LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu “The King Of The Long Weapons, The Spear”. (Lishi Feng Shou Qiang Fa)

In China the Spear (qiang) is known as the “King of the long weapons”. Every internal martial art has its own unique Spear form and methods of its usage and so it is the same with the LFIAA Li Style Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers. The Spear form (qiang shi) that is taught and practiced within the Li Style (Lishi) Feng Shou-Kung Fu is a short form that contains both basic, intermediate and advanced Spear fighting techniques, plus there are many two-person defensive and offensive training exercises within the form to develop each individual’s proficiency in the use of the Spear.

In earlier blogs I have mentioned how my teacher Master Chee Soo would teach various weapon forms that were very long and took many years to learn. Which meant that every individual was stuck learning the actions of the weapon and trying to remember the order that the movements of a particular weapon form should be for many years, with some individuals committing many years of practice and then not being able to complete the full weapon form. Whereas, the weapon forms that are taught and performed within the LFIAA are based on shorter forms that are packed with information and do not take years to learn the complete forms. But obviously might take many more years to fully master each of the particular weapons studied.

Unlike the use of the Staff (Gun) which advocates the use of the both ends of the Staff to defend and attack with. The Spear on the other hand, mainly concentrates on using the Spear point to stab, cut, sweep, point, press, coil, lift and pull with, to both defend and attack. Obviously it does use the other end of the Spear to block and strike with, but it is the Spear point (qiang jian) that the focus of the weapon is fully used. In China the Spear is considered to be the tongue of a poisonous snake spitting out its deadly venom at its intended target quickly and swiftly.

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LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Qin Na-Kung Fu “ Finding The Correct Angles”.

When you see an advanced practitioner of the Li Style (Lishi) Qin Na-Kung Fu applying a certain joint locking method. They seem to make it look effortless, using very little strength to apply the joint lock and to then to use it control a much large individual. Whereas, when you see a beginner attempt to apply a certain joint lock, they seem to use a great amount of strength to apply the lock itself and they then struggle to use that same lock to control their training partner. The reason why this happens is that the more advanced practitioner of the Li Style Qin Na-Kung Fu has gained more experience in finding and using the correct angles to apply many typical joint locking methods that they have learnt from many years of dedicated practice. Making their joint locking techniques to become very fast, efficient and practical.

I often mentioned that to apply any of the Li Style Qin Na-Kung Fu joint locking methods does not take a great amount of physical strength. But rather a tremendous amount of tactile training that teaches you how to use correct skilful angles and leverages when applying any type of joint locking method. Once you have developed this ability to Stick, Adhere, Connect and Follow your opponents strength you can then place any particular joint lock on that you wish, but without the correct angle you will use a great amount of strength and if your opponent is much stronger than yourself then you will have a major problem to deal with.

Whereas, once you have learnt how to find the correct angle to apply a certain type of joint lock. Then you can fully control your opponent effortlessly without using a great amount of physical strength. Obviously it takes many months and years of dedicated training to develop this skill in being able to immediately find the correct angle that fully places your opponent into a very difficult situation we’re you can take them to the ground to subdue or immobilise them, or set them up for a much more heavier strike to a more vital area of their body.

Qin Na joint locking training within the Li (Lishi) Style comes under the Wrestling range of fighting. Which means that each practitioner must gradually learn how to develop their tactile manipulative skills to Stick, Adhere, Connect, Follow and Listen to the opponents strength, to then develop the natural and effortless skill of finding the correct angles to place any type of joint lock that uses very little strength to apply, but immediately places the opponent under control.

LFIAA “Seeking Stillness Within The Movements Of Taijiquan”.

Properly for many individuals the “Seeking of Stillness within the Motion” in the practice of taijiquan is properly the most difficult skill to acquire. As to many individual’s mind’s are full of thoughts about their busy lives, that many individuals cannot seem to switch off, causing many to become anxious, tense, frustrated, irritable, stressed and even angry. Within the practice of taijiquan many individual’s place all of their focus on learning the movements and remembering the order that they proceed in, their ultimate aim is to develop a relaxed body not realising that they need to calm and still their mind first if they want a fully relaxed body.

Obviously, it can take many months and years of dedicated practice to gradually begin to develop a calm and still mind within the practice of taijiquan. But in today’s very fast and stressful modern lifestyle that many people live, hundreds of individuals seemingly suffer with mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, frustration that can lead to anger issues. It is through the practice of taijiquan movements that the individual can gradually begin to discipline their mind to fully concentrate and be present at all times, without allowing any thoughts of their past or future to enter into their mind to distract them, causing them to become more anxious and tense within themselves.

