volume 8 December 2018
Follow Your Shape To Make The Most Of Your T’ai Chi The 12 Secret Rings of the Yang Family Part 7: The Qi Developments Tools Medical Hadjios Valley Taiji 2018 Report
Peter Jones Taiji Pa-Kua Internal Fighting Arts
Editor Nasser Butt
Questions With David ‘Hydra’ Kyriacou
Martial Arts Magazine Of The Year 2018
perception realization activation action
The Internal Arts Magazine Volume 8 December 2018
Published by L’orso Solitario Books, Leicester, United Kingdom Lift Hands The Internal Arts Magazine Editor Nasser Butt Copyright © by Nasser Butt, 2018 & Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools Nasser Butt asserts the moral right to be identified as the editor & owner of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the editor. Waiver of Liability: The publisher assumes no liability for the use or misuse of information contained within this book. By purchasing or electronically downloading this publication, the reader hereby, waives any and all claims he or she may have now or in the future against Nasser Butt and Fa-Jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools or its affiliates.
The points of view represented here are solely those of the authors’ concerned. You do not have to subscribe to them if you do not wish. Nor is their inclusion here necessarily an endorsement by Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing School or its affiliates. Cover photo (main): Peter Jones - Dim-mak’s 12 Deadly Katas Cover design © Nasser Butt, 2018 Cover Photography: Nasser Butt Back:Elliot Morris & Nasser Butt. Design by Nasser Butt
Follow Your Shape To Make The Most Of Your T’ai Chi Tuey Staples & Alan R. Ludmer
This Bitter Winter Desert Dr. Gregory T. Lawton
Pillage’s Last Huzzah! Tony Bailey
The House of Mouse The Art of Amy Faulkner
Master Jou Tsung Hwa’s Taiji Farm Newsletters Alan Sims
The 12 Deadly Katas Peter Jones
5 Pilates Myths Sarah Pillage
The 12 Secret Rings of the Yang Family Part Seven: The Qi Development Tools Medical Nasser Butt
Peter Jones - Taiji Pa-Kua Internal Fighting Arts The Interview
20 Questions: David ‘Hydra’ Kyriacou
Unlocking The Small San-sau: The Five Levels From Principles To Combat - Part Two Nasser Butt
Hadjios Valley T’ai Chi Ch’uan 2018 - Report My Big Cyprus Adventure Colin Power
Can I Join In? Neil Kirkland
A Possible Explanation On Why Brush Knee & Twist Step Is Performed More On The Left Side Than The Right Side José I. González Page 105 Peasant Talk
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elcome to Volume 8 of Lift Hands Magazine!
As I sit here, writing this editorial, my mind and heart are occupied with events elsewhere as my dearest friend Anthony Pillage, battles for his life in hospital - words elude me! On December 2, 2018, almost 150 martial artists gathered in Coventry for Tony Pillage’s Last Huzzah - what turned out to be the event of the year. Even though he lay seriously ill in bed awaiting surgery, Tony insisted that he would be there on the day to deliver as he had promised - and boy did he deliver! Tony ‘The General’ Bailey has kindly put together a report for this issue of Lift Hands on the event. Right now all our thoughts and prayers are with Tony and his family - especially his wife Sarah, who has constantly been by his side throughout his illness - sending them our love during this difficult time and that they do not stand alone. Further, in a feature packed issue, we have a major interview with Peter Jones - a regular contributor to the magazine - and the Chief Instructor of the oldest school teaching the Erle Montaigue System in the UK, Taiji Pa-Kua Internal Fighting Arts. This has been a coup of sort as Peter is a very private man. In this issue, however, he shares some of his memories from over 30 years! Also, we have three new contributors joining us and I’d like to welcome Neil Kirkland, Sarah Pillage and José I. González. Last but not least, we have 20 Questions with the ‘Hydra’ himself - David Kyriacou! The Lift Hands family continues to grow as does our readership and audience. All this would not be possible without the support the magazine receives from a myriad of unsung heroes. Thank you to all for all your efforts and kind words of encouragement. As 2018 comes to a close, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Yuletide and a happy and prosperous New Year. Give your loved ones a hug and tell those that mean something in your life that you love them. Volume 9 of Lift Hands is penciled in for March 2019… see you there!
’ai Chi Ch’uan is blessed with
various different forms and form variations. Many differ significantly in length, size of movement, martial arts orientation and other factors. Each represents various innovations, evolutions and constraints as perceived by their authors. However, all forms are identical in two ways: the movements are modular (meaning that they can be studied and used independently), and that all forms are based upon the T’ai Chi principles. The road to T’ai Chi mastery begins with the realization that principles are the key to understanding movement. A sifu’s challenge is to help students understand principles and their application to individual moves. Mastering T’ai Chi principles is like mastering music principles. When you understand the principles, you can make your own music. Follow Your Shape
primary recipe (principle) for comprehending is follow your shape.
T’ai Chi principles can be analogous to cooking recipes. Each, if followed properly lead to a successful outcome. A
This means conform your moves to the dimensions and reality of your own body shape. The T’ai Chi Classics constantly allude to this principle, admittedly somewhat indirectly. The classical admonitions: sink the chest, relax the waist, unity of upper and lower body, don’t go past the toes, etc, all relate to following one’s shape. Students often ask, “What exactly is following your shape?’ and, “How do I know when I am doing it right?” Like following a cake recipe, there are several key ingredients in this T’ai Chi principle. When you understand the following ingredients, you have a winner. Tail Bone Over Heel The great boxing masters often said that there are only two kinds of moves, those that have your weight behind them and those that don’t. On the street it’s said, “Where you are is where it’s at”. Essentially, T’ai Chi moves consist of transferring from one leg to another. It is always critical to transfer the weight completely onto the leg. If not, then one commits the major mistake of double weighting. The best way to ensure a complete weight transfer is to centre your body (plant your tailbone) over the heel of the weight bearing leg.
When transferring either left or right, weight must end up planted firmly on the proper foot. This is referred to as sinking your tent post. When the tailbone (coccyx) is over the heel, weight is firmly centre on that leg. This ensures proper weighting. If the tailbone is not over the heel, you’re not properly weighted. Transitions will be jerky and awkward and moves will be arm or leg focused as opposed to full body movement. The term tailbone over the heel is both a mental and a physical concept. Mentally one places the tailbone directly over the heel. In your mind, you can see a plumb line falling from your coccyx to your heel. The physical ability to plant on the heel will depend on the size of your form’s stances and circles. Some forms have larger stances and circles. For example, the brush knee in the classical Yang form uses a large bow and arrow stance. Assuming a brush knee with the left foot forward, your tailbone will centre approximately 2-3 inches inside the left foot.
Above: Tuey Staples, right uses Apparent Closure with David Damick to demonstrate that the look follows your shape and is directed around the opponent.
In this case, make the mental connection from your coccyx to your heel. In forms with smaller stances and circles (i.e., Chen or Yang family style) it is possible to physically align the tailbone over the heel of the weighted leg.
Below: Alan Ludmer demonstrates tailbone over heel.
For example, when executing a brush knee with the right hand (left leg forward), transfer the weight from the right foot to the left foot. At the move’s apex, the weight is over the heel. You should be able to drop a physical and mental plumb line from your tailbone straight down to the heel of the weighted (left) foot. This allows the delivery of a powerful move with the entire body. Another important advantage of being over your heel is the flexibility to move in any direction. Some feel that power is generated by pushing off the back foot bringing the hips forward. Although this move allows you to deliver a strong forward push, there are very few opponents that will stand in front of you and allow themselves to be pushed. Try this sometime with a good external boxer. When centered over the heel, you have the option to push in any direction - right, left, back, front, up or down. You have the flexibility to recover if your attack is unsuccessful, something you don’t have if you are just pushing your hips forward.
Some students raise the question, “Doesn’t centering over the heel create single weighting?” Wang and Zeng (Wu Style Taijiquan, Hai Feng Publishing Co. 1983 p.195) clarify this issue very nicely, “… the force of the insubstantial foot should not be exerted against the ground, but in emptiness just for balance. If the insubstantial foot exerts forces against the ground, one’s centre of gravity will tend to move out of the base.” Even standing completely on one foot, one will not be single weighted if they follow the principles. Therefore, proper positioning the tailbone over the heel is not single weighting. Turn In The Direction Of The Weighted Leg Beginning students often confuse waist turn directions. They transfer to the proper leg, line up their tailbone, and tun the wrong way. A simple ingredient to remember is turn only in the direction of the weighted leg. If you are on the left leg, only turn left and vice versa. This has the effect of screwing you onto your root and makes for powerful, firmly rooted stances. Above: Alan Ludmer, left, demonstrates with Art Scholbe that when the tailbone is not over the heel, the push is only an arm move. Below: Talan Ludmer demonstrates when the tailbone is over the heel,the push becomes a total body move.
For example, when kicking with the left foot and standing on your right, your turn is directed to the right. This ensures good balance and a smooth transition to the next move. When transitioning from a move on one leg such as a kick or golden cock, remember “where you are is where it’s at.” Keep turning in the direction of your weighted leg until you transfer your weight, only then you change your turn direction. Circling in the direction of your move (i.e., kicking left and turning left) creates opposition and makes it difficult to recover if the move is unsuccessful. This weakness becomes immediately apparent in free sparring. The Insubstantial Arm Moves First The question is what moves first? All moves begin with the insubstantial arm. Some teachers refer to the insubstantial hand. We prefer to say the arm because movements come from the center joints (i.e., elbow, knee, waist, etc.) and referring to the hand sometimes causes misunderstandings. The insubstantial arm is on your weighted side. If your weight is on your left leg, your left arm is insubstantial. If your weight is on the right, then it is the right arm. When the substantial arm moves first, moves are awkward and top heavy. The insubstantial arm makes for light movement.
For example, picture the move Stork Cools Its Wings. In many forms it is done with the weight on the right leg and the right hand up. The right arm is your insubstantial one. When transitioning to the next move, the right arm should move first. Some students ask how insubstantial is insubstantial? A general rule of thumb is that the arms should follow the legs. Using Stork Cools Its Wings example, if posture balance is 80/20 with 20% in the insubstantial leg, then the balance in the arms should also be 80/20. Eyes Follow Shape And Directs Movement This is the last and most important ingredient. The eyes (and the mind) direct your energy along your body shape and around your opponents. Keep your eye on your movements. Use your eyes to envelope your opponents. Don’t stop your look to focus on specific points. The look is like flowing water, or like watching the countryside form a moving train. The key point is watch your moves but don’t stop your look. Common Mistakes Beginning and advanced students frequently make mistakes when trying to follow their shapes. The most common mistakes are: Moving from 1 to 3. T’ai Chi moves are normally done on a 3 or 4 count. Many students rush to a move’s end, skipping the 2nd count and violating their shape. Moves must have a beginning (1), a middle (2), and end (3). Don’t sacrifice the middle to rush to the end. The move will not be successful. Solution: Relax more and focus on looking at the move. Lack of centralization. The body’s joints are meant to move, and moves start from the center. The elbow moves the arm, the knee the leg,the waist the body. Violation of the centralization concept translates into arm and leg moves as opposed to total body moves. Solution: Focus on moving limbs and entire body in a circular manner! Stopping. You body is constantly turning. Your limbs are always turning on contact. This allows you to move lightly and with power. When moves are stopped, they become hard and create opposition. Solution: usually the problem is with the look. Concentrate on keeping the look moving and following the body’s shape. Mastering T’ai Chi is like mastering anything else. There is no magic. There are specific recipes or principles that must be understood. When students realize that T’ai Chi is mastered through application of its principle, then they have a recipe for understanding.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in T’ai Chi Magazine, October 1990, Volume 14, No.5 and is kindly reprinted here with permission from Alan Ludmer. The original photographs have been lost and therefore we have had to use faded scans of the original article.
THIS BITTER WINTER DESERT Dr Gregory T. Lawton
This bitter winter desert leaves me cold, but the warmth of your love melts my heart within me. Others would call you Love, and I know you as my very pulse and the life blood moving through my veins, you rather are the very heart of me. Because of the cold you are more beautiful to me; because of the cold I know the warmth of your love when it touches me. What icy grip then can this bleak winter have upon me? Where there is your love, no coldness do I feel.
