LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “ Developing Qi And Jin Through Martial Qigong Exercises”.

When I started to learn the Li Family’s Internal Martial Art of Feng Shou-Fu. Especially its martial arts breathing exercises, the only reason mentioned for practicing these breathing exercise methods was to cultivate one’s own Qi, there was never any mention of how to develop the issuing of power (Jin), through the use of these same particular martial qigong breathing exercises that was taught, for which there was only a few. Even within our present time with loads of interested individuals now taking up the Li Family’s Feng Shou-Kung Fu to practice some internal martial art, these same breathing exercises are still being taught by many teachers, who constantly push the Qi cultivation aspect, but not the structure or development method of how to issue power (Jin), using these same martial qigong breathing exercises.

Learning how to issue power (Fa Jin) in both the defensive and offensive fighting methods is of great Importance for every person who practices any internal martial art, Irrespective if it is Feng Shou-Kung Fu. As without the ability to promote the issuing of power, then everyone’s techniques are useless, as they cannot hurt or stop another individual trying to do the same to themselves. So over the many years that I have been studying and practicing other internal martial arts like the “Eight Changing Palms” (Baguazhang) it has come to my own attention that the development on how to issue power (Jin) is lacking from the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu’s training. So we at the LFIAA now perform our martial qigong breathing exercise in two training methods.

The first method of practicing the martial qigong exercises for students who study the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu, as to be performed slowly with many repetitions, co-ordinating the breathing with the movements and using the mind (Yi) to lead the Qi to the extremities. These particular slow martial qigong breathing exercises can be performed static, staying in one position or they can be performed moving, the student would practice these exercise in a slow manner until they could feel the movement of Qi within themselves.

The second method of practicing the martial qigong exercises for students, would be then to learn how to combine their Qi with their (Li) or physical strength to issue power (Fa Jin). These particular exercises would only be taught to students who can feel they Qi movement into their extremities, the exercises would again be combined with the breath, using the mind (Yi) to lead the Qi and (Li) strength to issue power (Fa Jin). But on the exhale the movement would speed up to allow power to be released through correct body method (Shen Fa) and hand methods (Shou Fa). The speeding up of the movements on the exhale is to produce more Qi to flow much faster into the extremities for defensive or offensive usage.

Master Chee Soo once told me many years ago, that the martial qigong methods must come naturally from the defensive & offensive actions that one uses within the practice of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu. So it is important that your martial qigong exercises resemble the actions of your Feng Shou-Kung Fu movements, at first they are performed slowly, but after a few years of practicing the same actions slowly, they then must be performed faster to balance both Yin & Yang to issue power into your fighting techniques, as without the ability to issue power (Fa Jin) your fighting techniques are hollow, empty and useless, like throwing snowballs at an elephant to try and stop it advancing.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Square Yard Tai Chi Staff Form. (Lishi Zheng Ma Tai Chi Gun Shi)

As with all of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Forms, they should be able to be performed within a Square Yard of were the individual is standing. Making it easier for everyone to practice their Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi within a small confined area, both in-doors or Out-doors. This includes the practice and study of the Li Style Tai Chi Staff Form, which again like all of the other Li Style Tai Chi forms moves slowly, using both low crouching postures and high single leg standing postures that strengthen and stretching the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints of each individual.

As with all of the hand or weapon forms that are practiced by the Li Family Tai Chi Square Yard Style (Li Jia Tai Chi Zheng Ma Shi). They should all move in the eight directions of the compass, which means that every individual’s Tai Chi stepping methods (Bu Fa) must include that each individual performs a forward, backward, sidewards and turning action of the whole body, while still performing the movements of the Tai Chi Staff (Tai Chi Gun).

The benefits of practicing the Li Style Tai Chi Staff (Gun) Form for individuals who are already practicing the Li Style Tai Chi Solo Form. Are that their concentration, co-ordination and agility are greatly improved, due to the wielding of the Staff (Gun) that has to be smoothly moved using three types of circular movements, vertical, horizontal and sideward circles, that should all blend together combining with the stepping actions. Great leg strength is developed due to the changes of the body height as already mentioned above, which increases the blood, Qi and lymphatic fluid to circulate freely around the entire body, removing any blood stagnation, energy blockages and flushing toxins out of the body. As the leg strength develops, so will the individuals ability to maintain their balance increase, developing their confidence and fitness levels to be able to increase their mobility levels.

