LFIAA The Striking Hands (Da Shou Fa) Methods Of Li Style Whirling Arms/Hands Practice.

When I Was first taught the tactile sensitivity exercise known as “Whirling Arms” (Lun Bei) by Master Chee Soo. He taught not only how to stick, adhere, follow and neutralise, but he also taught striking methods within the practice of the Whirling Arms exercise. But this element seems to be missing from a lot of practitioners who also teach and practice the Whirling Arms exercise within their Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu and Taijiquan classes. There seems to be a certain few teachers who proclaim to be teaching the Whirling Arms exercise as taught by Master Chee Soo, but do not include any striking methods in their practice, only methods of how to break the balance of their training partner by sliding their arms of each other arms in their attempts to break each other’s balance.

Sadly the practice of the Whirling Arms exercise has become useless for many teachers and students who practice it. They obviously were not taught the full practice by Master Chee Soo himself, as they would include striking methods in their practice. It is only by involving striking in the practice of the Whirling Arms exercise (Lun Bei Fa) that each practitioner really begins to develop their ability to listen (Ting) to each other’s intention through the sense of touch. Because you do not want to be punched or struck with an open palm strike by your training partner, you really place all of your intention (Yi) on sensing your partners attempt to strike you through the part of your arm that is making the contact with your training partner, so that you can feel their punch and be able to deflect it aside.

When striking is part of the Whirling Arms exercise, then each practitioners skill level increases in their ability to listen to each other’s attempts to strike from various angles and heights. Plus their ability to stick, adhere (Nian Zhan) to each other limbs and their ability to follow (Sui) and neutralise (Hua) the in-coming force greatly raises their skill and proficiency levels to a much higher standard. Rather than just simply whirling each other’s arms around trying to break each other’s balance, which honestly does not develop the practitioners skill to defend themselves against a full on violent attack.

There is so much information and skill that every practitioner can receive from the Whirling Arms exercise. Especially when striking is added to its practice has it was originally taught by Master Chee Soo himself, the Whirling Arms exercise allows each practitioner to combine not only striking hands methods (Da Shou Fa), but joint locking techniques, kicking techniques and throwing techniques into its practice. Allowing every practitioner to practice an exercise that develops their own self awareness, tactile manipulation and practical application skill that they can attain for the whole of their lives.

LFIAA “The Fisherman Cast Its Net Qigong” (Yu Ren Sa Wang Gong) For Balancing The Emotions.

The Fisherman Cast’s Its Net Qigong (Yu Ren Sa Wang Gong) is a very good exercise to bring each individuals emotions back into balance. Especially, if the individual’s are suffering with anxiety, frustration, irritability or even anger that effects their over-al health and wellbeing. The Fisherman Cast’s Its Net Qigong Exercise combines slow, passive and vigorous, active actions alongside each other to help develop each persons blood, lymph and qi circulation throughout their whole body.

On a physical level the Fisherman Cast’s Its Net Qigong involves spiralling movements of the entire body. The spiralling movements gently activate the joints of the skeletal system, especially the ankles, knee’s, hips of the lower body and the spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers of the upper body. The spiralling actions stretch the tendons and ligaments, opening and closing the joints that improve the flexibility within each person’s legs, hips and back, releasing accumulated muscular tension and joint stiffness that has gathered within each person’s body due to poor posture, lack of exercise etc.

On a mental level as each individual begins to coordinate their actions with their breathing. The individual needs to concentrate on inhaling on the slower movements and exhaling on the much faster, vigorous actions. Gradually increasing their repetitions of the exercise on both sides of the body, the longer the repetitions the more the individual has to concentrate, which in-turn will gradually calm and still the individuals mind. So that all of the chaos, anxieties, worry and tension that each individual carry’s within their mind will slowly ease and the mind (Yi) will gradually become more relaxed and calm, but this might take a long time to achieve for some individuals. But the more the individual perseveres with their practice of the Fisherman Cast’s Its Net Qigong the more control each individual will develop in their ability to calm their mental capacity’s.