Kindly reprinted with permission from: Translated From A Foreign Tongue, Copyright 2013, Revised 2017 Dr. Gregory T. Lawton 6757 Cascade Road, SE Suite 172 Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546 616-464-0892
About the authorDr. Gregory T. Lawton began his martial art training as a child. He has trained in western boxing, wrestling, and Asian martial arts such as Aikido, Jujitsu, Kenpo, and Tai Chi Chuan. He is an 8th degree black belt in Kosho Ryu Kenpo Jujitsu and holds the title of Yudansha Taigu. Dr. Lawton’s main and most noted Tai Chi Chuan instructor was Professor Chi-Kwang Huo. Professor Huo, the renowned Chinese scholar, artist and calligrapher who served as Taiwan's ambassador to France and who was a personal friend of Pablo Picasso, was a master martial artist and was a student of Yang Shao Hou of the Yang Family. Dr. Lawton is a health science writer and the author of over two hundred books, manuals and educational products ranging from massage therapy and martial arts, to health promotion, and from alternative medicine to conventional medicine. He is a Vietnam era veteran and was honorably discharged from the US Army with the rank of Sergeant E-5.
Image Copyright © John Dermott
unday 2 December 2018, Anthony Sean Bedlam Pillage, the infamous Martial Arts Instructor from
Coventry’s Way of the Spiritual Warrior Martial Arts Academy, taught a seminar at The Empire, Coventry. Now, to simply leave it at that vague description, would massively do a disservice to the phenom himself, those who attended and more importantly, the valuable life lessons taught on that day, which have continued to send reverberations through the Martial Arts community for many different reasons. Being a well-known and somewhat divisive figure in Martial Arts these days, he’s had his fair share of detractors, but as Victor Hugo wrote c 1845 – ‘You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.’ He’s certainly done that. I would imagine that terminal illness gives you clarity like no other life event, but for those who don’t know him, let me give you a small glimpse of this extraordinary man, by describing the mode in which he began this seminar. Having advertised the fact that he was planning on teaching one last seminar due to ill health, in fact, only being released from hospital the day before whilst still awaiting major surgery, so many people had pledged to attend that they had to hire a larger live music venue to hold the seminar. On the day itself, 150 people came through the door to learn from the man, which must be, if not close to, a UK record for a single seminar, such is the popularity of feeling for the man. Undoubtedly, they were there to learn more on the subject of pressure points, but mostly, they were there to show their appreciation, support and love for him during the most difficult of times as he continues his battle with cancer. In fact, so determined is he in his fight that, along with Hugo’s ‘serene mind’ and Pillage’s own brand of humour, he opened the seminar with Gavin Richardson dressed as The Grim Reaper walking onto the dance floor to the sounds of the 1948 Disney Cinderella song ‘Bippity Boppity Boo’ with Pillage following, liberally throwing V-signs at Death himself! Now THAT’S an entrance!
Featured most recently on the cover of Lift Hands volume 7, September 2018, Mr Pillage is a larger than life character who it has been my absolute privilege to know for almost 14 years. I come from a totally different Martial background to him and am certainly no blindly led acolyte of his, but, and it is by no means a mere platitude to say, without a shadow of a doubt, my life has been massively improved by this man. I cannot overstate what his kindness, generosity, knowledge, advice, support and his friendship has meant to me over the years and I am genuinely a better person for having met him. I didn’t have the faintest clue all those years ago when I was teaching on a Pressure Point Seminar in Cyprus, that this rather aloof, curiously strange character, who wasn’t quite right, would have such a strong bearing on my life, but he has. We in Martial Arts, pay homage to our ancestors, tutors and otherwise, all the time, and I offer up no apology for my efforts, as often as I can, to tell him and others now, in the present, how thankful I am for his friendship and input in my life. The seminar itself was almost secondary to the show of love and support, but even so, some fantastic, painfilled lessons were given and received, with Instructors such as myself, Pete Holmes, Nasser Butt, Gavin Richardson, Neil Kirkland, Mike Knight and Devon Dunk amongst many others, all being on hand to extemporise on the themes set by Mr P as well as wandering around, helping out 150 eager students of Martial Arts wanting to share in the magick. Magick being the operative word here, as the sense of fun and eagerness to learn was as strong and as palpable as that of the love and support which permeated every inch of the venue from beginning to end, no mean feat for both the size of the venue and the group in attendance. There was a truly magical feel about the whole day and many, many people spoke of feeling the same during and after the event. Covering meridians and points on the face, neck, shoulders, arms and legs with various technique enhancers such as vibration, manipulation of K1 (‘bubbling spring’), connecting to the microcosmic orbit as well as others, the technicality and ferocity of what was covered should not be underestimated, yet, the overriding message of the day was one of love. At one point, Mr P asked the crowd, why do we train and he echoed one persons answer with the words of his late friend and teacher Sifu Richard Bustillo (Lift Hands vol 3 Sep 2017) who said we train out of love, for our families and friends. It struck accord with me, similar to the Samurai tradition of training to protect and benefit the loved ones and the community around you and in doing so, our training becomes a physical manifestation of the symbol of Yin & Yang / In & Yo that we pay lip service to throughout our training. Mr P spoke candidly about his fight with cancer, his recent painful and near fatal battle with sepsis and the fact that, even on the day of the seminar, he was walking,
Tony demonstrating on Simon Fell
talking and teaching with approximately 5 litres of fluid in and around his lung, hence the need for a permanent lung drain which had become blocked recently, resulting in sepsis. He is living a life permanently under the sword of Damocles yet, he does not give up, rather, he sets a fantastic example to us all of perseverance and a reminder that life is so precious it should not be wasted, but every second dutifully filled with positive experience and help and assistance to others. As such, I truly feel Mr P has now transcended mere physical Martial technique and is now a living his life as the embodiment of Martial Philosophy, an example of which, will enhance anyone’s life. He reminds me of a teaching I received in 2001 from Soen Ozeki, Chief Abbott of the Daitoku Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto:Every day in life is training, training for myself. Though failure is possible, living each day, equal to everything, ready for anything. I am alive. I am this moment. He embodies this teaching. Not a single second is wasted in his life and he gives so much to so many people all around the country. He has suffered through his illness, yet he continues. He still has strong technique as was witnessed by the fact that I had to do restoration on a victim/I mean volunteer at a seminar earlier this year who was almost unconscious from a large intestine meridian shot. But I would say, pressure points aside, if you haven’t already, buy Breaking bob, Mr P’s book detailing the start and continuation of his fight with cancer; find and follow him on social media, talk to others who know him, do what you can to ensure you don’t miss this chance to enhance your own perspective on life, by learning from someone facing death each day with dignity, serenity, courage and a healthy dose of inappropriate humour! Fantastic seminar for many, many reasons Mr P as your speech there which is still being shared on social media shows. Well done and thank you for everything. Tony bows deeply to honoured friend xxx
Image Copyright © John Dermott
Gavin Richardson taking his cue from Tony Pillage
Sarah Pillage proudly watching Tony
With Neil Kirkland
‘Double Dragon Palms…’ 29
Master Jou Tsung Hwa's TaijiFarm Newsletters by Alan Sims
ne of the most inspirational gifts given by Mr. Jou are the TaijiFarm Newsletters.
These letters dated from around 1986 until the time of his passing in 1998. I always anticipated the next issue, even after I had an English translation of most of Shen Jia-Jen's book on the Chen family's Taijiquan. While most of the newsletters (as they were called before the title "Almanac" was given) expressed the views of Mr. Jou, not all of them did. One newsletter titled "Professor Cheng Returns from Taiwan" was by Cheng ManChing and translated by Tam Gibbs. The Professor's views were very different from Mr. Jou's, but it was very nice to see them in the TaijiFarm Newsletter. In fact that was the newsletter. As a matter of fact I just saw another issue titled "Cultivating Fearlessness" also by the Professor and translated by Dr. Ben Fusaro. One of if not my personal favorite, is part of a series titled "Tao Delivers Truth to the Devotedâ&#x20AC;? (Part 2). Mr. Jou talks about mentioning (I believe from an earlier article) about taking pictures with the famous Taijiquan practitioner Wu Tu-nan. Wu Tu-nan was around 102 years old. I believe that Mr. Jou was around 67 at time. But when the pictures came back, Jou Tsung Hwa said that it was he that looked old while Wu Tu-nan looked young. Part 2 starts off talking about James Watt (1736-1809) and his devotion and active, creative observation of a pot lid being pushed up by the pressure of steam from boiling water. In other words (Mr. Jou's), "Tao delivers freely to all, not just to one; but only the devoted notice." Later in the same issue, Wang Fehung is presented to us and a text or article by him called the Nanling Chunu, the Theory of Consolidating the Internal Spirit. He says, "If you want to condense the Qing and unify the shen, you must first collect your qi.â&#x20AC;? This (in more intricate detail) and more is presented before we even get to my favorite part of this (Part 2) letter. That part would have to be Xingyiquan master Li Laolung (1807-1888), and his learning Xingyiquan after having practiced Shaolin and Eagle Claw for many years. He finally inspired Master Dei Wongzheng to accept him as a student (breaking family tradition). This is only a part of a part of one short series of newsletters. I remember something that my former Taijiquan instructor Larry Banks once said to me which I thought was ridiculous at the time. He once told me that he had never seen Mr. Jou cough. Larry and he were on very good terms which was good for me. I knew Mr. Jou (which is how we addressed him in New Jersey) from the late 70's and at the TaijiFarm until 1998. But upon thinking about it, I had never seen him cough either. Welcome to Tai Chi Farm, The History & Origin of Tai Chi Chuan, How To Teach Tai Chi Chuan, Is This Tai Chi?, An Interview Of Wu Do-Nan by Jou Tsung Hwa, Push Hands: In Search of Grand Ultimate Achievement, PushHands Without Hands, are some of the titles of the many issues. There are 1 or 2 in "The Dao Of Taijiquan" as well.
In "The History & Origin of Tai Chi Chuan-Part 2," Mr. Jou talks about Shen Jia-Jen who studied privately from Yang Chen-Fu and how Master Yang taught him postures (or exercises) to develop hard energy which Yang felt that Shen Jia-Jen needed. Basically Shen felt that these exercises were not valid, until he happened to see the same movements executed by Chen Fakur when demonstrating Cannon Fist.
Author Alan Sims with a hand autographed fan by the late Jou Tsung Hwa. CopyrightÂŠAlanSims
Shen even mentioned this in his 1963 book on the Chen family's Taijiquan. In the newsletter "Working Towards Aim" the first page is largely devoted to Mr. Jou's personal thanks to Wim and Rian from Holland, Victor Franco, Paul Abel, Pai and Ralph, Doug from Virginia, Joe from Montreal, Sidney Austin and students, Mark Bassell, Steve and Kathy, Peter Kraus, Master B. P. Chan, Frank Mazzoca, Anson Rathbone, Jay Dunbar, Steve Rhodes, Robert Moore, Marsha Rosa, Donna Dyer, and Angela Chiango. The above was written by Mr. Jou from memory in the March 1988 issue with an apology for others whose names he could not recall. I'm sure that those who were with him more often were truly appreciated. Being that this is only a tip of the iceberg goes to hint just how much is in the TaijiFarm Newsletters. I would like to dedicate this to the memory of my late brother : Alfred Sims, Jr.
The 12 Deadly Katas A Brief Introduction Peter Jones
ith the following two katas, we have come to the end of the 12 Deadly Katas.
Please remember, I have only covered them here in a very basic manner and if you do want to take more time to develop and understand them, then Erle Montaigue has done a book and dvd on the subject already! Alternatively, you can go along to an Erle Montaigue accredited Taiji school teaching them. These katas are great to learn as they have everything you need from the healing and martial aspects. I Hope you enjoyed reading a little something about the 12 Deadly Katas.
Eagle Shape Hands Kata 11 This kata is associated with the stomach, and it can control the flesh, when using the qigong to build up the qi that circulates over the surface of the body to protect it from disease. The time of day for this kata is between 7am and 9am, but like them all they work anytime, It's just more active at its given time. Its element is Earth. Some points to look out for in this kata are:Governor Vessel 26, [Gv 26] - Just under the nose. Stomach 1, [St 1] - In the middle and at the base of the eye sockets. Small Intestine 16 [Si 16] - On the side of the neck. The Martial: Your partner throws a roundhouse punch towards your stomach area, [Photo 1] with your right back palm you slam down to the inside of your partners elbow, and immediately using the backs of your fingers striking under your partners nose in an upwards motion, [Photo 2]. Now you claw downward into your partners eye sockets with your right palm, finally using your left elbow to strike the side of your partners neck, [Photo 4]. The kata is then repeated on the reverse side. Photo 1
Double Changing Hands Kata 12 This kata is used to balance the amount of yin and yang energy in the body, when used as a qigong. The kata works upon the spleen and controls the flesh, its time of day is between 9am and 11am. The points you are striking in this kata are: Governor Vessel 26, [Gv26], just under the nose. Colon 18, [Co18], side of the neck. Conceptor Vessel 22, [Cv22], pit of the neck. Stomach 10, [St10], the neck. Gall Bladder 2, [Gb2], near the ear, side of the head. The Martial Your partner throws a straight right punch to your face, You attack that strike with your left palm and with your right tiger paw fist you strike under the nose, [Photo 5].