The more traditional Li Family Tai Chi Staff Form that was taught by my teacher Master Chee Soo. Seemed to move away from maintaining the Square Yard Style (Zheng Ma Shi) and was taught covering more of a greater distance, moving in a long lateral line, rather than moving towards the eight points of the compass. This obviously meant that it was much more difficult for individuals to practice the Li Style Tai Chi Staff (Gun) Form In-doors as it took up so much room. So we at the LFIAA Have designed the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Staff (Gun) Square Yard Short Form, so that interested individuals can now perform it within a small confined area, giving greater opportunity for many individuals to practice this unique Tai Chi Family Style in the comfort of their own homes to help maintain health, fitness and wellbeing.

LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “The More Effective Kicking Method Is Never Seen Only Felt”

The Foot Flow Training Patterns (Kicking Methods) that are taught to every student of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu are just laying down the foundation to develop skill in various types of Kicking Methods. Which then have to be combined both with the defensive and offensive hand methods (Shou Fa) to make the Kicking Methods more effective. The true skill in applying the many different Kicking methods that are to be found in the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu, is when to perform them alongside your hand methods and which particular Kicking method is the best one to use.

An effective kicking method within the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu should only be felt by the opponent and should never be seen. This means that the hand methods (Shou Fa) create the openings, but it is the leg methods (Jiao Fa) that finish the fight. Obviously, there are many different types of hand methods that a student can use defensively or offensively to create an opening to attack with, using a series of penetrating strikes that can then create the opportunity to use practical and effective kicking methods that can seriously finish the confrontation. Such as a scooping front kick targeting the opponents shin, knee or groin, or a side kick that stamps down onto the knee or hip joints or a knee jab to the thighs, groin or head of the opponent, only if they are forced to bend forwards, plus plenty more to be found and developed.

My. Teacher Master Chee Soo would call these fighting methods as the “Three Star Principle”. Basically the first method could be a defensive one, were your opponent attack’s first with a punch, the student then decides what defensive hand method to use to deflect the opponents blow away from its intended target, then immediately the student enters with a series of fast, penetrating strikes that then set up a series of finishing kicking methods that could be either one or more kicks used.

There are many types of fighting methods that a student can create through the practice of the “Three Star Principle”. Where they can combine their defensive & offensive hand methods together, alongside the many kicking methods that are practiced within the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu to develop, skilful hand & foot fighting methods (Shoujiaofa). We’re the opponent only feels the force and power of the Feng Shou-Kung Fu kicking methods, but never gets to see them, that is the hall mark of this unique Chinese Internal Martial Art of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) TAi CHI Straight Sword Square Yard Short Form. (Lishi Tai Chi Zheng Jian Shi)

The uniqueness of the of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi is its ability to perform its many movements and postures within a “Square Yard” in any direction. This should also be carried on by the study and practice of its Tai Chi weapon training, such as the Tai Chi Straight Sword (Tai Chi Zheng Jian), the Tai Chi Sabre (Tai Chi Dao) and the Tai Chi Staff (Tai Chi Gun). The uniqueness of the “Square Yard Style” was that individuals could practice their Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Forms inside as well as outside within a small confined area. The more traditional weapon forms of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi. That was taught by Master Chee Soo moved away from the uniqueness of the “Square Yard Style” meaning that his Tai Chi weapon forms covered a lot of distance, making them useless to practice in-doors if you did not have the space to practice them in.

So the LFIAA have returned back and designed their Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Weapons Forms back into the “Square Yard Style” to correspond with the Tai Chi Square Yard Form and to allow students to practice their Tai Chi Weapon Forms both in-doors and out-doors, if they wish to within a confined area. This then means that the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi can be truly called the “Square Yard Style” as all of its forms practiced, especially by the LFIAA can be performed within a “Square Yard”.

So the LFIAA have designed the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Straight Sword Short Form, so that it can be performed within a “Square Yard”, by moving in the eight directions of the compass. Making it easier for students to access the weapon training of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi, which means that they can also be practiced in a small confined area, unlike the more traditional weapon forms which can take up a lot of space and make it more difficult for students to maintain their study and practice of them, as they do not have the room to practice the weapons forms in-doors because of their size.

