Base Exercises which Form the Ground for Improvement in 72 Arts

1.8.1 Suspending a Gold Coin (XIUAN JIN QIAN).

The main purport of the exercise "Suspending a Gold Coin" is intensification of hearing and vision to develop protective reactions in case of a sudden attack of the enemy. An old copper coin with a hole can be used in the exercise: hang it on a string to a beam at the brow level. Stand close to the coin and push it to swing from your eyes. When the coin returns and reaches your eyelid, try not to wink. After attaining this you can train GONG FU with the coin being behind your back and you hearing the sound of its movement. After training for a long time the skill will spontaneously reveal itself: if you suddenly come upon a complicated situation in an encounter, you will instinctively act in accordance with circumstances and if there is unsurpassed coordination (of eyes and arms), you can not help but win.

1.8.2 Hanging Pearl of Buddha (GUA FO ZHOU).

Take two Buddhist pearls, string them and hang in the front and the back of the spot where a sitting meditation takes place at the height of brow level. Swing the pearls to the left and to the right when meditative exercises are over: one pearl passes before your eyes, the second one behind your head. Don't wink and try to hear the sound and feel the movement behind your back at the same time, fling your arm and catch a pearl with two fingers. It is the evidence of mastership. If you are engaged and the enemy uses a secret

(small) weapon1, you can at once catch him with your hand. This is an excellent protective skill. It is possible to create a perfect man with complete reliance on the capabilities of ears and eyes.

Opinion of Shaolin monk Chun Mi:

"Eyes and ears serve the man like a scout on a horse: the eyes observe, the ears hear and (one can) be the first to react (to deliver a blow before the enemy did). If you are engaged in a deadly fight where hundreds positions follow each other, fully rely on your eyes and ears, this is the very first rule."

editor's notes:

'AN QI - "dark", or "secret" weapon; traditionally Shaolin monks learn combat technique with some improvised means, in particular, with small objects which employment can be concealed from the enemy; it may be a chop stick, needle, fishing hook, small fan, coin with sharpened edge, brass-knuckles, short darting arrows etc.

1.8.3 1000 Layers of Paper (QIAN CHENG ZHI).

The purport of the exercise "One Thousand Layers of Paper" is to train blows of the hard force YIANG JING. It is a very simple exercise. Take a pile of paper containing over 1000 sheets and nail it to a wooden block. Hence, another name of this exercise is "Striking at the Paper Block"(DA ZHI DUN). Put it at the level of the waist and deliver blows with fists, palms, fingers, and elbows. Deliver blows in the immobile stance MA BU ("Rider") at first, then train yourself in movement and with jumps. Deliver "slashing" (PI) blows and "cracking" (ZA) blows while turning the torso. Deliver "clapping" blows (PAI DA) in the stance GONG BU ("Bow"). While standing sideways, deliver elbow blows: reverse and direct blows, blows from the left and from the right. Blows can be alternated and follow in a certain succession. Employ various arm techniques and imagine a combat with an enemy. If you are training in such a way for half a year, you can finish the first stage, the second stage of acquirement of the skill will be over after one year, and a complete success will be after two years of training. Punches will be rapid like rain drops during wind blasts. If a blow is delivered at the enemy whose weight is not great, he can be toppled over to the ground, if a blow is delivered at a heavy enemy, his muscles and bones can be damaged, but it is impossible to kill him. People meet difficulties in understanding the so called hard force of YANG, but one should not stop training, it is necessary to train this exercise again and again, in that case the effect will be wonderful and quick. Famous fighters could not help but train this exercise.

1.8.4 Circle RUYI (RUYI QUAN).

The exercise "Circle RUYI" is designed for the development of abilities of fingers to grip. Two metal rings like those ones with which small children play, but of small diameter allowing to clasp them with five fingers, are used. At the first stage the weight of each ring must be 3-4 JINs (1.5 to 2 kg), clasp them with fingers and make turns. After long training force is increased. One may do the exercise holding the ring with three fingers - thumb, forefinger, and the middle finger. Then, take away the middle finger and hold it with two fingers and continue to make revolutions. With this one may consider the first stage to be over. Increase the weight to 8 JINs (4 kg). Do the exercise, holding with two fingers as before and the matter will be a full success at the end. Increase the weight to 15 JINs (7.5 kg) and in that case fingers will turn into steel hooks, if you grip muscles or joints of the enemy, you can inflict painful injuries on him. For those who practise the martial art this exercise serves as the base of GONG FU. Shaolin WU SENGs1 often train this method too and improve their combat abilities by means of this exercise. In such a way, for instance, practised monk Zi An in time of the Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368), monks Jue Xun, Ben Lai, Beng Zheng in time of the Ming dynasty (1368 -1644), many other GAO SENGs acquired this exercise with perfection.

