Another set of massage techniques that are regularly used within the Lishi Energy Bodywork Massage system. Which are just simply a continuation of the same technique that is on the same spectrum as each other, are the Patting (Pai), Striking (Da) and Shocking (Zhen Fa) Methods. The Patting, Striking and Shocking Methods use a type of vibration that enters into the patients body to affect the muscle-skeletal system, the nervous system, the internal organs (Zangfu), breaking up both blood (Xue) and Qi (Energy) stagnation that may have accumulated in the body through old age, illness, injury or lack of exercise.
The Patting method (Pai Fa) includes using the fingers, flat palm and hollow palm to enter Qi deeply into the patients body to either tonify the functioning of the internal organs, or to disperse and break up stuck sickly, turbid Qi (Zhua Qi). If the practitioner wishes to enter and penetrate more deeply into the patients body with their vibration, or they choose to target certain Acu-points cavities (Qixue) on the body of the patient, then the practitioner can use the Striking Methods (Da Fa) which involve using the fingers tips, Fist, little finger edge and knuckles. It is important that the practitioner is certain enough that the patients has the correct constitution to take the the Striking Methods, has using this particular technique on a weak, thin individual could cause serious health problems for the patient.
The next massage method that is on the same spectrum as the Patting and Striking Techniques is the Shocking Method (Zhen Fa). This particular method is very strong and should only be used on a patient with the right health problems for it to be used. It is only used about three times as it sends a powerful shock into the patients body that can effect their nervous system, it uses both the palm and Fist to deliver the vibrational shock into the patients body either directly or indirectly.
A practitioner of the Lishi Energy Bodywork Massage Hand Methods (Shou Fa). Must be able to use their Patting & Striking Methods to tonify, disperse, enter and exit the Qi of the patients body to remove or increase excess or deficient Qi, to be able to bring strength and balance back boosting the patients health & wellbeing.
Irrespective of what particular style of qigong or taijiquan or even the Chinese medical massage system of “Tui Na” you have chosen to study and practice. They all involve the practice of the “Empty State Posture” (Wuji Qigong), as this is the beginning posture and finishing posture of all qigong and taijiquan exercises and form work, many individuals seem to over look this practice and only concentrate on the moving exercise. But if the Empty State Posture is practiced for a few minutes by every individual before they begin their qigong, taijiquan, gongfu or tui na massage practice, then it can greatly improve each person quality of practice.
The Empty State Posture or Wuji Qigong is were the individual stands in a natural posture with the both feet about shoulder width apart, arms hanging loosely by the sides of the body, but not touching. The eyes can be open or closed, while the individual begins to place their mind on their lower Dantian and regulate their breathing. The aim of the individual is to not engage in any of their thoughts, nor to listen to any sound that may be going on around them that can distract them, but to “still” their mind and concentrate only on their breathing, they must hold this Empty State position for a few minutes before commencing with their qigong or taijiquan form work practice.
Learning to calm the mind and the emotions through the practice of the Empty State Posture can be important to an individual who as turned up late to class, due to finishing work late or being held up by traffic etc. The individual’s mind can be full of chaos, tension & anxiety which can take at least a good 15 to 20 minutes calm down, which as then wasted quality practice time. Whereas, standing for a few minutes in the Empty State Posture (Wuji Qigong) to calm and quiet their mind & emotions, before they participate with their qigong, taijiquan, gongfu or tui na massage training can greatly aid the quality of their practice and treatment.
Even in the study and practice of the Chinese medical massage system of (Tui Na). It is important that the practitioner can hold themselves in an Empty State Posture, while treating a patient. As their own thoughts and emotional instability can interfere with the quality treatment given to the patient. It is important that the practitioners mind is focused on feeling, listening and changing to the requirements that is needed to treat the patients illness.
