Over the many years that I trained and studied under the guidance of the late Master Chee Soo he taught to all his students a wide range of energy sensitivity & awareness exercises what he would often term as (Qi Expressing Exercises) or traditional known as the Daoist Wand (Daojia Mo Zhang) Methods. These particular methods or exercises are also widely taught within many other styles of taijiquan and Qigong systems by many other teacher. I also teach them within my Lishi Energy Bodywork Massage System for individuals to get a better feeling and understanding of Qi and being able to connect to their own before they then connect to a patient Qi and then learn how to guide & lead it in any direction inside the patients body. Master Chee Soo would often teach and demonstrate these Qi expressing exercises mainly on his Lishi Taijiquan courses and they included lying, sitting, standing exercises that the individual could perform on their own or with one or more partners.
When practicing the Qi expressing exercises with a training partner they could be performed in a variety of ways. Firstly you project your Qi towards your partner by slowly pushing your hand towards a part of their body, usually it would be aimed towards an energy cavity point (Qixue) located anywhere on the partners body, then your training partner would try and sense, feel your Qi as you slowly closed the distance with your hand. Usually the training partner would experience warmth, tingling or even a feeling of pressure coming towards themselves, or they would simply feel nothing at all. There are many reasons why this possibility could happen, one particular reason was the delivery of you extending your Qi towards your partner did not involve the whole body moving as a unit, but you simply just moved your hand.
Over the many years that Master Chee Soo taught these particular Qi expressing exercises many students of his jmainly got caught up in trying to simply feel the Qi being pushed, pulled, raised or lowered towards them by their training partners and a lot of them could not perform the more advanced methods of actually moving their training partner. This was down to not concentrating on using their body mechanics in a correct and skilled manner, for example when you perform a taijiquan posture or a Qigong posture you are taught that the five components (Wu Duan Fa) of your whole body the legs, arms, torso, concentration and breathing must all be involved within every action that you do and there should be no difference when practicing any of the Qi expressing exercises. It is how you deliver your Qi towards or away from your training partner using the whole body and not just simply moving an arm or hand.
To many individuals get caught up just wanting to sense the movement of Qi and are quite happy to just feel warmth, tingling, heaviness or lightness when practicing with a partner. But as with everything within the Daoist energy arts there are always lower and higher levels of proficiency and to attain these higher levels of Qi manipulation each individual must pay great attention to their posture and whole body movement.
Students who practice the weapon side of LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers who was a senior student of the late Master Chee Soo . Learn a Short Feng Shou-Kung Fu Staff Form (Duan Gun Shi) which can be fully learnt within one or two years of study by any individual, this particular Short Staff Form includes all of the basic staff blocks and strikes that every individual must quickly learn and become proficient in the study and practice of any staff fighting style. Also within this Short Feng Shou-Kung Fu Staff Form there are also plenty of two-person Staff fighting drills that students can practice to improve their Staff fighting skill.
Whereas, the traditional Feng Shou-Kung Fu Long Staff Form that was taught by Master Chee Soo would take some students at least five or more years to learn. Sadly not many students ever actually got the chance to complete the Long Staff Form, as Master Chee Soo would also teach other weapon forms alongside it such as the Broadsword Form and it took a very long time for students to practice and remember the many weapon forms that Master Chee Soo would teach. Another thing was that we spent so much time just learning the Feng Shou Long Staff Form that we never got the opportunity to practice any of the many two-person Staff Fighting drills that were quite obviously needed to bring the many techniques alive and to develop each students ability to skilfully wield the Staff.
That is why within the LFIAA Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers we much prefer to teach students shorter weapon forms. Which allows every student to be able to learn and master a complete weapon form within at least two years that they can then practice and develop in their own time. Rather than wasting many years studying a longer weapon form that maybe many individuals would never get the chance to complete or even have the opportunity to practice any of its Staff fighting techniques, because they are simply placing all of their concentration on remembering the sequence of movements that are involved in the learning of the much more longer staff form.
Another benefit to learning a shorter weapon form is that it covers the basic defensive and offensive techniques that an individual needs to learn and immediately use if they were suddenly caught in a situation were they had to use their Staff fighting techniques to defend themselves. Obviously learning any Staff form allows each student to be able to practice the basic staff blocks and strikes on their own as a solo practice. But it is when you practice the many two-person Staff Fighting Drills that can be found, especially within the Feng Shou Short Staff Form as taught by Laoshi Keith Ewers that a student really begins to develop their skill and proficiency within the usage of the Staff (Gun).