Within the practice of taijiquan there are a few techniques that are used within its practice to help anchor the individual’s concentration and stop distracting thoughts from entering into their mind. The first technique that is commonly used to help anchor their mind, is to co-ordinate the individual’s movements with their breathing, allowing their breathing to dictate the speed of their taijiquan actions and learning to become more slower in their actions, can help to calm the mind. Secondly, the next technique that is used to anchor the individual’s mind alongside the co-ordination of the breathing and actions to stop any distracting thoughts from entering and affecting their ability to focus, is the correct timing of their movements like harmonising the top and bottom or left and right sides of their body, so that the individual’s whole body moves as a complete flowing unit.

Gradually the individual’s mind will become calmer and stronger in their ability to concentrate and be in the present at all times. Totally in control and aware of their every physical action, as the mind becomes quieter and more Still the individual’s body also becomes more relaxed, but as the mind acquires greater Stillness, it is able to then develop a more deeper connection of the mind & body relationship, it is able to feel, sense, guide & lead the movement of Qi within their body as they perform their taijiquan movements.

As it is quoted by Laozi in chapter 15 of the Daodejing. Who, by the power of their Stillness, can make the clouded water slowly become clear. Who, by the power of their Serenity, can sustain this progress until life slowly arises.

The Chinese have always treated the practice of taijiquan as a form of “Moving Meditation” that connects the art of the heart/mind (Xin Shu) together through the “Seeking of Stillness within its Motion”.

LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) TAI CHI Square Yard Form “The Playing The Lute Posture”.

In the study and practice of the Li Style (Lishi) TAI CHI Square Yard Form, we use certain guiding principles to help give each individual better structure, discipline and accuracy to the Li Style TAI CHI actions and movements. So in this particular blog we will take a look at the “Playing the Lute Posture” which is performed within the Li Style TAI CHI Short Form, also as each of the many postures that make up the Li Style TAI CHI can also be performed as a “Standing Post Qigong” exercise (Zhan Zhuang Gong), then developing a more relaxed, accurate structure and disciplined posture is beneficial to each individual to maintain and improve their health, strength, fitness and wellbeing through the moving practice or standing post practices of the Li Style TAI CHI.

Firstly, in the Playing the Lute Posture the body should be held upright with a straight spine, the both arms should not touch the body, the elbows sink downwards, pointing towards the ground. Whereas, the both hands should be held up higher than the elbows, above waist height as if holding a ball between the both arms. The both shoulders should droop downwards, the body weight is placed fully onto the bent rear leg. These are just a few guiding principles that each individual of the Li Style TAI CHI must follow to develop their strength, stamina and fitness, while remaining relaxed and loose (Song) at all times.

Some mistakes that individuals often perform in the practice of the “Playing the Lute Posture”. Firstly they allow their both arms to touch and rest on their body, secondly the hands are held level with the elbows at waist height, with the both wrists bent in a tense “squeezing” action. Locking the knee of the rear weighted leg to support the bodyweight. These are just a few mistakes that individuals make in the practice of the Li Style TAI CHI and by having guiding principles that individuals can follow can help to correct these mistakes and also help individuals to improve and achieve a high quality Li Style TAI CHI practice.

Sadly, there are many individuals who are practicing the Li Style TAI CHI who are left making these mistakes and are not corrected. Because they have not been taught any guiding principles that they can use to follow and correct these mistakes giving them a better structured and disciplined practice that allows them to grow and develop their Li Style TAI CHI to a high level of proficiency. To many individuals are left making these mistakes making their Li Style TAI CHI a very watered down practice that does not offer any strength development of both the mind or body.

LFIAA Li Style Qin Na-Kung Fu “ Refining The Joint Locks For Better Control”.

Once an individual begins their study and practice of the Chinese joint locking system, especially the Li Style (Lishi) Qin Na-Kung Fu. They quickly realise that it is the importance of learning how to find the correct angle and leverage point, that makes all of the joint locking techniques more effective, rather than using brute strength. Finding the correct angle and leverage point to any Qin Na joint locking method, means that each individual does not need to use a great amount of strength to apply them, which makes them effective tools for women, girls, boys and men to learn as a practical method of self defence.

As with every Chinese Internal Martial Art they all advocate the use of circular movements, and so it is the same when applying any Qin Na joint locking method. Obviously the size of the circle matters, the smaller the circle the more effective and faster the joint lock can be applied. But alongside the circular actions each individual must also learn how to use other slight manipulations like, twisting, pressing, shaking etc in combination with the circular movements that develop powerful joint locking methods that can control and subdue an assailant very efficiently using very little strength.

Because we humans use our joints to allow us to be mobile, then learning how to manipulate the skeletal system through effective, fast Qin Na joint locking techniques allows the individual to control the assailants ability to move. Simply placing a single Qin Na finger lock on your assailant for example, can be used to control the whole of their body, allowing you to move the assailant in any direction to either set them up for a more powerful, finishing strike or kick. Or you can propel them towards another attacker or even take them to the ground to pin and immobilise them.

