Qigong Iron Throat

Everyone who studies martial arts wants to be strong and powerful, either externally or internally. When I was twenty-three I had done some Wing Chun and some simple Qigong, and I had just started Chen Style Taijiquan. Then, I was hungry for all different kinds of

Chinese skill, even things like Yijing, Feng Shui, Chinese Horoscopes, palm and face reading and of course, Qigong.

I never came across any Hard Qigong, but reading about it always excited me. I thought I would never have the opportunity to study it, because it was always kept secret. Some martial arts called it Nei Gong, which means 'internal training'. This meant that without studying with your teacher for a long time he would not teach you. This I did not mind so long as I could study.

Fortunately, the Qigong 'heat' from China had started and there were some Qigong magazines where you could get some information. From these I started to understand more.

I always looked in the newspaper advertisements, because that is what brought me to study with Master Ip Chun. Then one day I saw an advertisement for Hard Qigong. I called the number straight away and went to see the master. His name was Master Lee Hok Ming. When I went to see him, I found he lived in a very busy street, on the first floor of a building.

"With the Postnatal Breathing you breathe in with the mouth and suck the Qi in for as long as possible."

I rang the bell and a man opened the door and smiled at me. I went in and introduced myself to him. Looking around, I could see I was in a Chinese clinic. I sat down and he offered me some tea. Then he told me he was Sifu Lee Hok Ming. He was not very tall, about five feet six inches, but he had a very strong body. You could tell from his arms and his hands, which were very strong and thick, that he had done a lot of training. He then started to tell me about his training history.

Master Lee Hok Ming started training when he was a teenager. When I met him he was about forty years old. He had recently come to Hong Kong from Nanjing, China. He told me his Hard Qigong style was called "Ermei Seven Stars Hard Qigong". It was a Daoist style of Hard Qigong and was based on breathing skills and external training. In Hard Qigong you need to develop internally so the Qi is strong. You also develop externally, the bones, muscle and skin. Then the Qi can protect your internal organs so you do not get hurt or injured when someone attacks you. You can also release powerful strength together with internal Qi.

Studying Hard Qigong is not just to make you externally strong. There is a lot of internal training that is different to Soft Qigong. Hard Qigong uses prenatal breathing and postnatal breathing. Without understanding the breathing the Hard Qigong will not work. It is not a case of just hitting the body until it is tough, because if the internal body does not have enough Qi to protect it then you will just damage yourself. There are many people who do the movements without understanding the breathing and correct internal training and they can damage themselves.

Ermei Seven Stars Hard Qigong originally comes from the Daoists of the Ermei Mountains, and later it developed in Nanjing City. With the Prenatal Breathing you naturally breathe in and out through the nose. With the Postnatal Breathing you breathe in with the mouth and suck the Qi in for as long as possible. At the end you swallow the Qi down to your Dantien, like you are eating it. You let the Qi settle to the Dantien and breathe out naturally through your nose.

Ermei Seven Stars Hard Qigong has three levels. The first level is called, "Beginning Seven Stars Hard Qigong". This has seven exercises: 1 True Qi Sea or it is also called Iron Belly.

Iron Throat Qigong

2 Dry Land with Stabbing Needle. Also called Thousand Pound Sinking Root Gong, which is for developing the strong legs and stance.

3 Jade Belt Around the Waist. Also called Iron Back and this develops the Kidneys.

4 Toad's Gong, also called Iron Shirt.

5 Looking at the Stars, also called Iron Head and Back Gong.

6 Strong Arms Moving the Mountain, also called Pushing Mountain palm.

7 Ten thousand Qi Back to the source. Also called Strong Power Gong.

Ermei Seven Stars Hard Qigong is done with the eyes closed or half closed, so you do not focus on any objects. Thus its training is very internal. Every part concentrates a lot on swallowing Qi and postnatal breathing until the internal Qi is strong, then you can develop the external body. You lead the Qi to different areas of the body, like the Dantien, legs, waist, as well as the head and arms. So your Qi covers the whole body, and then you can develop the outside.

The second level trains the external body and is called "Thirteen Strong Man". This part develops the bone, muscle and skin. When you come to this part you can become exhausted if your first level is not good enough. You start to use pieces of wood and metal to hit yourself. You even hit trees and walls to develop you external body so it is strong.

