LFIAA Li Style Daoist Yoga “ To Enliven, Nourish & Strengthen The Body, Mind & Breath”. (Lishi Kaimen).

The Li Style Daoist Yoga (Lishi Kaimen) meaning “Opening the door to the Physical, Mental & Spiritual Energies” developing better health and connection to the whole body. Originally the Dao Yoga Exercises that we’re taught by Master Chee Soo involve a Yin & Yang set to each exercise, the Yin set was called the Sequence and was very passive and gentle. Whereas, the Yang set which was called the Extension is more dynamic and stronger. The exercises as part of the Li Style Dao Yoga involves Lying, Sitting & Standing Exercises which are perform separately from each other.

Today, sadly the Li Style Dao Yoga is mainly taught alongside the Li Style Taijiquan as a supplementary form of exercise. We’re students will perform one or two exercises, which sadly pays no respect to this mind & body system, for which it was Master Chee Soo himself who combined the Dao Yoga into the Taijiquan due to his busy schedule, whereas originally it was taught and practiced separately in its own right.

In a nut shell the exercises that are practiced as part of the Li Style Dao Yoga are “Guiding & Leading” (Daoyin) Exercises were the body, breath & mind are combined together to lead the Qi around the body to nourish and strengthen each individuals health and to enliven areas of the body that may have become numb due to stuck Qi and stagnated blood leading towards poor health or illness. We at the LFIAA combine various Dao Yoga Exercises together to create a flowing sequence or form, rather than just practicing the exercises separately on there own.

Learning to combine the many Dao Yoga Exercises together in a flowing sequence allows for the practitioner to stretch different parts of their body. The individual can perform a routine that begins from a standing position and progresses to the ground and returns to a standing position or vice-versa, the exercises must be performed slowly with combined breathing to promote blood and Qi circulation.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Feng Shou-Kung Fu Daoist Boxing. “The Best Type Of Defence Is Offence”.

When I first began to learn the Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Boxing System known as the “Hand of the Wind” (Feng Shou-Kung Fu). My teacher Master Chee Soo would mention that the art was broken down into a Yin defensive method and a Yang offensive method. Sadly this made many of his students believe that there was a “Duality” that only certain techniques could only be used defensively or offensively. For example the method of using the palm of the hand to push aside or deflect an incoming blow aside, what is known within Feng Shou-Kung Fu as a “Sun Palm Ward Off” (Tai Yang Zhang) which can be performed using either a single, double or changing hand method is classified as a Yin defensive technique by many practitioners and would only be used as such. But this same hand method (Shou Fa) can also be used offensively giving the Sun Palm Ward Off a dual aspect as well.

They say that the “Best defence is Offence” and the same defensive Sun Palm Methods that we use within Feng Shou-Kung Fu to defend with can also be used to attack with. So whereas, we would use an upward Sun Palm (Sheng Tai Yang Zhang) to lift and deflect an incoming blow away, we could also use the same lifting palm to remove the attackers blocking arm away to create an opening to enter and strike into against your attackers body, or we could also use the lifting palm heel to strike under your attackers chin as an uppercut blow. Hence, each particular hand method within their own right can be used as a dual method to defend or attack with and not to just be classified as a singularly defensive or offensive technique.

I believe that to many practitioners of the Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Boxing System of Feng Shou-Kung Fu have a tendency to practice using a defensive attitude. In other words they wait until their attacker lunches their attack to then respond with their own counter attacks. This way of thinking that the confrontation will be over quickly, that their superior counter attack techniques will finish the fight, does not always work effectively in a real life situation, as their strikes might fall short of their target or the attacker is able to block and evade your counter attacks. So the practitioner then as to use various offensive methods that takes the fight to the attacker. This is were the many hours, days, weeks, months and years of dedicated practice, spent just working on their offensive techniques learning how to open up the attackers defence to enter deeply and land your own heavy blows that can finish the attacker off. Rather than just trying to defend or counter attack, hence “The best form of defence is offence”.

