This exercise is also called "Lifting a Stone Block". It belongs to the hard GONG FU, trains the external power and belongs to the YANG category. The purport of the exercise is to make muscles hard, which helps to beat off an enemy's attack. It is similar to the exercise "Iron Shirt" (TIE BU SHAN). Many people in the city of Tiantsin practise this exercise. Unfortunately, they simply "pump up" muscles. For instance, they lift weight of 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 90 kg. It is the most primitive method of training, the development of the internal force is out of question with this. This kind of GONG FU should be gradually acquired, don't hurry at no event. At first, wrists are trained, then shoulders and chest, then legs. This method approximates to the "soft" GONG FU, as it also trains the inner power, but force is emphasized in this case. It is unlike "Water Separation" (FEI SHUI GONG) in GONG FU where QI is the main thing and force is an addition.
It is the best to use a stone block for training a wrist. When lifting a weight, force must be concentrated in the wrist. Force will increase with time and muscle grow stronger. If you can lift a weight of 50 kg without appreciable effort, you can continue training without any gadgets. Concentrate force in your arms by clenching and unclenching fists, muscles will tighten at that. Then, clench fists firmly and turn their back side down, concentrate force in the region of the back of your head and neck. Force shifts are like a swing. Concentrate force in your shoulders after it. Move your shoulders back and concentrate force in the chest, the chest muscles will tighten at that. When you acquire this to perfection, it will mean that your upper part of the body has been well trained. Next, the middle part of the body, that is the stomach region, should be trained. The nature of this method is similar to the exercises "Iron Bull" (TIE NIU GONG) and "Iron Shirt" (TIE BU SHAN). When muscles become stronger and hard, it is necessary to continue to improve in training "concentration of force".
After finishing to train the middle part of the body, it is necessary to proceed to training the lower part, that is the waist and the legs. For that, it is necessary to take the stance "Rider" each day and remain in it until you exhaust. Have a rest and take the stance "Rider" again. The time of staying in the stance must be gradually increased. It is necessary to train oneself until muscles become strong. In that case you will be able to concentrate force in any part of the body and even stabs of swords and spears can do you no harm. Specialists in WU SHU say about this kind of GONG FU: "That is training frog QI inside and muscle outside". Although it is the "hard" GONG FU by its nature, which trains the external power (muscle force), but partly it is also the "soft" GONG FU that develops and uses the internal energy. Besides, this method helps to cure illnesses and prolong life time.
34. Exercise "Piercing the Curtain" (CHUAN LIAN GONG).
The exercise "Piercing the Curtain" is the "soft" GONG FU, it trains the internal energy and belongs to the section "Skill of Light Body" (QING SHEN GONG). The purport of it lies in the ability to make horizontal leaps like a swallow's flight. We often see performances of roaming acrobats who show leaps through rings with daggers or burning torches on the ring perimeter. That is just a demonstration of that kind of GONG FU. The audience see: one leap and an acrobat already passed through the ring with daggers or burning torches on the edges. It seems to be simple and easy. Nobody thinks about the fact that to achieve it, one has to pass through hard and difficult training, much more difficult than in many other kinds of GONG FU.
At first, leaps from a platform should be trained. For that purpose it is necessary to build a platform in the shape of a table, about two ZHANGs (about 6.6 m.) high. Dig a long and deep pit before the platform, fill it with sand to a depth of three CHIs (1 m.) approximately. Drive in a pile in each of four corners of the pit and tie a net made of thick cord to the piles at a height of about 2 CHIs (66 cm.) from sand surface. You need the net to fall on them after a leap to avoid injuring yourself. The trainee stands at the edge of the platform at attention, squats and raises his arms up at the same time, pushes off with his legs with force and leaps forward: his arms and all parts of the body are straightened and in horizontal plane.
