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
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
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'
Eight Sections of Brocade
April Brazier performs the posture 'Support the
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
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
Tendon Changing Classics.
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
Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung
night follow each other without end,
desires of smoking, drinking, and affairs of the
light and hitting hard are divided into before and
interruption of training days become months.
how the ancients became Luohan.
a generation of study to become a marvel,
of 1000 days of discipline and 10,000 days of
cultivation a few is especially detested,
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.
Zi Wu Mao You
In the above
Eight Sentence Sonnet When Practicing Gung
starts the phrase,
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
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