Shaolin WU SENG, tutor Chun Mi said:

"The iron circle RUYI is the most convenient, if you travel a great deal, you can take it with you. In your spare time, when you have nothing to do, you can train this exercise and at the crucial moment it will help you to escape danger".

editor's notes:

1.8.5 Striking at Cotton-Wool Ball (XUAN MIAN CHUI).

It is also one of the exercises for training arms and eyes and it is not difficult too. Take a small piece of cotton-wool, roll up a ball, hang it on a thread between beams. Deliver precise blows with one or two fingers, palm, fist. One may also use spear, sword or stick for training precise blows. It is not easy for a trainee to hit the target at the first stage. However, after long training, it is possible to learn how to do perfectly so that each blow hit the target. At that stage GONG FU reaches its perfection. In a combat engagement a blow delivered can not help but hit the target. Famous fighters train this exercise for a long time. You may hang one or two balls, on the left and on the right, deliver blows in movement as if in an actual combat. When you do this exercise with perfection, it will be of no great importance on which side the enemy is, as you will be able to attack in any direction.

Opinion of Shaolin monk Ru Qing on precise blows:

"Skill in techniques is trained during several stages, they are: "Paper Block", "Iron Circle", and "Cotton-Wool Ball". If you adhere to constancy, train you for many years, you will show your mastership and employ it against the enemy at the crucial moment".

1.8.6 Striking at Wooden Dummy (DA MU REN).

This exercise is a base of the Shaolin GONG FU, and in no case it must be ignored. Take a thick log for your training and dig it into the ground 3.5 CHIs1 deep, the height from the ground level should be 5-5.5 CHIs or, what is better, 6 CHIs. Put a beam 1.5 CHIs long in the center crosswise. It will look like a man with stretched arms: the breast and stomach in the center, the head on the top, the beam is like two arms, one leg below. Wrap it around with cotton-wool and leather outside. A trainee stands before the dummy and employs clasps, pressing, pushing or strokes with fingers at points on the upper part of the dummy. He sets against the dummy with his buttocks and hips and pushes to its middle part. He kicks with his feet at the lower part. Imagining different parts of the body (of the enemy), employ different arms/legs/elbows/hips/knees/feet techniques; capabilities of the whole body must be used in techniques. This exercise can be daily trained early in the morning. It is of no importance which pugilistic style you learn: training with this exercise will be of invaluable benefit!

Shaolin GAO SENG Zhen Xu said:

"Hitting a wooden dummy is a method for training of energy and force, it is necessary to exercise indefatigably and diligently since sunset till sunrise. The exercise helps to collect force into a whole single; wind, snowfall, thunder, and lightning equally take their turn ".

editor's notes:

'CHI, a measure of length equal to 1/3 of one meter.

2 Most probably, it means that the seasons take their turn, but lessons go on.

1.8.7 Kicking at Wooden Pole (TI MU ZHUANG).

This exercise trains legs and feet. Dig a log into the ground and train in evenings such a leg work as "side kick" (CE THI), "heel forward blow" (DEN TI), "cutting blow" (TAN TI), "raking blow" (CHAN TI), "inward blow" (KOU TI), "swinging blow" (BAI TI), and "wrapping blow" (CHAN TI)1. Deliver hard blows with legs, stand still, at the first stage you should not move (shift), deliver blows with both legs in turn. Later blows can be made in movement: after making a step or jumping you kick with the other leg, also change legs. Jump aside and deliver a blow. Turn and deliver a blow. Just imagine that the pole is your enemy and employ various techniques against him. For example, attack the enemy with your leg and immediately dodge, attack and defense supersede each other, employ various techniques of torso dodging, change quickly leg techniques and deliver blows at the pole. If you can break a thick pole by kicking, it shows the emergence of GONG FU. If you are engaged in a combat, you will be able to inflict a severe injury on the enemy or topple him over on the ground.

editor's notes:

'All above names in this text have no descriptions, therefore an averaged translation is made on the base of the modern style CHANG QUAN.

1.8.8 Kicking at Flying Meteor (TI CHENG CHUI).

Hang on a beam three or four CHENG CHUI1 (or cobble-stones) with a size a bit bigger than a goose egg. Kick at CHENG CHUIs to swing them to different sides. If each blow hits the aim, one can say that the first stage has ended with success. If you deliver blows at four objects, each time hitting the aim, and CHENG CHUIs swing without touching the body, your kicks can be regarded as masterful ones and you will be capable of controlling the situation by means of kicking. This exercise trains the precision of kicking at aims, one must train oneself to exclude missing. It is the hard force of YANG by its nature. You improve force along with training your eyes.

Opinion of Shaolin tutor Ji Jing:

"In exercises "Kicking at a Wooden Pole", "Kicking at a Flying Meteor" you train force and leg work. If you manifest unbending will in continuous process of perfection, you will beat the enemy again and again, your movements must be steady."

Editor's notes:

1CHENG CHUI - one of the kinds of flexible weapon LIU XING CHUI, lit. "hammer-meteor", it is an iron or stone ball on a long cord.

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