Now with your left palm facing upwards you strikes the side of the head by the ear, with your right, you strike the side of the neck with the side of your right fist, [Photo 6]. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to do a similar move on the other side of the head the only difference is that your left palm strikes the side of the neck and your palm is facing downwards, while your right hammer fist strikes the side of the head, [Photo 7].
Immediately you do a double tiger paw strike into the neck, [Photo 8], then you grab your partner with both your palms around the back of his neck and pulling his neck towards you, [Photo 9] and to finish this move off, using the inside of your right forearm, strike the neck, [Photo 10].
hat do Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and many seven-foot-tall professional basketball players have
in common? They all do Pilates. Although I'm a fan of anything that helps you live an active, healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions floating around about Pilates, kind of like with yoga. Here are the five most popular Pilates myths: Myth 1: Pilates Is a Good Way to Lose Weight While Pilates has definite benefits, its strongest suit is certainly not weight loss. A 2010 study found that body weight and body fat was not significantly affected in adult females using a regular Pilates routine, and a 2011 study found that Pilates does help improve flexibility, but does not significantly affect body composition, even after six months of training. So when it comes to pure calorie burning and fat loss, running on a treadmill, riding a bike or lifting weights will be more effective than Pilates. But because Pilates does such a good job strengthening your core, reducing risk of injury and improving your flexibility, it will help keep you from getting sidelined with an injury -- which means you can work out more consistently. You may also be more likely to exercise in other ways, since you often find yourself visiting a gym or a health club to take Pilates class. Myth 2: Pilates Is Only for Women Because it does a good job strengthening lower abdominal and pelvic muscles that are important for a woman's childbearing, reproductive and urinary function, or because it doesn't involve heavy steel, grunting or large amounts of weight, Pilates is often perceived as a
"women's only" activity. But nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, Pilates was invented by a man (Joseph Pilates). Secondly, plenty of male athletes use Pilates moves as a perfect complement to weight training and cardio. Want more proof? How about Tiger Woods, Hugh Grant and many other male athletes and celebrities? They use Pilates to maintain core strength, flexibility and function. Opposite page: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sea, beach, sandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; - Image copyright Pexels, from Adobe Sparks
Myth 3: You Need Special Machines for Pilates It's true that one type of Pilates workout requires the use of special machines -- those strange-looking contraptions with unusual names like the Reformer, the Cadillac and the Wunda chair. These collections of springs, bars, pulleys and straps can give you a productive workout, but they're not completely necessary, because there is another type of Pilates that is done on a simple mat. All of the basic movement principles of Pilates can be incorporated into a mat workout. So you don't need to find a special Pilates studio or buy complex and expensive equipment to get the benefits of Pilates. Myth 4: Pilates Will Make You a Lot Stronger Pilates will significantly improve your abdominal muscular endurance, since you will spend much of a Pilates class performing abdominal, lower back and core specific exercises. If you are starting at a lower fitness level or with a weak core, you can definitely make these areas stronger with Pilates. But you should not rely upon Pilates as a way to improve your full body strength, especially if you're only doing mat workouts. This is because to get a muscle, joint or bone stronger, you must expose that area of your body to a stressful demand, like lifting overhead for stronger shoulders, pushing with your legs for stronger thighs or extending and flexing for stronger arms. It's true that in many machine-based Pilates workouts, like a "Reformer" class, you may find yourself performing these activities. But the average Pilates class The Pilates Centre focuses only on your abdominal or low back muscular endurance and your flexibility -- and not on full body strength. Myth 5: Pilates Is Only for Your Abs As you've learned in this article, Pilates is a good way to strengthen all the different sections of your abdominals, which is an important part of getting a flat stomach. But in addition to strengthening your core, Pilates has additional benefits -- primarily, the six principles that a good Pilates class should be based upon are:
• • • • • •
Centring -- Bringing the focus to the center of your body, which can teach you how to use your core muscles to generate athletic or forceful movements. Concentration -- Bringing full attention to each exercise and learning how to engage in high-quality focus. Control -- Performing a movement with control and fluidity, which can teach you how to move more gracefully. Precision -- Having self-awareness of your body's tiny movements and knowing the alignment of one body part relative to other body parts and how your body is moving through space -- which can help with athleticism. Breath -- Using a very full breath in your exercises and thinking of your lungs as a bellows which strongly pump air fully in and out of your body, which you can use in other activities such as stress relief or sports. Flow -- Performing your movements in a flowing, graceful manner, which can help you become a better dancer or athlete, or even simply improve your everyday posture.
As you can see, Pilates can help make your abs stronger or give you better muscular endurance in your core. It can also help you focus, breathe and move with more grace and flexibility. The bottom line: Pilates is great, but don't rely on what you read about it. Try it for yourself.
Erle teaching the Qi Development Tools during his last visit to Leicester!
he eleventh house of Yang - The Qi Development Tools Medical - should be understood and read in
conjunction with the previous House appearing in Lift Hands Volume 7. During my conversations with Erle, I was surprised to learn that this was the 11th House! We had spent quite some time on ‘What Yang Lu-ch’an Knew: Putting It All Together’ and in my mind I was certain that this was the penultimate House, so I was taken aback when he told me it wasn’t! My reasons for assuming this were two-fold: First, without going into too many details, when I arrived on the Friday night in Wales - when Erle began teaching the aforementioned series - he was walking around like a wounded tiger! I already knew the reason, so when he announced that what he was going to teach would not be filmed - nor be shown to any other then those who were present - intimated that it was important. Anyhow, I spent most of that evening trying to convince him that he needed to put this on film for posterity. He refused point blank! A few other instructors approached me at the time, worried that there would be no record of this training and far more importantly no DVD to refer to for future reference, so as to persuade Erle to change his mind. At the end of the Friday session, I once again urged him to re-think and gave him reasons as to why he should do so. He said he’d think about it… which was a better response then I had got earlier. The following day - Saturday - he came in an announced that he would film the session but only make it available to a select few and not even put the title on his catalogue! If you watch MTG370, you’ll now have a little better understanding of Erle’s explanation at the beginning although this would still not be the whole story, there’s far more to it however, it serves no purpose to detail it here! So, at the end of it all, I asked Erle if this was the House? He said, “No!” “Ok, so we’re two Houses short - that makes only 10!” “No mate, the Qi Development Tools Medical are a House in their own right - you have 11, the 12th House is…!” “The Qi Development Tools, where do they fall in and at what number? I'm trying to put my training notes in order …” The Qi Development Tools (QDT) would be the last full House that Erle would teach. He announced that the QDT Medical would be the major subject that he would be teaching at the 2011 Summer Camp, which I was organizing for him at my school in Leicester - following on from the hugely successful 2010 camp. Sadly, this never came to pass. Erle passed away on January 26, 2011. A few weeks before his passing, Erle placed the following article on the QDT Medical into the public domain and sent me a copy as he would normally. I have reproduced the article below. There is not really much more to add to it. This was Erle’s introduction to the subject. As everything, the practitioner’s need to remember - this requires progressional development and understanding.
Erle teaching the Qi Development Tools during Summer Camp 2010 in Leicester! Photo CopyrightÂŠNasser Butt
************ The Qi Development Tools are probably the most important area of one's "internal" training. These cover everything that is needed in the internal martial/healing arts for developing oneself and the Qi/energy , etc. There are three main areas of Qi development: 1. Self Development is when we simply do these 12 methods at an advanced sub-conscious level in order to gain "sung". 2. Gaining Heavy Hands for striking is also covered in these methods. This is where we gain the necessary powerful striking methods from short distances. Like we make our arms in to 2X4 pieces of wood! 3. And lastly, the most advanced thing that we gain from these methods are the medical healing methods whereby we use these 12 methods as a way of healing others through feather head massage. And this is what follows. It is a brief introduction to those who have studied this area as I am teaching this area atâ&#x20AC;Ś my own Summer Camp in July 2011. I will also of course be making DVDs on all of the following as it is impossible to teach this important area via a book or article no matter how detailed. The following is just a reference guide. ************ 1. Heart: Healing the Qi of the heart: Heart houses the Spirit/Mind. Childhood trauma such as abuse, etc. Points: HT7 Balances the Heart Meridian in being over-excited. HT3 Used for Anxiety and is a "master point" for anxiety. This is a Yin movement around the heard area. Do hand movements yourself first to energize the palms. Right palm moves down the left side of head and face as left moves upward on the centre-line of face and head. Right is Yang, left is Yin. Left palm fits under back of head and moves down to nape of neck as right moves to forehead. Left squeezes gently at nape while right presses gently onto forehead. As you do this, the left palm will now after squeezing, move to HT7 and squeeze it. Repeat this movement 3 times. 2. Small Intestine: This is a Yang movement: Heals Pre-natal trauma. Also deals with the Yang side of the heart such as physical. Also helps with the taking in of nourishment. Rub right palm down the left arm as your left ulna slides gently upward over the patient's left side of the neck and face and head, as your right palm squeezes the wrist at HT7. The left palm then slides down the right side of the forehead as right slides up the arm and around the left side of neck to take under the back of neck as before. Squeeze the nape with right palm as left palm pushes and slides up and over forehead. 3. Bladder: Healing things to do with Insecurity and Grief. Balances out Yin and Yang so fixes being introverted or extroverted, etc. BL47 Releases repressed fear. About 2 cun down from Scapular and 3 cun out from the spine lateral 9th thoracic vertebra. (Door of the Soul) BL42 (Door of Vital Fluid) Releases internalized Anger. 3 cun out from spine lateral to 3rd thoracic vertebra. Top 3rd of scapular mid-line from shoulder ball. BL38 (Floating Point) Back of knee upward by 1 cun toward outside by 1 cun to crease. Strengthens body after grief. Firstly, squeeze gently BL 38 at back of knee with left hand. Hold left hand under back onto BL47, digging longest finger into point. You will run your pressed finger up the BL meridian to BL 42 making a line along the meridian as your right hand radius side slides up the right side neck and face and over the head. As your left fingers vibrate on BL 42 or thereabouts, your right palm will now slide down the forehead to the bridge of the nose and push upward gently into the third eye point. 4. Kidney: Fear from deep within! Weak will-power, Insecurity and Isolation. One of the key organs for life-force. Bones, teeth hair and ears. Connects to Lungs.
Press K1 first, (Bubbling Well). Wide ranging point also acts upon the mind and heart. Then squeeze K3 on Achilles tendon: Supreme Valley: Restores KD Qi. Acts upon the whole body and all indications of the Kidney. Then do the Kidney palms around the head. Left palm rubs upward on the right side of the head as right palm rubs down left side. Left palm continues down the left side of head and face, as right palm continues upward on the right side of neck face and head. Right continues again over top of head and down left side as left pushes upward on right side, then grabs gently under nape of neck and squeezes as right palm pushes downward on forehead to nose. 5. Pericardium: Helps to increase one's "energy (qi) circle". Has an effect upon the Mind as the Pericardium/Heart houses the mind. Affects one's relationships. Balances relationships. PC3, located 1cun across from HT3 under the lower end of the bicep. On the ulna side on the biceps brachii tendon (elbow flexed). Helps with emotional problems. Calms the heart. Calms rebellious Qi. When emotional problems are fixed, one's outer Qi builds. Begin by pressing PC3 and holding for 3 seconds as patient inhales. Do this 3 times. With left palm gently push head on his right side to your right slightly as your right fingers draw a line under his chin and around neck. Slide left palm down the right side of head and neck and also down your own heart meridian as right ulna slides up on the right side of his head. Turn right elbow upward so that your right forearm is now under the left side of his chin. Slide it downward to neck as left takes under back of neck. Slide left palm up back of neck squeezing gently into GB20s. as right slides over head. Left palm moves down to back of neck again and gently squeezes as right pushes head from his left to right. 6. Triple Heater: Affects the whole body and all other meridians, balances them. In particular, hearing, arms, face, throat and over-all Qi circulation. Joins the Shen (Spirit to the body. Yangchi (TH4) - The accumulation of Yang - is an important point. In line with ring finger on the back of hand on wrist crease. We press this during Yang Lu-ch'an form. This stimulates the Qi through the meridians. Helps heart and liver. TH6 is 3 cun above TH4 between radius and ulna. Regulates Qi Circulation. Disperses congested blood. TH 15 Relaxes nervous tension associated with worry. Below GB 21 at end of bone closer to neck. Firstly, press TH4 & TH6 on back of wrist ring finger side. Hold this for 3 breaths of the patient. We rub the sides of the head and ear as this is where the bulk of the TH meridian travels. Slide left palm upward on the right side of face and head as right slides down the other side. Take left under back of head and pull downward as right slides across diagonally from their right to left across right side of face and head. Left now gently holds the right side of the neck as left gently pushes (yin) their head from their left to right. Do cat movements onto each side of forehead. Then take left under neck and right pushes upward on forehead. 7. Gallbladder: Decision making, affects dreams, sinews. GB is deficient when one dreams of fighting or suicide! GB20 soothes Liver and pacifies Yang. Clears the mind. Strengthens vision. GB 21 helps with feelings of irritation and being "uptight". GB39 outside of lower leg 3 cun above fibula end. Place three fingers onto ankle bone and press in on outside or inside of fibula. Clears energy from face to feet in conjunction with ST, & BL. Regulates flow along whole meridian. Helps the mind. The Liver is considered to be responsible for the ability to plan life, the Heart oversees all mental functions, the Small Intestine gives clarity and wisdom to decision making, and the Gallbladder gives the courage and capacity to make decisions. All these functions must be harmonized to plan and lead a harmonized life. If the Gallbladder is weak, a person will be timid and lack initiative and courage. The Gallbladder gives us drive and the passion to excel and the action potential necessary for these to come to fruition. Dealing with adversity also comes under the role of the Gallbladder. First Take lower leg near ankle GB39 and press in (Squeeze) for 3 seconds off and 3 on - times 3 times. Then place left palm on their right side of head over GB meridian. Left palm is near Liv13. Rub left palm down over GB meridian around back of head to GB20 as right palm draws along Liver channel to Liv14. Left squeezes GB 20 gently as right pushes forehead upward. Right rubs around GB on his left side of head as right now pushes gently up onto forehead as right squeezes GB20s.