There is a tremendous amount of benefit that each individual can receive from the study and practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Weapon Forms. Such as improving their balance, co-ordination and concentration to another level of development, their flexibility is improved and their leg strength and fitness is increased due to the low postures and single standing leg postures. But as with the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Solo Bare Hand Form which is performed with deep breathing, then so can the practice of the Tai Chi Straight Sword Form. Both are performed slowly to cultivate, strengthen and nourish the Qi of the whole body for health and wellbeing. But it is the uniqueness of the “Square Yard Tai Chi Style” that everyone can now have total access to the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Weapon Forms as they can now be performed within a small confined area.

LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “ The Three Basin Qigong Exercise” Developing Internal Power.

There are two main qigong exercises taught and practiced within the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu. Which are the Four Position Breathing Exercise and the Five Lotus Blossom Breathing Exercise. One was and I gather still is performed at the beginning of a class training session, and the other is performed at the end of every training session. These seem to be all that is practiced by many practitioners of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu, especially when you consider it to be an Internal Martial Art, you would think that there are plenty more of these martial qigong exercises taught and practiced, not just the two described above.

In the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by the LFIAA, there is a large variety of martial qigong exercises taught to students to help them cultivate, strengthen their own Qi, plus to develop their martial power (Jing). Which is the ability to issue both external strength (Li) and internal strength Qi into their defensive and offensive fighting methods to give them Martial power (Jing). Without being able to issue power (Jing) into their fighting techniques, would leave every Feng Shou-Kung Fu student in a very difficult position, as their fighting techniques would be useless against an aggressive opponent who is properly much more bigger and physically stronger than themselves.

There is a saying within the internal martial arts community, that to spend all of your time and effort practicing only the physical techniques, without placing just as much time and effort into your “Inner Work” (Neigong) development, would leave your fighting techniques empty and useless over time. Whereas, if you practice your Inner Work development alongside your external techniques, then your power will keep getting stronger, even thou you are getting older.

One such martial qigong exercise that is taught to students of the LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu is the “Three Basin Qigong Exercise”. Which works on the three heights of the body, which also corresponds to the three Dantians. Which are the lower Dantian (Xia dantian), the middle (Zhong Dantian) and the upper (Shang dantian), when this exercise is taught to students it is performed in two methods, the first method is were the students perform the Three Basin Qigong Exercise slowly with co-ordinated deep breathing, inhaling and exhaling through the nose to cultivate, strengthen their Qi to nourish their health and wellbeing. The second method is then performed with a balance of slow and fast actions, on the inhale through the nose the movement is performed slowly, whereas on the exhale, which is out through the mouth is performed fast to generate the issuing of power (Jing).

For every student of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu spending time on developing their “Inner Work” (Neigong) is just as valuable if not more so, than just practicing empty, external physical fighting techniques that will have no effect on anyone, especially when you reach old age, as you cannot rely on your youthful strength and fitness anymore as it has declined. So that’s when you need your internal power development.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form “Moving In The Eight Directions”.

In the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form as taught by the LFIAA. Students are taught to perform their Square Yard Tai Chi movements, moving in the Eight Directions (Ba Fang Wei) of the compass. Rather, than just moving towards the four directions of north, south, east & west, as so many do, who teach and practice the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form. Practicing the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi under the guidance of the LFIAA, students are taught to step forwards, backwards, sidewards and to turn their body in a 180 degree direction, while co-ordinating their upper body Tai Chi actions with their stepping.

It is said in the Tai Chi classics that the Stepping actions of every individual who studies and practices Tai Chi, irrespective of what particular style they are learning. Involves the Five Element Principles (Wuxing Yuan Ze). Which are found within the Eight Directions Stepping Methods of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form. For example stepping towards the north is considered Heaven, stepping towards the south is considered to be Earth, stepping to the west is considered to be Water, stepping towards the east is considered to be Fire, stepping North West is considered to be Wood, North-East is considered to be the Valley, stepping towards south-west is considered to be Mountain and stepping towards the South-East is considered to be Thunder.