Returning to the Empty State Posture after you finish your training is also very important in the practice of qigong and taijiquan. As it allows each individual to return to a calm and quiet state to gather, collect and store their Qi to replenish their body to maintain good health and wellbeing. Plus it also allows each individual to leave their training with a very relaxed, calm and connected mind & body ready to take on the strain and stresses of a fast, modern lifestyle.
Because Feng Shou-Kung Fu advocates using “Softness to Overcome Hardness” (Yi Rou Ke Ying) it combines skilful footwork, Bodywork and hand methods to issue whole body power. The skilful footwork (Bu Fa) is needed to effectively control the fighting distance between yourself and the opponent, whereas the bodywork methods (Shen Fa) meaning the waist (Yao) must be kept supple and loose to connect both the legs and hand methods (Shou Fa) together to be able to issue whole body power (Fa Zheng Shen Li) effortlessly, hence, the hand methods and footwork should work together (Shou Fa Bu Fa Yao Xiang Sui) and be skilfully timed.
The power is generated in the legs and it then travels upwards to the body, were the waist then guides it into either hand. If the hand hits the target and the feet fall short then the power issued will be slight (Shou Dao Bu Cha). But if the hands and feet are timed skilfully to arrive together, but the waist lacks the ability to connect the power, which can delay and slow the issuing of the power in the hands.
It is important for every Feng Shou-Kung Fu practitioner to make sure that the feet arrive just before the hand lands on its target, and that the waist is skilful enough to time and guide the power into the hands to issue the whole body power. It is then were the Mind (Yi) then urges the power to release into its intended target (Xin Li Cui), so that both the mind and body of the practitioner are as one.
It is through the skilful evasive footwork of the Feng Shou-Kung Fu practitioner that allows them to dodge the opponents heavy attacks. Changing direction quickly to position themselves behind or to the side of the opponent, were the practitioner can then attack the opponent while they are vulnerable using their offensive hand & foot methods (Shoujiaofa).
As part of the taiji five components (Wu Yuan Qi Jian) that connects the whole of the individuals body together in a disciplined structure. When moving the both arms in the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) taijiquan the individual as to be aware that the elbows of the both arms should remain below the height of the two hands once the both arms are held up above the waist (Yao). The drooping of the elbows (Zhou) will also help the shoulders to sink and stop them raising upwards, if the shoulders do rise upwards, then they will obviously lift the individuals centre of gravity, weakening their root and their connection to the ground.
When the individual extends a single, or both arms during their practice of the Li Style (Lishi) taijiquan form. They must make sure not to fully extend and lock their elbows, as again this will raise their centre of gravity and weaken their root, plus locking the elbows brings stiffness and tension into the body. So again when moving a single or both arms forwards make sure to let the elbows droop and remain lower than the hands.
When drawing the single or both arms back towards the body during the movements of your Li Style taijiquan form, make sure not to fully close the elbow joints by allowing the forearms to touch the shoulders, only bring the arms back towards the body by maintaining a “V” shape in the both arms. When bringing the arms back towards the body do not allow the elbows to point behind the back as many beginners do, but allow the elbows to droop down towards the ground.
In allowing the elbows to point towards the ground will lower the individuals centre of gravity downwards towards the ground to strengthen their roots to help maintain their stability. Plus it stops the Qi from raising upwards towards the head which can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) to rise, which can lead towards individuals suffering with insomnia, dizziness and headaches. Keeping the elbows below the height of the hands when they are raised above the waist also allows the Qi to sink into the lower elixir field (Dantian) located below the navel known at the sea of Qi acu-point (Qihai).
Over the many years that I have been practicing and teaching the Chinese Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Kung Fu. I have seen my fare share of martial art injuries and accidents both in my classes, courses and seminars by some students. I have had students break and fracture their ankles, knees, fingers, wrists etc, I have had students faint from blood pressure problems, especially within some of my taijiquan and qigong classes were some individuals have passed out, due to the practice of the deep breathing that many individuals are not used to practicing, and then they feel light headed as their blood pressure raises “Hypertension” or lowers “Hypotension” and they then feint and fall to the floor. Also some individuals, especially the elderly who attend either a taijiquan or qigong class are also taking some sort of medication which many should take. But they forget and this can also cause some to feint and fall to the ground injuring themselves.