Emotionally, the practice of the Fisherman Cast’s It’s Net Qigong Exercise can really help to calm and soothe each individuals emotions bringing them to a good place within themselves. Part of the Fisherman’s Cast’s Its Net Qigong Exercise is it’s active and vigorous actions of both the legs and arms, using a flicking action to help release sickly energy that as gathered in each person’s emotions, causing them to become irritable, frustrated even angry with themselves and their family, friends and work colleagues. The flicking, shaking actions performed within the practice of the Fisherman’s Cast’s Its Net Qigong helps each individual to release their pent up emotions out of their body, helping them to balance their emotions and become much more calmer and peaceful within themselves.

LFIAA Li Style Taiji Straight Sword (Lishi Taijijian) Square Yard Short Form.

Due to our increasing lack of available time and space to practice the more traditional longer Taiji Sword forms (Taijijian Shi), mainly because of our work, family and social obligations. The more popular simplified Taijiquan barehand and weapon forms have began to grow in there popularity with many individuals, as they can be completed and performed within a small confined area. Unlike the more traditional forms that can take a much longer time to complete and also need a much larger area to practice in. So it is the same, as with the Li Style Traditional Taiji Straight Sword Long Form, when I first began to learn the Traditional Taiji Sword Long Form it took many years for myself to fully complete the form itself. Sadly many individuals who had been also practicing alongside me never got to actually complete the form, as it took many years for Master Chee Soo to teach it, as there were many disruptions along the way that prolonged its learning and practice of the Li Style Taiji Sword (Lishi Taijijian).

So we at the LFIAA also offer our students a more simplified smaller Li Style Taiji Straight Sword Form, that can be completed in less time and also performed within a small confined area. Making it a very popular exercise with students, as they can practice and learn a completed weapon form to promote their health, fitness and wellbeing that also goes alongside the practice of their Li Style Taijiquan Barehand Square Yard Short Form.

For many individuals in today’s society, they find it very difficult to learn and practice the Taiji Straight Sword. As they are not interested in learning Taijiquan as a martial art, so they feel no connection at all to studying the Taiji Sword. But by simply practicing the Li Style Taiji Straight Sword Square Yard Short Form and not it’s two person sword training exercises that are more martial art. An individual can greatly improve and maintain their health and fitness, they can also learn how to cultivate and strengthen their Qi, so that they can increase their vitality irrespective of how old they might be.

Practicing the Li Style Taiji Straight Sword Square Yard Short Form can help to strengthen each persons general fitness. As the sword form involves lower body postures and single standing leg postures that help to work and strengthen the leg muscles of the individual, hence working and developing each persons cardio fitness and stamina levels. As in the practice of the Li Style Taijiquan Barehand Form both hands must work together in harmony with each other and it must be the same within the practice of the Li Style Taiji Sword Form (Lishi Taijijian Shi). Which means that each individuals coordination and concentration is also developed, plus their flexibility and range of mobility is greatly improved, as the sword actions gently stretch the muscles, tendons and joints for better blood and Qi circulation.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Taiji Whirling Arms Exercise ( Lishi Taiji Lun Bei Fa) “Striking The Missing Element”.

Over the many years that I have been practicing and studying the Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan. Especially it’s Whirling Arms Exercise (Taiji Lun Bei Fa) I have noticed that many other practitioners seem to lack a most important element of its practice, too many times I have cringed when I saw students practicing the Whirling Arms Exercise suddenly slide their hands off their partners arms, deliberately breaking contact with each other and to then reattach and begin their practice only to repeat the same actions? Surely the ultimate aim is to develop your listening skill (Ting Jin) by remaining in contact with each other all of the time, rather than deliberately breaking contact as many are taught wrongly to do.

As with every tactile exercise that are taught within many other styles of Taijiquan. The aim is to develop each individuals sticking, adhering, following, neutralising, coiling tactile skills, so that the “Eight Energies” of Peng, Lu, An, Ji, Lei, Cai, Kao, Zhou can be utilised by each individual to their full potential. As I have already mentioned, after years of teaching and practicing the Li Style Taiji Whirling Arms I realise that there are many practitioners who have been practicing for many years and do not seem to have moved on in their own development and skill of practicing the Taiji Whirling Arms Exercise. I believe that to many practitioners place to much emphasis on breaking each other’s balance by sliding their hands off each other, which is really a very bad way to practice. The other is that they use to much joint locking (Qin Na) Methods.

