A natural progression for those who study and practice the Wild Goose Qigong (Kunlun Dayan Gong) is to immediately after a good workout going through either the first 64 Pre-Natal or Second 64 Post-Natal Sets a couple of times, or you are able to complete the full 128 postures and can run through it a couple of times to mobilise the Qi and essences (Jing) and begin to cleanse the channels (Jingmai) of sickly energy (Bing Qi) and to stretch and open the joints and sinews to release any joint stiffness or muscular tension that may accumulate due to many reasons. The next natural progression is to then spend a little time practicing what the Chinese call (Zi Fa Gong) or Spontaneous Qigong. This particular practice can help to further release any stagnant emotional energy that may lay deep within the channels, nervous system and internal organs.
To practice the Spontaneous Qigong every individual must approach its practice with a light-heated attitude. As each individual must simply have the feeling of “Letting Go” and move freely in any direction, either passively or vigorously. They can remain standing, move around or lay on the ground, each person can make a sound if they feel that they need to like shouting or laughing if it helps to release any deep emotions that can help to release blocked, stagnant energy that over the years the individual has learnt to suppress and squeeze deep done inside of themselves causing them to feel ill and low in vitality.
At first when a person begins to practice the Spontaneous Qigong their actions and sounds will be strong, big and loud this may remain for a year or more all according to each individuals own development. Gradually each persons actions and sounds will begin to diminish as the individual will begin to become more calmer, still and quiet, the sounds if any will also diminish and the individual becomes more relaxed as their traumatic deep emotion is finally released. Usually once the sickly energy (Bing Qi) as been purged from the energy channels, nervous system and internal organs the individuals health will also strengthen and their vitality levels are replenished .
Spontaneous Qigong (Zi Fa Gong) is a great method to practice alongside the Wild Goose Qigong in helping to bring both physical, emotional and metal health and wellbeing to everyone of any age or gender as long as they are willing to put their time & energy into its practice.
It is still very surprising to me that even today there are still many practitioners of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan who do not even utilise the Eight Energies of Taijiquan into their form practice and there are some that don’t even know that the eight energies even exists or employed in the practice of taijiquan. I must honestly say that simply practicing a set of movements like the Li/Lee Style Taiji form without any change of energy to each particular movement makes the over-al form empty, hollow without any internal connection at all to the movements, just a bunch of physical actions performed slowly in a very relaxed manner does not make any individual a high skilled Taijiquan practitioner, but rather the opposite.
Learning and understanding each of the Taijiquan Eight Energies within the practice of the form gives each particular movement, posture more substance, strength and quality. For example the accompanying photo of Laoshi Keith Ewers performing the “Ward Off” (Peng Jin) movement of “Play the Guitar or Lute Posture” at the beginning of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan Short Form. Should involve a gradual feeling of expanding forwards and outwards to the front with the bottom and top of the body connecting together to add strength and fullness to the “Ward Off Method”. As it says “You must first expand before you shrink” which obviously follows, as the next movement is to “Rollback” yield and shrink to Play the Guitar or Lute.
Expanding outwards as if to meet some thing is what the Ward Off Method is all about. It’s the ability to meet and connect to the incoming force, to listen to its strength and then be able to redirect its force by yielding using the Rollback Methods (Lu Jin Fa). This feeling of expanding into the Ward Off Method should not just be a physical action it should also include the minds intention (Yi) to guide and lead the Qi forwards into this expanding, rising Ward Off technique. tThe practitioner should experience the sensation of their both arms becoming full or heavy as their Qi and blood arrives into their Ward Off technique of their leading arm, as it is their intent (Yi) that guides and leads the Qi to were its is needed. Hence it is a balance between internal and external that makes the shape of the Ward Off Method.
Just learning to apply the eight energies of taijiquan to the Li/Lee Style Taiji form practice will greatly enhance each person development and progress. Rather than just simply performing actions that are over relaxed, empty and devoid of any internal strength or any change of energy quality. Simply performing slow movements without understanding the energy of each action is really not good taijiquan practice. But sadly today more and more individuals of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan seem to take this root as it is easier to practice, but it lacks true substance and quality.
Within the full system of the Original Hand of the Wind Boxing (Feng Shou Quan) as taught by Master Chee Soo and now being carried on through the LFIAA by Laoshi Keith Ewers. There are three fighting forms to be learnt by every practitioner of this Chinese internal martial art, the first two sets have been openly taught throughout the entire system of the Feng Shou-Kung Fu and many students are already aware of the Poison Hand Striking Sets Methods (Du Shou Da Fa) and the Active Mist Set Methods (Huo Yun Fa). But the lest known fighting set is the “Balancing Fist Set Methods” (Ping Quan Fa).