As for the martial arts training other than fractures and breaking of the bones, due to the students joints being twisted, yanked and bent with force, or has fallen to the ground awkwardly and damaged their joints. The other popular type of injury that can happens in a typical Feng Shou-Kung Fu class is that a students can receive a strike or kick to the jaw that knocks them out. Here the teacher (Shifu) should then place the individual onto there back and then press firmly into the centre of the Du 26 Acu-point (Renzhong) located above the upper lip in the centre of the philtrum ( the vertical groove above the upper lip) roughly between the nose and upper lip, as shown in the accompanying photo with this blog. Pressing into this Acu-Point firmly with a finger, knuckle or with the end of a pencil can quickly revive the individual.
Another type of accident that can happen is were the student, either a male or female receives a strike or kick to the groin. A forceful blow between the legs can cause severe pain, which can some times make the individual pass out. Again pressing firmly into the Acu-Point Du 26 and then also doing a few percussion strikes on the Acu-Point Du 4 (Ming Men), located on the lumber area of the spine opposite the navel. Then straighten the individuals both legs and percussion strike the heels of the students both feet 8 to 10 times to help ease their pain and revive them.
There are many other types of injuries that can happen to a student while practicing their Feng Shou-Kung Fu. Simply by learning a few of the Lishi Bodywork massage methods that a teacher can use to help lessen or remove the pain caused by a student either receiving a heavy strike or kick, or who has fallen to the ground. Or has been knocked out due to a punch or kick or has been knocked out due to strangulation etc. Then it is important that the teacher (Shifu) can immediately help to revive them before serious damage is caused to the students health. As I have mentioned above I have seen plenty of accidents within my own classes, courses and seminars over the many years that I have been practicing and teaching. I have had to replace dislocated elbows and fingers, bring individual’s around after being knocked out, removing the pain from individuals. After receiving a kick in the groin, bringing individuals around after fainting due to their Qi rising to quickly.
All these Bodywork emergency massage methods should be taught and known by teachers of both the Lishi taijiquan, kung fu and qigong arts. Has accidents can easily happen at anytime within their classes or courses.
Practicing the various weapon forms that are taught within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu will lay a good basic foundation for every student. But it is through the two-person counter, counter exercise like the “Rollaways” method (Dui Lian Fa), that the student begins to develop their weapon skill, as the Rollaways exercise involves linear, angular and circular defensive & offensive footwork that allows for each student to dodge, evade, block and counter strike back with a series of combinations.
Through the Rollaways exercise the student also begins to develop their accuracy, reactions, timing, precision, concentration, balance and power. Plus through the Rollaways exercise the student will learn how to apply various disarms that include joint locking techniques, takedowns and throws. Another benefit to practicing the two-person weapon counter, counter exercises like “Rollaways”, is that you can also mix and match various weapons against each other, such as the Staff (Gun) against the Broadsword (Dao), the Broadsword against the Straight Sword (Zheng Jian) etc.
It is not through the practice of the weapon forms that a student develops proficiency in a particular weapon. It is through paired practice with another student who is constantly changing the distance between each other, attacking at various heights and speed that a student becomes skilful in Feng Shou-Kung Fu with a weapon. A good practitioner of any Chinese internal martial art is not just skilful with the boxing side, but also with the weapon aspect to their martial art.
Sadly, within the many association and organisations that also teach the Feng Shou-Kung Fu system there are not many practitioners who are exceptional both within the boxing and weapon aspects of this internal martial art. To many practitioners simply play with the weapons and only practice the weapon forms, they do not extend their interest in being able to become skilful with the weapon in the areas of striking, Wrestling and throwing as they are in the boxing side to Feng Shou-Kung Fu.