8. Liver: Emotions, anger, resentment, Frustration, irritability, bitterness, ‘flying off the handle’. Tendons, nails & eyes. Smooth flow of Qi. Eye conditions, tendonitis, menstrual pain, headache, dry red eyes. LIV 1: (Big To side, inside base of nail) Supplies Qi to Pericardium, Muscles and Tendons. LIV 3: Regulates function of Liver. LIV 8: Inside of knee flexure, in depression between tendons. Headaches, helps relax muscles and tendons. Balances Liver & Kidneys. Firstly, take the big toe and squeeze it with reference to the inside of the toe nail base. Hold for 3 seconds X 3. Next use the thumb to squeeze LIV 8 inside of crease of knee just above. This can hurt though. Do this also 3 seconds X 3. Do the Scapular thing on each side of the head, finishing with the right palm upward on their left side of head. Bring right palm down the right side of their head and neck as left palm radius side slides up the left side of their head. Take right under back of neck and squeeze as left palm pushes forehead upward and out. 9. Lungs: Grief, sadness, detached. Immune system, fights bacteria and virus. Symptoms - dry skin, crying, sadness, depression. Fatigue, too much sweating. Frequent colds & flu. LU 1 is the "Letting Go Point". Loss of a loved one! Holding on, etc.! Place hand on hip a depression appears on the lateral end of clavicle. Lateral upper end is LU 2. LU 1 is 1.5 below and 3 feng to outer. Balances the Qi. LU 11 is lateral side of base of thumb, or it can be other side! Firstly, take the thumb and squeeze the area at base of nail both sides to balance the Qi. Then using both thumbs, gently but firm, apply pressure to both LU 1 points for 3 seconds X 3. Action: ‘Fishes in Eight’! Push head from their right to left with the back of your right palm as left squeezes GB20 and back of neck. Reverse now and right palm will stroke over their head from their left to right as left continues to squeeze back of neck. Left now rubs up back of neck and head as right rubs down front of forehead. Left keeps coming over top of head and rubs down front of forehead as back of right goes over top of left palm to rub upward on forehead. Right takes over top of head to back as left comes up and longest finger activates Third Eye. Left continues over back of head to neck as right rubs upward on forehead. 10. Colon: Rids the mind and body of old adult emotions held in the body over years (gets the ‘shyte’ out). CO1 on index finger outer base of finger-nail X 1 f. Can be bled. Good for toothache as it runs through the face. Feeds the Wei Qi to fight off external pathogenic attack. Strengthens the limbs. CO4: (Joining of the Valleys) Head and face headaches. Constipation, encourages "Letting Go" both physically and emotionally. Balances the Qi. Firstly Squeeze the index finger with reference to the outer side base of nail. 3 seconds X 3. Now move up to CO 4 and press in with thumb 3 seconds X 3. Swallow's Tail: Left palm on the right side of their neck. Right palm on the left side of their head-top. Left goes up, right goes down (Swallow's Tail). Reverse it. Then reverse it again. Left goes around top of head and under neck to squeeze GB20s. Right pushes up and over forehead. Left now goes to CO14 on outer shoulder as right slides down under neck. Left will draw a line up and over shoulder (CO meridian) then up side of neck around mouth line to outside of nostril and presses gently inward onto CO20. Left now rubs over forehead and over back of head to back of neck as usual, while right pushes up and over forehead. 11. Stomach: Grounding and Mental Function. ST8 straight up from the front of the ear about 5 Feng forward of ear and 5 Feng inside hairline on forehead. Clears obstructions in the head. Good for headaches of the frontal lobe! ST36. Place palm onto patella fingers pointing down. ST36 is where index finger touches to left of bone between Tibia and Fibia. Or, one finger's width below the crest of the Tibia! Good for mental disorders. Strengthens whole system. General weakness, diarrhea, constipation, Digestive disorders.
Firstly, apply pressure to ST36 3 seconds X 3 times. This might hurt a bit. Now, do wave hands like clouds over the head. Right palm slides down his left side down through neck as left palm rubs upward on side of head to ST8. Palm turns over and applies pressure with little palm bone to ST8. Press for 3 seconds. Then continue over head to other side and do same. Again do the same back to the right side
of the head. Left palm down to back of neck as usual as right palm slides up middle of forehead and over head. 12. Spleen: Emotions, worry, dwelling on a particular topic, excessive mental work. Formation of blood and energy, Helps keep blood in the vessels. Muscles, mouth & lips. Thinking, studying and memory. Symptoms: Tiredness, loss of appetite, mucus discharge, poor digestion, abdominal distention, diarrhea, Weak muscles, pale lips, Bruising, excessive menstrual flow, other bleeding disorders. SP4 (anger & rage). Outer side of big toe nail base. SP1 reconnects Heaven with Man. Shock point, communicates with Kidneys' energy reserves. Calms the mind. Before using SP1 find out if diabetic or pregnant - if so, then don't! SP3 Big toe side of foot just over the lump, very sore. Used when long term Qi disturbances from shock are the case. Re-establishes the communication between Heaven (fire) and Man (water) which is what is damaged in the case of shock. Firstly, take the big toe and squeeze at the outer side of the nail base 3 seconds X 3 do this on both feet simultaneously. Now, go to SP3 and find the point, it will be sore. Using each thumb press inward on both sides 3 seconds X3. Stand beside patient with weight on right leg for males and left for females. Hands in the "Lift Hands" position. Do the scapula things as you "activate" the palms around both sides of the head. Be sure to keep the palms in the "sung" state. Do 7 of these. Right and left count as one. Finally, take left palm over the right side of their head and neck and down to back of neck activating GB20s. As right palm pushes back and over front of forehead. Now take right over left side of head and down to back of neck as left pushes up and over forehead. Stay in that position for 7 seconds, then rub right down left side of head as left rubs up right side and out to finish. _______________________________
The above was all that Erle posted on this subject! We shall continue with the final House in Lift Hands Vol. 9 where I shall be writing an accompanying article on ‘Progression, Change, The Classics and Erle-isms’, and how selective information is being used to distort the ‘System’!
Inside Next Issue
eter Jones is the most senior Erle Montaigue accredited instructor in the United Kingdom and chief
instructor and founder of Taiji Pa-kua Internal Fighting Arts - the oldest established school teaching the Erle Montaigue System in the UK and perhaps in the world - currently based in Ammanford, Wales. Peter’s association with Erle, both as one of his closet personal friends and students, stretches back to almost 35 years! Anyone, who knew Erle or trained with him for any length of time would be aware of that, as Erle would often talk about Peter in his classes. Peter trained with Erle across the UK as well as in Australia. In fact, when Erle would visit the UK, he would often stay with Peter at his house in Wales - where they would train in his living room - such was their friendship. There wasn’t much that Erle would not discuss with Peter and as the years passed he would become one of his closest confidantes. Erle bestowed many accolades upon Peter, as he had trained consistently without any breaks for over three decades, making him his Chief of Foundations in the UK. He is one of only a handful of instructors certified in both the WTBA syllabus and the Erle Montaigue syllabus. Prior to Erle’s move to Wales, it was Peter who would organise and teach at all the major UK camps. In fact, several of the UK and European instructors have trained under Peter in some capacity over the years. In 2004, when Erle finally moved to Wales, his location was not that far from Peter, who due to his work schedules would find it difficult to attend Erle’s monthly sessions. However, that did not stop the two friends from meeting up and training. In fact, Erle would regularly visit Peter at his classes in Ammanford and train with him there. Peter Jones is an intensely private man and tends to keep himself to himself. Our friendship began when we first met at Erle’s memorial a few weeks after he had passed away in early 2011. We had already been talking with each other on the phone for a short time prior to that meet. I had seen Peter earlier around 2000, when Erle was teaching at the Patti Pavilion on the Mumbles Road in Swansea. I remember Erle excitedly rushing off the stage to greet two guys who had walked into the hall whilst he was teaching and had taken a seat by the internal doors. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Peter Jones, however, in the later years as my own relationship developed with Erle, he’d often talk about ‘Jonesy’ - saying, “You two need to meet up, you’ll get along!” Well, in 2011 we finally met! Sadly, it took the passing of both our friend, mentor and teacher to bring us together. However, there was a bitter sweetness in this in that it was our own unique bond with Erle - one of mutual friendship, love and respect - which now bound us together. Over the years our friendship and bonds have grown stronger, so much so that I believe, apart from Erle, I am probably the only person who has managed to coax Peter out of Wales and come visit us in Leicester on a regular basis - where my own students look forward to learn from his knowledge and experience. Peter and I do not just have Erle and the love of Taiji in common. We are both Star Wars and sci-fi geeks although I love my comic books a bit more then him! We literally talk daily with each other on the phone and our topics range from Taiji, training and what’s the latest on Netflix, and the bugger always binge watches a series to get ahead of me! Peter is a regular contributor to Lift Hands magazine and his articles on The 12 Deadly Katas and Trapping Hands have been a hit with our readers. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and both our training paths have followed a similar course - and why wouldn’t they since we both had the same mentor and guide. When I began to put the concepts of Lift Hands together, Peter was the first person that came to mind, along with Colin Power. I wanted to have both their input into the magazine.
At Erleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memorial gathering in 2011
With 2019 looming upon the horizon, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Peter's school, Taiji Pa-Kua Internal Fighting Arts, I couldn’t think of a better time then now to shine the spotlight onto the man - a man who has dedicated his life to the internal arts and epitomizes the Erle Montaigue System in particular!
First Meetings - Peter Jones with Erle Montaigue and Anthony Court circa 1989
NB: Hello brother Peter Jones… thank you so much for giving Lift Hands the opportunity for this interview. Before we begin, I’d like to congratulate you on behalf of myself and our readership on the forthcoming 30th anniversary of your school - Taiji-Pakua Internal Arts - as well as a big thank you for your contributions to Lift Hands Magazine! It’s a major milestone in anyone’s journey, so please tell us briefly, how did your martial arts journey begin? PJ: Thank you! It’s wonderful to be here talking to all your readers. I began with boxing. I was a young boy at the time, about 8 years old, the local boxing club was only a few steps away from where I lived! A few years later I started doing judo, which I enjoyed as a teenager and after that I began Lau Gar Gung Fu. I had already started doing Taiji by this time as well. I eventually gave up Lau Gar to focus on my Taiji. NB: What made you choose your particular style of martial arts? PJ: I simply felt that Taiji was better suited to me. NB: So, how did you come to the internal arts - who was your first teacher? PJ: I was looking for a class in the Swansea area. I, along with a few friends found a Taiji class and decided to go and have a try, and I enjoyed it. The instructor's name was Anthony Court, and I stayed with him for about four and a half years - you could say I had the Taiji bug!