A regular problem that many individuals suffer with in class when practicing the Wild Goose Qigong is the ability to maintain a continuous flow of movement that does not stop, pause, hesitate or speed up and slow down. Usually many beginners and individuals who do not take the time to practice in their own time have a tendency to lose their concentration, which then affects the smoothness of their qigong movements and practice, making them either speed up and slow down or to actually pause. This obviously has a negative affect on the circulation of Qi within each individual causing the Qi to slow down and gather in various areas of the body, which if left for to long can also cause blockages which can then lower the individuals vitality levels and weaken their immune system.
While performing the Wild Goose Qigong there are two types of speed or tempo that the individual must pay great attention to and try to maintain. The first speed is slow, gentle and passive the over-al movements should be co-ordinated with the breathing (Xi) and the breathing should be long, deep, slow, and smooth which allows the individual to develop a deep feeling of inner stillness (Jing). The second type of speed that the individual needs to be aware Off is the more vigorous, quicker, active movement (Dong) that gently allows the heart rate to speed up allowing for more blood (Xue) to be pumped around the entire body to nourish the internal organs and strengthen the health of each individual.
Once the individual begins their Wild Goose Qigong Exercise they must pay attention in maintaining the two correct tempos of slow and vigorous. Sadly some individuals just simply maintain the same speed from start to finish, this is some times caused by the individuals own anxiety’s and stress that they bring with them into the class and their anxiety or worry’s can cause them to speed up their actions as their concentration is greatly disrupted. When individuals stop and hesitate in the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong, again it could be a lack of concentration or that they have simply forgot the movements due to lack of regular self practice.
Developing a constant state of motion in the practice of the Wild Goose Qigong and making sure to maintain the two types of speed greatly connects both mind, body & breath. Allowing each individual to feel, sense and connect to the movement of their own Qi inside themselves as they perform the more slower actions of their Wild Goose Qigong. Whereas, the more vigorous movements allow the individual to develop their stamina and helps them to release any negative, sickly energy (Bing Qi) that has accumulated over time like frustration, irritability, anger or depression that may build up inside from the pressure of the work place, family or friends. The more vigorous actions of the Wild Goose Qigong not only strengthens their fitness but it also helps to maintain a balanced, calm emotional state.
In 2002 I had the opportunity to go to China for two weeks and study advanced Bodywork Massage (Tui Na) and Medical Qigong at the Xi Yuan Hospital of Traditional Chinese’s Medicine, Beijing, China. Each day would begin with early morning Bodywork Massage work in the doctors clinic which started at 7am until 12pm were we would be asked to give many patients a kind of warm up massage to help them relax and stimulate their blood and Qi circulation before they were treated by the doctor herself. Some times there would be up to fifty patients or more each morning that the female Chinese doctor (Yi Sheng) would treat with many types of ailments. Then in the afternoon we would then have a Bodywork Massage Course with various Chinese doctors who would then teach us how to use a variety of massage techniques to treat a wide range of ailments.
During some afternoons after we had worked in the treatment clinic during the morning actually working with sick patients and having the opportunity to see a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine work on a patient using some times Bodywork Massage (Tui Na), or Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy to treat them. We were then taught a Chinese Medical Qigong exercise called “Guigen Qigong” which actually means “Returning to the Source or Root” which was created by Dr Xu Hongtao of the Xi Yuan Hospital. The Guigen Qigong is a Five Element Form Exercise that as an opening form and then five other forms that connect to the Stomach/Spleen, Heart/Small Intestine, Kidneys/Urinary Bladder, Lungs/Large Intestine and Liver/Gall Bladder Internal organs and meridians.
Each of the Guigen Qigong Five Element forms are full of information and involve a lot of movements for eCh individual to learn and practice. They are a great compliment to those who practice and study the Energy Bodywork Massage (Tui Na Qigong) in both helping to cultivate your own energy to help maintain your own health and wellbeing, plus to develop your Qi sensitivity and awareness as it moves within yourself and how to connect to your patients own Qi to help treat they ailments. In the accompanying photo Laoshi Keith Ewers is seen perform the Heart/Small Intestine Guigen Qigong Exercise.
As we all should know the practice of any taiji qigong exercise should be performed as slowly as possible, especially for the maintenance of health and wellbeing. It can take a lot of time and practice for any individual to gradually begin to slow down their taiji qigong exercises to the point that each particular exercise becomes more drawn out , with the duration of the exercise lasting several minutes rather than a few seconds. Obviously for any individual to reach this level of taiji qigong practice means that a few other skills need to be developed, such as their ability to lengthen their breathing using long, slow, deep, smooth and silent breathing inwards and outwards through the nose. Secondly their ability to lengthen their concentration and not let their mind become distracted with other thoughts entering their. Mind.
It is the individuals skilful control of their breathing that dictates the speed of their taiji qigong actions, as the breathing and movements should be in time with each other. So learning to breath deeply into their lower Dantian (Elixir Field) located behind the navel takes a long time to perfect as many individuals breath shallow into the top half of their lungs. Learning to develop a still and quiet mind is properly the hardest thing that any taiji qigong student as to learn, as many individuals never learn to achieve this state of mind and they either give up on their taiji qigong exercise or they simply race through their exercises with no mind & body connection.