No matter what style of taijiquan you decide to study and practice, they all combine the five components (Wu Yuan Qi Jian) of the legs, torso, hands, eyes and breathe, which must be strung together in every single movement that is performed by every individual. Many beginners naturally concentrate on learning the movements of their hands at first, and then they concentrate on the legs or stepping actions, then maybe the actions of the torso then the breathing is added, as for the eyes it is said that they are the doors to the spirit and we’re you are looking that should be were your concentration should be. But The problem being, is were do I actually look? Should my eyes follow my hands, or should I stare at the ground or into space?
This is the reason why studying and practicing taijiquan takes such a long time to master, as every individual has to develop a good connection between the five components of the whole body, which obviously takes a long time in developing and learning, through plenty of repetition of the taijiquan movements. As for the action of the eyes (Yan) they should follow the movement of the navel or the lower elixir field (Xia Dantian), as in the classics of taijiquan it is mentioned that the movements should be guided by the waist (Yao). Many people are taught that the eyes follow the hands, but in some instances were the hands come from behind the individual as in the “Brush Knee Side/Twist Step Posture” many individuals over twist their torso and tense their back muscles, plus stiffen their neck muscles and spinal column due to being taught that the eyes should follow the hands. Whereas, if they simply allowed the eyes to follow their navel or Dantian, then they would not over rotate their waist causing no tension and stiffness to accumulate in the back and spine, as the navel turns only as far as to point to the right or left foot and the eyes do the same.
The action of the eyes is were the individuals concentration should be focused, which is in the direction of were the navel or lower Dantian is pointing. By aligning the eyes (Yan) with the navel (Du Qi) allows the individual to maintain an upright posture at all times, plus the individual only turns from side to side at around a forty-five degree angle and not at a ninety degree angle as many individuals do which causes tension and stiffness within the back muscles and spinal column.
A good taijiquan style will have plenty of guiding principles that a good teacher should follow and then pass onto their own students. Passing these guiding principles onto their students will allow the student to develop their discipline and proficiency much more quickly, than just interpreting the taijiquan movements for themselves. The guiding principles are taught to stop the individual from making big mistakes and forming bad habits within their taijiquan practice. The learning of how to connect the five components of the whole body is just the foundation level of the practice of taijiquan.
The Wild Goose Seven Star Qigong (Dayan Qi Xing Gong) is one of the 72 forms of the Daoist Kunlun Mountain school which originated under the Daoist called Dao An. The system is believed to be over 1800yrs old and was brought into the open during the 1980’s by the late 27th generation inheritor Yang Meijun who began openly teaching the now famous Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Gong) which has now spread to the four corners of the world.
The Seven Star Qigong (Qi Xing Gong) is a much short form that combines both passive Taiji like movements, alongside more vigorous actions that stretch the muscles, tendons & ligaments and gently opens the joints to help increase blood and Qi flow around the entire body, nourishing the internal organs (Zangfu) to promote good health and wellbeing for all.
The Seven Star Qigong gets its name from the seven stars of the Big Dipper Constellation for which to the Daoist’s is considered an important set of stars. Practicing the Seven Star Qigong is supposedly beneficial for the individuals “Heart” (Xin), as it develops strong blood flow from its vigorous actions that also increases the individuals fitness and stamina. Because of its strong blood and Qi circulation the movements are aimed at opening both the middle & upper elixir fields (Dantian’s).
The Wild Goose Seven Star Qigong combines both fixed position and moving step Qigong practice that helps to maintain and improve each individuals balance, co-ordination, concentration. The movements help to dredge clean the twelve Yin & Yang Qi channels that travels the length of the entire body to remove blockages and sickly energy (Bing Qi) that can effect each individuals emotional state, which can lead to ill health.