LFIAA Sun Style (Sunshi) Bagua Zhang “The Snake Going With Palm Form” (She Shuan Zhang Shi).

The Sun Style (Sunshi) Eight Diagram Palms (Bagua Zhang) Snake Form (She Shi) otherwise known as the “Going with palm” (Shuan Zhang). Corresponds with the “Kan” Water Trigram, which is one of the eight diagram shapes that make up the Bagua Symbol. The Snake Form develops the individuals footwork and their ability to quickly change direction allowing the Snake to spin and twist its body developing a supple and pliable body. Practicing the Snake Form for attaining health, fitness and wellbeing would mean that the individual should spend more time walking the circle and less time performing the Snake Forms Movements to change their direction.

Walking the circle more develops strength in the individual muscles, tendons and bones. It also develops their fitness, as each individual can walk the circle quickly increasing their cardiovascular fitness and stamina, while holding the either the Single Palm Change Shape or by holding the Snake Palm Shape. Obviously the more the individual can walk the circle before changing their direction will greatly develop strong connections of the body, mind & breath.

If you are practicing the Snake Form for self defence. Then there are many striking methods hidden within the forms actions that each individual can practice. Within the Sun Style Bagua Zhang Snake Form the striking methods involve chopping, Poking, Elbowing, Kneeing, Embracing etc. All of the striking and kicking methods of the Snake Form involve cavity strikes (Dian Xue) to poison the opponents body. Which is why the Snake Form of the Sun Style Bagua Zhang is known as the most poisonous because of its Poison Hand Striking Methods.

Again if you are practicing the Snake Form for self defence. Then you should practice changing direction more than walking the circle, developing the body methods (Shen Fa) to be smooth and nimble in their actions.

LFIAA Taiji Qigong Exercises For Physical, Mental & Emotional Health & Wellbeing. “The Body Moves First & The Hands Follow”

In the practice of the standardised taiji qigong exercises, many individuals make the mistake of just moving their hands & arms, while the rest of the whole body remains static. This is the wrong way to practice any of the taiji qigong exercises and is commonly made by beginners. The whole body as to be unified together with the five components of the legs (Tui), body (Shen), hands (Shou), eyes (Yan) and breathing (Xi) all working together smoothly with no isolated actions as many individuals have a tendency to do when performing any of the taiji qigong exercises.

Irrespective of what particular taiji qigong exercise you as an individual decide to practice. Whether it be just simply one particular exercise or a few strung together in a sequence, the body moves first, and the arms and hands should follow. The moving of the body involves the actions of the legs and waist (Yao), the legs will rise and sink, giving an upwards, downwards, sidewards, forwards or backwards strength or momentum. Whereas the waist can also rise and sink, but it can also turn to either side to guide the upward, downwards, sideward, forwards or backwards momentum that is generated by the actions of the legs into either hand or arm.

This actions of the legs in their ability to rise, sink, sway to the side or move forwards and backwards by transferring the bodyweight from one leg to another. The action of the waist in its ability to turn to either side can guide and lead the momentum or strength that is generated within the legs to travel into the arms and hands. This is were the individual will then begin to feel a sensation of heaviness and lightness within their arms & hands, for example, usually in the practice of the taiji qigong exercise known as “Turn the waist & push the palm” the individual should feel a sensation of heaviness in the left side of their body as they transfer their bodyweight onto their left leg and turn their waist to the left as they push their right palm forwards towards their left side. Whereas, the right arm and right side of body should feel light, but when they transfer their bodyweight onto their right leg to pull their right hand back the right arm and right side of body should now feel heaviness. Whereas, the left side of the body feels lighter.

The over-al practice of the taiji qigong exercises is to realise the many ways that the principle of Yin & Yang can be applied to each exercise for example. Rising, sinking, opening & closing, lightness & heaviness and entering & exiting etc. This can only be applied if the body moves first and the arms/hands follow.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Feng Shou-Kung Fu. “Simplifying & Refining Your Fighting Methods”.

