LFIAA Original Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu “Progressive Training With Poison Hand Striking Methods”

There is a tremendous amount of depth of information within the Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu’s Poison Hand Striking Methods (Du Shou Da Fa). Especially within the two-person Poison Hand Striking training exercise (Du Shou Da Duilian Fa) that many still today practice, but only in the defensive method that was first taught to them many years ago. Over the many years there does not seem to be any further development of the Poison Hands Striking Sets & Methods that was first taught and passed onto us through Master Chee Soo. Yet within the Poison Hand Striking Methods there is so much information to be gathered and learnt that can help every practitioner of this fascinating Lishi Internal Martial Art to reach a high level of proficiency.

As I have already mentioned many practitioners are still taught to use the Poison Hand Striking Sets in a defensive manner within the many Feng Shou-Kung Fu classes that are taught by other Lishi associations and organisations. But we in the LFIAA also practice them as an offensive method and not just as a defensive method as many still do, in the offensive method it is were you the practitioner takes the opportunity to attack your opponent first, rather than waiting for your opponent to attack you. Learning and practicing the two-person Poison Hand Striking sets in the offensive manner allows each practitioner to skilfully develop their hand methods (Shou Fa) to a high degree of skill, by being able to adapt and change to overcome any difficult situation that your opponent might do, which you can guarantee will definitely occur in a real fight, as you must always be prepared that no real fight will always be as you practiced within your class training. You must be skilful enough to adapt and change your fighting techniques and this starts by learning to practice the Poison Hand Striking Methods in a more progressive way and not just performing them in a very rigid and limited method.

Performing the Poison Hand Striking Sets & Methods in an offensive way. Will teach the practitioner how to attack and then counter attack again, rather than simply defend to attack to defend again as practiced in the defensive exercise method. If we consider that the defensive way to perform the two-person Poison Hand Striking Sets as (Yin), then the offensive way to perform the two-person Poison hand Striking Sets is (Yang). When you perform the Poison Hand Striking Sets (Du Shou Da Fa) as a defensive exercise the practitioner will always end by performing a defensive technique, whereas, in the offensive exercise the practitioner finishes the exercise using an offensive technique.

Progressive development by each practitioner of the Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu must come through constant research, practice and experimentation. This is how the many secrets of this fascinating internal martial art can be found, which allows for every practitioner to develop more depth and understanding of how to skilfully use this internal martial art (IMA) practically and effectively.

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LFIAA Wild Goose Qigong “Invigorating the Blood & Qi Circulation Through Natural Holistic Movements”

The reason why there are two types of speed used within the study and practice of the Wild Goose Qigong, is to invigorate the circulation of both the blood (Xue) and energy (Qi) to flow smoothly throughout the whole body to help strengthen, nourish and maintain the functioning of the internal organs (Zangfu) for over-al health and wellbeing. During the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, lymphatic systems are all activated, allowing for any blood stagnation, Qi blockages, toxins, stress & anxiety to be released that allows for the individual develop their own physical, emotional, mental & spiritual strengths to cope with the stresses and strains that life can row at all of us.

The slow, passive and gentle flowing speed of the Wild Goose Qigong helps sooth the nervous system, releasing any build up of stress, anxiety or tension that can affect the individuals ability to fully relax both physically, emotionally or mentally. Moving slowly also helps strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments as the individual as to hold certain body positions much longer than they would if they were moving much more quicker. The bodyweight is kept on the one leg much more longer before shifting it onto the opposite leg, working and developing the strength of the legs muscles and bones (Jin Gu) to help with maintaining balance. The arms are also held out hanging in free space much longer, again helping to strengthen the tendons, muscles and bones helping to maintain over-al strength as we all grow older. Moving slowly also allows for each individual to co-ordinate their breathing (Xi) with their movements, which brings the mind & body much closer together in helping to guide & lead the Qi to our extremities,

Whereas, the much more vigorous, active speed or tempo of the Wild Goose Qigong practice works the cardiovascular system, helping to promote stronger blood flow throughout the entire body. This much more active speed will also strengthen and improve each individual’s fitness and stamina, strengthening their lungs and heart. Individuals who suffer with cold hands or feet will over time and through constant regular practice of the Wild Goose Qigong gradually begin to experience warmth and heat arriving into their fingers and toes. The sensation of warmth or heat developing in the body through the Wild Goose Qigong practice is also important in allowing the warmth of the blood to heat the muscles, tendons and ligaments allowing for them to relax and help each individual to improve their flexibility. As our muscles and tendons stretch much more better when they are warmed up, whereas if they are cold, then there is a chance we could tear them by stretching to far.