NB: What was it about the internal arts which attracted you to them? PJ: The martial and healing aspects which Erle was teaching. NB: So, how did you come across Erle Montaigue and where did you first meet? PJ: It was while I was training with Anthony Court. He came in one day and said that he had found this guy called Erle Montaigue teaching the Yang style. So, we ended up training in Erle’s system as a part of the World Taiji Boxing Association (WTBA). Anthony invited Erle to come over to Carmarthen in Wales and this was the first time we met. NB: What was it about Erle’s system which appealed to you and how did it differ from what was being taught at the time? PJ: I started off learning the Chen Man-Ch'ing style of Taiji with Anthony Court, but after meeting Erle we started learning Yang Cheng fu's form which Erle was teaching at the time, I just liked the way Erle taught - no nonsense or magic! NB: How many times a week did you train and how difficult was the training?
Above and below: Erle with his main training partner Stuart Le Marseny in Carmarthen, Wales 1989
PJ: I was going to classes four days a week and having a private class every Sunday for about four years. The training wasn't that difficult - having said that, I enjoyed everything I trained in so I just got on with it! NB: You are regarded as one of Erle’s oldest students and someone whom he regarded a close personal friend and confidante, what was it like training with him way back in his heydays? PJ: It was brilliant to have someone like Erle putting you on the right path - that was priceless! One of the times when Erle came over from Australia in the early 90s to do a workshop, he was staying with me. We were sitting down in the house just having a chat, next thing I know Erle's up on his feet saying come on let's do something? Bearing in mind that we were in my living room, we ended up going over the A and B side of the Pauchui, small San Sau, and the Bagua circular and linear forms! There was never a dull moment with him around. I learned so much. NB: You went across to Australia during the 90s, how was the experience and what are your memories about that trip? PJ: When I went over to Australia, it was the first time I had jumped on a plane to go anywhere on my own at the time! I had a long stay over in Hong Kong before heading to Australia. When I got to the camp, I remember Erle asking the guys, “Where’s Peter?” After spotting me in the room he walked over and gave me a big hug, asking “Are you ok? I said, “No, missing my family!” I think he knew that anyway. Erle told me about the first time he went away from his family. We both had a tear in our eyes, but had a good laugh afterwards. He always knew what to say and when to say it, to make things better. Erle said, "Look" come up and stay with me.” The following day after training, we headed off to Erle's house. I remember Erle had a VW Beetle at the time and he wasn't a fast driver, it took bloody ages to get to his house, but saying that, it was
Images from Pembrey Country Park, Llanelli - Summer Camp 1994 Top left: With Peter Smith and Carl,; Top right and above fooling around with Bill Barnes. Middle: Group photo
was great for sightseeing. It was great once the camp started. We trained in Yang Lu-ch’an Taiji form and the Qi Disruption Katas, over the two weeks. We had an awards evening, where Erle gave me a, ‘Dedication: Certificate For Hard Work For The WTBA in Wales’ This was in September 1996. And when all that was done, we had the entertainment for the evening - Erle singing a few songs. After each day’s training at the camp, it was off to Brisbane with Alan Williams to his classes. Alan at the time was the Chief Instructor for the WTBA. NB: Over the years you organized many workshops for Erle, as well as his main representatives - such as Stuart Le Marseny and Al Williams. How hard was it organizing these camps in the UK, especially since the internet digital revolution hadn’t quite hit yet, so all things had to be done by fax or phone? PJ: I just took everything in my stride, a lot of envelopes and a lot of phone calls!
Above: Peter training the Pauchui with Erle in his living room.
NB: Erle bestowed many accolades upon you, including Chief Instructor For Foundations in the UK - how did that make you feel? What other achievements are you proud of? PJ: It was a great honour that Erle thought I was up for the job! In May, 1998 Erle gave me, A Lifetime Member Award. There are only four of us who have ever had this award, in the whole of the WTBA. In 2003 Erle made me WTBA Senior Instructor 5 Degree Chief of Training Basics UK. NB: Erle tried to move to the UK several times before he finally managed it at the end of 2003. I know you were involved in helping him trying to make those moves, how hard was it - what memories do you have of those? PJ: Yeah, Erle did try to move years before he eventually made it to the UK. I remember there was this one time I had the postman knock my door telling me I have a parcel for you. Bloody hell! It wasn't one parcel it was boxes of Erle's master videos. I remember not long after, Erle telling me he had to put the move on hold for now [this was his first attempt at moving to Wales]. So, I asked him what do you want me to do with all these videos? He replied, “You can tape over them or keep them - you will be teaching me them back one day!” Obviously I laughed.
Above: In Hong Kong en route to Australia - 1996
NB: It’s interesting that you should say that! I remember Erle coming into class one day in Llangadog… all excited about the Yang Cheng-fu form. He had stopped practicing it for some time and he told me that he had started reacquainting himself with it in your classes. I remember him telling me, “That Peter Jones, he’s an excellent instructor! I’m relearning the Yang Cheng-fu form from him, I had forgotten how good it was! Tell you what Nas, he must’ve had a bloody good teacher!” I started laughing, as he complimented himself in complimenting you. All joking aside, technically speaking you are probably Erle’s only student who ever taught him something back! How often would Erle come to visit you in Ammanford? PJ: He would pop down to my class and would end up taking my lesson. This happened on more then one occasion! Erle came down with the boys once, but mostly he came alone. He would call me to see if I would be in class first. There were times when he’d just show up and on days when I wasn't there - he’d take the class and then phone me and tell me about it later, saying how “Bloody brilliant" it had been! These are great memories for myself and my students too.
Above: With Erle and Al Williams in Australia - 1996
NB: What are your fondest memories of Erle? PJ: Erle and I had a great friendship over the years, we had many conversations about many things. But the only thing I will say is, thank you Erle for being you and giving me all the memories you did throughout my path in Taiji and as a friend. There was the time, however, when I was in Australia, when I went to stay up at Erle's place. Anyway after a lovely evening it was time for bed, so Erle showed me where I was going to sleep. I jumped into bed, Erle asked, “Do you need me to tuck you in?” I said, “I'm good!” As Erle was walking out of the bedroom he turned around and said matter of factly, “If you hear any noises at night, don't worry, there’s a snake living in the attic just above your head - he hunts at night!” He was chuckling saying this, but that night I don't think I had a lot of sleep, I was shitting myself! Above: With Ken Johnson and Al Williams in Australia - 1996
NB: Any other anecdotes or funny stories you’d like to share of your time with Erle?
PJ: Erle had come over from Australia and he was staying with me, there was one morning when we were having breakfast, and I turned around and saw Erle cutting into a big block of cheese! So, me being me, I asked him, "I thought you didn't eat cheese?” He looked at me and told me to "Shut up, I'm on holiday!" Well, we both started to laugh, so this was one of those funny stories!
Above: With Erle in Woodgreen, London outside Jim Uglowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school - 1994 Below: Training in Wales
NB: [Laughing] I could tell you a similar story about him eating my chicken steak! Did you always plan to teach or is it something which just happened? PJ: No it was something that just happened! I had never thought about teaching. Something happened at the time which put me on the spot - so, I stepped up to keep things going for everyone. NB: That's interesting as something similar happened to myself! I've always stated that Erle's best instructors were those who never set out to teach - they were only interested in learning and developing themselves. What is it that you most enjoy about teaching others? PJ: It's seeing them trying and having a go, and when they get it, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seeing the smile on their face to say look I can do it! NB: What is the best advice you give to your students and others with regard to their training?
Above:At home with Al Krych & Erle in Wales
PJ: Always keep it real and enjoy the path your on! NB: You must have had many students over the years, are you still in touch with them or have most gone their own way? PJ: I still have students who have been with me for over 20 years now, but with students that have gone their own way, I don't really hear from them at all! NB: That sadly is a very common story! Now, I know you have also done TV work, how did that come about? PJ: One of my students at the time knew someone who worked within the tv industry and they asked if I could do a demo video so they can see what I do? The tv company was looking for someone to choreograph some fight scenes. They did get back to me and said it was too close to the real thing and they didn't want the actors getting hurt [insurance purposes]! But, saying that, some good did come out of it - I ended up working as an extra on a good number of tv programmes. NB: So, what does Peter Jones like to do in his spare time - other then Taiji? PJ: I love music. I play the keyboards and a bit on the old guitar. I live by the coast so its nice to go down there now and then - a good place to think, and do some Taiji.
Above: Fooling around in London outside Jim Uglowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school 1994
Teaching in Leicester 2016 Top: Nasser Butt, Colin Power, Peter Jones, Adrian Jones and Elliot Morris
Above & right:With Stuart Le Marseny in 1992
NB:If you had to re-live your journey again, would you do anything different or would you keep it the same? PJ: It’s been a good journey, a hard one, but like they say no pain no gain. If I had to do something different it would have been to put my family first, my training took over my life. NB: Please, tell us, why after over 30 years, you finally decided to move on from the WTBA? PJ: It was a tough decision, especially after being with the WTBA for so long! I stayed with the organization for a further 6 years after Erle’s death - I didn’t leave immediately and publicly stated my reasons when I did. After my teacher’s passing, I felt it was the right time for me to move on, so I wished the new WTBA all the best in the future and left. NB: Brother Peter, thank-you for your time and sharing some memories with our readers. We are looking forwards to your future articles in 2019 and hopefully, we can carry out further in-depth interviews on the various training methods and concepts of Erle’s system, which he taught over the years. And on behalf of all our readers we’d like to wish you and your family a very merry christmas and a peaceful and happy new year!
Left: With Bill Barnes during my official WTBA summer camp in Pembrey Country Park, Llanelli - 1994
avid ‘Hydra’ Kyriacou is a man
of few words - unless he’s rapping, in which case he’s an urban poet of intense depth - so when he speaks, he cuts to the chase… he simply tells you as it is - no sugar coating! His ‘home’ is the street. It’s where he has learned and earned his craft that’s his real dojo! Based in Leyton, London, Hydra’s Combat Academy lists a myriad of styles from Combative’s, R.E.C., Krav Maga, Pugilism - consisting of Bare Knuckle Pre-Queensbury Rules along with Street Striking, Street Grappling, Knife Survival and Combat Psychology. He is firmly rooted and uses his knowledge of violence to not only help keep his family and students safe, but, also works within the community - helping keep the neighbourhood safe too.
‘Brothers in Arms’ - with the ‘Hydra’ at Kaizen 2018
In the short time that I have got to know David, I have found him to be a man of utmost integrity, loyalty and a man who believes in family - both blood and those he holds dear! Earlier in the year, we shared a room
whilst on the Isle of Man, attending the funeral of our good friend Scott Caldwell. During that short period of our stay on the Isle, I got a brief insight into the man as we swapped a few stories and watched Micky Flanagan into the early hours of the morning! David is a highly intelligent, well versed and knowledgable person. Our lives share a few parallels, apart from martial arts - particularly Christmas Day and we both pen words, and have a love for our roots and culture. I have been privileged and honoured to have watched the ‘Hydra’ at work at Kaizen 2017 and 2018. He teaches with an unparalleled passion and intensity but, far more importantly, he teaches with truth! There are no gimmicks. It works and it comes from experience - from having already done it and survived! I have nothing but respect for the man and what he represents, far more importantly, I call him brother! In 2017 at the British Martial Arts Awards, he was rightly awarded ‘Breakthrough Martial Artist of the Year,' but make no mistake, there’s nothing new about this man - he’s an old soul, a warrior moulded from the fires of antiquity. I hope that we will get to see more of him in future issues of Lift Hands. His knowledge is immeasurable and it commands respect.
LH: If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen? DK: Too many I can think of if I had a time machine! I'd love to be somewhere to witness something that people argue about now from antiquity, to religion founders. No one can prove, but they all argue! I'd like to see something to know. LH: If you had to leave earth on a spaceship and take 4 people with you, who would they be? DK: All family members. All must be able to cook! LH: In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? DK: I still look up to my elders and implement the lessons they showed me. I wish I could say all of the lessons. I guess that's still the kid in me. LH: If you could time travel, where would you go? DK: I'd train with the people of my ancestry. Go to war alongside em. Hopefully not die! Family affair… The ‘Hydra & the ‘Pit-bull’ - with Ashley Kyriacou
LH: What is your greatest strength or weakness? DK: I see intentions from the offset. Good and bad. I smell it without needing to be there. I've been too loyal all my life. That turns out to be the weakness at times. LH: Do you trust anyone with your life? DK: 3 men. That is mutual! LH: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? DK: From my Grandad: "Don't take my word for it boy, find out for yourself!” LH: What have you always wanted and did you ever get it? DK: To return to Cyprus with my family. Working on it!