I believe that the one most important element missing from many practitioners of the Li Style Taiji Whirling Arms Exercise, is the ability to use various striking techniques from all angles. Applying striking techniques to the Taiji Whirling Arms Exercise gives more intention and energy to each students attempts to strike at each other, which means their sticking, adhering, following and neutralising skills will greatly improve in their attempts to stop themselves from being struck. Sadly to many practitioners have turned this wonderful tactile exercise into some kind of game were it is ok to break contact with each other, completely missing the whole point of the exercise which is to bring the “Taiji Eight Energies” into application.

LFIAA Taiji Qigong Standardised 18 Exercises Form. “The Breathing Dictates The Speed”

As everyone knows who study’s and practices the taiji qigong standardised 18 Exercises form. That all of its movements and actions are performed slowly, smoothly without any sudden changes of speed or hesitation. What actually dictates the speed is the individuals ability to coordinate their breathing (Xi) with their movements, making their breathing long, deep, smooth, even and quiet, the breathing should be performed through the nose, placing the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, just behind the top teeth, what we call connecting to the “Magpie Bridge” (Que Qiao).

Each individual should breath deeply down to their lower elixir field (Xia Dantian), their breathing should be of the same length. The movements should move in time with the breathing, with the emphasis being placed on gradually lengthening the breath and slowing the movements, so that each individual aims to achieve what we call “Seeking the Stillness within the Motion” obviously as the movements become more slower in their actions, each of the Taiji qigong 18 Exercise will become longer in the duration of their practice, meaning that the bodyweight is placed onto one leg for a much longer period of time, the arms are held away from the body for a longer time and each individuals concentration is maintained for longer periods. So that both the physical and mental aspects of every individual is strengthened through the practice of the taiji qigong 18 exercises.

In the practice of qigong when the breathing is coordinated with the movements. Then the Qi of the body is mobilised and begins to circulate freely throughout the entire body, once the Qi begins to move then the mind’s intent (Yi) begins to focus on the movement of the Qi to help guide & lead it around the whole body to nourish and replenish each individual. It can take several months and a few years for each individual to develop the slowness of their movements to be guided by their deep rhythmic breathing, as many individuals struggle to breath deeply, as many suffer with light headedness, dizziness and feinting, so it can take some individuals a very long time to develop their ability to breath long, slow and deep.

LFIAA Swimming Dragon Qigong “Maintaining Fitness & Stamina For Everyone” (You Long Gong Fa).

The many different styles of qigong exercises that thousands of people around the whole world participate within on a daily basis, to help maintain and improve their health and wellbeing, are mostly performed with slow, flowing actions that resemble the practice of Tai Chi. This particular style of qigong emphasises relaxation and mindfulness exercise, but does not develop each person’s fitness and stamina. Whereas, the study and practice of the Swimming Dragon Qigong (You Long Gong) combines both passive, slow actions alongside the more vigorous, active movements.

The more active, vigorous actions that are performed within the Swimming Dragon Qigong can help each individual to develop their cardiovascular fitness & stamina, irrespective of age or gender. The more vigorous actions of the Swimming Dragon Qigong help to raise the heart rate to promote more blood (Xue) flow around the entire body, encouraging the individual to take deeper breaths to strengthen their respiratory system and activate more Qi circulation. But over-al each individuals fitness and stamina levels will improve over time as they gradually increase their practice of the Swimming Dragon Qigong Form.

As I have already mentioned above, most qigong exercises are performed slowly with no change of speed. Hence the practice of these particular qigong exercises are more directed towards “Moving Meditation” practice. Whereas, the Swimming Dragon Qigong combines the slower actions that attain a calm, still mind and a relaxed body. But with the more vigorous actions that are practiced alongside, they improve fitness and stamina. If we consider the much slower, meditative actions to be (Yin), then the more active, vigorous movements can be considered to be (Yang). Hence by practicing and combining both the passive & vigorous actions within the Swimming Dragon Qigong Form each individual balances both Yin & Yang actions within their practice.

LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu “Controlling The Opponents Striking Limb”. (Shou Fa)

When an opponent delivers a series of punches at a practitioner of the Original Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu. The practitioner has a vast amount of defensive hand methods (Shou Fa) they can use to deflect the in-coming blows away from their intended target, but it is important that the practitioner remains in contact with the opponents limb using their sticking (Nian) and adhere (Zhan) skills to listen and feel for the opponents direction of strength and pressure. Once the practitioner has made their contact with the opponents striking limb using their chosen ward off method, it is important to take control of one of the opponent joints on the striking limb, either the wrist, elbow or shoulder, this will limit your opponents ability to respond with another attack.

We are taught in Feng Shou-Kung Fu that taking control of your opponents striking limb below their elbow will manipulate their upper body to tilt forwards, backwards or to either side. Whereas, controlling their elbow joints will control the opponents ability to maintain their balance. For example if I was to use an outside arm ward off to deflect the opponents punch, making contact on the outside of their elbow, then I slide down their arm to their wrist for which I then grasp and pull, there upper body will be pulled and tilted forwards from their waist, for which I could then lead them onto a counter strike of my own.

If I were to make contact with the opponents elbow joint on the outside of their punching arm. I could then manipulate their elbow by adding pressure to the outside of their arm forcing it across their body that twists and rotates their whole body causing them to lose balance. Obviously there are many ways that the practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu can manipulate the opponents elbow joint to control their balance and leading them into counter strikes, kicks, joint locks and throws.

Every defensive hand method that a practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu uses to deflect or ward off the opponents attacks. Can also be methods of entering into the opponents defensive space, but only if they are used intelligently by each practitioner, by controlling and manipulating the opponents punching limbs joints to limit their mobility. To many practitioners of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu simply use a particular ward off to deflect the opponents blow away, but have no intention in remaining in contact to the opponents limb to control and enter deeply into their defensive space.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan “ The Body Moves First, The Hands Follow” (Shen Dong Shou Sui)

When an individual performs the Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan Square Yard Form (Lishi Taijiquan Zheng Ma Shi). Many beginners place their emphasis on moving the hands ahead of the rest of the body, this means that they are using more strength and bringing more tension into the body. As a whole their body is not fully connected and disciplined enough to move in a more relaxed, smoother and controlled manner. Once the individual commences their Li Style Taijiquan Form practice they will begin to generate a momentum of strength within their actions that passes from one posture into the next, Like a current that guides the river to flow continuously to the sea.

One of the basic principles when practicing taijiquan is that the strength of movement begins in the feet, is directed by the waist and ends in the hands and fingers. Hence the body moves first and the arms/ hands should follow (Shen Dong Shou Sui), the moving of the body here is reference to the shifting of the bodyweight from one leg to the other as the individual steps in any of the eight directions, and the turning of the waist, means the whole torso gently rotates from right to left and vice-versa. As the bodyweight shifts and the waist turns the arms and hands follow and are guided by the power and strength of the legs and torso, the power is then released through the hands and fingers.

As each individual transforms their body movements from one posture into another as they perform their Li Style Taijiquan Square Yard Form, learning to maintain the passing of the momentum of each movement that is generated by the driving action of their legs and waist, into their both arms and hands from the start to the end of the form. Many individuals perform their taijiquan form without being aware of generating the strength and momentum of each movement into the next, many individuals due to lack of practice and correct tuition have a tendency to stop and pause their movements, which then effects their ability to maintain the momentum from one movement into the next. One particular cause to this is using “Double Wighted Stances” (Shuang Zhong Shi).

As in the practice of taijiquan if one part of the body moves, then the whole body moves. But if one part stops, then the whole body stops. There should be no isolated actions in the practice of the Li Style Taijiquan Square Yard Form, sadly for those who use “Double Weighted Stances”. Then the legs will momentarily stop moving, while the upper body moves, this is what is known as isolated movement which will affect the over-al momentum being generated and passed from one posture into the other. Hence, many individuals of the Li Style Taijiquan perform stop, start Taijiquan and not continuous flowing Taijiquan.

LFIAA Original Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “ Changing Hands Working Together Defensively & Offensively”.