The Balancing Fist Sets are a combination of the other two fighting sets. As the Poison Hand Striking Set Methods teaches each practitioner how to deliver a series of three strikes using many different hand shapes to target the vital areas of the opponents body, plus it teaches the practitioner how to combine the both the Six External & Internal Harmonies (Liu Wai, Nei He Fa) to produce whole body power. While the Active Mist Set Methods teaches each practitioner to develop a strong defence, again using a variety of single, double and changing hand methods from different angles and heights.
The Balancing Fist Set Methods combine the two elements of the previous two fighting sets, such as fast, accurate, multiple striking techniques with fast, powerful defensive blocks covering all angles. The concept of the Balancing Fist Set is that the Ward Off or block must be simultaneously delivered with a strike at the same time, with no pause or hesitation. Obviously this could be just performed of a single Ward Off or block which is used to enter into the opponents the defence and can then be followed up with a series of Poison Hand Striking methods aimed precisely at the opponents vital points. Or there could be a series of Ward Off and Blocks and the strike is delivered alongside these multiple blocks at the same time until the opponent bent cannot continue their attacks.
The Balancing Fist Set Methods (Ping Quan Fa) are not openly taught to students as they will be first asked to practice and master the two fighting sets of the Poison Hand Striking and Active Mists Set Methods. The Balancing Fist Sets are only taught to senior students who have reached their black sash grades, especially within the LFIAA as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers. As with many traditional Chinese martial arts forms their fighting techniques are some times hidden amongst a lot of flowery movements which have no martial art usage. Whereas the concepts and principals of the three fighting sets that are taught within the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu are very simple, practical, effective in their actions. They are very direct with no added flowery movements to confuse the practitioner in their learning and understanding, but are full of information and application.
Because all styles of taijiquan actively use the eight energies (Ba Jing) methods of Ward Off, Rollback, Press, Squeeze, Pluck, Split, Elbow, Bump. Not only are these eight energies used to create the opportunity to enter into your opponents defence, they are also used in the techniques to manipulate the opponents joints to subdue, immobilise and control them.obviously there are a tremendous amount of variations on how to apply a joint locking methods (Qin Na Fa) onto any of the the major joints of your opponents upper limbs joints such as their fingers, (Zhi); Wrists (Wan); Elbows (Zhou) and Shoulders (Jian).
In the accompanying photo Laoshi Keith Ewers is seen applying a combination Wrist, Elbow & Shoulder Joint Locking Technique that is some times called an Outside Figure Four Joint Locking. This particular lock involves the eight energies of Ward Off, and Rollback to enter into the space created by your skilfully ability to re-direct the opponents incoming force. And enter using a Plucking method of both hands to seize the opponents wrist and elbow, twisting and Pressing the wrist, while the opponents elbow is also Plucked into the sides of the body, were it is Squeezed between your hands and body, the opponents elbow becomes locked and your Elbow is placed into the opponents neck to stop them hitting you with their free hand. Once you have achieved the correct angle, leverage and controlled position you then apply a Pressing and Squeezing action involving your hands and body to painfully apply this particular Qin Na Joint Locking Method.
For any practitioner of the Li Style Taijiquan to be able to skilfully use their taijiquan eight energies for self defence reasons. They will also need to work on developing their tactile ability to stick, adhere, follow once they have attached 5hemselves to their opponents limbs and to then listen for the opponents strength and use that strength against themselves by using a superior knowledge of angles, leverage and pressure to effectively apply faSt, practical Taiji Joint Locking ethos’s to subdue, immobilise and control the opponent if needed. Escaping from any hold or grip skilfully applying the eight energies of taijiquan to strike, kick, wrestle or even throw the opponent.
The third exercise out of the taiji qigong 1st set of eighteen exercises (Shibashi) is called “Moving A Rainbow” or sometimes also referred as raising & lowering the ball. The requirements that each individual should employ to all of the eighteen exercises including this particular one are as follows.
- The Legs: should be used to gently transfer the body weight from one leg to another. Using a rising and sinking action, both knees should be kept soft and slightly bent, never straightening the knees. The front legs heel should gently lift off the floor, allowing for only the toes and ball of foot to remain in contact with the ground.
- The Torso: should rotate from the waist from side to side pointing the navel towards the front foots toes.
- The Arms & Hands: should start hanging down in front of the waist with both palms facing each other, as if holding a big ball. The both arms will then raise above the head and if the torso turns to the right side the right arm will lower down to shoulder height, while the other arm remains above the head with both palms facing each other.
- The Eyes: should follow the turning of the waist, if the waist turns to the right the eyes look towards the right, if the waist returns back to neutral, facing forwards the eyes also look forwards.
- The Breathing: should be co-ordinated with the movements, inhale when raising and exhale when sinking, the Breathing should be long, slow, deep and smooth by breathing in and out through the nose.