Kaizen 2017 Photo credit: Nasser Butt
LH: Do you know your heritage? DK: Big time! LH: Are you still learning who you are? DK: Had that down from young. LH: What, if anything, are you afraid of and why? DK: Leaving my children unprepared for life. LH: What is the most memorable class you have ever taken? DK: Every time my life has hung in the balance. I learned that's when it happens. It's when I'm at my absolute best! LH: What book has influenced you the most? DK: The Alchemist! LH: What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing? DK: Got arrested by SO19 when I just turned 18. I was only going to the shop. Was two other guys with me though. One of ‘em I didn't like. He was the reason! LH: Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? DK: Life on the roads as we say in London. I learned more out here than any school or dojo could show me x infinity! LH: What is the craziest thing one of your teachers has done or made you do? DK: Handle a mass brawl on my own. My mentor let me do it and held my colleagues back to prove to me it can be done! I came out with no more than a black eye and my suit was covered in booze and blood - that was a game changer for me. Wasn't happy at the time though! LH: When did you screw everything up, but no one ever found out it was you? DK: Never! LH: If You had to choose to live without one of your five senses, which one would you give up and why? DK: Smell. I wouldn't have to smell the stinkers of this world! LH: If you could select one person from history and ask them one question - who would you select and what would the question be? DK: Would have to be Yashua (Jesus). I'd ask him who's right and who's wrong? LH: How would you describe your art in ten words or less? DK: Battle-tested, direct but calculated. Cutting edge, will be classic! LH: David ‘Hydra’ Kyriacou… Thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers and we hope that we will hear more from you in future issues of Lift Hands. Meanwhile, we wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.
The Small San-sau Xiao SÃ n Shou The Five Levels: From Principles To Combat Part Two
NASSER BUTT With
Author’s Note: Readers are reminded that this is an abridged version of the original as yet unpublished work!
Scatter Break Up
The term “Sàn-Shǒu” can be literally translated into “Dispersing or Scattering Hand”. It is also, sometimes, known as “Free Hand”. The term was originally coined by the Chinese Military to describe a form of self-defence they had developed through the study of a variety of traditional martial arts and modern combat tactics. The name, itself, went on to be adopted by a lot of the old and modern styles and become a part of their own vocabulary. The Sàn-Shǒu is not to be considered as a specific fighting method or form per se, but rather, should be, looked upon as a component of training taught alongside the traditional forms thus, giving them meaning. It can be split into four distinct categories: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Upper Body Strikes - consisting of fists, palms, elbows, forearms, fingers, shoulders, head, etc. Lower Body Strikes - consisting of kicks, stomps, knees, etc. Throws - consisting of take-downs and sweeps, etc. Seizing - consisting of locking the joints, breaking, choking, strangulation and submission holds.
Inherent within all four of the above categories are the concepts of Dim-mak (Death Point Striking) powered by Fa-jing (Explosive energy release), as well as physical striking methods learned and developed to a subconscious reflexive level! The small Sàn-Shǒu has its origins in the modified version of Yang family Taijiquan long form as taught by Yang Cheng-fu - the grandson of the founder Yang Lu-ch’an - and not the ‘Old’ form as practiced by his grandfather, father (Yang Jian-hou) , uncle (Yang Ban-hou) and elder brother (Yang Shou-hou).
Yang Cheng-fu carried out a series of modifications (1) to his family form in order to teach the masses, moving the focus away from the martial and towards health instead. The primary changes occurred sometime during 1915 -1928, with the final adjustments to the form being made in the early 1930s. During this transformation all the difficult explosive (Fa-jing) components, leaping kicks, low crouches and change of speed were removed from the form, thus leaving behind a much softer, more expansive form, all performed at an even pace. It was this version of the Yang family form which would be popularized throughout China and then further modified and shortened by certain students, as well as the Chinese Physical Education Institutions in Beijing, in later years. By the time of Yang Cheng-fu’s death in 1936, his modified form had become so popular that it had, almost by default, became the ‘official’ Yang family form. The ‘Old’ form became a distant memory, primarily being practiced by a handful of students of Yang Shou-hou alone. It was from this all slow modified version of the form it is believed that Yang Shouzhong, the eldest son of Yang Cheng-fu, developed the Small Sàn-Shǒu in order to return some Yang element back into the training of his students - who until then had been practicing the all even paced Yin form of his father!
Letter from Yang Sau-chung to Erle postmarked August 1979 [written via interpreter]. In the letter, Yang Sau-cheung confirms Chu King-hung as his students as well as denying any knowledge of a certain Chinese doctor claiming to be a student of his in Australia! (Note: the name of the Chinese doctor has been deliberately obscured by the editor for obvious reasons!) Yang Sau-chung also tells Erle the correct way to perform Tan-pien and ends the letter by inviting Erle to Hong Kong.
It is believed that Yang Cheng-fu made three major revisions to his family form. The Small Sàn-Shǒu is based upon the first change or revision as he taught it to his disciple Chen Wei-ming, since it still retains the opening Arn left and right movements in the sequence! The modern or most commonly practiced form omits these movements and is said to be based upon Yang Cheng-fu’s third revision of the form. In 1979 Yang Shouzhong personally invited Erle, who at the time was a leading student of Chu King-hung - one of the three main disciples of Yang Shouzhong [the others being Ip Tai-Tak & Chu Gin-soon] - to Hong Kong to train with him. Erle took up that offer in 1981and went to Hong Kong, accompanied by his teacher Chu! Here, Erle’s Taiji form (Yang Cheng-fu version) was personally evaluated and corrected by Yang, himself, as well his small Sàn Shǒu. Yang also answered a lot of Erle’s historical questions regarding his family system. The Small Sàn-Shǒu has been incorrectly credited to Yang Shou-hou by certain ‘masters’ and self-proclaimed experts of the Yang style. This, however, is simply not true! There is absolutely no evidence to support this in any manual based upon the transmissions of Yang Shou-hou or Yang Cheng-fu, as well as that it was Erle’s understanding from training with Chu King-hung that Yang Shouzhong was the creator of the Small Sàn-Shǒu. This misconception arises from certain concepts and ideas introduced into the San-sau by Erle Montaigue based upon the teachings of his teacher, Chang Yiu-chun - who was a disciple of Yang Shou-hou! Yang Shou-hou certainly practiced the SànShǒu, however, he practiced the Yang family “Large Sàn-Shǒu” - more accurately known as the “Pauchui” or “Canon-Fist” - based upon the entire original Long Form of the Yang family as invented by his grandfather, Yang Lu-ch’an! This two-person form has a definitive interlocking side A and B, whereas the small San-sau is a training method - which although uses a training partner (‘Wooden’ man) - with no interlocking B-side! Also, further evidence that the Small SànShǒu cannot be older comes from Chang Yiu-chun - Erle’s main teacher and a student of Yang Shou-hou. When Erle showed the form to Chang, he acknowledged that although he did not know the form, he could certainly confirm that it was based on the ‘old’ Yang family training methods. According to Erle, his teacher Chu Kinghung would only teach the small Sàn Shǒu as two-person set and not as a solo set. Yang Shouzhong, however, would teach it as a solo form first and then the two-person set. Either version is valid.
“Small San-Sau is one of the tests that one must take in the Erle Montaigue System as opposed to the WTBA’s grading system. I regard this exercise as one of the most important training methods as it teaches, timing, balance and co-ordination, where to strike, how to strike, the direction of dim-mak strikes and the power to use. It must be stressed however, that although each technique could be used as a self-defense method, you must only ever treat the small San-Sau as a training method, never taking away or adding to it.” Erle Montaigue The very first prerequisite of the EMS to be graded was to be able to do the four attacking methods at a level of true fa-jing - with the sound of the ‘one hand clapping’! There are three punches and one palm technique and they are all inherent in the SSS! These are: Penetration Palm, Taiji Snap Punch, Taiji Back Fist and Taiji Penetration Fist. Of course, within each fist and palm technique one could find a number of other attacking methods but these were simply off-shoots of the four original attacks! Therefore, one only had to understand the four ‘parent’ attacks in order to learn about every other kind of attacking method! The Small Sàn-Shǒu follows the movements of the Taijiquan form of Yang Cheng-fu up to the posture known as ‘Single Whip,’ including the postures commonly referred to as ‘Grasping the sparrow’s tail’.
The movements of the SSS form are: Arn - left, right and left. [ST9 & PC6 (Neigwan)] Block Right [PC 6 (Neigwan), CO10] P’eng [ST. 5, Mind Point, HT7, LU8] Block Left [PC 6 (Neigwan), CO10] Double P’eng [SP19, CV24] Lu (Roll back) [CO12 and LU8, HT5] Chee (Squeeze) [GB24] Arn - 3 Techniques: Arn 1 [PC 6 (Neigwan), HT3, CV23] Arn 2 [PC 6 (Neigwan), CV22, HT5 & Ribs] - Physical Shot/Step
Arn 3 [Attack inside of arms, pulling points, head butt GB3 followed by ST15 and 16] 1st Change Step Fishes In Eight Left [Slam TH 8, Attack right GB3] Fishes In Eight Right [Slam TH 8, Attack left GB3] Single Whip (The Hook) [PC6, CO10 followed by GB22 and SP21] Single Whip (The Hook) [PC6, SI11] Single Whip (The Hook) [Elbow Break] 2nd Change Step as you close the gap. Single Whip (Palm) [Power Band/SI11] Single Whip (Palm) [PC6 (Neigwan), Power Band/SI11] Single Whip (Palm) [PC6 (Neigwan), Power Band/SI11] Close - Strike either side of jaw wrench base of neck and bring head/face onto knee and finish with strike to kidneys. The form teaches us about the Thirteen Dynamics of Taijiquan, along with large and small circle energy and secondary attacks when the ‘primary’ weapons fail! The Thirteen Dynamics were the original postures of the first attempts to put together a single set in H'ao Ch'uan which later became known as Taijiquan. Those thirteen postures remain today and in fact they remain more so in advanced push hands. Without understanding and being able to grasp the essence and principles of these Thirteen Dynamics - there is NO H’ao Ch’uan - the concept of ‘moving with awareness’ does not exist! It is that simple! The concept of ‘No Mind’ boxing arises from a thorough understanding of these principles. For example, if we do not understand why P’eng is considered a Yin defence and Lu is considered a Yin attack, then we have no way of understanding how to connect to our opponent’s energy, on a subconscious level, thereby producing a ‘No Mind’ response. The Thirteen Dynamics consist of eight gates or energies and five directions: P’eng (Yin defence) Lu (Yin Attack) Ji (Yang Attack) Arn (Yang Attack) The above four are generally referred to as the Four Primary Methods. P'eng jing is the major jing used in all of the others. P'eng is moving Qi, while Lu is 'collecting Qi,' Chee is receiving Qi while Arn is striking Qi. These also cover the Primary Directions and if they are defeated - due to bad technique, poor understanding or simply lack of training - then you must use one of the Four Corner Methods to save yourself! The next four gates are: Tsai Lieh Chou (2nd Line of Defence) K’ao (Third Line of Defence) The remaining Five ‘postures’ or rather directions are: Move Forward Move Backward Look Right Gaze Left Central Equilibrium (Earth Energy) Central Equilibrium or Earth Power appears in all the postures! Further, the Small Sàn-Shǒu helps us develop the ‘Six Arteries’ and the ’Seven Ingenuities’. These are important concepts, not just in terms of the long form, but to help develop base martial concepts such as the Active and Passive Principle, ’Folding Principle,' Connectivity and uniting ‘Heaven and Earth’!
77 The Six Arteries This refers to the six unifications: mind united with intent, intent united with energy, energy united with power, hand united with foot, elbow united with knee, and shoulder united with hip… the ‘arteries’ are the imaginary lines which unite these! The Seven Ingenuities These represent the seven basic ways in which we can transform the body: 1. Transform at your waist 2. Transform at your wrist 3. Transform at your elbow 4. Transform at your shoulder 5. Transform with your torso 6. Transform at your hip 7. Transform with your step The term is also applied to seven ways of moving: 1. Advancing 2. Retreating 3. Side-stepping, 4. Continuous stepping, 5. Zig-zagging 6. Spinning around 7. Shaking. The primary methods of moving within the Sàn-Shǒu are swiveling, break enter step, change step and physical step covering the five directions. We use natural movement with a small amount of controlling movement thus generating powerful strikes. The body 'opens' and 'closes' or expands and contracts during each movement. Vertical movements involve 'slap' steps, whereas lateral movements involve the 'bounce' step. The Small Sàn-Shǒu is designed to teach us about maximum reflexive power and correct body mechanics for an attack from any angle - returning us back to our innate nature. That power sits in a specific direction, therefore, any changes will develop the incorrect direction and power and hinder our innateness! We must be able to make a distinction between force and power. Force comes from the bones and can become clogged in the upper back from where it cannot be issued, power on the other hand comes from the sinews - from where it can extend the length of the limb and can be issued. Power is invisible and round, whereas force is square and noticeable! Power is smooth and quick, force is slow and rough! Force is scattered and floating, power is concentrated and sinking, and force is blunt whilst power is sharp! A Word on Connectivity Connectivity is one of the most critical concepts within the Internal Arts, in particular, and martial arts in general! This concept, along with Rooting/Grounding is taught from day one to all students and like the aforementioned, is a difficult concept to grasp by most students. I have had several students, who are highly placed practitioners within other martial arts, who struggle with this concept.
