun System is a very powerful Qigong exercise that can help each individual to strengthen and improve their health, fitness and range of mobility irrespective of age or gender. In today’s fast paced lifestyle with all of its stresses and strains that many individuals suffer with such as long working hours with the pressures of meeting deadlines and dealing with unhelpful customers can all build up and cause you to suffer with anxiety, blood pressure problems, headaches etc. Simply being able to enter a regular class on the Triple Spiralling Qigong or to be able to find a quiet park we’re you can then go and practice during your lunch break can help many individuals to ease their stress levels and improve their physical and mental health.
Originally when I first started my training in the Li/Lee family martial, health, healing and meditative arts as taught by Master Chee Soo. He taught twenty-four breathing exercises (Ershisi Daoyin Fa) which consisted of eight Yin methods, eight Yang methods and eight Yin & Yang methods, these twenty-four Yin & Yang Daoyin Exercises we’re taught throughout the entire system they did not just belong to the martial art side, nor did they belong just to the health and healing side of the Li/Lee family arts, they were taught throughout. Obviously these twenty-four Yin & Yang Daoyin methods had a wide range of benefits towards helping certain individuals to cultivate and nurture their qi towards strengthening their health and wellbeing, plus they could also be used to help heal individuals who received treatment from the Bodywork Massage system that Master Chee Soo taught or they could be used to develop internal power for martial arts usage.
Basically the eight Yang Daoyin methods involve the student making their inhalation shorter than their exhalation. Meaning that when they breathe inwards their movements speed up to match their short inward breathe and on the outward breathe their movements are slower. This particular breathing method is excellent for stimulating and strengthening their energy. Whereas, the eight Yin Daoyin methods involve the student making their inhalation’s longer than their exhalations, again meaning that their movements should be much slower on the inhale, while the movement is much quicker on they exhale. The Yin breathing method is a much more explosive technique that draws in a lot of energy which is then dis-charged (Fajing) quickly to issue sickly energy (Bing Qi) out of the body to dredge and cleanse the energy pathways which can affect our physical and emotional states.
The eight Yin & Yang Daoyin methods are obviously used to balance the flow of energy around the body, as both the inhalation and exhalation are of the same length. This type of breathing helps to relax and sooth the nervous system and can be used to cultivate the energy to nourish the internal organs of the body to function correctly. This particular breathing method is used within the practice of the Li/Lee (Lishi) Style Taijiquan to balance the circulation of Qi throughout the whole body.
The eight Yang Daoyin methods and the eight Yin Daoyin methods are used extensively in the practice of the Li/Lee Style Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou Kung Fu to produce a strong and powerful energy which can be used it its defensive and offensive techniques. Theses particular breathing methods are performed through the Feng Shou Kung Fu Martial Qigong exercises which are a combination of passive and dynamic, active breathing exercises.
As for the healing arts, especially within the Bodywork Massage side of the Li/Lee family arts the twenty-four Yin & Yang Daoyin methods are all used to help the practitioner to connect to the patients Qi and guide and lead it through their body to remove blood and energy blockages that have accumulated in various areas of the patients body causing illness.