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Taste the Air

Nourishing oneself on Qi develops self-awareness. In the distant past mankind took nourishment from air and discovered that it developed self-awareness. People cultivated the air and developed a routine, a form to practice, in order to nourish Qi. This so called form is an outline that you trace with your training of the Qi and that you fill with your own realizations.

Once, long ago, our view of the earth was based on what we observed in nature. We interacted daily with the earth itself. We became aware of the air. We tasted it and noticed that nourishing oneself on air gave us increased self-awareness. Our methods of cultivating the air within became the teaching curriculum we passed to the next generation. Our method of developing self-awareness was passed on to those who sought the knowledge of self-development. This is the basis of our Qi Gung exercises today.

Meet your Qi

That sensation of re-encountering a sweet scent treasured from childhood is how each and every inhalation should be enjoyed. Can you smell it? This is how we breathe, aware of the scent and with the mind focused on breath as if the breath is triggering that childhood memory.

Develop your self-awareness in nature. Clear yourself of attachment to your gadgets and their cyber-reality. Nature supports itself through its own natural process of birth and re-birth. When you enter nature you too become tuned to the slow, deep rhythm of natures' transformation.

Eight Sections of Brocade April Brazier performs the posture 'Support the Sky.'

The Body's Posture of Qi

Perfectly balance your posture and maintain stillness as you taste the air. A balanced and still posture is the common thread among all the different families of self-awareness. It is ancient. This is ancient mans' realization handed down to us through the millennia.

In Praying Mantis Boxing this posture and breath idea is called ping qi. A fitting name, ping means 'to balance' and qi is the 'life nourishing breath.' Ping Qi is an enlightened name brought about through deep introspection.

The first time that you practice Ping Qi there are sonnets and rules to keep in mind that pertain to all your breathing exercises.

If you use this gung you can absorb the True Qi of sky and earth as well as the essence of sun and moon. Nourishing the Qi and strengthening the essence is most important.

When the Qi is thick then the strength has power. When the marrow is full then the bones are solid.

This is why we nourish our Qi and strengthen our essence. For those who follow and want to learn it you must have an introspective heart full of care and attention. If you are not cautious then your efforts will be in vain.

The above quote precedes methods of qi gung and self-development of different families of Luohan Short Strikes and Praying Mantis Boxing manuscripts. It is followed by such exercises as Eight Sections of Brocade Keyword Song, The Way of Beginning the Gung and Tendon Changing Classics.

Following Eight Sections of Brocade Keyword Song comes the following sonnet known as Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung. It is also known as Essentials of Beginning the Gung and in some manuals it is left unnamed. Regardless of how it is called it forms the bases of the discipline and regulations of nourishing the Qi within oneself.

Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung

Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung

Day and night follow each other without end,

Eliminate desires of smoking, drinking, and affairs of the bedroom.

Striking light and hitting hard are divided into before and after.

With no interruption of training days become months.

This is how the ancients became Luohan.

It takes a generation of study to become a marvel,

For those of 1000 days of discipline and 10,000 days of cultivation ‘a few’ is especially detested,

So how can we begrudge the training of 100 days?

When I was last in Shandong with Master Zhou Zhendong we trained every morning and night. After a week of intensive training, late at night in a field next to the mountains and forest, with no lights save the moon and stars, he shared with Niki Deistler and I the movements and idea of Ping Qi. Here is a daytime photograph taken by Niki of the posture of Ping Qi. The practice is done with the breathes in some multiple of three with thirty-six being ideal. Following Ping Qi we continued with other aspects of our training.

Master Zhou Zhendong

Zi Wu Mao You

In the above Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung starts the phrase,

Day and night follow each other without end.

On the surface the meaning is quite simple, yet classical Chinese is rarely simple. The first four characters, zi wu mao you, which mean 'day and night' are also an esoteric type of mind and breath control. Based on the chapter of Luohan Short Strikes called Secret Formula of the Golden Elixir we know that this method is based, at least to a certain extant, on methods from a practice recorded in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in the book Four Hundred Characters of the Golden Elixir. This is where the idea for zi wu mao you is first explained.

Four Hundred Characters of the Golden Elixir and the idea of zi wu mao you can be left for another article. The ultimate aim of the various methods is the development of Qi, Essence and Spirit to expand your consciousness and enliven your vitality.

Of all the ways to train the Qi and the body Ping Qi is both the simplest and yet, may also be the most difficult. You only need stand their and not move a muscle, yet to activate the mind and focus it on the Qi requires determined mental focus

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Article quick links

The Immortal and the Blackwhirlwind

The Challenge of Master Cui

Taste the Air

The Heavenly Taoist's Praying Mantis Strikes

Why All Kids MUST learn Martial Arts

My First Taiji Tournament

A Barbarian Splits Wood

The Tiger Swallow Flies to Brasil

Little Four Hands

Zhong Lu Fan Che

My Trip to Shandong

First Rule of Pugilism

Mind Posture-Body Posture

The Magic of Tai Chi

Secret Spear of Shaolin

FIst of Luohan

Iron Door Bolt

Tyrant Pulls the Bow

Invitation to Brasil

The Golden Hook Hangs the Jade Vase

Pluck the Star Exchange the Moon

Intuition through the Kick of Zhong Ji Fist

Two Thousand Years of Mantis Warriors

Kung Fu Fit for an Army

Stealing a Horse

Entering the Sea of Awareness

Jing Ke the Undercover assassin

One Step Three Punches

Double Palm Strike of Mantis Boxing

General Yu and the Escaping Pirates

Tai Mountain Crushes the Top

The Barbarian Surrendering Maneuver

The Yin Yang Hook of Plum Flower Mantis

Long Punches and Short Elbows of Iron Fist

Weituo Offers his Vajra

The Mandarin Duck Kick

Dig Out the Cave

Hide the Peach Under the Leaf

Dangerous Flowers of Double Saber

Deng Pu the Smashing Step

The Cleaving Staff Method


Leaking From the Bottom

Tyrant Takes the Helmet

The 7 Hands of 8 Step Mantis

Mantis Hands Topple the Earth

No Block No Defense

Hooked Step of Mantis Boxing

Opposing 10,000 Men

Wang Lang and his Pair of Swords

Sweeping Away the Rebels

Kicks Of Peng Lai

The Double Sealing of the Mantis

Defeating the Legs

The Shaking Step of Mantis

A Weekend in Tennessee

Shaolin Eighteen Movement Stick

Clever Leaping and the Folding Elbow

The Luan Elbow of Shaolin Luohan

The 400 Year Old Iron Fist

Seizing the Opportunity

Sparrow Brushes the Water

The Waist Chop of Mantis Boxing

The Revolving Wheel of Water and Fire

The Rising and Falling of the Mantis Fist

Pan Zhou-The Coiled Elbow

The Method of Stick Fighting

Bi Zhou-The Outer Forearm Elbow

Young Master Luan Opens A School

Hard Can Defeat Soft

Deception Within the Boxing of Shaolin and Mantis

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