Connectivity should not be mistaken for ‘Sticking,' as it most often is - the two are completely different and oft confused. A student must learn to connect to him/herself and stick to their opponent! Connectivity, as with most things, must first be developed and understood on a physical level. If a student cannot connect with him/herself on a physical level then he/she will fail to connect themselves with the mind and thus, the spirit! The Small Sàn-Shǒu is a ‘master tutor’ of connectivity. It teaches us how to connect with the body, then with the mind and finally open the gateway to the spirit. At this level - there is no opponent! A Word About Heaven and Earth When heaven and earth unite, the upper and lower body can move independently yet in total harmony with the other. The head represents ‘heaven’ and the feet represent ‘earth,' with man in the middle - perfectly aligned, balanced and rooted - as if suspended from above! A Word About The 4 Cornerstones (2) The 4 Cornerstones are: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Crown of the Head - "Suspended from above”. Waist - 'Ruler' Feet and Legs Hands (Wrists)
Understanding why we must be 'suspended from above' is critical and the first Cornerstone. Its primary understanding has nothing to do with energies, but rather balance - both internal and external! To realise this will help understand the Four Mistakes. We are told in no uncertain terms by no less an authority then Yang Ban-hou that, the “Waist and head-top are to be exhaustively studied for your whole life!” 'Rules' For Fighting - A brief summation The Small Sàn-Shǒu teaches us subconsciously about the correct ‘rules’ for fighting: Never step backwards. Never fight the peripheral attacking weapon, fight the whole body. Never meet force on force, always move at a slight angle to the attacker as you move in. Never use two steps in fighting. Never look at the attacking portion. Never use a lock or hold as your main fighting method. Never use pushes or pulls in self-defense. Never go to the ground. (That does not mean that Taiji or the Internal arts do not have ‘grappling’ in their system, it simply means we do not take the fight to the ground!) The legs are for standing, the hands are for fighting. These ‘rules’ are not arbitrary rules! They ensure the correct responses from the body itself. The way that the body moves in the SSS is a deliberate design of the training method to trigger specific changes which are critical to our survival in time of danger! The Four Mistakes: Crashing in means sticking your head out. Collapsing means not enough pressure. Coming away means separating. Resistance means too much pressure.
These four mistakes will interfere with our understanding of sticking, adhering, connecting and following! The Role of the ‘Wooden Man’ In the two person version of the Small Sàn-Shǒu, your partner is acting as the ‘Wooden Man’ - he or she, put simply, are a punching bag! Only ONCE during the Small Sàn-Shǒu does your partner do “something other than just throw punches.” The job of the ‘wooden man’ is to teach NOT to compete! If the Wooden man starts to compete then the practitioner fails to learn or develop correctly! Only in one other training method related to the Small Sàn-Shǒu does the Wooden Man do something more then just punch. Here, one must understand clearly, as to WHY? This will be advanced upon in the two-person set! A Word on the 5 Elements Whilst the 5 Elements appear throughout Taiji lore, one has to realise and appreciate these from the base notions of the peasants who were the primary practitioners of this art. The 5 Elements were simply things which were a part of the peasant’s everyday life: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. These were representative of their work and livelihoods. Earth to grow and till food. Tools made from wood and metal. Wood ,also, representing growth! Water to irrigate the fields and transportation. Fire with which to scorch the earth and to prepare it for planting. A source of heat for warmth and cooking. Taking the above into account, it is no surprise that these elements would’ve formed a part of their martial thought process: To be grounded and rooted like a tree. Having the flexibility of wood and the strength of metal, with the fluidity and adaptability of water, and the fierceness and abruptness of fire! It would be the later intelligentsia who would incorporate Confucian and Taoist thought along with concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine onto these elements. This is confirmed by Wang Xiangzhai, the founder of Dachengquan (3): ‘I remember well the words of my late teacher about the five elements: Metal means the strength contained in the bones and the muscles, the mind being firm like iron or stone, being able to cut gold and steel. Wood has the meaning of the bending but rooted posture of a tree. Water means force like the waves of the vast sea, lively like a dragon or a snake, when used, it is able to pervade everything. Fire means strength being like gunpowder, fists being like bullets shot out, having the strength to burn the opponent’s body by the first touch. Earth means exerting strength heavy, deep, solid, and perfectly round, the qi being strong, having the force of oneness with heaven and earth. This is the syncretism of the five elements. It has nothing to do with one technique overcoming another technique as the modern people claim. If, one, first sees with the eyes, then thinks of it again in the mind, and then launches the counter-attack towards the enemy, it is very seldom that one will not get beaten up.’
In summation, the reason why we train in the Small Sàn-Shǒu is to learn correct “body language” and reflexive violence for street self-defence. This training method teaches to not fight but to stop the attack or survive as an
animal does! However, it is simply not enough to just do the movements as some have suggested. You must understand the movements and what it is that they are teaching you and their purpose. This is why studying only this one training method can take several years but, if you persevere and follow it progressively then the rewards will be great! Origins and Theory Notes 1. There are now many documents confirming the simple historical fact that Yang Cheng-fu modified his family form for the convenience of the masses during his years in Beijing and Shanghai! It is an absolutely absurd and futile argument to suggest otherwise! Most of the modern Yang Taiji forms are further dilutions of Cheng-fu’s modifications. The historian Gu Liuxin gives an excellent summary of Yang Taiji history and the changes made by Cheng-fu in “An Introduction To Yang Style Taijiquan” : Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan by Fu Zhongwen; translated by Louis Swaim. Professor Douglas Wile’s T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions - published by Sweet Ch’i Press, 1983 - is an other excellent source confirming these changes for the novice researcher! 2. Lift Hands Magazine Volume 1, November 2016: Moving With Awareness - The 13 Dynamics, The Cornerstones And Their Significance Lift Hands Magazine Volume 4, December 2017: The 12 Secret Rings of the Yang Family Part Three: The Physical Side/Cornerstones 3. Dacheng Quan by Wang Xuanjie
Part Three of Unlocking The Small San-sau
Training Methods will appear in Volume 9 of Lift Hands 82
his year’s annual camp in Cyprus had ‘Seize The Sparrow By Its Tail,’ Grounding, Structure and
Training Methods at its core. Our friends came from as far afield as Australia, The Netherlands, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. Apart from the training, this was also a gathering of dear friends akin to family - so we got to spend a bit of time hanging out and exploring the island, which included late night trips for ice cream and cookies! It is important that students understand the fundamentals of their art. It is simply not enough to repeat or mimic the movements of your instructor, we must study our art in depth - pull it apart and not be afraid to make mistakes! Far too often, at the risk of looking foolish, we are too afraid to make mistakes and thus, too afraid to explore and question, and learn. Making mistakes is a part of the journey, it is not the destination! Sometimes, just taking a small portion of your form and studying it in depth can yield far more then continually learning forms, rushing to advance - which is surely the path to failure! Hadjios Valley resort in Mazotos has become a second home. Its familiar surroundings and warm welcome always makes us feel as if we are one of the family - honorary locals! This was our third year here and I must say that Bambos and his family at the Mazotos Tavern simply outdid last year! The food and hospitality was incredible and the range of local cuisine on offer was mind boggling to say the least! If you ever happen to be in the Larnaca area, I suggest you take a taxi or make the short drive to Mazotos - it’s only twenty minutes away - and experience the culinary delights of the Tavern located in the centre of the village. You won’t regret it! This is my only input this year and I am going to let my brother from another mother Colin Power take over from here.
My Big Cyprus Adventure What do you do when you get an invite from a mate for a little martial arts training at a resort in beautiful Cyprus, well you get the appropriate permission from your trusty social director/side kick/partner and start packing your bags. This is my “Big Cyprus Adventure” which was added to our “Big Greek Adventure”… Flying into Larnaca airport, Cyprus after midnight went off without a hitch so we step into a taxi with what must have been a retired formula one driver to take us to our accommodation at Hadjios Valley resort Mazotos. Arriving shaken but not stirred we were ready for an adventure and I swear that the bare breasted Greek statue outside our window winked at me as I drifted off to sleep. So why would you travel halfway around the world (Australia - Cyprus) for a little bit of training? The answer is complex and simple at the same time…Mateship and Martial arts. I have a long relationship with Martial arts and long ago was taught how to gauge the quality of the Man/Woman along with the quality of the instructor. As you get older you start to choose wisely who you spend your time with. I don’t want to go
to a workshop run by a technically proficient Instructor if they are a poor example of the human race…but hey that is just my choice. I’m not chasing that magical technique or form that will make me impervious to Kryptonite. I don’t care what Style of Martial Art is your flavour you have to have an idea of how it is going to influence your life…you become who you associate with, so choose wisely.
Australians take Mateship very seriously so if you have an Australian friend you will understand that we will fight to the death with you but if you start sprouting Bullshit…watch out. Aussie Mateship is tough love. So I love the style of Nasser Butt’s no nonsense workshops…digging deep on what he calls the basics is an eye opener for many. I don’t care what style you do if you have a chance to go through some training methods with Nasser it will give you a whole different way to look at your art. Sometimes you think you understand a principle after reading an article or watching a DVD and other times you struggle and struggle. Workshops are where magic can happen when the instructor comes and turns the light on for you. What you do with that light is totally up to you. For me it was one little tweak…one adjustment that corrected the mapping system for my art. It was not a technique as such…it was a way to correct all of my forms and techniques. It was something that I could overlay all of my forms and use that template to adjust my posture. It was the physical understand that we are mapping our own body with our form training. You can talk all you like about the theory, sometimes you just need to do it and have somebody correct it for you. Now it is up to me to explore this revelation with good honest training back at home. Now Cyprus, I have to say that you are a treasure trove of adventures and delights. Easy enough to get around
Sitting on the steps of the Mazotos Tavern, with Bambos in the top right corner.
by taxi and intercity bus but definitely worth hiring a car next time and delving deeper. Driving on the left side of the road is second nature for Aussies and Brits alike.The small town of Mazotos made us feel very welcome and we got to taste a few off the menu dishes at the Taverna thanks to the hospitality of the locals. I have never experienced the hospitality of people offering you dishes off their table for you to try…just amazing. So many late night joy rides for ice cream and long walks by the sea…always feeling welcome and safe. My partner in crime has a habit of taking me to places that S.W.A.T would think twice about but she couldn’t find any that put me on high alert. You can always find yourself trouble if you look for it but we felt pretty safe in Cyprus even though they were playing war games off the coast and you could hear the artillery and see the plumes of the shells hitting the ocean. Cyprus…we will be back. ******* So, what’s stopping you from coming over and joining us next year? We’ll train, we’ll learn, we’ll form strong bonds of friendship and we’ll go out to play and eat ice cream after. Its like being a kid again - only this time we get to supervise ourselves! Next year, it's going to be big... watch this space for further details and meanwhile, here are a few photos highlighting this year’s camp for you to enjoy.
an I join in? Is a question
heard everyday on playgrounds up and down the country! Sometimes it’s met with, of course or maybe a no this isn’t for you, or any response in-between. Martial Arts clubs are very similar, most cater for the general population and offer fairly standard training, others are more specialised catering for those who want to fight in the ring or maybe more extremely those who want to work in the security industry. What if I don’t fit in to the perceived norm for those classes? What if I really want to be a Thai boxer but I’ve got cerebral palsy or I want to get into the octagon and fight but I have Downs syndrome? Now these may be extreme examples but believe me when I say there are people with these conditions who want to join in and train alongside everyone else. So let’s think about another example, what about someone on the Autistic spectrum who may never work on the ‘Doors’ but wants to train the same as and with those who do? Now more than ever there are more and more martial arts clubs who cater for every facet of the arts, so surely the answer to my question is of course there is a place for everyone, but sadly this isn’t true.