In the study and practice of the Original Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu there are single (Dan), double (Shuang) and changing (Bian Hua) defensive and offensive hand methods (Shou Fa). Properly the most effective and practical of these three Feng a Shou-Kung Fu hand methods is the use of the Changing Hands Methods (Bian Shou Fa), which combine both defensive and offensive techniques together at the same time, with both hands constantly moving and working in harmony with each other to create a vast amount of ways to enter into the opponents defensive space, that involves both soft (Yin) manipulative hand methods to disrupt the opponents balance and root (Gen), or using hard (Yang) hand methods that attack the opponents muscles, nerves, joints and acu-points causing great damage or a combination of both soft & hard changing hand methods (Bian Hua Shou Fa).

Once a practitioner of the Original Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu becomes more accomplished with the changing hands methods to enter deep into the opponents defensive space. They can then combine fast, powerful striking methods and close range kicking methods alongside their changing hands methods. Allowing for a vast amount of Three Star (San Xing Fa) Fighting Methods to be discovered by each practitioner that not only combines strikes & kicks, but also devastating joint locking techniques and powerful, fast throwing methods (Shuai Fa).

The Changing hands methods is a high level skill that every practitioner of the Original Feng a Shou-Kung Fu must learn to develop to a high level of proficiency if they want their Feng Shou-Kung Fu to be a practical, effective fighting art. They then have to learn how to add and combine skilful footwork alongside their changing hands methods, such as using their Clock Face Eight Directional Stepping Methods (Zhong Mian Ba Fang Bu Fa), Box Stepping Methods ( Zheng Bu Fa) and the Ladder Linear Stepping Methods ( Ti Zhi Bu Fa).

There is a saying within the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu that the “Hands opens the doors, but it is the feet that allows you to enter”. To be successful in using your Three Star Fighting Methods a practitioner of the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu must develop skilful hand & footwork techniques that allow themselves to adapt, change and overcome any aggressive situation.

LFIAA Five Element Qigong “Wuxing Gong” Harmonising The Five Qi For Cultivation, Health & Wellbeing.

When teach the practice of the Five Element Qigong Exercise it can be performed from either a standing or sitting position. The sitting practice of the Five Element Qigong (Zuo Wuxing Gong) is usually taught to individuals alongside sitting meditation, for the cultivation of the three treasures (San Cai) of essences (Jing), energy (Qi), and spirit (Shen). Whereas, the standing practice of the Five Element Qigong Exercise is mainly performed for promoting health & wellbeing in people of all ages and genders. The particular Five Element Qigong Form that I teach within the LFIAA was taught to myself by Master Ji Jian Cheng of Hangzhou, China.

Before starting the standing Five Element Qigong Exercises each individual spends a while developing a Qi connection within both palms. Connecting the Laogong acupoints that lay in the centre of each palm and the five finger tips of each hand to each other, here each individual should begin to experience certain sensations within their fingers and palms, even the space between each hand. Theses sensations can range from a tingling, pins & needles feeling, warmth or great heat building, a feeling of fullness, thickness within the fingers, palms and arms. They might begin to feel a connection In the space between both hands as if they are holding a sponge ball, or a magnetic ball between their hands, the more you practice pulling & pushing your both hands with the rising & lowering of the whole body and coordinating your breathing with the actions of the entire body, gradually each individual will begin to feel these same sensations, plus it will happen quicker and with more strength.

Once the individual as developed the Qi within their both hands and fingers through the pulling & pushing Qi basic exercise. Then they can begin the standing Five Element Qigong Exercise using the Qi strength that they have accumulated within their both hands to then connect to their Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs & Kidneys finishing with the both hands gathering the five Qi of each yin internal organ and returning it back to the lower energy field (Xia Dantian). When practicing the Five Element Qigong Exercise the both hands can perform pulling, pushing, pinching, rubbing, raising, lowering, pressing, rotation & stroking hand methods (Shou Fa) to manipulate both the sickly Qi (Bing Qi) to exit out of each of the five Yin internal organs and to enter with clean, fresh (Qing Qi) energy.

As each of the Five Elements also corresponds with a certain colour, then each of the Yin internal organs use the same colour therapy. The Liver is Green, the Heart is Red, the Spleen is Yellow, the Lungs are White and the Kidneys are Blue. When practicing the Five Element Qigong Exercise each individual can visualise a dull colour exiting and brighter colour entering into each of the five Yin internal organs as they perform their qigong actions.