Learning to refine your Qin Na joint locking methods means to develop a superior knowledge of angles, leverage and tactile ability and awareness. It is obvious that once you have managed to place a particular joint lock on your assailant that they are going to struggle and try to escape. This is why each individual must develop a high level of tactile sensitivity to feel for the assailants strength and resistance, to then use the assailants strength and resistance to your joint lock against themselves, by following their resistance to guide & lead them into another Qin Na joint lock.

LFIAA Li Style Medical Bodywork Massage “ The Deep Qi Treatment Method”.

A treatment method that I often try and combine into my Bodywork massage treatment sessions. Which is known as the “Deep Qi Treatment” or also known as the “Balancing Qi Treatment” as it works on Balancing the patients essences (Jing), energy (Qi) and spirit (Shen) what are known within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as the “Three Treasures” (San Bao). The many patients that I have treated using this Bodywork massage method always return and ask for the “Deep Qi Treatment” as it really relaxes individuals to the point that I have had patients fall asleep on my massage table. I use this “Deep Qi Treatment” method to individuals who are suffering with anxiety, stress, chronic fatigue, insomnia etc.

The “Deep Qi Treatment” works on the three “Jiao’s” of the Individuals torso to tonify the circulation of both the blood and Qi by using various massage techniques like the Pressing Method (An Fa), Rocking Method (Huang Fa), Vibrating Method (Zhen Fa), Combing Methods (Lu Fa) and some Traction Methods to gently stretch the limbs, opening the joints to allow blocked, stagnant Qi and blood to be removed and for fresh blood and Qi to enter. The sensations that the patient experiences when receiving a “Deep Qi Treatment” is a feeling of warmth, heat spreading throughout the whole body and deep into the body, plus a feeling of deep relaxation that soothes the nervous system.

When using the “Deep Qi Treatment” on a patient, then the practitioner will work on the patients body using various acupuncture points to connect to the patients Qi to then be able to gather, enter or spread the patients Qi. The patient can be lying both in a prone or supine position on the massage couch, while the practitioner will move very slowly around their body, staying in one position with their both hands placed on the patient’s body for a long time, connecting, guiding and leading the patients Qi throughout their body.

The “Deep Qi Treatment” method promotes blood, essences (Jing) circulation throughout the whole body, by using the Rocking and Vibrating massage techniques, these two techniques also have a great effect on relaxing the patients spirit (Shen) and their mind (Yi) allowing them to just relax and experience the different sensations of warmth and movement inside themselves. Whereas, the Pressing and Combing massage techniques are used to connect to the patients Qi to gather and then enter the Qi deeply into their exterior to nourish their internal organs.

LFIAA Taiji Qigong Standardised 18 Exercises Form “Wave Hands in Clouds” (Yun Shou Fa).

Wave Hands in Clouds (Yun Shou) is one of the 18 exercises that makes up the taiji qigong shibashi form. But it is also found within the more traditional taijiquan styles and it as become a very popular exercise for thousands of individuals to help combat stress and anxiety problems. Within the taiji qigong 18 exercises form the Wave Hands in Clouds exercise is taught both static and as a rocking or swaying practice, as a static exercise the body rises and sinks from the actions of the legs, as the torso turns horizontally from side to side and the both hands draw alternating sidewards circles. Whereas, as a rocking/swaying exercise the bodyweight is transferred from one leg to the other with the full bodyweight being placed on one leg at a time to help strengthen the legs muscles and bones.

As with all of the taiji qigong 18 exercises the five components of the whole body the legs, torso, hands, breathing and concentration must be fully harmonised together as one unit. There should be no isolated movements were the hands and legs are moving, but the torso for example is not, or the hands and torso are moving and the legs are not. Plus both hands/arms should be moving at the same speed, there should not be any pauses or hesitations, nor any sudden changes of speed. This is were the individual needs to be fully concentrated and present in being able to in control of the whole bodies actions and not to let their mind wonder off and be distracted by other thoughts entering their head.

One of the most particular mistakes that many individuals do when practicing the Wave Hands in Clouds exercise. Is that they allow their eyes to follow their hands, but the eyes should always follow and look in the direction that their navel is pointing. Has within taijiquan and its guiding principles it is the waist that leads the hands & arms, so hence the eyes should follow the waist and not the hands. Beneficially the practice of the Wave Hands in Clouds exercise is excellent for strengthening the digestive system, the kidneys and adrenal glands, calms and soothes the nervous system. That is why many people from around the world practice the Wave Hands in Clouds (Yun Shou) exercise to help them cope better with the stress, anxiety and strain that living in a fast modern society can bring in effecting their health and wellbeing.