Through the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong, learning to maintain the two particular speeds or tempos as the individual performs their Wild Goose Qigong movements, will strengthen each individuals ability to concentrate for a long period of time. This will then strengthen their nervous system allowing for the individual to become more calmer and relaxed as they gradually learn how to release their stress and anxiety through the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi “Elbow Method” (Zhou Fa).

The “Elbow Method” (Zhou Fa) is one of Tai Chi’s Eight Energy Methods and within the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form can be seen just as much as any of the other Eight Energies. The only way that you could possibly see the Elbow Method within the movements of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi is when the practitioner fully transfers their bodyweight onto their front leg and at the same time turn their upper body side on to the front leg. To fully apply the Elbow Method successfully in the practice of the Li Style Tai Chi Whirling Hands Exercise (Lishi Tai Chi Lun Shou) is to shift the bodyweight onto the leg that is in front and turn the waist (Yao) to transfer the raising power that starts in the both feet, that then travels upwards through the both legs into the waist, which then turns and directs the rising power through the torso into either hand, or in this case the Elbow (Zhou) as seen in the accompanying photo that is attached to this blog.

The use of the “Elbows” (Zhou) is seen throughout the entire Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form. This is why as part of the basic guiding principles every student is told to keep their Elbows slightly bent and below the height of the hands while performing their Tai Chi Square Yard Form actions. This means that if they are performing the “Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttle Posture” for example, then at any time the use of the Elbow could be applied, as the practitioner must use a vertical circular action with the both arms moving at the same time during the movements of the “Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttle Posture”. But just with a slight turn of the waist (Yao) to either the right or left the practitioner can then dictate which particular arms Elbow would be used to apply either a downwards or upwards Elbow Stroke.

The connection between using the Elbow Method (Zhou Fa) in the study and practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form and the Whirling Hands Exercise (Tai Chi Lun Shou), is much the same. For the Elbow Method to be fully utilised both in the practice of the Lishi Tai Chi Form and Whirling Hands Exercise then three elements of the practitioners body must be fully timed and utilised, which are:

  • The bodyweight must be shifted onto the front leg that the Elbow Method is moving towards.
  • The bodies waist must also be turning horizontally to the left or right.
  • The practitioners mind (Yi) Intention should be fully focused on timing the shifting of the bodyweight, the turning of the waist and speed of the whole body moving at the same time.

It is through the connecting of the five components of the whole body that allows for every practitioner of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi to fully utilise the Eight Energies of Tai Chi both within their form practice and the Sticking Hands Exercises. If there is no turning of the waist (Yao) in conjunction with the bodyweight being placed fully onto one leg at a time within the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Form. But yet can be seen evidently in the practice of the Lishi Tai Chi Whirling Hands Exercise (Lishi Tai Chi Lun Shou). Then there is a contradiction in the way both are being taught, they should be one and the same. There is a saying within Tai Chi that goes “if practicing the sticking hands exercise the practitioner cannot use a certain technique of the Eight Energies successfully to uproot their training partner. They should then return to their form practice and work on the connection of the legs, waist and arms”. As it was their poor timing of being able to utilise these three body mechanics that effected their sticking hands practice. Sadly, if you are not already transferring the bodyweight fully onto one leg to another, or not turning the waist to guide and lead the actions of the arms and hands within your Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Form, then your over-al Tai Chi quality will suffer.

LFIAA Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage “Developing The Empty State Posture During Treatments”

My teacher Master Chee Soo would always mention that the practice of the Li Family (Lishi) arts of health, healing, meditation and martial arts are all connected to each other. One particular element that connects them all together is the ability to enter the “Empty State Position” (Wuji Shi) and this practice can be found throughout the entire Lishi arts such the Kung fu, Tai Chi or through the “Guiding & Leading (Daoyin) Exercises that are taught to cultivate one’s own Qi. The Empty State Position (Wuji) is were the individual learns to become calm and still within themselves, not allowing for any external or any internal influences to disturb their concentration in being able to connect and sense the movement of their own Qi mobilising within themselves.