The amount of repetitions each individual does should be equally the same on both sides of the body. The whole body, breath and mind should be fully connected together and the speed must remain the same throughout the entire exercise with no sudden changes of speed or tempo. Because taiji qigong utilises the principles of Yin & Yang then it is entirely correct that each individual should also utilise and demonstrate through their actions the changing of Yin &Yang such as:
- Rising & Lowering.
- Opening & Closing.
- Pulling & Pushing.
- Contracting & Expanding.
Even thou this exercise looks simple and easy to perform it actually takes some time to master. As the bottom and top of the body must be fully connected, the body leads the arms and the breathing dictates the whole speed of the entire exercise, which should be very slow. The Mind should be fully focused on keeping the whole of the bodies actions accurate, precise and in harmony.
After a few weeks of practicing the taiji qigong “Moving A Rainbow” exercise each individual should gradually begin to experience the sensations within themselves of their Qi beginning to mobilise & circulate (Yun Qi). At first individuals might begin to feel warmth or heat in their both palms and fingers, or a tingling feeling like pins & needles. Gradually each individual will feel these sensations and a lot more throughout the entire body. Each person will begin to feel more relaxed, supple with plenty more vitality.
There are thousands of people all around the world who are studying and practicing the taiji qigong 1st set of 18 Exercises also known as “Shibashi” to help maintain and improve their health and wellbeing. Although these eighteen exercises are very easy to learn and perform, there is also a tremendous amount of subtlety and skill to each of them that needs to be developed by each individual to help them strengthen the connections between their mind, body & breath. Each individual has to take into account that the practice of taijiquan in general incorporates the ability to:
- Develop a better sense of grounding.
- Moving the body in six directions.
- Connecting the bottom with the top
- Connecting the top with the bottom
Regular practice of the taiji qigong 18 Exercises will of cause develop and improve each persons ability to co-ordinate, concentrate and improve their sense of balance. But mindfully each person must also concentrate on the timing, precision and accuracy of the breathing and actions of the whole body being in harmony. Below is a list of things that each individual who is practicing the taiji qigong 18 exercises needs to be taken into account.
- The breathing dictates the speed of motion of the whole body.
- There should be no sudden unevenness of speed, but a slow, smooth even flow.
- The waist leads the body.
- There should be no pausing or hesitating of movement.
- The body must remain relaxed at all times with no stiffening of the joints.
- The legs, torso, hands, breathing and concentration must be involved in every action
- There must be closing, opening, rising, sinking, heaviness, lightness, contracting and expanding, stillness & movement.
- The breathing must be long, deep, slow and smooth, inhaling & exhaling through the nose.
Gradually as each individual begins to develop their ability to concentrate and be present mindfully within each of their taiji qigong 18 exercises. They will then begin to experience various sensations inside of themselves has the individuals Qi begins to circulate and mobilise throughout the entire body. I will leave this particular blog with great wise words of Lao Zi.
“Difficult and easy compliment each other, Long and short contrast each other, High and low rest upon each other, Voice and sound harmonise with each other, Front and back follow each other”.
Within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu there are three traditional forms that are taught to students. These three particular forms are very practical and each of these three forms teaches the student to focus on a certain skill or methods. The three traditional forms taught are 1). Poison Hand Striking Sets (Du Shou Da Fa), 2). Active Mists Sets (Hao Yun Fa) and 3). The Balancing Fist Sets (Ping Quan Fa). The Poison Hand Striking teaches students to use various hand striking shapes to target the Qi cavities (Dian Xue) of your opponents, the Active Mist Sets teaches the student to protect their Centre line using a vast amount of Ward offs, Deflections, Blocks. Whereas, the Balancing Fist Sets is a combination of the two other previous sets combining Blocking & Striking simultaneously.
Once the students of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu have began their learning and practice of the three traditional forms the next stage is for them to then practice the two-person Four Corner Blocking & Striking Exercise (Si Jiao Dang Da Fa). Beginners would perform this e excise from a Riding Horse Stance (Qi Ma Shi) firstly, then they would progress to both of them standing in a static Snake Stance (She Shi) and finally to progress to a linear moving step exercise. The Four Corner Blocking & Striking Exercise combines the striking techniques of the Poison Hands Sets the fast double Ward Offs of the Active Mist Sets, plus the simultaneous Blocking and Striking of the Balancing Fist Sets.
Mainly the practicing of the Four Corner Blocking & Striking Exercise (Si Jiao Dang Da Fa) develops each students awareness to protect their Centre line (Zhong Ding), plus to improve their tactile awareness skill and reactions to defend against various strikes aimed at different heights. It also teaches each student to immediately defend themselves by responding back with a simultaneous block and strike, which could then be followed up with more strikes or another block & strike method.
The aspect of using Ward Offs, Deflections or Blocking techniques can be performed from the inside or outside or a combination of both against your training partners punches or strikes. The student of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu learns how to use a vast amount of variations of Ward Offs, Deflections or Blocks defending from both high and low punches using either just a single arm or double hands or alternating, changing arms/hands to defend with.