After the external body training, we go back to the internal training. This time you concentrate more on the weak

areas, like the throat and hidden areas. You also start to develop Light Gong. So having covered all areas, you come back to the soft and develop the mind. This is the second part of Seven Stars Hard Qigong training.

Once I started to visit Master Lee, I went to train four or five days a week. This was for many years, until I met another Hard Qigong Master, Master Zhan Jia Liang. He opened my eyes to a Buddhist style of Hard Qigong and this had both very simple and very difficult exercises g to be continued... by Michael Tse please note: Michael Tse is teaching Heavenly River Monastery Hard Qigong Level 1 on 20/21 March 98, in London, as taught by Master Zhan Jia Liang. Contact the Tse Qigong Centre for details.

Raymond Lo

Lectures on Feng Shui

'The energy of the dragon will be dispersed by wind, will stop at the boundary of water' - The Book of Burial. Raymond Lo is currently one of the best known names in Feng Shui. He has published seven books on Feng Shui and Destiny Analysis & has been writing for the Hong Kong Standard for the last eight years. He recently visited Britain to give a lecture in London & teach a short series of seminars in Stratford.

Raymond Lo is a small round faced man, extremely open, friendly and polite to everyone. He possesses the almost ever present smile of someone who has the good fortune to be doing exactly what he wants, which in this case is introducing Britain to subjects that runs to the core of Chinese culture: Feng Shui and Destiny Analysis.

The Chinese say that there are five factors that affect the quality of life. In order of importance these are: Destiny, Luck, Feng Shui, Philanthropy and Education.

Raymond Lo explained that the most important two of the above are fixed. There is nothing you can do to change your destiny, or your luck but you can gain a passive knowledge of them. Destiny, when explained by Raymond Lo, is a quite concrete subject, understood through analysis rather than mysticism. Someone living in the sixteenth century would have been destined never to fly in a plane, but it is quite possible for someone in the twentieth century. There is nothing that you can do to change the date of your birth and it determines many factors relating to your life. The best that you can do is gain a passive understanding of your destiny and your luck so that you can make the most of them.

You may want to take a day trip to Neptune but because you live in the twentieth century it is not possible yet. However you should not let this stop you from making the most of the possibilities that are available, such as scuba diving in the Mediterranean or skiing in the Alps. Similarly, you may find you have no luck gambling but have really great luck with the opposite sex. You cannot change your luck, but you can learn to make the most of your good luck and minimise the harm of the bad.

One of the key things about Raymond Lo is the way that he brings a very clear logical way of thought to his subject. He is largely self taught and his approach is extremely practical and almost scientific. It is because of this that he is uniquely able to explain the mysteries of Feng Shui in a way that a W e s t e r n audience can understand.

"Many important events in apersonas life depend on the intervention of chance.

Feng Shui and Destiny Analysis, he explained, help people understand their situation and their future. The basic principles are very similar to Western science. Both are founded on the notion that there is an order to the universe; that this order canbe detected understood and used to forecast the future. Just as astronomers can predict an eclipse

based on the laws of motion and gravity Chinese metaphysic s studies the laws governing destiny.

In the West, predicting the future has a bad reputation. It is associated with crystal balls, hocus pocus and the irrational. The approach of Raymond Lo is not like this. His approach is similar to that of a business manager who wants to forecast the future of his company. A manager uses the best available economic theories to make rational projections about what is going to happen, based on past performance. However, as any manager will tell you, even the best of forecasts can be thrown out by 'unexpected contingencies'. While such forecasting cannot avoid the unexpected it can at least build in sufficient flexibility to deal with some such contingencies.

The study of Destiny Analysis has found that understanding a person's 'luck' is very important to predicting their future -many important events in a person's life depend on the intervention of 'chance' occurrences. The study of Destiny has to explicitly study 'luck': to discover the rule to the exception to the rule.

The first move for anyone who wants to understand Destiny Analysis or Feng Shui is to study the basic principles and rules by which the universe functons. For Raymond Lo this means studying the five-element theory until you have a good knowledge of the two cycles (one of production and the other of destruction) and how the elements interrelate. These, he asserts, are the cycles of order in the universe and they cannot be escaped.