Lao Zi in his Daodejing says can you remain Still, while the Mud settles. Meaning can you allow your mind to remain calm, clear and still and not allow your thoughts to Muddy the mind. To some this might be an easy task when they are simply practicing just one particular taiji qigong exercise. But it becomes more difficult to achieve when you are practicing a longer sequence of exercises that are all connected together as some individuals have a tendency to speed up which is an obvious sign that their concentration as been disrupted and they are no longer in control.
Many individuals practice the taiji qigong exercises for many reason, but sadly not many aim to deepen their practice by “Seeking the Stillness within the Movement” many are simply happy to just practice their exercises to just try and relax and not concerned at all about cultivating the Qi towards entering into the meditative state by quieting the mind to achieve serenity (Jingping).
For any individuals who are interested in studying and practicing the Li/Lee (Lishi) Energy Bodywork Massage System as passed on to us by Master Chee Soo should make sure that they begin to practice and develop a good Qigong discipline, that allows them to not only cultivate their energy (Qi) for good health and wellbeing, but more importantly to be able to develop an abundance of Qi within the hands which can then connect, guide & lead the patients own Qi to help treat many internal diseases. As each individual performs their Qigong practice, it is important that they develop their awareness to sense the movement of the Qi within themselves as they perform their movements. For example as you slowly lift your both hands up the front of your body and above your head, can you actually begin to feel the raising of the Qi as you lift your body and hands upwards. Obviously it can take a lot of practice over a period of many weeks and months before an individual begins to actually feel their Qi rise upwards, as if you cannot feel your own Qi move inside yourself, then how are you going to be able to connect, sense and feel the movement of the patients Qi inside themselves
To many people concentrate all of their efforts on practicing the many Massage techniques that are involved within the Lishi Energy Bodywork Massage System (Tui Na Qigong) and do not spend the same amount of time and effort in developing their own Qi. Simply practicing the massage techniques only is just an external practice that will only allow the individual to treat some musculoskeletal ailments, but will not allow them to treat any internal ailments that lay deep inside the patients body like blood clots, tumours and Qi blockages that need to be dispersed.
By practicing and developing a good Qigong practice alongside the practice of the many Lishi massage techniques can an individual then have a balanced method of healing. As through their ability to connect their own Qi with that of the patients Qi can they then be able to move the patients Qi in any direction inside their own body to treat a wide range of ailments. It is like a reciprocal practice as you the individual begins to connect and move the patients Qi by either raising or lowering it, they too will also begin to feel the same sensation inside of themselves. Because it is the individuals Qi that is moving by guiding & leading ( Daoyin) the patients Qi.
My teacher Master Chee Soo mentioned that there were over 150 foot patterns (Kicking Methods) to practice and master within the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu system. Today many of Master Chee Soo’s senior students still only allow their own students to practice these particular foot patterns as an exercise to develop their students fitness, agility and flexibility. Sadly they are not taught how to be able to actually use these foot patterns (Kicking Methods) in conjunction with their defensive or offensive hand methods. Usually for example a student would be taught how to perform a certain type of foot pattern, such as a round kick, followed by a turning back heel hooking kick that involves the use of both legs to apply the kick. The Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu System as taught by Master Chee Soo would call this Kicking method as explained above as a “Foot Pattern twenty eight”. Once the student as learnt how to perform the foot pattern twenty eight kicking method, but rather than learning how to apply this particular kicking method, they would then be taught how to defend against it.
Surely once you have learnt a particular foot pattern like the foot pattern twenty eight, you would then like to know how to apply the kicking method in combination with your hand methods (Shou Fa) against an opponent as seen in the accompanying video that is attached with this blog of Laoshi Keith Ewers applying the foot pattern twenty eight kick with both defensive and offensive hand methods to a fast takedown. All of the many foot pattern methods that there are to be learnt and practiced in the Original Feng Shou-Kung Fu should be used alongside your strikes, joint locks, takedowns and throwing techniques. They should not be taught or practiced simply as an exercise without developing the skill in how to effectively apply them, as all of this wonderful information that we have becomes useless because we lack the skill and understanding on how to practically use them all.
In my own opinion the reason why so many students only perform the foot patterns as an exercise is because it is easy. Whereas, learning to connect them with the defensive or offensive hand methods takes a lot of dedicated practice and a lot of patience and time to be able to smoothly and skilfully combine these many foot patterns methods into a practical, effective fighting techniques. This fascinating and unique Chinese internal martial art will only release its many hidden secrets when you begin to learn how to connect all the areas of your fighting methods together in a wonderful amount of variations that are beautiful and amazing.