Continuing our look at Shaolin Chi Kung’s Golden Rules of 3:
3 Components of Chi Kung
Form is obvious; it’s the bit you can see. You can watch a persons form and say: “Oh, they’re doing lifting the sky”. But as we know if they are just doing the form then they are only doing lifting the sky form and not Chi Kung.
Energy – Chi Kung means to work on energy. An excellent way to work on energy is through the breathing. Chi Kung is not the Art of Breathing, but breathing is an excellent means to generate Energy Flow. It is energy flow that removes blockages to the Meaningful flow of energy through our bodies. When we have a meaningful energy flow we have good health, vitality and long life.
Mind is the most important part of this rule of 3 and probably the one I have to work the hardest on. From my own experience I have discovered that one of the best ways to get my mind into the best state to help my Chi Kung practice is through entering into a really powerful Chi Kung state of mind. I’ve found that a good Chi Kung state of mind helps to keep the ideal chatter and static that fills my inner airwaves whenever I start to do “inner work”
Higher levels of Chi Kung like Dan Tien breathing, Small Universe, and Big Universe etc require your mind to focus on specific actions. But for dynamic Chi Kung patterns like those from the Shaolin 18 Lohan Hands and 18 Shaolin Exercises a good Chi Kung state of mind is more than enough to aide you in getting all the results and benefits of practicing Chi Kung.
All high level Chi Kung is a harmony of Form, Energy and Mind or in other words: form combined with correct breathing performed in a Chi Kung state of mind.
3 Treasures of a Human
In the west we tend to think of Total health in terms of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. In Chinese these terms equate to Jing, Chi and Shen.
Jing – This refers to the subatomic particles that make up the human body. Jing is inherited from our parents and after birth we acquire Jing from “Air” and food. Jing produces marrow (stored in the bones) and creates blood. Jing is vital for growth, successful reproduction and to live a long and healthy life.
Chi – Vital energy that works the body, it is what makes things happen. Chi warms the body, enables it to be nourished, defends it from external pathogenic invasion, and maintains the correct position of organs and blood. Chi promotes movement (keeps us alive, keeps cells dividing, keeps our brain functioning), transports essential items and blood around the body and promotes the functions of all organs meridians and tissues. So you can see why a harmonious strong flow of chi is so vital to good health. You get chi from food, drink and air and inherit Yuan Chi (original energy) from your parents. Shaolin Chi Kung is the best way to make sure you get the most from your chi.
Shen – In the West we would call this Spirit, Mind, Soul or Consciousness and you can see it in a person’s eyes. Strong Shen equals peace of mind and is produced by Jing and Chi and nourished by blood and body fluids. If Shen is weak, Jing and Chi will be weak and need nourishing. Shen helps you to articulate your thoughts, be creative, remember things and is vital for intelligence. Be warned: excessive thinking or worrying can weaken your Shen, leading to mental problems, insomnia, lack of vitality, depression and a lack of “Spirit”.
3 Golden rules of Zhan Zhuang
Zhan Zhuang is a powerful form of Chi Kung for building internal force. Unlike “Dynamic” types of Chi Kung (18 Lohan Hands, 18 Shaolin Exercises) that are made up of a number of different moves – Zhan Zhuang consists of adopting a stance (e.g. Horse Riding Stance) and then holding it for a period of time. So if you get the stance wrong, you get the whole exercise wrong!
Zhan Zhuang contrary to popular belief is not an exercise in endurance; it is an exercise in relaxation. In order to progress with this type of Chi Kung you must: Relax, relax, relax!
3 Requirements of Success (in pretty much anything!)
- The method
- The teacher
- The student
First you must make sure you have the right method. If you want to have a body like the hulk you need to find a method that is proven to give those results. If you want to compete in sparring competitions and you only practice Chi Kung, then you have chosen the wrong method.
So for whatever area you want to gain some (preferably specific) result in, you must do your research and find a method that is proven to give the result you want.
Secondly you must find a master (or at least a competent teacher) of that method and beg them to teach you. Again, you do your research and aim to learn the method from the very best teacher you can find, afford or convince to teach you. This will usually involve you having to travel and make certain sacrifices.
Finally and most important in this Golden rule of 3 is YOU! You can have the best method in the world, the greatest master in the universe teaching you, but if you do not practice you will get no results.
I see this a lot with Chi Kung students, and as a professional instructor who loves the art I teach, it breaks my heart. Great masters and teachers are hard to find, but I sometimes think that good students are perhaps even rarer.
3 Hallmarks of Shaolin Arts
There is nothing else I want to write about this Golden rule of 3.
3 Treasures of Shaolin
- Shaolin Chi Kung
- Shaolin Kung Fu
Shaolin Chi Kung is the art of energy. It uses gentle, simple, external body movements co-ordinated with the breathing whilst performed in a Chi Kung State of Mind, to generate an energy flow. This energy flow removes blockages to harmonious Chi flow and promotes health, vitality and longevity – which are the 3 main aims of Chi Kung.
Shaolin Kung Fu – when performed correctly is also Chi Kung. In that movements are co-ordinated with the breath and performed in a Chi Kung State of Mind. It also consists of many Chi Kung exercises that specifically develop internal force. The aims are similar to Shaolin Chi Kung with the addition that sincere, dedicated practice results in combat efficiency.
The Very Venerable Bodhidharma is the first Patriarch of Chan (or Zen). The aim of this practice is to gain “enlightenment” in this lifetime. It’s practice is deceptively simple: “Sit in lotus position and don’t think of anything” yet incredibly difficult.