Within the practice and treatment using the Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage (Tui Na Qigong). It is important that the practitioner can develop this ability to enter into the “Empty State” (Wuji) while giving a treatment to a patient, as this can greatly help the practitioner to connect to their own Qi and to that of their patients, helping to guide and lead the Qi in any direction within the patients body gathering rising, lowering entering and exiting the Qi into areas within the patients body to help treat their illnesses. The practitioners body must become still, their breathing is regulated and their concentration is focused on using their own body, breath and mind to move both their own Qi within themselves to then connect to their patients Qi.

Sometimes the practitioner will have to remain in a fixed position for a very long period of time, with their both hands placed onto the patients body helping to enter and gather the patients Qi deeply within a certain area of their body, that maybe deficient of energy and the cause of their illness. Because the practitioner will have to remain in a fixed position for several minutes, then learning to stand in the “Empty State Position” for twenty minutes or up to an hour in the study and practice of either Tai Chi or Daoyin will greatly benefit those individuals who practice the Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage System.

Learning to develop the “Empty State” (Wuji) in the practice of the Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage. Means that not only will the practitioner have to learn how to remain calm and still within, while moving very slowly on a certain area of the patients body. But they will also have to learn how to remain calm and still within, while giving a more vigorous massage treatment to their patient to help tonify or strengthen the patients Qi if they are to deficient, or to disperse and exit any excessive Qi that might be accumulated, causing a blockage that leads towards illness.

Hence, why the practice of qigong/daoyin exercises for the cultivation, mobilisation and the development of Qi sensitivity within the practitioners body is very closely related to the practice of the Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage System. If you do not have a good Qi practice that allows you to become sensitive to the movement of Qi within yourself, how on earth are you going to be able to sense, feel, move and control your patients Qi to treat their illness.

LFIAA Original Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu “The Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Fighting Sets” (Du Shou Da Duilian)

Once the student of the Original Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu, has become more familiarised with the solo Poison Hand Striking Sets (Du Shou Da Fa). They then will progress to the practice of the Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Methods (Du Shou Da Duilian Fa). This is were one training partner attacks using a set routine of strikes and a kick that allows the other student to perform their chosen Poison Hand Striking Set Methods, this teaches the student to defend against heavy and fast blows aimed at various heights, plus to return their own Poison Hand Striking Methods accurately back at specific targets on their training partners body using various hand and arm striking tools such as their finger tips to pierce, the heel of the palm to crush, or the fist to smash or the little finger edge of the palm to chop and cut.

Many practitioners of the Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu still have a tendency to practice and perform the Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Methods from the riding horse stance (Chi Ma Shi). But we at the LFIAA usually perform it from the “Gathering Fighting Stance”(Tun Shi) and we also involve plenty of footwork (Bufa) to help control and maintain the correct fighting distance between both individuals and to help generate whole body power (Zheng Shen Li) both in our defensive and offensive fighting methods. Obviously practicing the Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Method will also help to develop each students timing, precision, reactions, accuracy, strength, and concentration.

Another aspect of the way that the Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Methods are taught within the LFIAA, is that they also combine the defensive Ward Off Methods that are taught within the “Active Mist Sets” (Hao Dong Yun Fa). So that both the Poison Hand and Active Mist Sets are combined into one practice that skilfully develops each Lishi Feng Shou-Kung Fu practitioners defensive and offensive hand methods (Shoufa) to a high proficiency level.

Practicing the Two-Person Poison Hand Striking Methods can also be performed against multiple attackers as an exercise to develop whole body awareness from possible attacks from both sides and from behind. Plus it will also immediately develop the practitioners ability to use both defensive and offensive fighting methods skilfully on both sides of their body, so that their right and left sides are in complete harmony with each other, ready to adapt and change to overcome the situation that rises up in front of themselves.