The stepping in the Eight directions of the compass corresponds with the eight energies or gates of Peng, Lu, An, Ji, Cai, Lie, Zhou, Kao. The eight energies are what makes every action of the upper extremities different from each other as they perform their Tai Chi movements. Each movement that the student performs in the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form is full of energy, method, technique and a deep philosophical meaning. Rather than just performing hollow, empty movements that have no energy, method or deep connection that can be practically seen and felt by each and every student of the Li Style (Lishi) Square Yard Tai Chi.

LFIAA Lishi Medical Bodywork Massage (Tui Na Qigong) “The Holding/Grasping Method”.

One of the most popular massage techniques that I use a lot to treat patients who visit my clinic to receive a treatment, is the Holding/Grasping Method (Wo Zhu Na Fa). I would use this particular Bodywork massage technique on patients who suffer with poor circulation within the extremities, due to an accumulation of muscular tension and joint stiffness or old age, which can stagnate the flow of blood and Qi. I also use the Holding/Grasping Method on patients who suffer with arthritic joints, individuals who suffer with atrophy of the muscles etc.

When using the Holding/Grasping Method the aim is to remain in one position for a while, before moving further upwards or down the patients limb. The reason for this is to allow yourself to connect to the patients Qi, by Using the strength of your own Qi to Guide & Lead (Daoyin) your patients Qi to the area that you are working on and to then gather their Qi in the same location. Once you can gather your patients Qi to the area that you are working on using your both hands, your patient should begin to receive various tangible sensations such as warmth or great heat building in the area that the practitioners hands are working.

The warmth or heat generated in the two hands that are working on the patients limbs, will gently help to break up any muscle tension or joint stiffness that is caused by over working the muscles and joints, or from coldness entering into the joints and muscles. Once the muscles, tendons and joints begin to receive the warmth or heat that is generated by the practitioners Qi entering into their body, the muscles, tendons and joints will begin to relax and soften as the tension and stiffness is gradually dispersed.

The more elderly type of patient who comes to my clinic for arthritis treatment. Which is usually more in the winter period, due to the coldness of winter attacking the patients joints causing more pain. Really love it, when I use the Holding/Grasping Method to send heat into their joints and muscles to ease their discomfort and pain. Obviously for any practitioner who uses the Holding/Grasping Method then you must be calm and still inside yourself when using this technique to treat a patient. As it can take a long time to travel along the limb from top to bottom and vice-versa.

LFIAA Taiji Qigong 18 Exercises Form. “ For Nourishing, Strengthening & Repairing Health”.

The taiji qigong 18 exercises are easy to learn and suitable for everyone to practice. Each of the 18 exercises abides by the taiji guiding principles, which includes that every individual who practices the taiji qigong exercises should rise (sheng), sink (xia), open (kai), close (he), be heavy (zhong), or be light (qing), as well as being full (xu) and empty (Shi) while performing each of the 18 exercises.

Rising (Sheng) and sinking (Xia) of the body helps to connect the bottom with the top and vice-versa, the rising and sinking works the legs which develops strengthen the lower extremities, plus working the legs activates the cardiovascular system, which promotes blood and Qi circulation around the entire body. Whereas, the opening and closing actions of the individuals joints as they perform each of the taiji qigong 18 exercises act as pumps that control the amount of blood, Qi and lymphatic fluid that circulates into the extremities and around the whole body.

Heaviness and lightness is what each individual feels through the actions of each of the taiji qigong 18 exercises as the bodyweight shifts from one leg to another, or as one arm is moved slightly ahead of the other. As for the sensations of fullness and emptiness as one performs a typical taiji qigong exercise, as the bodyweight shifts forwards onto the front leg as the both hands gently push forwards, as in seen in the accompanying photo that comes with this blog, the individual will feel the front leg and front of their body, plus their both arms filling as the blood, Qi and lymphatic fluid flows into them. But the back leg and the back muscles will feel empty and cool as more blood and Qi moves to the front of the body.

Although each of the 18 Taiji Qigong exercises are easy to learn. Each particular exercise holds tremendous depth and it is through the following of the taiji guiding principles that each individual can attain the depth of information that is held within each of the 18 taiji qigong exercises. Following the taiji guiding principles gives better structure and discipline to each individual as they practice each of the exercises, allowing for them to receive all of the health related benefits that each of the taiji qigong exercises offers towards strengthening, nourishing and repairing one’s health and wellbeing.

LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “ The Three Star Principle The Key To Putting It Altogether”

Every teacher of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu follows a particular training syllabus that lays down the basic foundation for students to reach a higher standard of fighting proficiency. The Feng Shou-Kung Fu training syllabus allows students to cover individual areas such as learning various kicking methods or foot flow patterns, Poison Hand Striking Sets (Du Shou Da Fa) that teach correct body methods (Shen Fa) to issue power into the striking techniques. Plus evasion sets, plus joint locking techniques and much, much more. The Feng Shou-Kung Fu training syllabus is used then to examine each individual student to judge their own progress in being able to learn and practically perform each section of the training syllabus.

Once a student has attained their black sash grade (1st Dengji) they should then be able to combine each of the individual sections that make up the training syllabus. For example when the student applies a particular joint lock from a punch, the student should use the appropriate ward off to deflect the incoming blow away, but remain (Stick/Adhere) in contact with the limb, then enter with a strike or kick combination before applying the joint locking method, which is then used to take down the opponent to the ground, followed up with more striking or kicking methods or even another joint locking method to subdue or immobilise the opponent.

The ultimate aim of every practitioner of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu is to be able to access all areas of their basic training syllabus and bring it together in a large variety of applications. This is what Master Chee Soo would call the “Three Star Principle” ( San Xing Fa) which basically means “Attack, Defend & Counter”. This is the key to bringing all of the various sections of the student training syllabus together in a vast amount of defensive or offensive fighting methods that every student should be encouraged to learn and perform.

Sadly, to many teachers of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu who do not have a good understanding or skill level in the “Three Star Principle”. Simply, they just offer their students the training syllabus, with out being able to demonstrate to their students how to bring together in various Attack, Defend & Counter fighting methods. Which can greatly effect each students ability to grow and develop their own proficiency levels to fully discover and express this unique Chinese Internal Martial Art of the Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu.

LFIAA “Guiding Principles Within The Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi To Give Structure & Discipline In It’s Practice”.

Without guiding principles in the study and practice of Tai Chi, there is no structure or discipline to its movements. This is what is happening to the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form, there are individuals professing to be qualified teachers giving instruction to interested students and yet they are not laying down any guiding principles to those interested students, about how the Li Style Tai Chi should be structured and disciplined within its actions. I have personally asked both teachers and students of the Li Style Tai Chi what guiding principles have been taught and passed onto them by their teachers, so as to give better structure and understanding on how they should practice and teach the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi Square Yard Form.

Without any guiding principles on how the student should perform the Li Style Tai Chi, allows everyone, both teacher’s and students who practice this particular Tai Chi Style to interpret the movements to their own ideas. I recently came across a student who learnt his Li Style Tai Chi from another teacher, this individual was also taught some the Li Style Dao Yoga (K’ai Men) Exercise from the same teacher. When I watched this individual demonstrate his Tai Chi Form, I noticed a few things that were not within the guiding principles of practicing Tai Chi. For example, this person was over twisting his torso which was bringing more tension into his back muscles. When I pointed this out to him, he said mentioned that was the way he was taught. Sadly his Dao Yoga was corrupting his Tai Chi, both of these systems are individual in their own right and each have their own structure and discipline and everyone should take care as to not mix the two practices together.

In the practice of Tai Chi the back muscles must remain soft and relaxed, there is no twisting of the waist only turning of the waist which more gentle. Structure and discipline within the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi allows every individual to gradually improve the quality of the Tai Chi form because they follow guiding principles that have been passed onto them by more experienced practitioners of the Li Style Tai Chi. Rather than being allowed to freely interpret the movements to what think their Tai Chi should look like.

Another example, there are still some teacher’s who advocate the usage of “Double Weighted” (Shuang Zhong) Stances in the practice of the Li Style Tai Chi Square Yard Form. But the guiding principles say that there should be an understanding of Substantial (Xu) and insubstantial (Shi) within the legs. As Double Weighted Stances means that the over-al movement of the lower bodies extremities stops, pauses, which means that the upper body is moving in isolation, compared to the lower body which has stopped, whereas the whole body should be moving to promote better blood, lump and Qi circulation throughout the whole body. As the guiding principles of Tai Chi “That if one part of the body stops moving, then the whole body should stop moving. Whereas, if one part moves the whole body moves”.