Within the Lishi Energy Bodywork Massage System, there are certain massage methods that are used to connect to the patients Qi, these particular techniques have a tendency to remain in one location on the patients body. Whereas, massage methods that are used to work more on the patients muscles promoting blood flow, have a tendency to travel the length of the patients body. These particular massage methods are more vigorous in their action and the practitioner need s to develop their strength and fitness to apply them on various size patients.
An example of how to use these the more active massage methods is to begin with the Pushing technique (Tui Fa). The Pushing technique can be performed in any direction as long as it moves away and not towards the practitioner. The practitioner can either use their fingers, the whole hand, the heel of the palm, the little finger edge or thumb edge of their palm, they can use one, both or alternating hands to push. Then without stopping the practitioners moves naturally into the Rubbing (Rou Fa) which is a technique that moves in a forwards and backwards direction, either in a linear or circular direction, the rubbing can be short, long, fast or slow. The Rubbing method produces a lot of heat that warms the muscles, tendons and joints to remove coldness, tension and stiffness. Then the practitioner can then transition into the Wiping or Scraping method (Ca & Gua Fa), the Wiping (Ca Fa) Method travels towards the practitioner and can use the fingers and whole hand. Whereas, the Scraping (Gua Fa) Method again travels towards the practitioner, but penetrates much deeper into the patients body as it uses the heel of the palm, the little finger edge or the knuckles to penetrate into the muscles and tendons to remove muscle tensions, knots and blood stagnation.
Learning to transition and blend naturally from one technique into another allows the practitioner to give a much longer treatment to the patient. The Pushing, Rubbing, Wiping, Scraping techniques for example can be quite vigorous for the practitioner to sustain treatment for twenty to thirty minutes. Especially on a much bigger individual say a person who does sports like maybe rugby or a football player. It is through the quality of the practitioners touch that the patient receives proper treatment for their ailments, whereas, poor quality of touch by the practitioner means that the patient receives poor treatment to aid their illness.
As we all go through life, some individuals sadly suffer with back pain that limits their quality of life. Back pain can range from muscular tension, spasms, sciatica or numbness that could be caused by the spine becoming stiff and the joints of the spinal column pinching the nerves, which causes either sharp shooting pains that travel down the legs or numbness. Individuals can also suffer with headaches and pain in the neck again caused by spinal stiffness or muscular tension, the Chinese have an old proverb that says “you are as old as your back”. And for those individuals who are suffering or have suffered with a bad back, it can make you change your posture by being bent over from the waist and resembling an old person. The individuals range of movement is greatly limited and their energy levels reduced due to their in ability to freely move and maintain their health and fitness.
Through the practice of the Swimming Dragon Qigong Exercise (You Long Gong) an individual can learn to gently stretch their back muscles, spinal column and hip joints. Releasing any muscular tension and joint stiffness that has accumulated due to either poor posture, sitting at a desk or in a vehicle for long hours, injury or illness or simply down to wear and tear as we grow older. The movements of the Swimming Dragon Qigong are performed slowly with co-ordinated deep breathing that helps to calm and soothe the individuals nerves, allowing for blood and Qi circulation into the four extremities to strengthen the vitality levels.
Learning to look after your health and wellbeing is your own responsibility and it is through the study and practice of Swimming Dragon Qigong, that an individual can do just that. There are three types of practices to the Swimming Dragon Qigong Exercise,
- Static, fixed position movement.
- Rocking or swaying type exercise.
- Moving step linear or circular patterns.
An individual can practice the complete thirty-two posture Swimming Dragon Qigong Form moving from one posture to another in a passive and some times more vigorous action. Or they can simply pick one, two or more postures together and just practice their favourite exercises if they have not got the space to practice the whole form. Every posture of the Swimming Dragon Qigong Form works the spinal column and involves stretching the muscles of the upper and lower back, it is through both the circular and linear stepping exercises that the hip joints are stretched and exercised to develop more flexibility and mobility within them. Plus stretching the hip joints will also increase more blood and Qi flow into the lower extremities, harmonising and balancing the Qi circulation throughout the entire body.