LFIAA Wild Goose Qigong “Maintaining A Slow, Even, Smooth & Continuous Set Of Movements”

Within the study and practice of the Wild Goose Qigong 128 Posture Form. There are two types of speed that each practitioner must be aware of while practicing the Wild Goose Qigong (Dayan Qigong). The first type of speed is passive, slow and gentle, while the second type of speed is slightly more vigorous. But irrespective of the both speeds the over-al movements must be continuous and smooth, there should be no sudden pausing or hesitation, neither should there be the same speed performed from start to finish. Being aware of the two speeds used in the performance of the Wild Goose Qigong means that each practitioner must be mindfully aware, developing their ability to concentrate and connecting the whole body.

When the practitioner concentrates on the more slower, passive actions of the Wild Goose Qigong, their actions must be as slow as they can possibly make them. Moving slower should develop an inner sense of calmness and stillness within that can help soothe the nervous system, allowing for the practitioner to relax (Song), plus it allows for each practitioner to tangibly feel and sense their own Qi moving inside themselves as they perform their Wild Goose Qigong actions, by raising, lowering, Gathering, entering, exiting etc. Moving slower also means that the body and mind work harder, as the bodyweight remains longer on one leg and the arms are held in space must more longer than usual and the form takes longer to perform.

Whereas, in the more vigorous actions of performing the Wild Goose Qigong the actions are performed must more faster, which has a greater effect on the cardiovascular system, developing more fitness and stamina and increasing more blood flow throughout the practitioners entire body. Moving more vigorously, must not be were the practitioner keeps speeding up faster and faster. There must be a sense of balance to the much more faster speed that the practitioner must reach and maintain, but should never exceed.

Knowing that there are two types of speeds to the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong, the practitioner must now become very skilful at the sudden change of tempo, moving from a slower tempo to a slightly faster pace and then to change back again to slowness without pausing, takes a great amount of concentration and control on the practitioners behalf. To many beginners practice their movements either at the same even speed, or some times they go to fast on the vigorous movements which gives the whole practice of the Wild Goose Qigong a very uneven and rough form of practice.

LFIAA “Taiji Loosening & Warming Up Exercises” Developing Better Body mechanics for practice.

When I begin any of my taijiquan classes I always start with warming & loosening exercises that has the aim of three things.

  1. Warming & loosening the individuals body to prepare them for practice by gently invigorating their blood & Qi circulation to mobilise around the entire body.
  2. Relaxing the body by removing any joint stiffness and tense muscles, focusing the individual’s mind ready for practice.
  3. Developing their taiji body mechanics and making them aware of moving individual body parts.

To the beginner they are just a bunch of exercises to loosen and warm them up before they commence their taijiquan form practice and study. But to the more experienced taiji practitioner they are more than just warming up the body. They are maintaining the quality of different body sections that are used within the practice of taijiquan to allow the whole body to be fully integrated and move as one.

Here I will explain just the head and neck warming and loosening exercises and the reason why we do them in conjunction with the practice of the taijiquan form. I teach three head warming & loosening exercises to my students which are.

  1. Head rolling.
  2. Head turning side to side.
  3. Head raising upwards & downwards.

The reason for warming the neck muscles and the gentle stretching of the cervical spinal column through the three taiji head exercises is to allow for better blood, Qi and oxygen flow from body to head and vice-versa. Plus, in the practice of the taijiquan form the eyes (Yan) connect and follow the waist (Yao), which in-turn guides and leads the arms and hand methods (Shoufa). Meaning that when the waist turns slightly to either side, guiding & leading the both hands to move simultaneously the head must also turn in time with the turning of the waist. If the individual already has stiffness within their neck muscles and cervical spine, then it can hinder the individuals ability to follow the actions of the waist and in some cases, causes for more tension to accumulate within the neck muscles which can also effect the individuals ability to maintain their balance and concentration.

All of the warming & loosening exercises that I teach in my taijiquan classes, are all connected to the body mechanics used within the study and practice of the taijiquan sequence or form. Each of the warming & loosening exercises will gradually develop the individuals flexibility and range of mobility to improve the over-al quality of their taijiquan form actions, also allowing for a more tangible, strong sensation and connection of their Qi moving within the whole of their body as the person performs the taijiquan form.

Hence, why it is important that every individual warms and loosens their body correctly before they commence their taijiquan form practice. As it also relaxes the individuals body and gathers their concentration allowing for the individual to become calm, preparing themselves to commence their taijiquan practice, especially if they have just rushed in from work to their taiji class or they have arrived late.