Defensively and offensively the Elbow and Knee striking methods can be used to destroy an opponents weapons, plus cause serious damage to the opponent by using a combination of powerful and heavy Elbow & Knee strikes that can end an aggressive confrontation quickly. The practitioner of the Li Style (Lishi) Feng Shou-Kung Fu Daoist Boxing has to make a big decision between choosing to study and practice the system as an “Art Form”. Or as a practical and effective fighting art that can be used to adapt and change to any opponent and defend oneself from a violent situation.

The reason why I mention about making a decision to practice Feng Shou-Kung Fu as either an Art or as a Fighting Art? Is that many of its practitioners over the many years have been brainwashed to follow a traditional training syllabus that is guided more towards gaining coloured sashes and towards developing individuals to go onto teaching and coaching their own classes. Rather than developing a practical and effective fighting art that inspires self confidence, respect, and humility in its practitioners. There is so much to learn and cover within this Daoist boxing system that irrespective of who you are or how long you have been practicing there is no way that anyone person can become highly skilful in all aspects of this Art.

In Daoism we are taught to simplify and reduce the things that we posses, and in the case of the study and practicing of Feng Shou-Kung Fu we should only work on developing and improving the defensive & offensive techniques that we feel we like. This means that you might only need to learn a few kicking methods that can be easily combined with certain striking techniques that can be flexible enough to also use them defensively as well as offensively, you might wish to add just joint locking techniques that target the elbow joints, and not wish to learn or add any other joint lock. Obviously, it is self discovery, learning to find what works and what does not work, constantly refining, changing and simplifying your own personal Feng Shou-Kung Fu fighting methods.

As I have already mentioned above, there is a vast amount of information within the Li Style (Lishi) Feng Shou-Kung Fu that every practitioner can use to gradually develop their own fighting art that can be used to protect themselves. Learn to simplify, reduce and refine your Feng Shou-Kung Fu fighting methods and not over accumulate information that you would not use, learn to absorb what is only useful to yourself and reject what is useless.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan “The Large Snake Unwinds Its Body Posture” (Da She Fangsong Shen Shi)

Within the short form of the Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan Square Yard Form. We have a posture what is called “The Large Snake Unwinds It’s Body” (Da She Fangsong Shen Shi), also known as “The Cobra Unwinds Its Body”. This particular posture is governed very much by the individuals waist (Yao) in leading the whole body through the actions of the posture, which is very beneficial in developing a relaxed and supple back and spine.

The over-al actions of the posture involve very much so that each individual uses both horizontal and sidewards circular actions that naturally flow smoothly from one in the other. The bodyweight is placed onto a single leg, alternating from one leg to another as the individual slowly steps, making sure not to end up in a “Double Weighted Posture” (Shuang Zhong Shi) were the bodyweight is trapped between both legs. Making sure to only place the whole bodyweight onto a single leg at a time, helps to maintain their strength and fitness and plus promotes the circulation of the blood, lymph and Qi around the entire body.

The Large Snake Unwinds Its Body Posture (Da She Fangsong Shen Shi) also contains a large amount of the eight energies of taijiquan that gives added strength and depth to each of its actions. The eight energies used within this posture are Rollback (Lu), Squeeze (Ji), Ward Off (Peng), Press (An), Bump (Kao, Elbow (Zhou), Split (Lie). Without the application of the eight energies within the movements of the whole of the Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan Square Yard Form would make them empty and useless. Sadly there are many who study and practice our style of taijiquan and are unaware that the eight energies within their actions exist. Hence, why their movements look empty and have no essence to them.

As practiced as a Taiji Qigong exercise there are many ways that it can be performed. From a simple standing post exercise (Zhan Zhuang) to a moving step practice (Dong Qigong), which should be performed on both sides of the body to balance the Yin & Yang meridians and channels allowing for a better flow of Qi throughout the body.