On the mats with Shihan Ken Culshaw
So how do we start to deal with the prejudices and obstacles that those with health difficulties both cognitive and physical have to deal with to participate in mainstream martial arts? Well, how about gather a group of some of the country’s top martial artists and hold a day where disabled and non disabled students can train and work together and learn from each other. On the 24 November in Cambridge this is exactly what happened. The ‘Cornerstones’ seminar was a day where the instructors who have been integral in the growth and strengthening of Adaptive Martial Arts UK & Ireland came together and taught what they do best. The day was open to everyone and all abilities, so we had people with and without disabilities, people who have studied Martial Arts for decades and some who have only just begun. All training and learning from one another!
There were two areas, one with mats for the throwing and grappling and one for the standing arts, plus if the instructors weren’t teaching a group session they were offering one to ones with anyone who had something specific they wanted to work on. One thing that everyone should know is that each and every one of the instructors gave their time and knowledge freely to help grow this idea that everyone can benefit from the Martial Arts. So the day started and straight away there was an amazing energy in the room, Mark Adlington started with a warm up straight into some Tang Soo Do, I was really grateful to Mark for jumping straight in as he’d come along to train and we threw him in at the deep end as lots of people were struggling to find the venue, so were running a bit late. We then had the legend that is Ken Culshaw on the mats and our great friend Nasser teaching structure and form from an internal arts point of view. These two men are probably two of the most consummate Martial Artists, I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and it’s an honour to call them friends, their knowledge is phenomenal and they teach and show their arts with a passion and understanding that is inspiring. Nasser Butt demonstrating the concept of spirals.
There was a palpable feeling in the room that this day was going to be something special, the calibre of the
people teaching and the enthusiasm of the students was wonderful. Next up on the mats we had the ‘General’ himself - Tony Bailey - who had come up after working a night shift and was going back to do another that night, for which we’re extremely grateful as Tony is so well respected in the martial arts community that to have him at our event was a real honour. He showed his true measure by gearing his segment around Carl ‘The Stamper’ Clements and a few of the other students who needed a bit of extra help and allowing them, to throw him and really engage with them. On the floor Jay Dobrin and Phil Chenery were working their magic with blades, if you ever want to get a real understanding of knives given the ever increasing rise in knife crime and stabbings then Jay and Phil must be on your list of people to train with as they’ve spent a lifetime studying and working with ‘live’ blades and they truly are Masters of their craft. I must say as well as the incredible line up of instructors teaching we had Grandmaster Brian Jones casting his eye over proceedings and though he didn’t teach, there was a constant stream of people asking his opinion and hoping to gain an insight from probably one of the first non-Asians to practice Wing Chun and the man who introduced Latossa Escrima to this country as well as his knowledge of Tai Chi he learned in the Far East during his military service.
Tony ‘The General’ Bailey & Nasser Butt taking on the mighty Carl ‘The Stamper’ Clements!
To round the day off, we had another pairing of instructors that was unique and special to us. Robbie Woodard and Keith Priestley, two absolute stalwarts of our association and of Karate, who between them have fought and won numerous world titles and trained under some of the biggest names in the traditional Karate world. They took the students back in time, to when they had learned from the Japanese in the early days of Karate in the UK and showed how tough and brutal training was in those days. Though it might have seemed harsh and militaristic, I think most of the students really enjoyed it as by the end of their session they had built everyone up and the smiles on people’s faces said it all. I can honestly say that we put these events on every year and this one rates as one of the best we’ve put on. It was a unique event that helped cement the bonds that have formed over years not through financial or other gain but through the genuine friendships that have been made and a desire to achieve a common goal which is to bring the benefits of Martial Arts to everyone regardless of ability. So we finished the day with the obligatory group photos and thank-yous but I wanted to acknowledge two people who have taught me so much not just as a Martial Artist and teacher but as a human being. The first was Tony Pillage who has been a huge supporter of ours and who actually suggested the concept of the
Grandmaster Brian Jones
‘Cornerstones Instructors’ he would have been with us on the day but his continuing fight with his health just wouldn’t allow it. He may not have been with us physically but his presence was everywhere in the room. I’m eternally grateful to Tony for his support and friendship because we would not be as recognised as we are today without his support. The second is Carl Clements who was the original inspiration behind what we do, I may teach him martial arts but he teaches me about how to accept and be thankful for what we have, so to that end we decided to make him a ‘Cornerstones Instructor’. Thank you to everyone who made it such a special day and we look forward to welcoming you all to the next one.
World Class: Shihan Keith Priestley & Robbie Woodard
‘Bamboo Green Nature’ by Britaseifert
here is a possible explanation, stemming from the classical Chinese medical tradition, for why BKTS,
in the ‘Old Yang’ form as taught by Erle Montaigue, is performed more on the left side than the right side. Erle states in his article “Tai Chi Healing, and the Yin or Yang states” that BKTS affects the heart, and is of Yin nature. This information, coupled with the Classical Chinese anatomical knowledge transmitted to me orally by Dr. Steven Jackowicz, Ph.D., clarifies the emphasis on the left side in the design of the movement and in its arrangement within the form. In the Classical period in China, the body organs were understood differently as how we understand them today, with different sizes, shapes and functions than our modern Western understanding. There, organs are a multilayered and multidimensional entity. We commonly take the tripartite model of body, mind and spirit to treat, study and understand them. For this article, we’ll be concerned with the body (physical) aspect of the heart ( Xin - ⾁⼼). In the Classical Chinese medicine model, the physical heart is located in the middle of the chest, and hooked or rooted to the anterior side of the left scapula, and left groin (“left shade”). The oral transmission is passed as such: “The Xin [Heart] roots to the left scapula, and sinks to the left shade” The connection, or better put, correspondence of these areas of the body and the heart organ become evident in clinical practice. Here it is observed that when patients have cardiovascular disease, that affect the actual cardiac muscle, such as what we understand in the West as myocarditis, pericarditis, coronary artery disease or infarctions, and when direct pressure is applied in the area of the left subscapularis muscle, and along the superior border of the left inguinal ligament, the patient will report symptoms of sharp or heavy pain in the area, and will wince and might even jump; and the same reaction will be substantially less or commonly non-existent when pressure is applied on the same areas on the right side. [A side note for medical practitioners: when the disease is in the Qi or Shen levels, these symptoms will not show up.] The specification that it is rooted in these body parts on the left side of the body brings light to the design of the BKTS movement itself, and to why it is repeated on this side within the form more than on the right, being the latter just a continuation or linking movement for the next left repetition. The left subscapularis and groin are specifically stimulated with every flexion and extension, abduction and adduction of the left arm and leg, respectively. Thus, we can see how BKTS was developed as a specific motion that will engage the heart organ as they understood it. And leaves aside the controversy about larger muscular imbalances. It is my opinion however that, at first, when we are starting to learn the form, we should perform the moves on both sides, because at this level, our posture and gait will not allow us to actually connect or engage with these deeper structures specifically; we will be held upright by our larger and currently strongest muscles, and by our current habitual postural and gait imbalances. Once we have finished learning one whole third, and we have developed some sinking, then there won’t be any problems with large muscular imbalances. This model of understanding also serves to explain the origin of the other movements within the form (which I will explain in other articles). And importantly, it helps us to better understand the body-mind connection, and the effects of health that are derived from this movement practice, and all other health oriented movement practices within the East Asian paradigm.
This view also helps to ground Taijiquan in its original concept, that of a physical practice, where proper execution of the movements, with correct gait and posture, is what is demanded; and less of a mental, “energetic” or intellectual exercise. In this case, the benefits will derive from the physical plane up to the mental and spiritual, and not the other way around. If we understand Taijiquan this way, we will be able to reap all its benefits, both in the self defense and health departments, and even after that, in the spiritual. At the same time, it will enrich and ground our mental or spiritual meditative practice, which works from these levels down to the physical. And the concept of Qi, so foreign to our Western mind, also becomes clearer with this view. In terms of the organs, Qi is the compendium of all the functions of the organ, at all levels: molecular, cellular, biochemical, mental, sexual, psychic and spiritual. When we practice these postures, with the understanding that we are stimulating specific muscles, connective tissue and nerve complexes and pathways, we are still engaging and cultivating Qi: its most physical or “fleshy” aspect. If we understand this, then we won’t be confused when we read or hear about “energetic” concepts, and think of them as abstract or foreign to our physicality. On the contrary, it is in our physicality where all these other processes take place, and thus the importance of having a strong, toned, mature and healthy body, to aspire for a survival chance when fighting, longevity or even immortality (as per the Daoist concept). I will invite you to look up where these muscles and structures that I mentioned are located, and practice BKTS with this new layer of awareness in mind, and see what this experiment brings you. And of course, I would like to invite you to share these experiences, so we can all benefit. One of the beauties of the traditional Chinese arts, is that they are alive, and constantly evolving, specially the ones associated with the Daoist tradition. Enjoy!
The Oldest Established School of The Erle Montaigue System In The UK
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Gaku Shi Juku Kendo Kai www.leicesterkendo.com
he Big Dipper - consisting of seven bright
stars of the constellation Ursa Major (The Big Bear). This distinct grouping - referred to as an asterism - holds a significance across a host of cultures from ancient times. The ‘Big Dipper’ is an American term, it is known by a variety of names such as the ‘Plough’ (UK), the ‘Great Wain’ or ‘Butcher’s Cleaver’! In Chinese folk religion the Big Dipper personifies “Doumu” - which literally translates as “Mother of the Great Chariot” - a goddess in Chinese religion and Taoism, representing the feminine aspect of the cosmic God of Heaven. According to Wu Tu-nan - the historian and famed student of Yang Shou-hou - in his book ‘A More Scientific Art: Taiji Boxing’: ‘To “step forward with the Big Dipper” means to advance and make a Big Dipper posture. The posture is like the seven stars of the Big Dipper [hand, elbow, shoulder, head forming the saucepan; hip, knee, foot forming the handle], hence the name.’ [See image below] The explanation for the posture given by Wu is as follows: ‘Your left knee bends to the Left and your right foot advances a step to the Left, toes touching down, to be placed beside your left foot, the weight shifted onto your left foot. At the same time, your palms cross in front of your chest, palms upright, elbows hanging down, right hand on the outside, left hand on the inside, thumbs at about throat level.’ It is interesting to compare the subtlety of Yang Cheng-fu’s posture with Wu’s (see next page) - who was trained by Yang’s elder brother Shou-hou and stands more upright to gather the spine’s energy with the right heel raised clearly off the ground indicating the empty leg! The crossed wrists do not indicate an ‘X-block’ of any sorts but is another variation of ‘Ten Character Hands’ - Shi Tze Shou - teaching us how to join or connect P’eng jin of the arms with the energy of the spine, leading to two devastating hammer strikes to the neck! Chang Yiu-chun, another student of Yang Shou-hou, intimated to his student Erle Montaigue that this was a special ‘Power Qigong’ posture for opening up the seven qi input points into the body, which are essentially responsible for the intake of “Ground Energy”.
Above: The Big Dipper Inset: Yang Cheng-fu performing ‘Step Forward with the Big Dipper Hammer’. Image taken from ‘Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing’ Taijiquan Shiyong Fa - by Yang Cheng-fu & Dong Yingjie.
The points in case are: The crown of the head [Governor Vessel 2]; both Colon 14 points, either side, just below the lump of the
shoulders; both Small Intestine 16 points on the side of the neck where it joins the torso’s centreline and, finally, both Gall Bladder 30 points sitting in the hollows of the buttocks! The author, historian and Taiji practitioner Xu Yu-Sheng (1879-1945) - who trained with both Yang Shou-hou and Yang Cheng-fu - in his book ‘Taijiquan Shi,' first published in 1921, also alludes to a qi points connection. Xu, however, gives a more ‘mystical’ numerological explanation: ‘The [written] character qi [seven] is assumed by the arms [see below] and thereby the seven stars within the heavens [the Big Dipper] and the seven joints of the upper body take form. Seven and seven unify to form the forty-nine forces within the uncountable transmutations of qi.’
七 - qī = Seven
Left: Wu Tu-nan, the historian and famed student of Yang Shou-hou performing ‘Step Forward with the Big Dipper Hammer’. Image taken from ‘A More Scientific Art: Taiji Boxing’.
It’s also interesting to note that the word Xīng [星], meaning star or planet can also refer to "any point of light," in which case the term could also be phrased ‘Seven Points of Light’ - which would keep it in tune with the qi input points. Or, in the world of the peasant, this could simply be a Grounding Post exercise - where the body rises from the Squatting Single Whip and instantly posts into the left leg, grounding the energy and establishing full and empty between the two legs, the crown of the head raised, the gaze looking forward and the crossed wrists allowing the chest to be ‘hollowed’ naturally as per the Taiji Classics - thus giving it stability and the skill to combine rolling and lifting energies [to name but two] with the energy of the spine!
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