He illustrated this conception of the five elements with a humorous story from Chinese literature. In 'Journey To The West", the Monkey King runs riot in heaven. Even the Emperor of Heaven and his army cannot control Monkey. So, the Emperor of Heaven asks Buddha for assistance. Buddha challenges Monkey to jump off his right hand. Monkey knows that he can easily jump a hundred and eight thousand leagues in one bound so he accepts the challenge. He makes an enormous leap and flies through the air like a shooting Star. As he is going along he sees five huge mountains in front of him. 'This _

is the end of the World,' Monkey thinks, so he lands at the base of one of the mountains and leaves his mark, which being a monkey is in the form of urine, as proof of how far he had jumped before leaping back to Buddha. Monkey claims his prize but is astonished when Buddha shows him that he only jumped as far as his middle finger, and that he has pissed on Buddha's palm. Then Buddha shows Monkey that his five fingers are the five elements. No matter how far Monkey jumped he could not escape the fundamental laws of the universe. This story also gives a name to a special five-peaked mountain in China, which is called Wu Hsing Shan.

The second tool that Raymond Lo introduced as essential for understanding a person's position in the universe is the Chinese Calendar. The Chinese Calendar is different from the Western calendar in that it is understood as a series of interrelated cycles which all have different meanings. A Chinese Year is composed from two basic elements: a 'Heavenly Stem' and an 'Earthly Branch'. This pair forms a yin/yang relationship (with the Heavenly Stem being the yang part of the pair). They also each give an element from the five elements.

This yin yang pair for the year of birth is the first of the 'Four Pillars of Destiny'. From this information you can make some rough, very general statements about a person. If you know all Four Pillars you can make a more accurate analysis. The month, the day and the hour determine the other three Pillars.

Raymond Lo estimates that his forecasts, based on Destiny Analysis, have about eighty per cent accuracy. More importantly though he suggests that understanding the elements of your destiny should be used as a tool to balance your life. The whole of Chinese metaphysics is based around the concept that balance and harmony are an ideal state and that extremes should be avoided.

Of the five factors affecting the quality of your life (Destiny, Luck, Feng Shui, Philanthropy, and Education) Feng Shui is the most important of those that you can positively affect and change for yourself. An understanding of Feng Shui is thus a positive tool.

Yin Houses

There are two sides to Feng Shui. The first concerns yin houses, burial sites, and is an important factor in enhancing your destiny, and the second relates to yang houses - the places that we choose to live. Raymond Lo spoke mainly about the Feng Shui of yang houses in his London lecture.

Raymond Lo identified a number of benefits that you can gain from knowledge of Feng Shui:

1. The creation of a healthy and prosperous environment

2. The selection of prosperous sites and locations for offices and residences

3. The enhancement of harmony, health, prosperity and the avoidance of misfortune through practical interior design

4. The achievement of individual prosperity and harmony through interior decoration

5. A tool with which to plan for and forecast events (this is a speciality of the Flying Star School of Feng Shui)

6. An understanding of the cyclic change of _ luck over time.

The fundamental statement of Feng Shui comes from 'The Book of Burial'. It says, 'The energy of the dragon will be dispersed by wind, will stop at the boundary of water'. In terms of the landscape mountains are considered to be like dragons. Energy is dispersed by the wind but the mountain provides shelter. In order to stop the dragon from leaving you also need water. Thus, the statement describes the ideal site: one, which is sheltered by mountains to the rear and sides and which, has water (or an open space) at the front.

Feng Shui is composed of two main areas of knowledge: Form and Compass. Form deals with the physical form or shape of the land. Many of the rules of Form analysis are like rules of thumb, but the more important part of Feng Shui analysis comes from an understanding of the Compass which explains time and space (directions).

The Compass is essential to explain change over time. There is no house that will have good Feng Shui forever. It is only through the Compass that you can understand how the cycles of energy may affect particular sites at different times, allowing you to make the most of that location.

The Compass is based on the Lo Shu diagram. Most people will know this diagram from the Yijing, and may know it as 'The Magic Square'. The Lo Shu is used as the foundation of the 'Star Chart', which is used to calculate those aspects that influence human harmony and money.

In his London lecture, Raymond Lo gave an extremely good overview of the potential interest of Feng Shui and Destiny analysis. In a short period of an evening he outlined a massive subject with extreme clarity. In the following days, Raymond Lo taught several seminars explaining Feng Shui and Destiny analysis in more detail g by Glen Gossling


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