LFIAA Taiji Qigong “Two Dragons Rise From The Sea” Exercise.

The “Two Dragons Rise From The Sea” Taiji Qigong is a rocking exercise we’re the bodyweight is transferred from front leg to back leg. As the bodyweight is shifted forwards onto the front leg, the heel of the rear foot is lifted as the body leans forwards pushing the (Bai Hui) Qi cavity located on the top of the head upwards. As the body leans forwards the both hands coil underneath each armpit and extend behind the body, pushing the fingers towards the ground to stretch the shoulders. The bodyweight is then shifted onto the back leg and the toes of the front foot are lifted off the ground, the body leans slightly backwards as the both arms are raised upwards above the head to stretch the front of the body.

This particular exercise directs the Qi upwards to the (Bai Hui) Qi cavity when the individual leans forwards. Whereas, when the bodyweight shifts backwards onto the rear leg and the body leans backwards the Qi sinks through the (Yongquan) Qi cavities located on the balls of each foot to “Root” the individual to the ground. Physically it stretches the back and shoulder muscles, plus it strengthens the legs and improved their fitness.

The both hands are held in a particular shape with the little fingers and index fingers of each hand fully extended. The middle and ring fingers are bent into the Palm with the thumb of each hand pressing against them to form two energetic “Dragons Head” hand mudras (Shou Yin). The extended index and little fingers corresponds to the Five Element (Wuxing) Wood (Liver) and Water (Kidneys) elements. When the bodyweight shifts backwards to the rear leg and the both arms are raised above the head the individual inhales, when the bodyweight shifts forwards to the front leg and the hands coil underneath each armpit the individual exhales.

LFIAA Sun Style (Sunshi) Bagua Zhang Five Element Spear Form. (Bagua Wuxing Qiang Shi).

The Sun Style (Sunshi) Bagua Zhang (Eight Trigram Palms) was named after Master Sun Lutang. Who was taught by his teacher Master Cheng Ting Hua who was taught by Dong Hai Quan who was the actual first person to start teaching and spreading Bagua Zhang in China. Obviously, Master Sun Lutang died in the early 1930’s and both his daughter and sons, especially his son Sun Cunzhou who died in 1963 and his daughter Sun Jianyun were left to carry on his legacy, but sadly his daughter died in 2003. Now it is left to their student to carry on the Sun Style Internal Family Boxing (Neijiaquan).

The Sun Style (Sunshi) Bagua Zhang Five Element Spear Form (Bagua Wuxing Qiang Shi). Combines both the Sun Style Xingyiquan Spear Methods (mind, Body Boxing) and of cause Sun Style Bagua Zhang Spear Methods (Eight Trigrams Boxing). The linear spear fighting movements come from the Xingyiquan Spear Methods, which includes blocking, chopping, drilling, Stirring etc. Whereas, the circular spear fighting methods come from the Bagua Zhang Spear fighting techniques.

Has the practitioner studies and practices the Five Element Spear Form. They then practice the two-person spear fighting exercises that develop each practitioners accuracy, timing and reactions to defensively and offensively use the Five Element Spear Skilfully. These two-person spear fighting training exercises bring to life the drilling, stirring, chopping, blocking, sweeping techniques alive, so that each practitioner can use them practically and effectively to protect themselves using the spear.

Personally on and off over many years, that I have been practicing the Sun Style Bagua Zhang Five Element Spear, for which I get so much enjoyment from its practice over these many years. It can be made to fit into any space small or large as it contains both linear and circular footwork, unlike other martial art spear forms that need plenty of space to practice them in, the Sun Style Bagua Zhang Spear can be performed in any area.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Yoga (Kaimen Daoyin)

In our present time the Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Yoga is mainly taught and practiced by some teachers, as a supplement that offers their students a break from the practice of the Li Style Taijiquan. Just A few of the Daoist Yoga exercise are performed and practiced, alongside the more popular Taijiquan, which to be honest does not give any respect to the Li Style Daoist Yoga (Kaimen) System which was taught separately from the other mind, body, spirit disciplines that make up the whole of the Li Family System.

The Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Yoga (Kaimen) in Chinese, which simply means “Opening the Doors”. By using physical body movements, performed slowly in coordination with the breathing and the concentration, are used to guide and lead (Daoyin) the blood (Xue) and energy (Qi) to circulate freely throughout the individuals entire body. Gradually each individual will begin to strengthen their body and mind, which will in-turn lead them towards balancing their own emotions and open them spiritually to connecting with nature (Dao).

When I started to learn the Li Style Daoist Yoga it was taught separately on its own. It not only involved standing, sitting and lying exercises that stretched the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints to help maintain and improve health and wellbeing. It also included Daoist Meditation practice to cultivate the three treasures (San Cai) of the body which are the Essences (Jing), Energy (Qi), Spirit (Shen) through quiet sitting (Jing Zuo). The reason why the Daoist Yoga was then taught and combined alongside the Taijiquan classes and courses. Was that Master Chee Soo was so much in demand to teach his family arts both here in the UK, but also throughout Europe as well, that to save time he combined the Daoist yoga with the Li Style Taijiquan.

Today many practitioners still practice the Daoist Yoga exercises individually on their own. They might begin with two or three exercises starting from a lying position, then they will stand and perform another one or two standing exercises. In a conversation that I once had with my teacher Master Chee Soo a very long time ago about the practice of Daoist Yoga. He mentioned that the ultimate aim would be to combine a few exercises together, so that the practitioner could naturally flow from one exercise into another like a long flowing sequence, which could combine some of the lying, sitting and standing Daoist Yoga Exercises together in a variety of ways like a small a form like structure.

This is how I personally practice and teach my Daoist Yoga to my students. Combining a long sequence of lying, sitting and standing exercises that are connected together, without any pauses, hesitations, but with a slow, flowing moving practice that coordinates the breathing and concentration together to guide & lead the blood and Qi. I no longer perform the Daoist Yoga Exercises separately, but joined together in a wide variety of sequences or forms as Master Chee Soo advised.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Seizing & Grasping Throwing Methods (Qinna Shuai Fa).

Within the LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Boxing Arts taught wrestling and throwing methods make up a great part of the system. My teacher Master Chee Soo taught (Qi Shu) or Breath Art, which involved fast, practical joint locking methods (Qinna) that lead into a variety of throwing methods (Shuai Fa) that could be applied from grips, holds, punches and kicks that an opponent might use against yourself. The Chinese consider throwing methods as a finishing technique, as an effective, fast and powerful throw can cause serious damage to an opponent, especially if they were thrown onto a hard surface like a concrete pavement which could cause severe damage to the opponents head, shoulders, spine or hips etc.

Applying various thrown methods (Shuai Fa) from a wide range of joint locking techniques (Qinna). Offers the practitioner of the Li Style (Lishi) Daoist Boxing Arts a great amount of techniques to use against an aggressive attacker who decides to grab a hold of them from the front, rear or from the side. The practitioner would firstly strike the opponent to weaken their grip, then quickly apply either a finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder or head, to apply a certain joint locking technique to try and control the opponents balance, if the opponent is to strong to control, then the practitioner can turn their joint locking technique they have applied into a fast throwing technique. Throwing the opponent in any direction onto the ground to subdue or immobilise with further joint locking methods.

Learning to apply a throwing technique off a particular joint locking technique involves a very little amount of physical strength. Developing a good sense of tactile ability and a knowledge of angles, leverage, pressure is also that is needed to apply a joint locking technique that can be used to throw the opponent. A quick finger lock to stop someone pushing against your chest using one or both hands, can be easily turned into a throwing method that any women or girl can use to defend themselves.