After successful acquirement of leaping techniques from a platform one may proceed to exercise leaps above a plank. For that purpose, it is necessary to put a plank between two poles, the plank must be at a height of about 3 CHIs (1 m.) from the ground. There should be a pit with sand and a net immediately after the plank, the other is the same as above. The trainee stays at the platform at a distance of 2 or 3 ZHANGs (6.6 - 10 m.) from the plank, quickly runs to it, pushes off with two legs with force, his whole body stretches forward, like high jumps are made at the present time (probably, the author means pole vaults just at the moment of overcoming the plank) and flies over the plank. It is necessary to achieve in the process of training that the body should fly over the plank strictly in horizontal position. After that, change the plank with a board, 1,5 to 3 CHIs (0.5 - 1 m.) wide. The plank itself is very narrow and it is comparatively easy to overcome it. But to fly over a board, three CHIs wide, one should have certain knacks. Then, it is necessary to put the board on a wooden frame that is like a ring with daggers for acrobats. It is necessary to fly through the frame. Increase gradually the number of frames to 6 or 7, one by one. Your success will be significant if you can freely fly through all the frames without touching them. At the next stage sharp knives should be installed at the edges of the frames (we strongly recommend not to do so), as a result of it the inner space of the frames decreases and the task will be much more complicated. If you can, even in this case, freely fly through the frames, it means that GONG FU "Piercing curtain" has been acquired to perfection. In that case, if the opening passes your body, you can freely "enter" and "leave". However, it is necessary to train yourself for 5 years at least, may be even for 8 to 10 years.
35. The Force of Eagle's Claws (YING ZHAO LI).
Another name of the exercise "The Force of Eagle's Claws" is "The Skill of Dragon's Claws" - LONG ZHAO GONG. That is nothing else but the skill of grips. The user of this method can cause unbearable pain to his enemy by gripping him with a hand. The method is a combination of the "soft" and "hard" GONG FU, hardness and flexibility, a union of YIN and YANG.
The training method is as follows: prepare a small jug weighing about 5 kg, clasp its neck on the outer side in a hand (with all five fingers) and raise it. At first, it will be somewhat inconvenient, but in a few months you will freely raise and lower it many times in succession. When you attain this, start to add a cup of grain into the jug each week until it is filled. Then replace grain with iron shots. Still later replace iron shots with pieces of iron. When you can raise and lower the jug filled with pieces of iron without particular effort, it will mean that training of the "hard" GONG FU and the "tough" YANG of "The Force of Eagle's Claws" is over. After that, training without jug is needed.
Training of the "softness" YIN of the skill "The Force of Eagle's Claws". Spread apart five fingers in the morning, point your arm toward the sun and make "gripping" and "pulling" movements, it is necessary to fill the arm with QI by will-power and concentrate force (in the arm) at that. When you attain this, it will mean that the "soft" GONG FU of "flexible" YIN "The Force of Eagle's Claws" has been mastered. When you take a thing in a hand, some force is applied, that is the "hard" GONG FU belonging to the category YANG. When nothing is in your hands, force is not applied, it is the "soft" GONG FU belonging to the category YIN. Mutual coordination of YIN and YANG accounts for the training procedure: at first YANG, then YIN.
"Hardness" and "Softness" are used at the same time, therefore training of "softness" supplements training of "hardness".
By training, such a level of mastership can be achieved that if, for example a bird is flying by and you stretch out your hand and make a prehensile movement, the bird falls down as if killed by an arrow. One more example: a
horse stands at an distance of a few ZHANGs from you and you make an arm movement as if you wish to lead it away, it will follow you as if you have reins in your hand. The same happens with people. If the "softness" YIN is not trained to perfection and only YANG has been mastered to the highest point of mastership, you can also inflict an injury to your enemy which is not precarious to his life. However, if you stop training half-way, you can get finger crookedness and that illness is not curable. Yang Bang Hou, the uncle of the prominent Pekinese specialist in TAYJI QUAN Yang Cheng Fu, had the use of this GONG FU to perfection. He could make a flying-by bird to perch on his hand: the bird flaps with its wings, but can not fly up.
In my time I also trained the skill "The Force of Eagle's Claws" and I freely raised a jug filled with iron shots. But during battles near Nankou in which I happened to participate I was wounded in the right leg. During a few months I underwent treatment, of course, I had to discontinue training. Unfortunately, until now all my fingers of both hands are crooked (see the photo).
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Achieve Health, Wealth And Body Balance Through Yin Yang Mastery. Cut up on the old stone drums of Republic of China, inscribed in books handed down through thousands of years, traced on ancient saucers and on saucers made today, is a sign and a symbol. It is woven into textiles, stitched into embroideries, emblazoned over house gates, wrought into shop emblems, a circle, locked together inside it yang and yin yang, light, yin, dark, each carrying inside itself the essence of the other, each shaped to the other