The exercise "Stone pile" is a "hard" exercise which strengthens the "internal". It belongs to basic methods of the "pile"-style exercises that specialize in strengthening legs and is one of orthodox exercises. That exercise has such a name because legs of those who train it become like steadfast piles when the trainees reach the highest degree of its acquirement. Even people who have great physical strength can not throw (you) off your balance.
The man who practises a Martial Art pays a great attention to leg strength because if legs are weak, movements will be unsteady, and if movements are unsteady, there will be no way to victory. At the first stage, when leg strength is trained, one must train oneself in the stance of "Rider". It is necessary to take stance of "Rider" at least ten times every day and be in it at the initial stage not long. It is necessary to increase gradually the time in the stance and decrease repetitions of the exercise respectively. When you bring the time of remaining continuously in the stance to one hour and feel no tiredness, it means that the initial target has been reached and you can proceed to the next stage.
Later, it is necessary to exercise in standing on piles. Dig two piles into the ground, their height should be about two CHIs (about 66 cm) and the distance between them should be equal to the width of the "Rider" stance. Stand on the piles and train yourself as before, taking the stance of "Rider". When you
stood on the ground, the whole sole of the foot touched the ground and the force was equally distributed, as the surface of the ground is big. Now, when you stand on the poles, the surface to which the force is applied decreased and limited by the top of the piles. Therefore, the surface of force application is much less than when you stand on the ground, less than one third of a foot sole. The full degree of difficulty can not be expressed with words. At the initial stage, when you stand on the piles, it is difficult to use the strength of both legs, the whole body is unsteady and the central part of the sole hurts, you are not able of standing even during one minute. You must firmly endure difficulties, persistently train yourself and after three months painful feeling will gradually disappear and in that case the time for doing the exercise can be gradually increased.
Some time later you will feel that your whole body will be filled with QI that utters a drumming sound like a beat of drum. That QI should be lowered depending on the direction of efforts of your whole body as if you wish to "split" the foothold. In that case the stance will improve so that it will be possible to lay a stone slab weighing 1000 JINs (about 500 kg) on your hips. To obtain such a result, take rectangular stones and lay one piece on the right hip and another piece on the left one, you may hold them with your hands. In the beginning the weight of the used stones must be 20 - 30 JINs (10 - 15 kg). It is necessary to add by 10 JINs (5 kg) during each three months and gain ability to bear a weight of 100 JINs (50 kg) and more. When you are able to stand on the piles in the stance of "Rider" during half an hour without being tired and without sweating, it means that training yielded some success but the strength of both legs is insufficient to hold a weight of 1000 JINs (500 kg) and you have to continue training.
After that, if you stand on a flat surface, you look like bronze or cast iron which took roots. And if several men try to throw you off balance, they will be like a dragon-fly trying to shake loose a stone pole. Seldom you will come upon a man who will be capable of moving you a little bit. Both legs attain incomparable firmness, their strength so differ from the legs strength of ordinary people that it frightens them. But burden and deprivations while training that exercise are awful, they are greater than in other kinds of Gong Fu. It takes a lot of time to do the exercise and it needs long training, 5 or 6 years at least. The learner who is not fearless and without strength of mind, whom hardships frighten, will not be capable acquire it completely. Many who start to train that exercise, after some short time, about half a month, feel very sharp pain in their legs and stop half way. My Tutor deeply regrets about it.
52. Skill "Neither Lances nor Broadswords Can Wound" (QIANG DAO BU RU FA).
Skill "Neither Lances nor Broadswords Can Wound" is a "soft" GONG FU, has the "outer" power, belongs to the force YIN and at the same time YANG as to its essence and spirit confined in it. That method seems to be somewhat enigmatic and mysterious. But in reality, it is simply one of training methods in a "soft" GONG FU.
Sometimes, for instance, such words can be heard: "I can engage with empty hands a mob armed with the sword DAO and halberd JI and they can not even wound me". Usually listeners of those words think it to be absolutely absurd. However, people who acquired that kind of GONG FU to perfection really can do so.
Training in that skill is quite difficult. More over, few people have that skill now, that method is practically lost. The purport of the method is in dodging and avoiding. It is necessary to start from training the skill "Soft Bones" (see par.#32) which includes such exercises as "flexible legs", "flexible waist" and so on. Besides, it is necessary to train your eyes for distance estimation. Training body, arms, and eyes is the most important principle in WU SHU. It is possible to enter a "forest" of swords and lances and leave it without being wounded only thanks to an eye skill. Otherwise, it is difficult to confront such a situation. First steps in training eye sight have been already described in the exercise "Luohan's skill" (see par.#23). Later, it is necessary to train oneself in counting immovable objects. For example, you sit in a room, look in the window and count bricks in the wall of the opposite house. Or, you can count number of tiles on the roof in each row. Try to cast a quick glance and say the exact number, it is not so simple. You can make piles of tiles or other objects with a height of several CHIs69 and count them. If you can exactly count in a short time, you can go further.
Now it is necessary to count moving objects, for instance, ducks swimming in a river. They may be a hundred, a little bit more or less. Tiles are immovable things, they lay at one place: count them attentively and you do not make a mistake. But ducks in a river are swimming here and there all the time, so it is not a simple task to count them at once. One can gain success here only by hard labor and concentration of attention. As they say, mastery comes with experience and achieved by labor. It takes about half a year. Later, it is necessary to proceed to count objects of smaller size, for instance, sparrows. Replace gradually objects to be counted with smaller ones. You may proceed from sparrows to dragon-flies. After dragon-flies, count grasshoppers, beetles, ants at last. If at a distance of five steps you can count a heap of ants numbered two or three thousand, it means you reached the highest keenness of sight.
Besides the eye-sight, it is necessary to exercise legs and body. Training on
poles suits well for that. There are many exercises of this kind: "Poles of Three Treasures" (SAN CAI), "Poles of Seven Stars" (QI XING), "Poles of Nine Stars" (JIU XING), "Poles of Plum Blossom" (MEI HUA) and others. All those methods are suitable. After training on poles one may proceed to direct acquirement of "Skill of Dodging Lances and Broadswords". First of all, it is necessary to choose a ground and install bamboo and wooden sticks of different thickness and height. They should be placed at random. Lime should be also spread on the ground at random. The distance between neighboring sticks should not exceed 1 CHI.
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